Groundhogs aren’t the Only Forecasters

Image from Skulls and Bones

OLD HUNTER SAYS RABBIT BONES TELL OF MILD WINTER

A mild winter is ahead according to Joe Cole, a famous weather prognosticator of Chargin Falls, Ohio.

Cole is a famous hunter and fisherman out in his section. He has discovered that if a rabbit’s bones go dry half and hour after having been taken from the carcass, nothing but a mild winter is in store.

His other reasons for hazarding his reputation on a prediction are these:

The goosebone indication — The bones break easily, hence dry weather.

Corn has remained dry in the shock unusually long this year.

Geese have not gone south yet.

Certain signs, known to the initiated, seen on the top of sour milk pans early in the morning.

All these and more, too complicated for ordinary minds to grasp, make Mr. Cole absolutely sure of his forecast.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Nov 20, 1907


Image of Virgil from Buzzle

WEATHER FORECASTS.

Primitive Portents That Are as True Now as in Virgil’s Time.

At the beginning of the Christian era, and before that time the signs of the heavens and the behavior of animals and birds were noted with reference to changes of weather. If we read Virgil we shall find numerous references to these portents, and the translation usually quoted will furnish us with information which must be as true nowadays as it was in Virgil’s time, for wild animals do not change their habits. Speaking of wet weather in the Georgics, the poet wrote

The wary crane foresees it first, and sails
Above the storm and leaves the hollow vales.
The cow looks up and from afar can find
The change of heaven, and sniffs it in the wind.
The swallow skims the river’s watery face,
The frogs renew the croaks of their loquacious race.
The careful ant her secret cell forsakes
And draws her eggs along the narrow tracks.
At either horn the rainbow drinks the flood,
Huge flocks of rising rooks forsake their food,
And, crying, seek the shelter of the wood.
*       *       *       *       *       *       *
And owls, that mark the setting Sun, declare
A starlight evening, and a morning fair.

We might quote further selections respecting the signs in the heaven and earth mentioned but the foregoing verses will be sufficient to illustrate our position, and to show us that weather forecasting is, at any rate, as old as the Christian era. The moon is generally supposed to influence the weather — a Saturday’s moon” being particularly objectionable, or when she appears anew at some hours after midnight thus

When first the moon appears, if then she shrouds
Her silver crescent tipped with sable clouds,
Conclude she bodes a tempest on the main,
And brews for fields impetuous floods of rain.

For generations, as today, a red sky foretells fine weather a yellow sky changing into green means rain, or rain and wind, on the other hand when the red rays appear we many anticipate fine weather, as the atmosphere is becoming less and less moist.

A “low” dawn is known as a good sign, so when the first rays appear at or near the horizon we may anticipate a fine day, as we may when the morning is gray.

Evening red and morning gray

are almost unfailing tokens of fine weather.

Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois) Mar 23, 1892

Virgil’s Georgics, Book I (google book link)

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