Here is an interesting account of that 'Black Sunday' on September 24, 1950, taken from:
"Legends of Lawrence County,
Volume II. Printed in 1993
"The Darkest Day
In New Castle and many other places, people thought it was the end of the
world. Others assumed it to be the beginning of a nuclear World War III.
Some thought it was from tampering with the Lord's time because people had
set back their clocks the day before.
For whatever reasons they imagined, the area became a scary place on Sunday, September 24, 1950.
Right around two o'clock in the afternoon that day, after a bright morning,
the sun began to turn a deep orange red. Soon the sky started to darken as
though the sun were setting.
At first it seemed like the forewarning of either rain, hurricane, tornado,
snow or some other quirk of weather. There was no wind, no odor, just a creeping
The sky over Lawrence County grew darker and darker; 45 minutes later
it was all but pitch black,. Street lights came on. Auto lights were as
necessary as they were at midnight. Lights came on in every house and
in every business that was open that autumn afternoon.
Folks attending the Pittsburgh Pirates-Cincinnati Reds baseball game at
Forbes Field saw the lights turn on in mid afternoon for the first
time. Local afternoon baseball games had to be canceled due to lack of
From out of the unique afternoon blackness, a lot of prayers were being said.
Just before the darkness descended in some parts of
the country, the sun was said to have turned purple. In other places it
appeared red, green or yellow.
Radio stations, police stations and newspapers in
the affected areas were besieged with frantic phone calls. In many
places, police and radio personnel were unable to positively assure
people that it was neither an atomic bomb nor the end of the world.
Shortly before 5 p.m. in this area, light began to
reappear. Slowly the sun shone again from right where it should have
been at that time of day. Residents began to realize that this was
neither the beginning of Armageddon nor the world's end.
It was, experts explained, so unusual condition
caused by a tremendous forest fire in the wilds of far-away northern
Alberta, Canada some hours earlier. As the dense smoke rose from the
massive fires, it reached a height of more than three miles. There it
formed into a huge, brown cloud about 10,000 feet thick.
It was said later that citizens of New York City
were the most frightened. It was a time in which many of them had been
prepared for an attack by communists. There were millions of sighs of
relief to learn that it was not an atomic attack. "
contributed by Dan Brown