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Contributed by: yuri
Contributed on: August 10, 2004

Which blackout(s) did you experience?

In your own words, tell the story of your experience in the blackout(s). Try to recall specific events and the people, places, and things involved; also include more general reactions, images adn last impressions?
i was 5 yrs old in 1965. it was dark outside & i remember my mum was pulling down the shades. i of course ran to pull it and in the process, i knocked it down, scratching my eye. as my mum placed a wet tissue on it, the lights suddenly turned green. i thought i was going blind and i went hysterical. my mum tried to calm me down then everything turned dark. my brother was in the shower and my pop was outside in the laundromat. i also remember we taking care of a relative's infant daughter and i had kept a pet spider in a jar. the apt was extremely cold that we slept in our coats.

in 1977 i was a teenager watching a movie and doing my homework for summer school. the movie was boring so i went to listen to the radio when the lights turned brown and the music started to wind down slowly. i ran through the apt to the living room and suddenly darkness. i banged my knees against a table. my pop again was outside. this time it was scorchingly hot.

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
rumor has it in '65 that it was ufos.

in 1977 it was storms in upstate ny. i recall looking out the window just before sunset and seeing the beautiful cumulus clouds out in the north.

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
things that just happened.

nothing is foolproof

Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
Both were significant

Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
b/c it was shocking, unpredictable and scary too.

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
i have frequent dreams of blackouts occuring while i'm outside, and that i have to be careful of criminals

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
nothing really. things are not foolproof

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
blackouts are more extensive

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?

accidents do happen

nobody's infallible except God

If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):
the only difference is the seasons and in 1965, i was a child that could be frightened easier.

Did the blackout(s) have any larger meaning in your mind?

Did the blackout(s) cause any profound crisis?

How did the blackout(s) affect your daily reliance on electricity?
No effect / same reliance

If other, please specify:
i noticed that i need it to read and shower and also thought how people dealt w/o electricity centuries ago and they had managed quite well

This is how the story goes: In November of 1965 the lights went out in New York and crime rates temporarily dropped; there were widespread reports of extraordinary cooperation and trust between strangers caught together in the power failure. In July of 1977, little more than a decade later, the lights went out again in New York. This time, a devastating wave of looting and arson broke out. Does this story ring true to you? Explain why or why not:

this is proof that as time goes by there is moral decay.

instead of society evolutioning to intelligent being they are going backwards to primal behavior

Cite as: yuri, Story #321, The Blackout History Project, 10 August 2004, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/321/>.
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