Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web: spokesman.com/topics/local-history
From our archives, 100 years ago
A Spokane youth, “frenzied by religion,” offered himself on the banks of Hangman Creek as a burnt sacrifice.
And we don’t mean metaphorically.
Perry Armstrong told authorities that he believed that God had called him to be a preacher. Yet he was too timid and afraid to talk to people about religion and he felt tremendous guilt about his inability to fulfill God’s will. So he decided that he must atone for his weakness.
“I read in the book where it said that I should be beaten with many stripes if I ran away, so I went to the creek above the car bridge Wednesday to offer myself as a sacrifice,” he said. “I made a big fire of an old pine tree and thought it was so big that I could not come out alive. I then took off my clothing and jumped into the flames.”
He realized, slightly too late, that he had “made a terrible mistake.”
“It was so terrible I screamed and cursed God,” he said. He managed to drag himself out of the fire, put on his trousers and stagger home. His mother and sister took him to Sacred Heart Hospital, where he gave his interview.
Unfortunately, doctors said his entire body was “burned pitifully” and he stood no chance of recovery.
Also on this date
(From the Associated Press)
1992: Rioting erupted in Los Angeles after four police officers were acquitted of charges in the Rodney King beating.