Whenever the old newspapers present first-person accounts from Gentlemen Known For Their Veracity, I know I’m in for a good time. The Knoxville “Journal and Tribune,” August 16, 1890:
Special to The Journal
Middlesborough, Ky., August 15—The people in the eastern part of Claiborne county, Tennessee, are in a terrible state of excitement over a remarkable occurrence which took place there on Saturday evening last. The story as told is one of the most marvelous occurrences ever heard of and will prove a problem over which scientific minds will wrestle for some time to come.
Edgar Ramsey who lives four miles from Lick Skillett came into Middlesborough this morning and told the marvelous story. Last Saturday about 4 o'clock he noticed what looked like a large greenish cloud. It was raining at the time.
“A little while afterwards I noticed it was getting colder and I went from the porch where I was sitting and put on a heavy coat. When I came out again it looked like the big green cloud was near the place and the air was as cold as a winter day. I stood and watched it for a few minutes and then it commenced hailing and I went in the house and built a fire. In half an hour it was as dark as night and the wind fairly howled around the house and hailstones fell that were as big as a hen egg. This thing lasted possibly twenty minutes and then the sky cleared up.
“My wife and I were sitting by the fire about an hour later when I heard a horse come up on a dead run and when I went to see what was the matter there stood Jake Warren who owns a farm about a mile and a quarter from mine. He looked as pale as a ghost and was trembling to death. He said that a big cloud had come over his place and that something that looked like balls of fire had fallen all around his house. He had about five acres of fine corn growing in a field next to his house and after the storm cleared up he went to look around to see if it had done any damage. He noticed some of the corn was blown down and he went into the field and found every stalk turned to stone.
“There were two fine hogs in the field and he said they were petrified in their tracks and were standing there like they were cut of solid rock. The next day I visited him and I’ll remember what I saw as long as I live. There was his corn considerably blown down but every stalk of it was completely petrified. It wasn’t as hard as granite quite but seemed to be more like soapstone. I took my knife and it cut into a sort of a powder. In the edge of the field nearest the house the two hogs were standing in as natural a position as though they were alive but they were as dead as dead could be and seemed turned completely to stone and their bristles had turned as white as snow.
“They were a queer sight. I tried to lift one of them but although the hogs would not have weighed over 225 pounds when it was alive it must have weighed 400 pounds as it stood for I could not lift it. Thousands of people have seen them since last Sunday. Everybody knows Jake Warner and anybody in the county can direct you to his farm.”
Edgar Ramsey is a reliable man and tells the story in good faith and as strange as the story seems there is no reason to doubt his word.