“It is not so long since Professor Tyndall ushered us into a new world, peopled with airy shapes of the most ravishing beauty. “The discovery consists”, he says, “in subjecting the vapors of volatile liquids to the action of concentrated sun-light, or to the concentrated beam of the electric light.”
The vapors of certain nitrites, iodites, and acids are subjected to the action of the light in an experimental tube, lying horizontally, and so arranged that the axis of the tube and that of the parallel beams issuing from the lamp are coincident.
The vapors form clouds of gorgeous tints, and arrange themselves into the shapes of vases, of bottles and cones, in nests of six or more; of shells, of tulips, roses, sunflowers, leaves, and of involved scrolls. “In one case”, he tells us, “the cloud-bud grew rapidly into a serpent’s head; a mouth was formed, and from the cloud, a cord of cloud resembling a tongue was discharged.”
Finally, to cap the climax of marvels, “once it positively assumed the form of a fish, with eyes, gills, and feelers. The twoness of the animal form was displayed throughout, and no disk, coil, or speck existed on one side that did not exist on the other.”
These phenomena may possibly be explained in part by the mechanical action of a beam of light, which Mr. Crookes has recently demonstrated.
For instance, it is a supposable case, that the beams of light may have constituted a horizontal axis, about which the disturbed molecules of the vapors gathered into the forms of globes and spinders. But how account for the fish, the serpent’s head, the vases, the flowers of different varieties, the shells?
This seems to offer a dilemma to science as baffling as the meteor-cat of Babinet. We do not learn that Tyndall ventured as absurd an explanation of his extraordinary phenomena as that of the Frenchman about his.”
H. P. Blavatsky