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Most People Don’t Know About The Day Massachusetts Went Dark

Can you imagine walking around at noon and suddenly seeing the world around you plunged into almost total darkness? That was the reality for Massachusetts residents one spring day in 1780, when New England experienced an event which is now known as the Day of Darkness.

On May 19, 1780, the sun over Massachusetts appeared to have been abruptly snuffed out. Every scrap of light suddenly turned to blackness, and as there were no electric lights at this time to keep things illuminated, the darkness was almost perfectly complete. Accounts from the time state that villages and cities were plunged into almost total darkness in a matter of moments. The sky would have appeared as a rippling ceiling of solid black.

Many people believed that the blackout was the onset of Judgement Day itself, and that the sun had simply been extinguished. People were said to have huddled around their bibles in their homes and in public places. The members of the Connecticut legislature actually considered quitting their duties in order to prepare for the Apocalypse.

Of course, the sun did eventually come out. It rose again on the morning of May 20, 1780.

Today, we believe the main cause of this event was smoke from Canadian forest fires. This is thought to have combined with thick natural fog and unusually heavy cloud cover to form an impenetrable darkness the likes of which Massachusetts has not seen since.

If darkness and spooky sights are your thing, click here to read about the haunted hike in Massachusetts that will chill you to your core.

Sophia
Massachusetts native. Freelance writer and strawberry eater. Get in touch: smitrokostas@onlyinyourstate.com.