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Duluth News Tribune, October 27, 1918. The influenza pandemic of 1918 killed between 10 and 20% of infected persons; the death toll in the U.S. has been estimated at 675,000—slightly more lives than were claimed by the Civil War. All told, it was a preview of Apocalypse, so it weirds me out to see it treated so lightly in contemporary ephemera like this editorial cartoon, which it often was. I know the resolution isn’t so great so I’ll transcribe the captions:

“If you duck for apples you will duck alone or else it will be staged like this.”

“No chance to see witches and things on this dope.” (I guess that would be unfermented cider in the bottle?)

“Safety signs for gates.” (It was a standard Halloween prank to steal your neighbor’s gate and throw it on his rooftop. Knocking over latrines was also S.O.P.)

“Even the pumpkins will have to wear flu masks.”

“You will have to stay in bed a week.”

“It will be soft for some.”

“Gee this is a dull night.”

“The only witch on the job.”

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2 Comments

  1. This would have been very timely about a year ago. People were just starting to panic about the H1N1 flu. It was even announced in the newspapers that doctors would temporarily suspend the custom of greeting patients with a handshake (THE typical Finnish greeting), and hand sanitizer appeared everywhere (including on buses).

    Oddly enough, I never caught the H1N1 flu despite staying home for a week to care for my daughter when she got it. My ex-husband, his parents, his sister, and her children all got sick, but I never did. I’m usually highly susceptible to respiratory infections, so I’ve probably been previously infected with something similar enough that I was immune. The only problem is, I’m not old enough to have lived through other similar flu epidemics.

    • Heck, the flu is never less than timely. It’s a matter of time until 1918 rolls round again.


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