You had me until “her wedding gown on fire”

One of the things to remember, as you use historical newspapers to research your historical novel or short story, is that “You can’t always believe what you read.”

I found this article in the (Thursday September 25) 1919 New York Times and was immediately intrigued.

How often do you read of a person being killed by lightning while inside their house?  (Yes, I know, now’s the time in my post where I should do some contemporary research on Google: “killed lightning inside house”, but I’m talking about a historical record right now.)

Without having completed that super-duper research on Google, I did believe that lightning could strike someone inside a house. UNTIL I got to the dramatic paragraph two:

“Her parents, who were unharmed in a neighboring room, found their daughter dead, her head on a table, with love letters from her fiance and her wedding gown on fire.”

Immediately I could visualize the scene (because it does sound like a scene from a book or a movie, doesn’t it?):

Just be fair to historic newspapers (and the men and women who reported for them, sometimes you can believe what you read, as this blog post about Death by Dancing. Totally True!

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