Since man could first wonder about the reasons we are here, and consider life’s big questions, end of the world theories, legends and predictions have also existed. Religious texts contain words from God, Angels or Other-Worldly beings warning of the apocalypse, Nostradamus became famous for his predictions of doom and gloom, and in December 2012, it was the Mayans moment in the spotlight as many all over the world worried that the ending of the Mayans calendar, also meant that the world was going to end. Thankfully, this didn’t happen, and the world continued to turn. Comets are a particular source of fascination, seen by our ancestors suddenly appearing in the sky, many believed them to be heavenly – harbingers of doom and warning signs. Many superstitions circulate around the appearance of a comet, and probably none more so than Halley’s Comet.
According to many tales throughout the years this comet has a great deal to answer for! Named after astronomer Edward Halley, who calculated the comets’ path through the skies and deduced that it would return to pass Earth every 76 years, it was not very popular with many people! Blamed for the death of King Edward VII, the start of the First World War. This wasn’t new – it was blamed for King Harold’s demise in 1061 and makes an appearance in the Bayeux Tapestry. Even as recently as 1986 it was believed to be responsible for the ‘Challenger’ space shuttle disaster and the Chernobyl nuclear power station accident. Camille Flammarion, predicted in 1910 that the “cyanogen gas would impregnate the atmosphere and possibly snuff out all life on the planet”.
There were all sorts of theories revolving around the comet – some hilarious (such as the letter written by someone particularly anxious about the comet, certain that the water from the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans would all be sucked out) and many people blocking up their keyholes to prevent the comets vapours from getting in.Some enterprising individuals also found a novel way of making money from the fear of the astronomical wonder. Anti-Comet pills were the solution to all those who feared the comet, with pills being produced promising to protect the user from the comets’ wrath! It is amazing, that during the early 1900s, people could still be so fearful of what is an astronomical event. Luckily the comet isn’t due back to visit us until 2062, so you will have plenty of time to stock up on survival gear such as Vanquest Trident 31 backpack from http://www.angloforro.co.uk/shop/new/vanquest-trident-31-backpack/, tins of food and maybe even a bunker!