This weekend will mark the 169th anniversary of a great event that besieged the tourist town of Bar Harbor. An intense 20 minutes of strange weather would traumatize citizens for decades and that day will live forever in the 'bizarre and horrifying' section of New England history.
An event witnessed like no other
The event is called 'The Purple Fire Snowstorm of 1853' and was an event of intense weather events that shocked and possibly traumatized the people of Mount Desert Island in the mid 19th century.
The story of this event is detailed by the New England Historical Society and describes a half-hour, multi-weather event that seems to have been so dramatic it has withstood the test of time in its bizarre-happening and almost mythos history.
It started as a late-winter snow day
According to the information from the New England Historical Society website, the bizarre weather event was preceded by a day off snowfall. Once the snow started wrapping up towards the evening a calmness overtook the island. Then, thunder started rumbling off of the coast.
Thundersnow and balls of fire!
Lightning flashes erupted and rolls of thunder shook island homes. The bizarre part of the event really ramped up when lightning shot down from the sky creating chasms 4 feet wide and 10 feet long followed by balls of fire shot down from the sky that were able to roll on the ground. Fireballs were being thrown down from the sky that took the strange color of purple, giving the event its infamous name.
Fireballs terrorizing Bar Harbor citizens
The fireballs launched from the sky rolled into people's homes almost terrorizing the people of Bar Harbor in what seemed to be the safest place to be during a thunderstorm. Fireballs entered homes making noise described as the sound of 'breaking glass'. These electrical phenomenons were literally terrorizing everybody for twenty minutes.
Eventually, the storm pushed out to sea and the bizarre and terrifying event amazingly resulted in no deaths but plenty of injuries.
This story seems quite a tall tale, perhaps a few bits of truth can be pulled from the story or perhaps you choose to believe such a strange and intense weather event. Either way, it's a pretty incredible story for a pretty spectacular Maine town.