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No. 103: Jan-Feb 1996

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Stythe = choke damp

This, according to an unabridged dictionary. Looking up "choke damp", it is found to be "a suffocating gas, chiefly carbon dioxide, found in wells, coal mines, and other pits, also called "blackdamp."

Evidently, in the quotation in SF#102 describing the death of one Donald Tollett due to a stythe, the word "stythe" was used for the meteorological event itself rather than -- correctly -- for the gases sucked out of the coal mine by a sudden drop in atmospheric pressure.

(Stepp, Richard; personal communication, November 26, 1995)

Comment. Changes in atmospheric pressure are also the causes of "blowing caves" and "weather wells". See GHG2 in Earthquakes, Tides, Unidentified Sounds. To order, visit here.

Incidentally, blowing caves were used in the very early days of aernonautics for testing aircraft models due to the lack of wind tunnels.

From Science Frontiers #103, JAN-FEB 1996. 1996-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987