From: email@example.com (James J. Lippard)
Subject: Re: The Missing Day (Found!)
Date: 4 Jan 1994 19:12 MST
In article , firstname.lastname@example.org (Rene Vernon) writes...
:I'm writing this in Adelaide, South Australia. We have one daily newspaper,
:"The Advertiser". It has a column running under the byline "What's your
:problem?" Readers write in with questions along the lines of "How do I remove
:stains from vinyl?" or "Who pays if my neighbour wants to erect a fence
:between our two properties?, stuff like that. Apparently the column has an
:editor who researches the questions, then prints the answers.
:Occasionally people write in with interesting questions e.g., in this
:morning's column (Wed, Jan 5) there was a question about the ring around the
:moon before rain.
:Now then. The other question and answer in today's column is reproduced
: FOUND MISSING DAY
: I have read that space scientists at Green Belt, Maryland, have discovered
: the missing day of long ago. Can you enlarge?
: We understand from a magazine article that space scientists in America were
: checking the positions of sun, moon and planets both 100 years and 1000
: years from now. This information was necessary to plan the trajectories of
: satellities and other space vehicles to avoid the danger of collisions. The
: scientists ran computer measurements back and forth over the centuries but
: discovered something was wrong either with the information fed into the
: computers or with the results when compared with the calculated standards.
: The computers were checked for accuracy but they still showed that a day
: was missing. One of the team remembered the story in the book of Joshua
: (chapters 9 and 10) in the Bible which tells of Joshua coming to the rescue
: of Gibeon (?) and asking God to make the sun stand still. The space team
: checked the computer going back to the time of Joshua and found the elapsed
: time that was missing was 23 hours and 20 minutes, not a whole day but as
: the Bible account states "about a whole day". This left a disparity of 40
: minutes. Again the Bible student came to the resuce remembering another
: occasion when Hezekiah, on his death bed, was visited by the prophet Isiah
: who told him God was going to heal him. Hezekiah asked for a sign and was
: given the choice of the sun going forward or backward 10 degrees. Ten
: degrees is exactly 40 minutes. Adding this to the 23 hours and 20 minutes
: in Joshua makes up the missing 24 hours.
:This sounds like one of those National Enquirer type "beat-ups". Any-one care
:to comment, pass judgement, provide further information?
This story has been circulating in its NASA version at least since the
1960s, largely due to its promulgation by one Harold Hill, who says that
he was present at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center when the above
events allegedly took place. NASA denies that this ever occurred, and Hill,
the former president of the Curtis Engine Company of Baltimore, was
involved in diesel engine operations at Goddard and had no involvement
with any computer operations. The story predates Hill's NASA version,
and goes back to Charles A. L. Totten's _Joshua's Long Day and the Dial
of Ahaz: A Scientific Vindication_ (1890). Hill published his version in
Harold Hill, as told to Irene Burk Harrell, _How to Live Like a King's
Kid_, 1974, Logos International. (Logos International was a Christian
publisher with no qualms about publishing phony testimonies--it also
published Mike Warnke's _The Satan Seller_, Michael Esses' _Michael,
Michael, Why Do You Hate Me?_, and Fernand Navarra's _Noah's Ark--I Touched
It_, all of which have been debunked.)
For a detailed account of the "missing day" story, see:
Brunvand, Jan Harold (1984) _The Choking Doberman and Other "New"
Urban Legends_, W. W. Norton and Company, pp. 198-199.
--- (1991) "The Missing Day in Time," paper presented at the annual
conference of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of
Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), Berkeley, California, May 4.
Loftin, Robert W. (1991) "Origin of the Myth About a Missing Day in Time,"
_Skeptical Inquirer_ vol. 15, no. 4, Summer, pp. 350-351.
McIver, Tom (1986) "Ancient Tales and Space-Age Myths of Creationist
Evangelism," _Skeptical Inquirer_ vol. 10, no. 3, Spring, pp. 258-276.
Jim Lippard Lippard@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU
Dept. of Philosophy Lippard@ARIZVMS.BITNET
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721
Also see the new book, _The Return of the Straight Dope_ by Cecil Adams