February 03, 2013
The Seattle Windshield Pitting Epidemic provides the best-documented case of a switch in the mass perception of reality. In April 1954 the police received numerous reports of “pits and dings” that appeared in car windshields in Bellingham, Washington. The pitting spread in waves from town to town, heading for Seattle. It reached the city as expected, provoking thousands of emergency calls from panic-stricken citizens. And then it suddenly stopped—or, as some claimed, drifted out to sea. What had happened? Apparently people began to look for the first time at their windshields instead of through them, but why they did so, en masse, remains a mystery. Robert Darnton in the NYRB. The rest of the article is about some 18th century giant killer wolf, for some reason.