I was watching the stars the other night and remembered my Uncle Bill (William Godsey, author of Goose Eggs) telling me me about how he felt he was somehow blessed to live long enough in his lifetime to see Halley's Comet twice in his life. He was 7 the first time he saw it, and he again was able to view it in 1984, the last time Halley's kissed our night skies. He died in 2000, but was able to view the famous Hale-Bopp comet in 1995.
Then I thought about my grandmothers, ALL of the ones I'm writing about. Did they witness the Halley's Comet? We know now because of our expansion in science and technology a lot more about comets...but back in 1910 and 1835, people on earth were not as informed. They couldn't conceive that it was a big dirty snowball that's in an eternal orbit in our solar system. But yet, they were all quite literate in those days and read newspapers quite regularly. There was no TV or radio. The literacy rate of Americans in 1910 was actually very good. But yet, many of them were convinced by the religious zealots that this light was a symbol of impending doom to our humanity. Over the millenniums, especially in the middle-ages, it brought more people into the churches to pray for their safety and confessions were abound. There were also the "snake oil" vendors who would sell them anything with a good story on how they would survive the impending Apocalypse.
In 1910, the comet was also a fertile ground for hoaxes. One reached major newspapers claiming that the Sacred Followers, a supposed Oklahoma religious group, attempted to sacrifice a virgin to ward off the impending disaster, but were stopped by the police.
I decided to check the years my six grandmothers were alive, to see if they had lived through Halley's Comets cycles. Two of these grandmothers lived during the 1835 cycle of Halley's comet. The other four lived during the time of the 1910 cycle. It's amazing that none of them were blessed with the opportunity that my Uncle Bill was ...to be able to see the comet twice in a lifetime (every 75-76 years).
This comet will become a feature in each of their lives as I write about them. The coincidences and fears during their lifetime intertwining them in many ways, belief or experiences.
One famous writer, Mark Twain wrote in 1909: "I came in with Halley's comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: 'Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together."
His amazing intention worked. Twain died on 21 April 1910, the day following the comet's subsequent end of the cycle.
Much hugs, especially from the Cosmos...and Namaste..... Lori