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Pat Shingleton: "A Hoax and Pap"

7 months 2 weeks 2 days ago June 03, 2016 Jun 3, 2016 Friday, June 03 2016 June 03, 2016 4:10 AM in Pat Shingleton Column
By: Pat Shingleton

In 1874, the editor of the Virginia Territorial Enterprise needed space to fill.  He concocted a story about a scientist who invented a suit called, "solar armor."  The scientist covered himself with a sponge-like material, saturated himself with water and set across the desert.  According to the article, they discovered the inventor perched on a rock, frozen solid and his beard was covered with frost; a foot-long icicle hung from his nose. The story had the trappings of scientific fact and the hoax was so successful, newspapers reprinted it. Perspiring lowers the body temperature, as more people die from dehydration in Death Valley than heat stroke. In closing, “Pap” Price was our grandfather and lived with us. The only television shows he enjoyed were "Studio Wrestling" and "The Lawrence Welk Show." He read the Ellwood City Ledger, Pittsburgh Post Gazette and The Grit, front-to-back, while chewing Mail Pouch Tobacco. Each night, he’d wind his pocket watch and announce, “Well… it’s time to put the body in bed.”  I remember Pap during our episodes of showers and thundershowers.  Early June thunderstorms were a blessing in western Pennsylvania, providing our garden with needed moisture for the early plants.  The storms also provided a moment when he and I would sit on the back porch glider watching and listening to the storms. When the thunder rolled, he would say, “Well… the angels are bowling…”

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