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The Latest Craze.

The people of Oakland, the suburban city of San Francisco across the bay,* have been going through a fanatical religious excitement during March the equal of which has not been witnessed in America since the Millerite excitement of fifty years ago, Some of its features are probably unparalleled in the history of emotional religious insanity. Some months ago a Mrs Woodworth appeared in Oakland as an evangelist. She erected a great tent, and preached "The Wrath to Come." At first her audiences were small, i but she soon had an immense following among the Scandinavian population, and not a few amongst the lower class of Americans. Her meetings were t finally attended by thousands, and the ' scenes that were witnessed would have done credit to a well-stocked insane asylum. People went into trances lasting for hours, Mrs Woodworth had visions,, and her zealous followers had them also, and at one time it seemed' that all the weakminded people in the place would go mad. In the midst of the excitement Mrs Woodworth had a special vision, and prophesied the destruction -of San Francisco and Oakland by an earthquake and tidal wave. She left the city soon afterwards, but her followers were not discouraged. One of them, a Swede named Erickson, turned street preacher, had a vision, and fixed April 14th as the day of doom. His prophecy was accepted as gospel, and, though he himself was sent to the insane asylum soon afterward, the "Doomsealers," as his adherents are known, were not shaken in their faith. Another crank, named Bennett, took to a bicycle and rode wildly through the streets calling on the people to "flee to the mountains " and escape the flood. The Doomsealers in Oakland number 1000 orTnore. They have implicit faith in Erickson's prophecy, though by the time this is read in the colonies the "fate of San Francisco and Oakland 1' will be known. Hundreds of them have gone to the country, more are camping on the mountains at the back of Oakland ; many have sold their homes and personal property and have left. The bubble will burst, of course, after the 14th ; but if we were to get a little shock of earthquake, such as we often have, before that time there would be thousands of frightened people in Oakland, who will not confess to a belief in the. day of doom.—San Francisco correspondent of "New Zealand Herald."

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Bibliographic details

The Latest Craze., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2435, 21 May 1890

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The Latest Craze. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2435, 21 May 1890