Fitch Bits: The Windham Frog Attack

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Fitch Bits: The Windham Frog Attack

DID YOU KNOW that Windham Center, Connecticut was attacked by frogs?
Okay, not really, but that's the myth. It all stems from one summer night in 1754. This was a little before the start of the American Revolution and right at the beginning of the French and Indian War. Tensions were high and the British and French were constantly fighting for control of this area.
So, you have people on edge, hot weather, and the general boredom of being alive in the 18th century when the good residents of Windham Green got jolted awake in the middle of the night and "Rushing out from their beds, they listened with horror and amazement... A din, a roar, an indescribable hubbub and tumult seemed to fill the heavens and shake the earth beneath their feet... Sky, village, and surrounding country were shrouded in the thickest blackness, and thus the terrified listeners were thrown wholly upon conjecture and imagination." - Ellen Larned, 1874
So, basically, there was a hella big noise in the middle of the night and no one knew what it was. Naturally, frogs became the scapegoats.
Some people thought it was a simple case of the world ending. Others thought it was caused by the French or the Native populations. In fact, some people swore they could hear French soldiers yelling across the night, looking for one Colonel Dyer.
The loud noises continued all night long and kept the residents awake and terrified. That's when the legend comes into being. It turns out that some people claimed that the noises originated from a millpond a mile east of Windham Green. They believed they heard distressed cries from frogs that were so loud and thunderous; they shook their beds that night.
That's not as crazy as it sounds because it's a documented fact that something disturbed the frogs of Windham that night. What is crazy is what happened to the story after that.
It got picked up by newspapers and made its way all around the soon to be country. It was embellished, exaggerated, and generally turned into something sensational.
Some retellings added lots of fatalities to it. There was one where several women died because the men were so afraid of the frogs that they ran away and left their wives to fend for themselves.
There was even a poem written about it:
Those lusty frogs, they fought like dogs,
for which I do commend them,
But lost the day for what I say,
of weapons to defend them.
Windham, for its part, owned the joke and now has a frog on its coat of arms. In fact, you can even drive across the Thread City Crossing bridge and see a massive concrete frog perched on top of thread!
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