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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The first “agnostic funeral service” in Spokane was held for Frank Pletsch, 76, a Peaceful Valley pioneer.

The paper reported that everything about the service – the music, the flowers and the “exercises” – differed from the usual religious funeral.

The paper said that “agnostics do not believe in vocal music,” so the music consisted of a Chopin sonata and a Beethoven sonata, played by an organist.

The readings were from Robert G. Ingersoll’s “Prose Poems and Selections.” 

“Nations, like individuals, have their periods of youth, manhood and decay,” one passage went. “Religions are the same. The same inexorable destiny awaits them all.”

From the mining beat: A Spokane man claimed that he had found a huge lode of radium near Spokane, enough to “supply the whole earth.”

He said the radium was so powerful that he was stricken with “radiant paralysis” because he was carrying some in his vest pocket. The effect, he said, was “much like appendicitis.”

But then he put it in a “soft paper napkin,” which he claimed softened the effects. In fact, he declared the radium “gives him increased vigor.”

He wouldn’t say where his radium strike was located, except to say he found a vein 5 feet wide. He was seeking partners to invest in his venture.