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Local History

Star Shower

 A famous depiction of the 1833 meteor storm, produced in 1889 for Bible Readings for the Home CircleThe "Star Shower" of 1833 from History of Greene County, Missouri 1883, edited by R. I. Holcombe. 

"Between 3 and 4 o'clock, on the morning of November 13, 1833, there occurred in this county and throughout a great portion of the United States the great shower of meteors known as the "star shower," or the "falling of the stars." The splendor of this remarkable meteoric rain will never pass from the memory of those who witnessed it. Old settlers of Greene say that in the firmament above, and all around the horizon, thicker than the stars themselves, -- which were on that morning, uncommonly bright and beautiful, -- were beheld innumerable balls of fire of a whitish, pallid color, rushing down and across the sky, drawing after them long, luminous traces which clothed the whole heavens in awful majesty, and gave to the air and earth a pale death-like appearance. An inconceivable number of meteors or falling stars shot across and downward from the heavens, as though the whole framework of the blue and cloudless arch above had been shaken. These small and luminous bodies had the appearance of flying or floating with great rapidity in every direction, occasioning the greatest wonder among the beholders, mingled with fear and consternation. Some described them as the slow and sparse descent of large flakes of snow, and that each flake -- some smaller, some larger in size, from accidental aggregation or otherwise -- take fire in their passage, and, fusing like a bombshell before bursting, leave a long train of lurid light, and that thousands of these, or as many as were within the range of vision, continued to descend and scatter and become extinct before they reached the earth. In some parts of the country the shower continued until near sunrise, when it is supposed they "paled their ineffectual fires" before the greater brilliancy of the sun.

"In Greene County the celestial phenomenon was fully as brilliant as elsewhere. Hundreds of people witnessed it, and it was an occasion of much excitement. Very many of the poorly informed people concluded that the Judgment had come. It is said that the incident upon which is founded an oft-told story happened in this county. A man and his wife were sleeping the sleep of the just, the lady by a window. Awakening, she saw the wonderful celestial pyrotechnical display and arousing her husband in great terror, she exclaimed. 'Get up, old man, quick! The day of judgment has come?' Her liege lord hesitated but a moment, and turning over grumblingly replied: 'O, lie down and go to sleep, you old fool; do you suppose the judgment day is going to come in the night'."

The "star shower" was generated by the annual Leonid meteor shower.  This years' meteor shower will take place around November 17.

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