The Great Peshtigo Fire
The greatest fire in American history in terms of loss of life occurred in the town of Peshmerga Wisconsin in eighteen seventy one. Most people haven't heard of it and even people who live in the region today aren't aware of the disaster which happened in their own backyard one hundred and fifty years later there speculation that the cause of the fire might have come from a highly unusual source and some data from other fires might help solve the mystery. Learn more by the deadliest fire in American history and it's possible cause on this episode of everything everywhere daily. This episode is sponsored by fluent in three months. Have you ever wanted to learn a foreign language and do so quickly, my friend Benny Lewis over at fluent in three months might be able to help Benny is spent over a decade language learning around the world. His techniques have helped tens of thousands of people learn the languages they want to learn quickly through both his online courses and his language. Hacking guides I've personally met many many places all over the globe, and if seen his language skills and action, he doesn't talk the talk. He walks the walk when it comes to language learning and I'm sure he'll be able to help you to to sign up for his free speaking of week email course just go to fluent in three months, dot com or click on the link in the show notes. It is astonishing that so few people know about one of the greatest disasters in American history yet. It's true. Pesha goes a small community that is situated in northern Wisconsin near the border with Michigan in about six miles from the shore of Lake Michigan as of the eighteen seventy cents, the town had a population of seventeen, hundred, forty, nine people. On the day of the fire area had been suffering from hot and dry conditions in the preceding weeks, and on that day colder temperatures and high winds came into the area. It's difficult to give a description of what happened because there were so few survivors to tell the tale. What we do know is that between twelve hundred and twenty, five, hundred people were killed in the fire. The fire was so hot that it became a firestorm. A firestorm is a fire that burned so hot that the updraft of the heat creates its own self sustaining winds. It was estimated that the temperatures in the Chicago fire might have reached two thousand degrees Fahrenheit or eleven hundred degree Celsius with winds as high as a hundred and ten miles per hour or one, hundred, seventy, seven kilometers per hour. The fire sparked a fire whirl, which is basically a tornado made a fire was so strong that it tossed rail cars and houses into the air. If you've seen footage from recent wildfires in California or Australia as horrible as they were, they were not firestorms. firestorms were known to occur after the bombing of cities in World War Two such as Dresden Hamburg in Tokyo, and after atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. People had to survive by jumping into the river or into wells in some of them even drowned. Over three hundred people in Pashto had to be buried in a mass grave because there weren't enough survivors to identify them and many people who live further outside of town may have been burned so completely that their bodies were never discovered. News of the tragedy didn't reach the rest of the world for several days because the Telegraph cables going out of Green Bay Wisconsin were destroyed. The total damage from the fire scorched area fifty percent larger than the state of Rhode Island. However this is not the only fire I want to talk about. Another fire also happened in. Wisconsin not far from the Peshmerga fire. This one occurred across the Green Bay in the southern part of Wisconsin's door peninsula the fire also occurred in eighteen seventy one and thankfully wasn't as destructive as the fire and ago the area of the fire wasn't highly populated and the fire missed the village of sturgeon. Bay. There was yet another fire in eighteen seventy one this time across Lake Michigan that was known as the Great Michigan Fire. This was a collection of forest fires that affected the town of Holland, and Matt's any all located on the eastern shore of the Great Lake. The fire wasn't as deadly as the PepsiCo fire but several hundred people died and several small town totally destroyed. The total number of deaths is unknown because there were thousands of lumberjacks in the forest at the time and no one knows how many were there or how many died. Yet there's another fire from eighteen seventy one that needs to be mentioned. This was the Port Huron fire. Port here on is on the opposite side of the State of Michigan near the Canadian border along Lake Huron, the towns of White Rock, Port Huron Michigan were heavily damaged, and it's estimated that fifty people died in this fire. And there's one last fire from eighteen seventy one that needs to be discussed the Great Chicago Fire. If there's one disaster from this list, you've probably heard of it's this one legend has it that the fire was started by Mrs O'Leary's cow kicking over a lantern however, this is really nothing more than anti scapegoating from the period. In fact, in eighteen, ninety, three, a reporter from the Chicago Tribune admitted that the story was a total fabrication, the Fire Leftover One, hundred, thousand people homeless and killed over three hundred people in a city with a population at the time of only three, hundred thousand. Fire, basically cautious to be completely rebuilt and was the cause for the creation of the strictest fire codes in the country led by Frederick Law Homestead. What do all four of these midwestern fires from eighteen seventy one have in common? Is there some sort of thread that ties them altogether? The answer is yes, and it's a pretty big thread. You see these fires didn't just happen in eighteen, seventy, one, they all took place on the same night. October eighth eighteen, seventy one. Several of the largest fires in US history, all took place in the same evening in the same geographical area around the Great Lakes. Either this is one heck of a coincidence or there was something which caused such a massive fires separated by hundreds of miles. One of the theories that has been put forward is that there was a single cause of all the fires in the cause was extraterrestrial in origin. On October eighth eighteen, seventy one fragments of a comet or meteor broke up and rain down upon the Midwest around lake. Michigan. This certainly isn't impossible. Comets often have frozen the flammable materials in them, including methane and acetylene with the high heat created from entry into the atmosphere plus being put into contact with oxygen. There would be a potential for fire add to this the conditions that were in the area in the days leading up to the fire, and it's certainly plausible. In fact, a particular common bleeds comet has been identified as the possible culprit. Recent video evidence from Russia of meteors that have hit. The Earth have shown massive fireballs that are burning all the way until they have contact with the ground. Would also be consistent with some of the eyewitness accounts which would describe fire raining from the sky and entire blocks igniting at once. There is little direct evidence of any sort of fire the sky nor should we expect to find any after one hundred and fifty years? However, what happened on October eighth eighteen seventy one are consistent with it not only being one of greatest disasters in American history, but perhaps the first such disaster to have come from space. Executive producer of everything everywhere daily is James. McCulloch special. Thanks to everyone who supports the show over on patron. Please remember to leave a review over on apple podcasts. Even a simple review can really help the show get discovered in the Sea of other podcasts that are out there.