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Odd Wisconsin Archive

Failed Miracle


Religious enthusiasm can lead to unexpected consequences. H.P. Leavens, a pioneer settler of Neenah, recalled a particularly energetic Methodist minister, one Rev. Albert Baker, and the day he attempted to walk on water.

Baker was remembered as "a brilliant speaker and enthusiastic worker" who once claimed privately that he could prove how that Biblical miracle had occured. His friends demanded proof, he agreed, and soon "all who were invited to the scene where the expose was to take place were bubbling with excitement and impatient for the day to come around."

"So, gathering near the bank at the appointed time," Leavnes continued, "they found the Rev. Baker right on the dot, adjusting a pair of canvas inflated boots to his feet... When all was ready, he rose up, waved his hands with expectant pleasure and self-confidence, and started out." A rescue boat floated nearby, just in case.

Rev. Baker took a few steps and then tripped and fell head over heels into the Fox River. "Fishing himself into the boat thoroughly soaked with mud and water, he laughed immoderately at the ridiculousness of the outcome..."

Perhaps it's safer to take miracles on faith than to subject them to tests.


:: Posted in Bizarre Events on August 25, 2011
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