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New England’s Dark Day
New England’s Dark Day refers to an event on May 19, 1780, when an unusual darkening of the day sky was observed over the New England states and parts of Canada. The darkness was so complete that candles were required from noon on. It did not disperse until the middle of the next night.
The earliest report of darkness came from New York where the sun was already obscured at sunrise. Samuel Williams observed from Cambridge that: “This extraordinary darkness came on between the hours of 10 and 11 am and continued till the middle of the next night.” In Massachusetts, peak obscurity occurred “by 12”. At Harvard College, the obscuration was reported to arrive at 10:30 am, abating by 1:10 pm, although a heavy overcast remained for the rest of the day. 
At 2:00 pm, roosters crowed, woodcocks whistled, and frogs peeped as if darkness had fallen. A witness reported that a strong sooty smell prevailed in the atmosphere, and that rain water had a light film over it that was made up of particles of burnt leaves and ash.
For several days before the Dark Day, the sun appeared red, and the sky yellow. While the darkness was present, soot was observed to be collected in rivers and in rain water, suggesting the presence of smoke. Also, at night observers saw the moon coloured red. For portions of New England, the morning of May 19, 1780 was characterised by rain, indicating that cloud cover was present.
Since communications technology of the day was primitive, most people found the darkness to be baffling and inexplicable. Many applied religious interpretations to the event. However, the likely cause of the Dark Day was smoke from massive forest fires. When a fire does not kill a tree and the tree later grows, scar marks are left in the growth rings. This makes it possible to approximate the date of a past fire. Researchers examining the scar damage in Ontario, Canada, attribute the Dark Day to a large fire in the area that is today occupied by Algonquin Provincial Park.
[I realise while I post this, though when I first started reading about it I did not realise it regarded forest fires, that there are currently massive bush fires in Australia, so I’d like to say that I hope any Australians who might read this, and their families and friends, are safe and well.]
[Image Source: The only known depiction of New England’s Dark Day taken from Our First History by Richard Devens (1876)]

New England’s Dark Day

New England’s Dark Day refers to an event on May 19, 1780, when an unusual darkening of the day sky was observed over the New England states and parts of Canada. The darkness was so complete that candles were required from noon on. It did not disperse until the middle of the next night.

The earliest report of darkness came from New York where the sun was already obscured at sunrise. Samuel Williams observed from Cambridge that: “This extraordinary darkness came on between the hours of 10 and 11 am and continued till the middle of the next night.” In Massachusetts, peak obscurity occurred “by 12”. At Harvard College, the obscuration was reported to arrive at 10:30 am, abating by 1:10 pm, although a heavy overcast remained for the rest of the day. 

At 2:00 pm, roosters crowed, woodcocks whistled, and frogs peeped as if darkness had fallen. A witness reported that a strong sooty smell prevailed in the atmosphere, and that rain water had a light film over it that was made up of particles of burnt leaves and ash.

For several days before the Dark Day, the sun appeared red, and the sky yellow. While the darkness was present, soot was observed to be collected in rivers and in rain water, suggesting the presence of smoke. Also, at night observers saw the moon coloured red. For portions of New England, the morning of May 19, 1780 was characterised by rain, indicating that cloud cover was present.

Since communications technology of the day was primitive, most people found the darkness to be baffling and inexplicable. Many applied religious interpretations to the event. However, the likely cause of the Dark Day was smoke from massive forest fires. When a fire does not kill a tree and the tree later grows, scar marks are left in the growth rings. This makes it possible to approximate the date of a past fire. Researchers examining the scar damage in Ontario, Canada, attribute the Dark Day to a large fire in the area that is today occupied by Algonquin Provincial Park.

[I realise while I post this, though when I first started reading about it I did not realise it regarded forest fires, that there are currently massive bush fires in Australia, so I’d like to say that I hope any Australians who might read this, and their families and friends, are safe and well.]

[Image Source: The only known depiction of New England’s Dark Day taken from Our First History by Richard Devens (1876)]

The Dionne quintuplets (born May 28, 1934) are the first quintuplets known to survive their infancy. Four months after the birth of the sisters, the Ontario government intervened and found the parents to be unfit for the quintuplets, and custody was withdrawn. The government realised the massive interest in the sisters and proceeded to engender a tourist industry around them.
The girls were moved to this nursery which had an outdoor playground designed to be a public observation area where tourists could observe the sisters behind one-way screens. The buildings were surrounded by a seven foot barbed wire fence. The sisters were brought to play there for thirty minutes two or three times a day.  They were constantly being tested, studied, and examined with tedious records taken of everything.
While living at the compound, had a somewhat rigid lifestyle. They were not required to participate in chores; they were privately tutored; every morning they dressed together in a big bathroom, had doses of orange juice and cod-liver oil, and then went to have their hair curled. They said a prayer before breakfast, a gong was sounded, and they ate breakfast in the dining room. After thirty minutes, they had to clear the table, even if they were not done. Then they went and played in the sunroom for thirty minutes, took a fifteen minute break, and at nine o’clock had their morning inspection. They bathed every day before dinner and put on their pyjamas. Dinner was served at precisely six o’clock. Then they went into the quiet playroom to say their evening prayers. Each girl had a colour and a symbol to mark what was hers.
Approximately 6,000 people per day visited the observation gallery that surrounded the playground to view the Dionne sisters. The nursery and the area acquired the name “Quintland.”

The Dionne quintuplets (born May 28, 1934) are the first quintuplets known to survive their infancyFour months after the birth of the sisters, the Ontario government intervened and found the parents to be unfit for the quintuplets, and custody was withdrawn. The government realised the massive interest in the sisters and proceeded to engender a tourist industry around them.

The girls were moved to this nursery which had an outdoor playground designed to be a public observation area where tourists could observe the sisters behind one-way screens. The buildings were surrounded by a seven foot barbed wire fence. The sisters were brought to play there for thirty minutes two or three times a day.  They were constantly being tested, studied, and examined with tedious records taken of everything.

While living at the compound, had a somewhat rigid lifestyle. They were not required to participate in chores; they were privately tutored; every morning they dressed together in a big bathroom, had doses of orange juice and cod-liver oil, and then went to have their hair curled. They said a prayer before breakfast, a gong was sounded, and they ate breakfast in the dining room. After thirty minutes, they had to clear the table, even if they were not done. Then they went and played in the sunroom for thirty minutes, took a fifteen minute break, and at nine o’clock had their morning inspection. They bathed every day before dinner and put on their pyjamas. Dinner was served at precisely six o’clock. Then they went into the quiet playroom to say their evening prayers. Each girl had a colour and a symbol to mark what was hers.

Approximately 6,000 people per day visited the observation gallery that surrounded the playground to view the Dionne sisters. The nursery and the area acquired the name “Quintland.”