Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
Seers, soothsayers and prophets have predicted the end of the world since biblical times, but a careful check of our records indicates that none of them has been right yet. This particularly interesting version appeared on the front page of The Post of December 28, 1908:
Special to The Washington Post
New York, Dec. 27 --
The end of the world, which was to have occurred today, just on the dot of high noon, and with the resultant disturbances centered just above and below Nyack, was indefinitely postponed at 2 o'clock because of the unexpected transition in another sphere of the prophet who had projected this day of doom, Lee J. Spangler, of York, Pa. There happened to be a warrant out for the arrest of Prophet Spangler as a public nuisance, contemporaneously with his announced migration to a higher plane than that upon which Nyack stands. ...
Despite the absence of the prophet, ... fifteen or twenty women and little girls, dressed in white, awaited the crack of doom in Oak Hill Cemetery, high up on the snow-cumbered slopes of South Mountain, back of Nyack, at noon today. There was a dog fight, one of those who had faith and much weight fainted because of the steepness of the grade, and that was all.
Although Spangler, about midnight Saturday, had told Mrs. Henrietta Murdock, the high priestess of the saints who gathered in Nyack to await the rolling up of the sky as a scroll, that the Lord had called him, and that he was going to go right in to heaven in advance of the general cataclysm, the truth is that he went right out of the back door of Mrs. MurDock's house on lower Main street, over the back fence, and into a buggy. Later Mrs. Murdock announced that if the earth did not come to an end or if Prophet Spangler did not return to Nyack at 6 o'clock in the evening of today she was going to become an infidel and remain such to the end of her days. ...
This morning, at a little after 7, Willie Smith, aged 18 months, the son of Mrs. Carrie Smith, fell all the way downstairs, just after his mother had dressed him completely in white, even to his white stockings.
"God be praised, a revelation!" exclaimed Mrs. Murdock, high priestess. "Ye shall dash thy feet against a stone and fall, but the Lord will lift ye up."
Whereupon, Mrs. Smith picked up Willie and hurried forward with the preparation for the march to glory. At 8 o'clock Mrs. Smith had her infant in a go-cart, and with High Priestess Murdock and Mrs. John Phillips she moved in parade. Each of the women wore a white tam-o'shanter on her head, a flimsy white cotton gown, and white gloves. All of them had low white canvas shoes on their feet, except Mrs. Murdock, who wore rubbers painted white.
Two long miles up the hill to the cemetery the procession trudged, the crowd of men and boys following. ...
Then a bull pup that had strayed up after the crowd spied a yellow dog of the unfaithful, who sat disrespectfully at the head of Abrams' grave. The bull went after the yellow cur, a black mongrel, a supposed friend of the attacked, jumped out from among the spectators and got a hold on the hindquarters of the bull. The silent prayer ceased to be.
After the dogs had been kicked out came James Halstead, superintendent of the cemetery, and later Chief of Police Furey said that the saints would have to go before 12 o'clock; he could not have a disturbance in his cemetery, even if all the graves were to open in half an hour. Twelve o'clock came while the faithful were still arguing with Mrs. Kellogg. The hour was tolled off on the village clock, while every one of the enthusiasts closed her eyes and stood with hands clenched.
It was five minutes after noon that the twenty-odd dejected saints, saying not a word, took the road home.