Letter | Published:

The Acarus Crossii

Naturevolume 81page127 (1909) | Download Citation



SOME months ago (NATURE, February 4) a correspondent directed attention to the account of Crosse's remarkable experiences when experimenting with electric currents, and the appearance of quantities of an acarus in the solutions treated, as fully narrated in Chambers's “Vestiges of the Footsteps of Creation,” and the question was asked whether any explanation of such strange phenomena had ever been heard of. No reply seems to have been made, and, presumably, no recent attempts to investigate the mystery have taken place. It may be of interest to note that Chambers's account is fully corroborated in the “National Dictionary of Biography,” and it appears that Crosse, though he did not make any suggestions as to “spontaneous generation,” but merely related the facts and left explanations to others, found himself the victim of such a shower of abuse that he thenceforth entirely abandoned all research work and retired into obscurity. His experiments would probably have been forgotten but that they were repeated with complete success by another worker. Considering how much more easily prolonged electric action can nowadays be applied, would it not be well if someone would have the patience to repeat once more the exact conditions so amply described by Chambers, and so, if possible, clear up what is undoubtedly a very mysterious occurrence?

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