Halloween, Sex, and The Atomic Frontier – The Hanford Project, 1951

Juli Kearns Hanford Declassified 2 Comments

Historic photos from the Hanford Project Atomic Frontier – It’s Halloween and the woman in blue is thinking, “What if I’m having sex when the bomb drops? Will I go to hell?”

Remixing the Hanford Declassified Project - It's Halloween and...
Enlargement

The mind-set was not, “What if I die before I (fill in the blank).”

The mind-set was instead, “What if the bomb drops before…”

I’ve gathered a few Halloween photos from the Hanford declassified archive–the three here (plus one of them that I’ve taken the liberty of tinting) are of a Halloween party for dorm 21, year 1951. They provide a nice view on Halloween decorations of the era, the orange and black crepe paper streamers, silhouette of a shapely broom-riding witch against a harvest moon, attended by bats, and a come-hither spider on another wall inviting partiers into its parlor. A man plays at being the ghost of Sleepy Hollow with a small, carved pumpkin for his head.

Considering the era, and the dreamy look in the eyes of the woman whose companion has tucked his head into her neck, his hand seductively curling hers on his shoulder, seems to me this may very well have been on the woman’s mind. The bomb could happen at any time, and what if they did have sex after the dance–it would be one thing for the bomb to drop while she was being good, but what if it dropped while she was being not so good? Culture was entwined with god, proceeded from god, and how ever would she explain herself to a judgmental deity who demanded there be no sex outside of marriage?

An individual of such mind would also wrestle with the dismal prospect of what if the bomb dropped and she or he had not had sex yet?

“Bewitched” was a big hit song of 1950. Perhaps they were dancing to this.

Read the introduction to the Remixing the Hanford Declassified Project series of posts and digital paintings. View all digital paintings here.

DORM 21 - HALLOWEEN PARTY
DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number
“N1D0039570”
Accession Number N1D0039570
Document Number 2443-1-NEG-A
Alternate Document Number 2443-1-NEG
Title Description DORM 21 – HALLOWEEN PARTY
Number of Pages 1
Key Word(s)
Author(s)
Company(s)
Document Date 29-Oct-1951
Public Availability Date 14-Feb-2002

DORM 21 - HALLOWEEN PARTY
Enlargement
DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number
“N1D0039573”
Accession Number N1D0039573
Document Number 2443-1-NEG-D
Alternate Document Number 2443-1-NEG
Title Description DORM 21 – HALLOWEEN PARTY
Number of Pages 1
Key Word(s)
Author(s)
Company(s)
Document Date 29-Oct-1951
Public Availability Date 14-Feb-2002

DORM 21 - HALLOWEEN PARTY
Enlargement
DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number
“N1D0039574”
Accession Number N1D0039574
Document Number 2443-1-NEG-E
Alternate Document Number 2443-1-NEG
Title Description DORM 21 – HALLOWEEN PARTY
Number of Pages 1
Key Word(s)
Author(s)
Company(s)
Document Date 29-Oct-1951

Comments 2

  1. Man, just loving this series of posts your doing. The era is before my time but I feel drawn to it in some way. And thanks for the Roswell posts. I had no idea there was some pre-cursor elements to the story. Always thought that it was some dusty rancher investigating something strange out among his skin and bone cattle. Didn’t know about the rocket tests and military presence.

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