(translated)Strange Relics from the Depths of the Earth (8): Out-of-place metal objects

Out-of-place metal objects

The puzzled rock hunters sent their find to the Charles Fort Society, who specialize in investigating things out of the ordinary. The Society made an X-ray examination of the cylinder object enclosed in the fossil-encrusted rock, and found further evidence that it was indeed some form of mechanical apparatus. The X-rays revealed that the metallic shaft was corroded at one end, but on the other end terminated in what appeared to be a spring or helix of metal. As a whole, the 'Coso artifact' is now believed to be something more than a piece of machinery: The carefully shaped ceramic, metallic shaft and copper components hint at some form of electrical instrument. The closest modern apparatus that researchers have been able to equate it with is a spark plug. However, there are certain features - particularly the spring or helix terminal - that does not correspond to any known spark plug today. The rock in which the electrical instrument was found was dated by a competent geologist at 500,000 years old.

The rock strata appear to be full of metal 'surprises.' The Illinois Springfield Republican reported in 1851 that a businessman named Hiram de Witt had brought back with him from a trip to California a piece of auriferous quartz rock about the size of a man's fist, and that while showing the rock to a friend, it slipped from his hand and split open upon hitting the floor. There, in the center of the quartz, they discovered a cut-iron nail, six-penny size, slightly corroded but entirely straight, with a perfect head. the quartz was given an age of over one million years.

In 1865, a two-inch metal screw was discovered in a piece of feldspar unearthed from the Abbey Mine in Treasure City, Nevada. The screw had long ago oxidized, but its form - particularly the shape of its threads - could be clearly seen in the feldspar. The stone was calculated to be 21 million years in age.

Twenty years earlier, in 1844, Sir David Brewster made a report to the British Association for the Advancement of Science which created quite a stir. A nail of obvious human manufacture had been found half-embedded in a sandstone block excavated from the Kindgoodie Quarry near Inchyra, in northern Britain. It was badly corroded, but identifiable nonetheless. The sandstone was determined to be at least 40 million years old.

In the fall of 1885, at an iron foundry owned by the sons of Herr Isidor Braun located in Schondorf near Bocklabruck, Upper Austria, a workman named Riedl was breaking up a block of Tertiary brown coal that had been mined from the pits at Wolfsegg, near Schwannstadt, and was about to be used to heat the foundry's giant smelters. As the block disintegrated into several pieces, out dropped a strange cube-like object. In 1886, mining engineer Dr. Adolf Gurlt made a report to the Natural History Society at Bonn, Germany and noted that the object, coated with a thin layer of rust, is made of iron, measures 2.64 by 2.64 by 1.85 inches, weighs 1.73 Ibs., and has a specific gravity measurement of 7.75. Four of the iron 'cube's' sides are roughly flat, while the two remaining sides - opposite each other - are convex. A fairly deep groove was incised all the way around the object, about mid-way up its height. Other early studies on the iron artifact were in scientific journals of the day as Nature (London; November 11, 1886, page 36) and L'Astronomie (Paris; 1886, page 463). A plaster cast was also made before the turn of the century -important because the original object subsequently suffered from handling, and from being disfigured by samples having been cut from it by investigators for research. The cast is kept in the Oberosterreichisehes Landesmuseum in Linz, Austria, where the original object was also exhibited from 1950 to 1958. The iron cube is presently in the custody of Herrn O.R. Bernhardt of the Heimathaus Museum in Vocklabruck.

In 1966-67, the iron 'cube' was carefully analyzed by experts at the Vienna Naturhistorisehes Museum, using electron-beam microanalysis. They found no traces of nickel, chromium or cobalt in the iron - which means the object was not of meteoric origin. No sulfur was detected either, ruling out the chance of it being a pyrite, a natural mineral that sometimes forms geometric shapes. Because of a low magnesium content, Dr. Kurat of the Museum, and Dr. R. Gill of the Geologisehe Bundesanstalt of Vienna, are of the opinion that the object was made of cast-iron. In 1973, Hubert Mattlianer concluded from yet another detailed investigation that the object had been made from a hand-sculptured lump of wax or clay pressed into a sand base, this forming the mold into which the iron had been poured.

The final conclusion, then, is that the strange object is definitely man-made. What is not explained is what it was doing encased in coal dating to the Tertiary - 60 million years old.

In 1968, French speleologists Y. Druet and H. Salfati reported finding unusual metal nodules entombed in an Aptian chalk bed in a quarry at Saint-Jean de Livet. The nodules are reddish brown, wafer-shaped and hollowed at the ends, measuring from 3 to 9 centimeters long and 1 to four centimeters wide. The two investigators at first thought the nodules were fossils until they discovered their metallic nature. Next, they theorized they were residue from a meteor - but careful study showed the nodules were too uniformly shaped to be of natural origin. Chemical analysis showed a carbon content consistent with modern forging and casting techniques. But what had these man-made objects been doing in chalk beds dating toward the end of the Cretaceous - over 120 million years? As Druet and Salfati concluded, 'These objects, then, prove the presence of intelligent life on earth long before the limits given today by prehistoric archaeology.'

On June 9, 1891, Mrs. S.W. Culp of Morrisonville, Illinois was shoveling coal into her kitchen stove when a large lump broke in two and out from the center of it fell a gold chain. The chain was about 10 inches long, made of eight carat gold, weighed 8 pennyweight, and was described as being 'of antique and quaint workmanship.' The Morrisonville Times of June 11 reported that investigators were convinced the chain had not simply been accidentally dropped in with the coal: One portion of the coal lump still clung to the chain, while the part that had separated from it still bore the impression of where the chain had been encased. The Times could only comment, 'Here is one for the student of archaeology who loves to puzzle his brain over the geological construction of the Earth from whose ancient depth the curious are always dropping out.' In this case, the 'curious' 'dropped out' of a piece of coal from the Pennsylvanian era - over 300 million years old.

Similar events produced another metal object of even greater age. In 1912, two employees of the Municipal Electric Plant of Thomas, Oklahoma, were shoveling coal into the plant furnaces, using fuel which had been mined near neighboring Wilberton. One chunk of coal was too large to handle, so the workmen took a sledge hammer to it. Once it broke open, however, the workmen found that the chunk contained an iron pot, and upon its removal, the two coal halves bore the 'mold' of the pot in its interiors. Both employees signed affidavits testifying to the authenticity of the discovery, and the iron pot was subsequently examined by several experts - every one of which was most reluctant to comment on the pot, and the circumstances surrounding its discovery. This was most understandable, since the object came from coal dated from 300 to 325 million

One more find that must be mentioned in the out-of-place metal category takes us - once again - to the deepest level of fossil life. On June 13, 1880, a reporter for the Inverness Courier named Walter Carruthers was vacationing near Loch Maree and Victoria Falls, in Scotland, and - being an amateur rock hunter - decided to explore the geology of the area. Between 300 and 400 yards above Victoria Falls, and immediately beside the last of the three lesser falls on the west side of the stream, Carruthers noticed peculiar impressions in the rock. The rock was a l6 x 16-foot exposed surface of Torridon Red Sandstone, placed in the Cambrian age. The impressions consisted of two continuous flat bands side by side, between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 inches wide and about 1/4 inch deep, running unnaturally straight through the flat layers of sandstone in situ, and perfectly distinct for 16 feet, disappearing on the west side under the superimposed rock, and broken only where portions of the sandstone had been weathered out. A few weeks later the curious 'bands' were also observed by a colleague of Carruthers, Mr. William Jolly, Her Majesty's Inspector of Schools for the region. Carruthers had thought the impressions to have been the creation of some highly unusual living creature, but Jolly recorded that 'the continuous even breadth and square section of the bands would seem to render this impossible.' Jolly further noted, 'The double band resembles nothing more nearly than the hollow impression that would be left by double bars of iron placed closely together.' Jolly's observation was corroborated years later when micro-specks of iron oxide were taken from the impression cavities. The superintendent thought, however, that perhaps the iron bands had at one time been inserted into the rock, 'to clasp some structure to it' - but other findings discount this. First, the bands occur high above the Falls in an almost totally inaccessible place, where a 'structure' would serve little purpose. Second, the bands are only one-quarter of an inch deep, so that anything 'clasped' to them would not hold for long. Third, parallel on either side of each band are tin)? ripple marks in the sandstone, indicating the presence of the original iron bands had caused turbulence patterns in the sand during the time the sand had been laid down by water, and before it had turned to stone. Fourth, the sandstone in the impressions show tiny striations which are really the preserved grain marks of the iron - again, indicating the metal had been impressed in the primordial sand, before solidification took place. And finally, fifth, one portion of one of the bands bends back into the subsurface, and careful excavation revealed the presence of iron oxide totally encased by the surrounding sandstone.

Jolly also found other band impressions in the same locality: There is a third band that runs alongside the other two, but is much less distinct and is not continuous. Two more lines, about 2 feet lower down on the rock surface, are only 7 feet long, and two more are higher up, running 3 feet long. Jolly also saw still more bands on an outcropping of the same sandstone on the other side of the stream, again parallel to one another - one 3 feet, another 6 feet, and smaller portions of several others.

What purpose these iron bands served, we can only guess. What we do know, however, is that all the bands were very uniform in width and thickness, with squared edges, and the grain marks they left indicate they were rolled and cut - all of which points to precision manufacturing by machine production.

But this is totally impossible, if we are to believe the geologists, for the sandstone in which the bands occur is Cambrian - 600 million years old, by their own measurements. Who, pray tell, was running an iron mill at a time when there was supposedly only tiny invertebrate creatures ruling the world?