Thursday, April 3, 2008

from Treasures of Use and Beauty: An Epitome of the Choicest Gems of Wisdom, History, Reference and Recreation, 1883

(page 77)

1780. May 19—Notable dark day in New England. A dense and mysterious darkness covered the land, continuing from twelve to fifteen hours, filling all hearts with wonder, and multitudes with fear and consternation—the superstitious regarding it as the "day of doom," and the learned and scientific wholly unprepared to account for the wonderful phenomenon. The darkness at midday was so dense that people were unable to read common print, or determine the time of day by clocks or watches, and at night, although at the full of the moon, the darkness was so impenetrably thick that traveling was impracticable without lights, and a sheet of white paper was equally invisible with the blackest velvet. The atmosphere seemed charged with a thick, oily, sulphurous vapor, and streams of water were covered with a thick scum, and paper dipped in it, and dried, appeared of a dark color, and felt as if it had been rubbed with oil.

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