Signs in the Heavens
Pretend and real heavenly events panicked those who looked for signs in the sun, moon and stars. On September 6, 1881, the skies over New England, Vermont and New Hampshire – over two hundred thousand square miles – turned yellow. The cause was uncertain, though probably a forest fire in the wilds of Northern Canada. This was startling event. Yellow haze hung in the upper atmosphere undisturbed by a steady breeze. In some areas the haze reached the ground. Schools were dismissed and workers sent home or work proceeded under candle light. Chickens roosted, night insects chirped, birds slept. While some saw it as an interesting phenomenon needing a good, scientific explanation, many panicked. The Friends Intelligencer said: “Among those who apprehended that the weird prophecies of the seers of Israel concerning the earth’s destruction are to find literal fulfillment in our day there was general apprehension that the last day of the human race had come.”
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