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On September 6, 1881, a strange darkness settled over New England. In some places it was so dark that schools were dismissed. What light there was from the obscured sun was strangely yellow, and everything seemed luminous. Some people believed that the world had come to an end. A similar phenomenon occurred on May 19, 1780. The sky turned dark, and colors were distorted, causing the grass appeared blue. Men driving the mail stages reportedly had to pull off at the nearest inn because they could not see. These dark days were caused by enormous fires in the west and Canada. There was so much soot in the atmosphere that for days before the sunsets had been spectacular. Rain that fell and collected in tubs was covered by black scum and smelled like soot. In 1881, the fires that caused "Yellow Tuesday" burned 20 villages and killed 500 people. A similar fire occured in September of 1950 which was called "The Great Smoke Pall."