Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thaumaturgists Predict Doom of Providence! (1905)

(What would Lovecraft Say?)

He must have been appoplectic over the predictive catastrophe. Unlikely he went to see the Fays at the Providence Opera House! Heh. One imagines him wanting to dash off a letter to the Providence Journal on this one. A decade later he would have. At the time he was way too involved in astronomy to perhaps diverge on this issue. It was probably school holiday, otherwise it would have been the talk of the Hope Street High School.

Providence, RI Jewelry Factory Explosion, Dec 1905
All Providence Scared Over Prediction of Christmas Disaster.

Special to The New York Times.

PROVIDENCE, R. I., Dec. 22.---A slight explosion in a jewelry factory, within a short block of the shopping district caused by a panic to-day among the several hundred employes[sic] in the building, two men being painfully injured and a dozen women fainting before any attempt was made to ascertain the nature of the trouble.

The explosion occurred in the Enterprise Building at 7 Eddy Street and was caused by the clogging of a waste pipe in the factory of the Cutler Comb Company. Fire started immediately after the explosion and two or three moments later the street below was filled with fire apparatus.

Seven of the girls in the jewelry concern of Hamilton & Hamilton, Jr., on the fifth floor fainted and others followed suit in other parts of the building. Dozens of the girls ran out on to the fire escapes and stood there screaming. Policemen spreading through the building drove them back and got all safely to the street. Two men were slightly hurt.

The fire was extinguished without trouble, the damage amounting to not more than $1,000.

It is believed that had it not been for the nervous tension existing throughout the city over the prediction that a boiler explosion would occur about Christmas time in a large store of this city the affair of this morning would hardly have been noticed by the employes[sic] in the building.

According to the stories in circulation the prophecy was made six weeks ago by "The Fays," who gave a three-nights' entertainment in the Providence Opera House, and who call themselves "thaumaturgists."

They claim to have foretold the Chicago theatre fire and other great calamities, and stories concerning the prediction have been circulated so peristently[sic] that the owners of the big stores, while realizing the absurdity of the prediction, have taken every precaution to guard against accident for the purpose of allaying the superstitious fears of the shoppers.

In every one of the big stores, it is said, there has been a careful inspection of the boilers, and last night one of the largest stores advertised in a local paper that the fires under the boilers in that store had been drawn, and that the elevators were being run with electricity.

The New York Times, New York, NY 23 Dec 1905

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