(Sorry to put Bonnie Tyler's rock anthem Total Eclipse of the Heart in your head - take a minute to click the link and listen, then come back for the rest of the story.)

In 1806 there was a total eclipse of the sun across northern Pennsylvania. According to local reports, "fowl went to roost and bees hastened to their hives" (McKnight 1905, Pioneer history of northwestern Pennsylvania). The total eclipse lasted for a little more than four minutes, but the folks of northern Pennsylvania (and many other places) were greatly alarmed. Among native people, the is known as Tecuseh's eclipse. He was a great prophet of the Shawnee and the leader of a powerful movement in the early 19th century that encouraged people to go back to their old ways, before white man. He believed that the eclipse was a sign that if the people would do this, the western spread of white settlement would be stopped.