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    In 1969, in Pass Christian, Mississippi, a group of people were preparing to have a "hurricane party" in the face of a storm named Camille. Were they ignorant of the dangers? Could they have been overconfident? Did they let their egos and pride influence their decision? We'll never know.

    What we do know is that the wind was howling outside the posh Richelieu Apartments when Police Chief Jerry Peralta pulled up sometime after dark. Facing the Beach less than 250 feet from the surf, the apartments were directly in the line of danger. A man with a drink in his hand came out to the second-floor balcony and waved. Peralta yelled up, "You all need to clear out of here as quickly as you can. The storm's getting worse." But as others joined the man on the balcony, they just laughed at Peralta's order to leave. "This is my land," one of them yelled back. "If you want me off, you'll have to arrest me."

    Peralta didn't arrest anyone, but he wasn't able to persuade them to leave either. He wrote down the names of the next of kin of the twenty or so people who gathered there to party through the storm. They laughed as he took their names. They had been warned, but they had no intention of leaving.

    It was 10:15 p.m. when the front wall of the storm came ashore. Scientists clocked Camille's wind speed at more than 205 miles-per-hour, the strongest on record. Raindrops hit with the force of bullets, and waves off the Gulf Coast crested between twenty-two and twenty-eight feet high.

    News reports later showed that the worst damage came at the little settlement of motels, go-go bars, and gambling houses known as Pass Christian, Mississippi, where some twenty people were killed at a hurricane party in the Richelieu Apartments. Nothing was left of that three-story structure but the foundation; the only survivor was a five-year-old boy found clinging to a mattress the following day.  

    Christian Values Qs Quarterly, Spring/Summer 1994, p. 10.

    Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh recently reported that showers release toxic chemicals into the air. So while we merrily lather away and sing our hearts out, these chemicals in the water are quietly turning into vapors, exposing us to chemical concentrations up to 10 times greater than we would receive by drinking the water. If that doesn't scare you, look at another common activity: Handling money. According to two University of Louisville scientists, 13 percent of all coins and 42 percent of paper money carry infectious organisms. 

    Bill Bryson, "Life's Little Gambles", The Saturday Evening Post, September, 1988 .

    A person on railroad tracks hears a train approaching, looks behind him, sees the train and then freezes on the tracks in fear. The train "outruns" its sound--which means that by the time you hear it, it is virtually on top on you. If a train engineer sees you on a track, he or she will blow the whistle. Often it takes more than one blast to get the average person's attention, say train engineers. But trains can't stop the way motor vehicles can. A freight train has about 100 cars, weights 12 million pounds, and takes a full mile to stop. An optical illusion happens with tracks. When you see a train coming, it looks as if it is traveling half as fast, and is two times farther away from you than it really is. For example, if it is going 60 miles per hour and is half a mile away, it looks as if it is traveling 30 mph and is one mile away. 

    Dennis Heatherington, Operation Livesaver, in MSC Health Action News, Vol. XIV, No. 3, March 1994, p. 4.

    Africa's Victoria Falls produces a cloud of mist that is often heavy enough to impair visibility. While I was walking the path that skirts the gorge into which the Zambezi River tumbles, I noticed a sign on the rim but could not make it out. Not wanting to miss whatever it might be noting, I slithered and slid through the mud out to the very brink only to read the message: "Danger! Crumbling Edge." 

    Glenn Cunningham in Reader's Digest.

    Some time ago, zoo officials in Kirby, Misperton, England, had to pay visitors for articles stolen by monkeys. But what puzzled them was the favorite item the animals snatched: Eyeglasses. An investigation revealed the reason. The monkeys grabbed the glasses when visitors leaned over to read a small sign on the wall of the cage. The sign said: "Beware! These monkeys steal spectacles." 

    Leo Van Dolson in Vibrant Life.