Church choirs have long been a vital part of most church services. Choir members volunteer hours of their time for practice, as well as committing to be front and center at church, usually for multiple services a week.
The West Side Baptist Church choir in Beatrice, Nebraska was even more dedicated than most. The 15 people who made up the choir were never, ever late for their 7:20 pm choir practice. They knew if they were late, they'd feel the wrath of the choir director, Mrs. Paul.
|West Side Baptist Church Image credit: Unsolved Mysteries|
On March 1, 1950, though, it seemed everything was against the 15 perfectly punctual choir members:
- Ladona Vandergrift--The high school sophomore was stuck on a geometry problem and couldn't seem to set it aside to leave on time.
- Royena Estes--Her car wouldn't start. She called Ladona for a ride, but had to wait for Ladona to finish her math problem.
- Mrs. Schuster--She and her small daughter, who would have come to practice with her, stopped by Mrs. Schuster's mom's house to help her get ready for a meeting.
- Herbert Kipf--Ran late because he was working hard to finish a letter.
- Joyce Black--Was procrastinating going out into the cold.
- Harvey Ahl--Was planning to bring his two boys to practice with him, but ran late because he was talking.
- Marilyn Paul--Overslept her nap. Marilyn was the pianist for practice.
- Mrs. Paul--The choir director was late because of her oversleeping daughter, Marilyn. She couldn't get her to wake up earlier when she tried.
- Lucille Jones and Dorothy Wood--These high school girls usually went to practice together, but Lucille wanted to listen to the rest of a radio show.
Earlier, the Reverend had gone to the church to warm things up. He lit the furnace and went home to eat dinner. He would have normally arrived at 7:10, but his wife was ironing his daughter's dress, so he, too, was late.
At 7:25 pm, residents throughout the area heard a loud bang as the furnace exploded. The church was demolished. Every choir member was spared because they were all late.
It was the first time the choir had been late for practice. But if they hadn't been late, they likely would have all died or been seriously injured in the explosion.
The above was from a well-known Life Magazine report on the explosion. Click here to read more about it.
Do you think divine intervention was at play here? Or was it just a coincidence?