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A Few Days

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The Dayton Daily News
City Briefly Loses Power During the Night
Dwight Benson
Monday, August 5th, 1963

Everyone in Dayton lost power for fifteen minutes last night, from 2:12-2:27 a.m. The outage was accompanied by a crackling noise, and those awoken by it report seeing a dense fog, which dissipated as soon as their homes regained power. George Zink, a dentist, had woken up at 2:05 a.m. and was trying to put his newborn daughter back to sleep when the outage began. Witnessing the event through a window, he remarked, “The fog didn’t come in slowly, as you might expect. Suddenly it was there, the moment the power shut off, and then just as quickly it was gone.” Dayton Power and Light believes a technical malfunction to be the cause of the power outage and cites outdated transformers as causing the crackling sounds. The company will begin an investigation today to prevent mishaps in the future, and I will report any developments.

The Dayton Daily News
Cause of Power Outage Unknown
Dwight Benson
Tuesday, August 6th, 1963

The cause of the fifteen-minute loss of power experienced by all of Dayton early Monday morning is still unknown, following an investigation conducted by Dayton Power and Light. According to DP&L spokesman Larry Schmidt, all of the company’s equipment is running perfectly, and there are no signs of tampering. There have been no problems since Monday morning, and I will continue to report on further developments should DP&L discover any evidence regarding the cause of the incident. The company requests that anyone having problems with their power contact them immediately, so that a test can be performed during the malfunction.

The Dayton Daily News
Second Power Outage Occurs; Fog Dangerous?
Dwight Benson
Wednesday, August 7th, 1963

Everyone in Dayton lost power again this morning, from 2:41-3:01 a.m. Just as with Monday morning, the loss of power came in tandem with a dense fog covering the city and a crackling sound. At 2:51, courthouse security guard David Anderson ventured into the fog, endeavoring to discover its origin. His fellow guard Thomas Oak found him five minutes later, after the fog had disappeared, frozen on the ground, having travelled mere feet into the area previously covered in fog. Oak quickly called for medical attention after determining that Anderson was suffering from frostbite. Anderson is currently in critical condition in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. His doctors are stymied, as the city’s record low temperature for August is 37 degrees Fahrenheit, far too high to cause frostbite. Moreover, Dayton Power & Light has promised to undertake a new internal investigation to prevent future power failures.

The Dayton Daily News
Third Outage; Results of DP&L Investigation; Update on Fog Victim; Mayor’s Statement
Dwight Benson
Thursday, August 8th, 1963

A third city-wide power outage occurred this morning from 2:32-2:58 a.m. As with the previous blackouts, a dense fog and widespread crackling noises accompanied it. Dayton Power & Light’s second internal investigation, conducted yesterday, found no evidence explaining this week’s events. Spokesman Larry Schmidt assured me that the company had everything under control, however, and is in the process of installing backup generators throughout the area it services. Moreover, I attempted to speak with David Anderson, who suffered frostbite after spending five minutes in the fog. Anderson appeared unable to speak, and his doctors admonished him to not write anything until his hands are completely healed. Anderson will remain at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital until Monday, and his doctors report that his recovery is progressing well, though they are unsure of the origin of his newfound muteness.

Mayor Frank Somers announced this morning that, in the event of a future blackout, all citizens are to remain in their homes and keep all windows shut to avoid such a fate as that of Mr. Anderson. The mayor further insisted that people enter inner rooms or closets to prevent themselves from even seeing the fog or hearing the crackling.

The Dayton Daily News
Fourth Outage; Mysterious Light Seen; Fog Victims Found Dead
Dwight Benson
Friday, August 9th, 1963

The city lost power yet again this morning, from 2:48-3:25. As on the previous three instances this week, a voluminous fog coated the city, and a sharp crackling noise could be heard, more loudly than it had prior. On this occasion, however, citizens witnessed a light in the distance. As of now, we know that at least seven people ventured into the fog, likely in pursuit of the ignis fatuus. Their bodies were found in the streets this morning, frozen, arms outstretched asymptotically toward the specter of the night, all pointing to the city's center. The body of David Anderson, who contracted frostbite after walking into the fog two days ago, was found among them.

The Dayton Daily News
City Stricken by Panic; Fifth Outage Brings More Victims
Dwight Benson
Saturday, August 10th, 1963

The people of Dayton took to the streets yesterday afternoon. Some mourned the loss of the seven claimed by the fog that morning, while others decried the city’s inability to protect its citizens. All sought answers to the events of this week, answers which Mayor Somers was unable to provide. He could only reiterate his previous admonitions to take all measures possible to shield their senses from seeing the fog and remote lights and from hearing the crackling.

The efficacy of the mayor’s advice was tested this morning, when from 2:47-3:56 the terrible fog returned. The police currently estimate that ninety-five people perished seeking the light that appeared in the distance. Mayor Somers has announced that he will be holding a conference this afternoon with local municipal and corporate leaders to create a plan to protect the people.

The New York Times
Home of Wrights Mysteriously Devastated
Monday, August 23rd, 1963
Marjorie Hunter

The frisson of rekindling an old friendship captured me as I neared Dayton, Ohio, a few days ago. I was to meet Dwight Benson, writer for The Dayton Daily News, to collaborate on an article celebrating this December’s sixtieth anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first successful flight. As I entered the city, I was horrified by the myriad bodies saturating the streets, each with an arm attempting to grasp something I could not discern. I hesitantly made my way to Benson's apartment, whose door I found unlocked. Therein, I did not find my friend, but found a note upon his desk which read only “mayor office reason.” I immediately sought out the office of Dayton mayor Frank Somers. While the contents of the office did not make sense to me, the national guard will soon investigate not only the numerous deaths in the city; but additionally the mayor’s whereabouts, the reason for his leaving his hearth burning in his absence, and whose bones seemed able to burn without ceasing.

Written by Joethius
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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