God Struck the Mitten and Aunt Bertha was There old-time religion F-5 Tornado and the Children's Bible Hour
Aunt Bertha of the Children's Bible Hour reports on the April 3, 1956 tornado which took 18 lives and injured 340. Lovable Bertha, A.K.A. Bertha Shooks, was the second "Aunt" involved...and the bible hour has had no fewer than four "Uncles" too! They are still around, due to doubt to Bertha's financial pitches in her newsletter.
The rare F-5 tornado, the strength of which has not struck Michigan since, chewed up 52 miles. The first building taken was the Saugatuck Light House, it continued up through Hudsonville and Standale.
Was God or the Devil responsible? F-5 tornados wind speed ranges from 261 to 318 miles per hour. You read that right. 318 mph. The speed of SOUND is not far from that.
Can it get worse? Meteorologists reserve an F-6 category, also known as "The Finger of God" but you don't even want to read about a storm like that.
Bertha does a fairly good job of reporting on the disaster...The tornado ripping a baby right from a mother's arms and then "carrying him into eternity" and a "Sunday school bus weighing 12 tons...picked up like a toy, carried a block away, then deposited upside down..."
Dear Aunt Bertha here seems concerned...but not just about the victims. Aunt Bertha is more concerned relief dollars might be diverted from the radio show and makes a special note that it would be a good idea to match any donations you might make to the victims of the tornado with a "back-up" gift to the Children's Bible Hour. You know...as insurance. Hmmm.
"Children's Bible Hour" Newsletter April 3, 1956 Collection Jim Linderman