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The German Spy Story: Supplying Information to the Enemy | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Supplying Information to the Enemy

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When a German spy put ashore on Long Island by a U-boat was apprehended by the FBI, a copy of the Almanac was found in his pocket. Our government then decided that either the Almanac should be banned or the word “forecasts” should be eliminated.
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The German Spy Story

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Here’s a short story from the The Old Farmer’s Almanac archives about supplying information to a German spy. It’s all true. 

A German Spy Is Caught with the Almanac

The FBI apprehended a German spy on a train going into New York City’s Penn Station sometime during 1942.

The spy had landed on Long Island from a U-boat the night before. In the German’s coat pocket was the 1942 edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Who knows? (Maybe they liked the jokes.) But the U.S. government speculated that the Germans might be using it for the weather forecasts. In other words, the Almanac was supplying valuable information to the enemy!

Robb Sagendorph, the eleventh editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, was always of the opinion that it was the tide tables the Germans had used. “Then again,” he’d usually add, “maybe it was the forecasts. After all, the Germans went on to lose the war.”

How Did We Save the Almanac?

In any event, Sagendorph managed to get the government to agree that there would be no violation of the “Code of Wartime Practices for the American Press” if the Almanac featured weather indications rather than forecasts.

It was a close call that almost ruined the Almanac’s perfect record of continuous publication.

Enjoy another “best of Almanac” story from the archives: Predicting Snow for the Summer of 1816.

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