These Insects would fly in great Swarms

These snippets come from a very peculiar tale of an attack of flies on London in 1675, entitled Relation of the most miraculous swarms of flies.

On Saturday the 11th of this Instant July, about the Hours of six and seven in the Evening in several parts of the City of London, and the suburbs, such innumerable swarm of Flies were seen flying together, that they seem’d to be like Showers of Rain, to the great Wonder and Admiration of several Spectators, who for some considerable time stood to behold them. In some Streets they flew so thick and low, that they in a manner were ready to strike Passengers in the face, who were obliged to lift up their Hands, Gloves, to fright them away.  And in other Places these Insects would fly in great Swarms into Windows that were open, making a great sort of a Buzzing, to the great Astonishment of the People. This wonderful Sight continued up and down from one Place to another till Night, and so many have been the Conjectures and Opinions of the Learned concerning them, for it is looked upon as a strange Thing that we suspend their Judgements for the Present.

At the time of these Flies appearing, the Clouds looked so Red that several parts of the Town were afraid of some Fire was burning, and other whiles the Cloudes would turn black again, and what is more admirable still, these insects fell down in such a great Number in Southwark, that in the Market people swept them off their Fruits, Meats, and other Commodities by whole Handfuls. In many other places they fell too in incredible numbers both on Saturday and Sunday. In the Gardens at Sir John Oldcastle’s near Islington, and the Long-Field near Blooms-bury, the Flies fell down in such Swarms that they were swept up by Pecks (one peck = 2 gallons). On other places they in colour like the new fallen Snow, which might be occasioned through the whiteness of their Wings, which were very long, and such is the strange Appearance of these Flies, that the general Consternation they have put the Town in, has made the Prodigy the only Talk and Discoverie of all People both in City, Town and Country.

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