September 3, 1752

I start this post off writing the above date, and readers wait to learn what happened on this date.  What interesting historical fact is going to be revealed?

In fact, nothing happened.  The date doesn’t exist.

Yes, read that a second time.  In 1752 England, when people went to bed on September 2, they woke up the next morning on September 14.  Eleven days had vanished because they had never existed.  An Act of Parliament in 1751 switched the British calendar from the Julian method to the Gregorian method in order to match the calendar used in much of Europe.  Since America at the time was a British colony, the new law affected the United States, too.

If you want to have some fun, put September 1752 into a calendar program and see what results.  I input the month into the on-line calendar program provided by http://www.timeanddate.com/ and got the following:united-states-september-1752-only
As you can see, Wednesday 2 and Thursday 14 are missing the eleven numbers between them.

The impetus to research this came while critiquing a fellow writer’s time travel novel.  It was very important to her story that the main characters from the United States arrive back in time before the 1700’s on a specific date.  So I asked if the witch performing the spell knew to adjust for the missing days.  My critique group didn’t know what I was talking about, so I had to bring up about this calendar anomaly, with the suggestion that a witch competent in time travel spells would know to adjust for this.

To me, this shows why it is good to have a critique group made up of authors writing in different genres.  A historical author knows tidbits like this which can help a time-travel writer, but a group composed solely from sci-fi might not.

Of course, now you know the solution to the Case of the Eleven Missing Days.

For more information, see the link below:

http://www.adsb.co.uk/date_and_time/calendar_reform_1752/

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