The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0284  Thursday, 10 February 2000.

From:           Frank Whigham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 09 Feb 2000 14:57:57 -0600
Subject:        Disasters in the Sky

A colleague in the sciences asks if the following event, described in a
script for an Austin TV broadcast that he's responsible for vetting, is
true and well-documented (or exaggerated). It seems that next month the
five visible planets-Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn-will be
gathering in a single part of the sky. Such a conjunction is said to
have been read as a sign of coming disaster many times, including, for
instance: in 1524, astrologers came out and made predictions throughout
Europe that the planets having a conjunction in the water sign of Pisces
indicated that there would be a world-wide flood, a second deluge which
would, well, basically kill everyone in the world.  And so people went
out and built arcs.  People went to the top of mountains.  People went
into caves.  There was something of the order of thousands of pamphlets
and books written.  And of course when the month came, it was a rather
dry month.

Does anyone know this tale? or better, reputable source(s) that my
colleague might consult for verification?

Many thanks.

Frank Whigham
Professor of English
University of Texas at Austin

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