This is from the answers to correspondents column of the New York Clipper of September 11, 1880. Sadly, the original question is not included.
It is quite possible for a white person to become as black as a negro. The change is more common in women than in men, but with women it is less likely to be permanent. There have been a number of instances of persons of the very lightest complexion turning black, some remaining so for only a week or two, and others continuing changed until their death, which resulted from a different cause from that underlying their change of color. Negroes have also become white.
WTF? This clearly is talking about more than a dark tan. I wonder if this wasn’t an anxiety of the day, like those Victorian coffins with bells on strings, just in case you wake up post-interment.