RUMOR CHURNS THINGS UP IN NYC:
Eighteen New York City schools were closed yesterday thanks to some East Siders who feared for their children's safety. A rumor spread among parents that someone was systematically cutting the throats of children in the schools. Thousands of angry and panicky parents showed up at the schools, fought their way inside and demanded that their children be brought to them. Here's how the rumor got started: It appears that many children in the schools were suffering from adenoids, "a fungus growth which affects the hearing, speech and sight." The Board of Health decided that physicians (with the approval of children and parents) should operate. Yesterday, many children were treated. Here's the key paragraph in the story: It is supposed that the children told their parents that they had had their throats cut, and that some ignorant person started the rumor among the parents to the effect that the children's throats were being cut in the schools.
Add to that some possible translation problems and the fact that many of the residents -- living in an area bounded my Mulberrry Bend and Astor Place -- were already familiar with the tendency of a government to commit such atrocities.
Evidently, many felt there was a plan to massacre all the Jews in New York, "on the Russian plan." (To the right is a picture from last year of some killings in, I think, Ekaterinoslav.) Those who stormed the schools thought that the governmental authorities had decided to simplify that plan and focus the efforts on killing the children in the schools.A CHINESE JUDGE COMES UP WITH A VARIATION ON THE DEATH PENALTY:
In news out of Tientsin, viceroy Yuan Shin Kai put an interesting spin on a death-penalty sentence that five men faced. He thought about the extreme drought gripping the land and decided the men should pray for rain. He told them they would be set free if their prayers were answered -- by rainfall within three days. If it stayed dry, they were to die. Well, there was a small rainfall. Because of that success, five other men have received a similar chance. I guess the legal term would be that they faced an a-rain-ment.HOW TO PROLONG YOUR LIFE, TIP No. 247 -- NEVER SHOOT A BULLET AT A SHACK FULL OF EXPLOSIVES:
An Explosion at the mouth of the Detroit River blew Theodore Perry and Harry Rogers out of their sailboat. The blast turned the boat into kindling. Perry's clothes were stripped off his body; Rogers lost some of his clothing. The blast was felt as far as Amherstburg. So what happened? The two men were sailing along, shooting at objects along the shore of Fox Island. They did not know that the shack one of them targeted was filled with explosives used in dredging and blasting.WHAT'S UP WITH HARRY K. THAW?
Authorities are gathering evidence in the Sanford White killing. Harry K. Thaw is in custody. Plenty of stories are circulating about his life as people try to figure out why he shot the architect and try to discover the nature of the relationship between Mrs. Thaw (the actress Evelyn Nesbit) and the dead man. One article describes an ocean trip Thaw took in April and May -- to England -- without his wife. He evidently told his sister (the Countess of Yarmouth), who made the trip with him to England, that he had left his wife "for good."
Evidently, he drank constantly on the way over, and gamblers fleeced him of $14,000. He came back on the steamer Kaiserin Auguste Victoria (right)
on its maiden voyage, landing in New York on May 19.