That time Halley’s Comet tried to murder you

Halley’s Comet has popped in and out of history like some quiet, scarily persistent voyeur creepily winking down on humanity, and accurately portending the demise of Kings, Queens, Emperors and general human calamity across English, French, Chinese, Middle Eastern etc. etc. etc. histories. What then, in 1910, made the behaviour of this only slightly worrying stalker escalate to full-blown attempted murder?

After a relatively routine, albeit always troubling, visit by Halley’s Comet in 1835, scientists finally thought they had one over on Earth’s Dark Passenger. Analysing the properties that comprise this Devil Ball, scientists found that Halley’s Comet contains…cyanogen gas! (a toxic gas). Seemingly to punish humankind for the hubris of science in attempting to quantify the unquantifiable, to understand the unknowable nature of Halley’s Comet, Earth in 1910 was set to travel through the All-Mighty Comet’s tail vapours, which would, in the process, blanket the world in poison comet-gas!

The only solace offered by these “scientists” (who the way I see it started this whole trouble) was that the amount of deadly cyanogen gas that the comet would poop over the Earth was so relatively tiny that it would dissipate harmlessly in the atmosphere. If you are like me however, and don’t believe a thing these fat-cat, supposed “experts” tell you, look to the media for guidance. The newspapers of the day painted a more realistic picture of Halley’s Comet’s attack with headlines such as “Coming End of the World”. Fortunately, selfless, enterprising individuals developed means to combat the cometary aggression through the implementation of “comet pills” and “comet umbrellas” that would negate the effects of cyanogen gas.

While it is true that the Earth passed through the residual vapours of the tail of Halley’s Comet by the 20th of May 1910 relatively unscathed, I for one can only believe it is due to the distribution of anti-comet pills rather than any so-called atmospheric absorption that scientific evidence tells us happened. So keep stockpiling those pills and umbrellas if you wish to survive Halley’s Comet’s next celestial bombardment in 2061. I for one have settled for a constant diet consisting solely of comet pills in order to create a natural immunity to comet gas and hopefully gain some protection from the still impending Y2K collapse. IT’S STILL COMING!

As always, keep watching the skies!

Special thanks to H.R. Giger, you beautiful comet.


deGrasse Tyson, N., ‘StarTalk Live: Water World part 1’, StarTalk Radio, 25 January 2015.

Rigg, R.F. (1910), ‘In the tail of Halley’s Comet’, America, vol. 3, no. 1, p7-8.

Heydt, B. (2004), ‘Dire predictions that Halley’s Comet will poison the world go unfulfilled’, British Heritage, May.

Crovisier, J. & Encrenaz, T. (2000), Comet Science, Stephen Lyle (trans.), Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom..

Coming End of the World


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