In the course of his various "business enterprises", E.B. Litchfield is
said to have bought many an elected official. Except for one: Populist
Congressman Ignatius Donnelly of Minnesota. While Donnelly worked for
all the railroads in Minnesota at one time or another, he refused to
continue working for E.B. Litchfield and the First Division St.P&P
While lobbying Congress to expand the St.P&P RR land grant to 10
sections (square miles) per mile of track built, E.B. needed the help
of members of Congress. Railroads would sometimes hire sitting members
of Congress (and other elected officials) to serve as their "legal
In 1868, Donnelly wrote to E.B. regarding his $1,000 "retainer" and
position as legal counsel to the First Division: "The matter has given
me no little uneasiness of conscience. I have been laboring under the
fear and dread I might instinctively be willing to do more for your
company as attorney than I would if I did not hold that relation to
it". Donnelly even offered to return the $1,000 or perform some actual
legal services for the money.
After completing his term in Congress, Donnelly was inspired by Jules
Verne's novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Verne's use of the
"Atlantis" theme. Donnelly then went on to write Atlantis: The
Antediluvian World in 1881.
Donnelly's other esoteric books included Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and
Gravel in 1883. This book put forth the theory that a comet had
collided with the Earth some time in the distant past.
This is an interesting hypothesis, in light of the currently accepted
theory regarding the extinction of the dinosaurs, which is said to have
been caused by an asteroid impact near Yucatan, Mexico.
Donnelly also wrote a book called the The Great Cryptogram: Francis
Bacon's Cipher in Shakespeare's Plays in 1888. This book added fuel to
the fire surrounding the controversial 19th and 20th century theory
that Francis Bacon was really William Shakespeare.
Later in his life, Donnelly's Populist Party platform demanded
abandonment of the gold standard (and later for free silver), abolition
of national banks, a graduated income tax, direct election of senators,
civil service reform, and an eight-hour day.
Source: Ignatius Donnelly Portrait of a Politician by Martin Ridge, pgs
Ignatius Donnelly's Astrophysical Writings
In the course of researching E.B. Litchfield's corrupt financial
activities involving the LIRR and the First Division St.P&P RR, I
encountered the writings of the 19th century Minnesota Congressman
Ignatius Donnelly. Donnelly was the only politician to ever rebuff the
graft of E.B. Litchfield. In light of new scientific discoveries, some
of Donnelly's "astrophysical writings" dating back to the 1880's,
appear to make some sense. Let's update one of Donnelly's
controversial theories with the latest scientific information:
Donnelly, a lawyer by training, was an avid reader of the scholarly
scientific writings of his time. Processing scientific facts and
theories through his attorney trained thinking process, he "connect the
dots" in a pattern that made the most sense to him.
In his book Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel,
Donnelly speaks of "carbureted hydrogen" existing within Comets.
According to Donnelly, it was Dr. H. Schellen, who by means of
Spectrum Analysis detected the presence of "carbon in combustion"
on Comets, and wrote of it in his circa 1872 book (pg 396). Furthermore,
according to Donnelly: "Padre Secchi, the great Roman astronomer
examined [the head] of Dr. Winnecke's comet on the 21st of June, 1868,
and concluded that the self luminous part was produced by carbureted
hydrogen" (Ragnarok, pg 105). The "carbureted hydrogen" Donnelly refers
to, was the now antiquated term then used for home illumination gas-
gas lights, as well as the natural gas found in coal mines, then called
"fire damp"- all forms of Methane Gas (Ragnarok, pgs 106, 133).
If Donnelly was right, the new "Public Enemy # 1" is no longer a person- its a short or long period comet, asteroid or an off course "TNO" composed of a combination of Methane Clathrate
and stone and/or metal. When it enters the Earth's atmosphere, the
trapped Methane gas within could be released and ignited by the intense heat , possibly forming a Fuel-Air-Explosive
in the atmosphere.
The products generated by the collision of the Earth with an errant
celestial object made of Methane Clathrate and stone/metal could be
fire (a tremendous fireball burning in our atmosphere), water, gravel
and sand, (and maybe some metals too) precisely as Donnelly first
postulated in his book back in 1882. In addition to the monumental
conflagration, the physical force of the impact on the surface of the
Earth could be equivalent to thousands of H-Bombs detonating
simultaneously. After all, a "Megaton" is a measurement of released
energy, the energy source could be nuclear, chemical or other.
An impact by a Comet, Asteroid or TNO made of pure Methane Clathrate
might not leave any crater or trace mineral deposits at all, just a
very large burned out area. Could this explain the Tunguska, Siberian Impact, of 1908?
When I recently asked if Methane Clathrate is thought to exist in Comets and Asteroids, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist
replied "The answer is yes...it seems fairly well agreed upon that they
most likely exist". According to further information kindly provided by
the USGS, Methane Clathrate has been presumed to occur on bodies of our
Solar System as far back as 1952 (Delsemme A.H., and Swings P.), 1954 and 1961,
when these scientific papers first predicted the existence of this
substance in Comets and the gas-rich outer planets. It should be
noted that these predictions were made long before Methane Clathrate
was actually found in the sediments under our oceans (that discovery
was made during explorations in 1971- 1972).
A more recent paper on this subject "Thermodynamics of Clathrate Hydrate At Low and High Pressures with Application to the Outer Solar System"
was written in 1985 by J.I Lunine and David J. Stevenson. It appeared
in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series (58:493-531, 1985 July).
Among other things, this paper asserts that the anticipated Methane on
Saturn's moon Titan, was "accreted as Clathrate". In 2005, the Cassini–Huygens space probe found not only large quantities of Methane on Titan, but an entire "methane cycle" similar to the Earth's "water cycle" on Saturn's moon, Titan
Also see the current (2010) paper "Clathrate Hydrates Formation In Short Period Comets"
by Ulysse Marbouef, Olivier Mousis, Jean-Marc Petit and Bernard
Schmitt, which appeared in the Astrophysical Journal, Volume 701,
Number 1. Also see the circa 2009 version of the same paper.
In light of the presence of Methane Clathrate both in space and on the
Earth, Donnelly's astrophysical theory may in fact be highly logical.
Chunks of this material (varying in size from Volkswagens to mountains-
or much bigger, such as an "TNO") in the form of Comets or Asteroids,
could be what killed off the dinosaurs (and other mass extinctions),
brought the first greenhouse effect gases to the Earth, as well as most
- or all- of our water.
Some folks at NASA take this sort of theory seriously (Planetary Defense), and some physicists believe the Great Chicago Fire back in 1871 - was caused by the flammable Clathrate remnants of a comet
landing on Earth - not Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicking over an oil
lantern. This theory goes back to 1882, and Congressman Ignatius
Donnelly's book Ragnaroc (See pg 408-423,444).
Donnelly's book Ragnarok can be read here