Pat Shingleton for Dec. 10, 2012

On this date in 1847, residents of Forest Hill, Arkansas, recovered from an explosion that rocked the community. The episode was described as “a solid black fleece … above a red glare as of many torches.” As noted in a previous column, houses rattled, and the local church bell rang as a fiery barrel-sized meteor caused a 2-by-8-foot crater. It was also reported that it smelled of sulfur and water thrown on it, boiled. Similar events include a thunderstorm in Westmoreland, England, in 1885, as a family of five witnessed a 12-pound rock, spinning from the sky, killing sheep as it hit the ground. Residents excavated a quartzite ball. In 1867, on the isle of Sark, a green-hued mineral “axe” was beneath a dead cow following a lightning strike.

Fastcast: Stormy, cold!