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    Comets Foretell Doom? The Historical Record



    By Keith Salvas

    There might be a chance that the appearance of a comet really does sometimes foretell a worldwide disaster!   The ancients may have been right about that!

    The History

    Throughout recorded history, it is really consistent. every reference to a comet always inspired fear in the people, and afterwards, some sort of major human tragedy was always described as being a result of the comet’s visit.

    Practically, this seems pretty silly!   And, since mankind manages to have wars every ten or twenty years anyway, trying to claim an association between a comet and a later war was always pretty easy.   Science has always had an easy time of dismissing these claims as irrational.

    If we dismiss wars and other man-caused problems, there still seem to be a surprising number of plagues, famines, and other major natural disasters that have seemed to occur within a few years after some appearances of comets.

    Realistically, the great probability is that these just happen to be coincidences.   But there have been quite a few of these coincidences!

    Ancient Chinese records list a number of comet/plague incidents. (a) The Black Death of the 1300s is sometimes associated with the appearance of a great comet.   Several major outbreaks of the Bubonic Plague have been associated with the appearance of great comets.

    Is this all just a coincidence?   It probably is!   However…[1]

    (a) Ancient Chinese astronomers chronicled numerous episodes where the apparition of comets preceded plague and disaster. Meticulous observations were compiled in 300 BC in a series of books known as the “Mawangdui Silk” (Ling-feng 1976) It details 29 different cometary forms and the various disasters associated with them, dating as far back as 1500 B.C [4]

    Nearly 1500 years ago, a piece of the Halley’s comet is believed to have hit the Earth, setting off a decade-long chain of events that coincides with a plague, thought to be the first appearance of the bubonic plague, that rippled through the Byzantine Empire. [2]

    In late 1664, a bright comet was to be seen in the sky and the people of London were fearful, wondering what evil event it portended. The Great Plague, lasting from 1665 to 1666, was the last major epidemic of the bubonic plague to occur in England. [3]

    In 1910, Halley’s comet blazed across the skies, and 4 years later Europe was caught up in the fever of war. – and seven years later this fever became the Spanish flu –  influenza pandemic of 1918. There is no obvious link between the 1918 influenza pandemic and Halley’s comet. In fact, a more likely candidate  is Comet Encke which made extremely close approaches to Earth on June 16, 1908, and again on October 27, 1914, and was at perihelion on 1918. [4]


    I could go on ad infinitum and I invite the casual reader to do so. Searches like “Comets and Plagues, Comets and Volcanoes, Comets and Disasters” will churn up hoards of information for the hordes. But Comet NEOWISE may not be the same harbinger of doom as its predecessors. It isn’t a very bright comet in the sky and that has always been required. But it is a bright comet in the media’s eye and maybe that’s all that’s needed to bring the full absurdity of human superstition to bare. Could Comet NEOWISE foretell a second wave of the Coronavirus much worse than the first?

    Maybe, Maybe not. However; Comet NEOWISE wasn’t named after a human discoverer as has been the tradition since Sir Edmund Halley proved that comets return. It was named after a machine in space that was decommissioned from its original purpose and repurposed to detect potentially hazardous Near Earth Objects. Could this be where the Matrix meets the Apocalypse?

    Put on your Tinfoil hats. 2020 is only half over. [5]

    [1] C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Physics Degree from Univ of Chicago, March 2002

    [2] Derek Mead, December 20, 2013

    [3] Wikipedia

    [4] Comets and Contagion, Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D.1, and Chandra Wickramasinghe, Ph.D.2, – Emeritus, Brain Research Laboratory, Northern California.

    2Astrobiology Centre, Cardiff University, UK

    [5] Keith Salvas, President of the Ventura County Astronomical Society and complier of this article. 

    Keith Salvas is the president and publicity chair for the Ventura County Astronomical Society

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