The End of the World – or Not
A century ago, Professor Albert Porta of San Francisco was described as "an Italian gentleman, architect, mathematician, astronomer and meteorological and seismological prophet," according to the "Oakland Tribune." And he certainly made waves nationwide in December 1919 when he predicted an earthshaking disaster on December 17, based on his reading of sun spots.
"According to Professor Albert F. Porta, we are to have on December 17, the greatest sun spot of all history; one that will fairly cause this old earth to reel into the greatest weather cataclysm ever known. There will be hurricanes, earthquakes, rains, storms and volcanic disturbances, the like of which were never known," warned "The Missoulian" newspaper of Montana. The Santa Barbara paper added, "Throughout the country, the prediction has been circulating, and is causing fear and trepidation." Ministers of Santa Barbara churches discussed the dire prediction in their sermons.
However, December 17 came and went, and the world moved on to the next day in the calendar. "All arrangements for family gatherings and festivities on Christmas Day will be made with perfect safety," the local paper reported, "as there was no shakeup of the planets yesterday." Whew! (Image: Asheville Citizen-Times, Asheville, North Carolina, December 18, 1919)
These "Way Back When" Wednesday posts are excerpts from the newly released book "Way Back When: Santa Barbara in 1919 - The Best Stories of the Year."
UP CLOSE & PERSONAL:
First-ever tailgate book signing event - I'll be parked near Chaucers bookstore on Saturday, Dec. 14 from 2 to 3:30. You can buy one or more of my books at Chaucers, and I will be happy to sign the, pose for a selfie, etc
I will also be signing my books at the Santa Barbara Arts gift shop in La Arcada on Sunday, Dec. 15 from noon-2 p.m. Stop by and say "hi" to me and the La Arcada Christmas turtles Prancer, Dancer, and Vixen.