Have you ever been in a crowd and it suddenly went silent? Have you ever been a part of a moment of silence? Whether it’s planned or not, the idea of an entire crowd going and remaining silent is always an impressive feat. Today’s Fun Fact for The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 28 focuses on…
CROWDS GOING SILENT
Keep reading or watch the video below for more information.
Reference in The Prince and the Pauper
“A faint tinge appeared for a moment in the lady’s cheek, and she dropped her eyes “Hendon made no outcry under the scourge, but bore the heavy blows with soldierly fortitude. This, together with his redeeming the boy by taking his stripes for him, compelled the respect of even that forlorn and degraded mob that was gathered there; and its gibes and hootings died away, and no sound remained but the sound of the falling blows. The stillness that pervaded the place, when Hendon found himself once more in the stocks, was in strong contrast with the insulting clamour which had prevailed there so little a while before.” (p. 173)
A Moment of Silence
Typically, a planned moment of silence is a gesture to show respect, often for someone who has passed away, or often for a tragedy where many people die. Often times they can be 60 seconds long, but really can be any length of time.
The first recorded official moment of silence for someone who died took place in Portugal on February 13, 1912. The moment was for José Maria da Silva Paranhos Júnior, the baron of Rio Branco, Brazil. It was for ten minutes. The same year many places held a moment of silence for the Titanic and Maine shipwrecks.
So what about those silences that are unplanned? Often times these are referred to as an awkward silence, dead air, or a pregnant pause. Most people have experienced these at some point in their life. Some people claim that these silences often happen exactly 20 minutes after the hour (6:20, 2:20, etc.)
There are two different types of susperstitious reasons people claim as the reason for why this happens. The first is that some people believe that angels are singing, and the all humans subconsciously get silent when that is happening. Another susperstitious explanation is that since Abraham Lincoln died at 7:20, people naturally continue to observe a silence at 20 minutes after the hour. However, both of these explanations don’t have anything to support them.
There is also a more scientific explanation, though this one doesn’t really relate to the 20 minutes idea. Some people claim that our human instincts mostly revolve around silence. When we grow silent as a group, our instincts are kicking in to ensure there is no danger nearby. Once we are sure there is no threat, we continue with our conversations.
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