August 30, 1859
Northern Lights. – On Sunday evening many of our citizens were startled by the appearance in the heavens, in a northeasterly direction, of streams of lurid light ascending towards the zenith from a line a few degrees above the horizon. Many persons remember to have seen the northern lights in latitudes where they were more plainly visible, but nothing so grand and brilliant as the singular electric freak of Sunday night was ever witnessed by any one whom we have met. At first there appeared an immense white cloud moving rapidly to the westward and forcing itself through and past the clouds of smaller dimensions. In the train of this cloud arose the streams of light which continued to be visible during nearly the whole of the night. Read what the superintendent of the Canadian Telegraph Company says about the phenomenon, in the telegraph column.
NEW YORK, Aug. 29. – The Superintendent of the Canadian Telegraph Company’s lines, telegraphs as follows, in relation to the effect of the Aurora Borealis last night:
I never, in an experience of 15 years in working the telegraph lines, witnessed anything like the extraordinary effect of the Borealis between Quebec and Farther Point last night. The line was in most perfect order, and well skilled operators worked incessantly from eight o’clock last evening till one o’clock this morning, to get over, in an intelligible form, about four hundred words of the report per steamer Indian, for the Associated Press, and at the latter hour, so completely were the wires under the influence of the Aurora Borealis, that it was found utterly impossible to communicate between the telegraph stations, and the line had to be closed. The same difficulty prevailed as far South as Washington.
August 31, 1859
The Aurora Borealis. – Our exchanges from all parts of the country, come to us with elaborate descriptions of the splendid natural phenomenon visible here on Sunday night last. It was certainly a brilliant celestial spectacle, and afforded a “free blow” of pyrotechnics to more people than ever attended one show before. About fifteen years ago a similar phenomenon was witnessed, and also in the year 1829.
September 1, 1859
The Aurora Borealis. – The ghostly appearance and doubtful character of the aurora, visible on Sunday night, says an exchange, attach to it some of the strangest superstitions. To some, it portends war, famine, freezing, cold death, pestilence, and even the end of the world – as we recollect in the days of Millerism when on the occasion of a red aurora one Winter night hundreds of people, roused thereby from sleep, fell to prayers, firmly believing that the great day had come and that the world was already on fire. We heard a score of prophecies evoked on Sunday night, most of them of an extravagant type, scarcely one less than the cholera for the world in general, while individuals indulged in the pleasing egotism of applying it all to themselves as portending the death of one of the family or serious sickness at least. If the weather should be cooler for a day or two, we shall be satisfied that nothing more important can be laid to the presence of the w[ei]rd dancers of the northern sky.
Science and Technology