Miracle of the Seagulls Re-examined
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- An article in the Ogden Standard-Examiner looks at
the story of how Seagulls saved early Mormon pioneers from Mormon crickets
that began to eat the pioneer's crops. The story says that the gulls ate the
crickets, vomiting them up again to eat more, saving the crops so that the
pioneers could eat. BYU professor Clayton White says that its not surprising
that the gulls ate crickets, and that they still do that today. White also
says that since the crickets' exoskeleton can't be digested by the gulls,
they would have to regurgitate the shells at some point.
But some historians aren't sure about the veracity of the story. Weber State
University professor Gene Sessions says that there isn't any reliable record
of the miracle. He cites a 1970 Utah Historical Quarterly article by William
Hartley as showing that the miracle just didn't happen. And Sessions says
he's never come across a single contemporary mention of the miracle. The
first accounts of the miracle appeared in the 1880s and 1890s, and with each
re-telling the stories just got better. But some Church members maintain
that the event really happened, citing faith as the support for their belief.
Was it a miracle or is it folklore?
Ogden UT Standard-Examiner 22Jul01 US UT SLC D6
By Mark Saal: Standard-Examiner staff
There are two sides to Utah legend