Monday, February 22, 2010

Spirt*, Spirtual* (for Spirit, Spiritual)

"Old Faithful" was so named by Henry D. Washburn in 1870, after his amazed expedition stumbled upon the impressive column of roiling hot water in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone Park. Its "faithfulness" had more to do with precision and punctuality than it did religion; by all reports, however, it's a divine sight. At any rate, cleanliness being next to godliness, by 1883 the park's tourist manual was half-bemoaning, half-bragging about the geyer's awesome powers of ablution. Henry J. Winser wrote: "Old Faithful is sometimes degraded by being made a laundry. Garments placed in the crater during quiescence are ejected thoroughly washed when the eruption takes place. Gen. Sheridan's men, in 1882, found that linen and cotton fabrics were uninjured by the action of the water, but woolen clothes were torn to shreds." If you look carefully up in the corner, you can see the spirit of a smiling washerwoman rinsing her laundry in the powerful spurt (or spirt). We got 50 hits in OhioLINK on Spirt* + Spirit* (most if not all of them typos) and 43 on Spirtual*.

(Old Faithful, by Albert Bierstadt, 1881-1886, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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