OREGON: Death in the Spring

Early one spring morning in 1945, the Rev. Archie Mitchell and his 26-year-old wife rounded up five of their Sunday-school class, drove into the mountains near Bly, Ore. for a day's fishing. Luck was bad at first and Mitchell walked back for the car. Returning, he saw the rest of the party gathered in a semicircle, curiously examining a mysterious object they had discovered in the woods. The kids had stumbled upon one of the 9,000 balloon bombs launched from Japan against the U.S. West Coast.

"I didn't know what it was," Mitchell said later, "but I shouted for them...

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