The End Is Coming Says Dr. Huson The Earth Might Be Smashed Into Smithereens By The Rapidly Approaching Comets, was a headline in the Nov. 7, 1911 Sheridan Daily Enterprise. The Daily Enterprise this morning was in receipt of a communication from Dr. Huson of Clearmont,in which a prediction is made that the end of the earth will come in the near future when two comets which are rapidly traveling toward each other will collide either with the earth or each other, the impact in each case being sufficient to knock the world into smithereens.
Dr. Huson has practiced medicine in Johnson county for many years and is said to have given much thought to the subject of astronomy. Clearmont was originally named after Dr. Huson but in later years the people saw fit to change the name.
Dr. Huson predicted the end of the world at the time of the visitation of Halley’s comet eighteen months ago. He stated that the earth would become so tangled with the comet’s tail that every living thing on it would meet its doom.
The communication from Dr. Huson in full is as follows: Clearmont, Wyo, Nov. 5, 1911. To the Daily Enterprise, Sheridan, Wyo. Please publish this in your paper. What has become of the astronomers? Two comets are visible to the naked eye, one in the east and one in the west. It can be seen in the east at 5 o’clock in the morning, and not a word from our astronomers. Wake up.. you scientific men, and tell what of the sign of the times. I predicted these comets coming to the earth one year and seven months ago. They have no direct path of their own and are coming directly toward the earth. No planet to influence their course. Let the world wake up. DR. E. W. HUSON.
The Sheridan Post, October 17, 1911 “Did you see a comet Tuesday evening?” asked A L. Cummlngs, the well known musician and tuner of pianos, yesterday “From Buffalo.” he continued, it could be plainly discerned I noticed it about 7 o’clock. Tuesday, probably twenty degrees above the western horizon, and heard many people in Buffalo speak of it. While the tail was not so plain as that of Halley’s Comet, it appeared to be of great length and the phenomenon attracted considerable attention in Johnson county.”
Basin Republican, October 27, 1911 Brooks Comet. Each morning now in the eastern sky a good view can be had of Brooks comet. To see it to the best advantage it should be observed just before dawn, as the tall can be seen more plainly than when the sky begins to light up. The comet is much larger than Halley’s comet, visible a year ago.
Brooks comet was discovered in July, 1911 by astronomer William Robert Brooks. It is notable being very bright and having a distinctive blue color. It was uniquely visible at the same time (mid October 1911) and in the same part of the sky as a second bright comet that had a bright golden-yellow appearance.
These were obviously the two comets that Huson saw, and felt they heralded the end of the world.
For generations, people have been fascinated by and at the same time feared comets. There are many myths about comets bringing doom and destruction in their wake.
In the 1st century A.D., Pliny the Elder believed that comets were connected with political unrest and death. He described the comet’s tails as “long hair” or “long beards.”
In the 11th century Halley’s Comet was believed to have foreshadowed the triumph of the Normans at the Battle of Hastings.
Halley’s comet is probably the best known comet. It has been observed and recorded by astronomers since around 240 BC. It becomes visible from earth to the naked eye about every 75 years, and is the only comet that is known to appear at regular intervals. It appeared in 1910, and again in 1986. In 1705, astronomer Edmond Halley understood that the appearances every 75 years were the same comet, so the comet now bears his name.
The Upton Newsletter, January 7, 1910, had a long article the return of Halley’s Comet. Waiting for the return of Halley’s Comet, after a lapse of over seventy-five years, is very much like waiting for a train. We know the track on which the train will speed toward us; but whether the train will be on time or not, we cannot know. We know the orbit of the comet but not the exact minute when it will swing around the sun…. Of all comets that have ever been discovered, Halley’s is the most important, because it is the most historical. It flashed upon the world when Egypt was young and when Greece was a wilderness inhabited by savages. Perhaps it will continue to return when mankind is old and decrepit, and the earth is entering that last tragic stage of its existence when it will be reduced to a cold, dead, desolate world….
The next time Halley’s Comet will come back near the earth will be in 2061, who knows what the earth will look like then?
In this article in the Sheridan Daily Enterprise on May 19, 1910 including clips from other papers nationwide.
Halley’s Comet Passed With No Demonstration. Noted scientists say great comet’s tail will not effect the earth’s peace
Foreigners Frightened. Chicago, May 19.— In districts of Chicago populated by foreigners school children by the hundreds yesterday asked permission of their teachers to remain at home today for fear of some untoward happening for which Halley’s comet may be responsible. Physicians were appealed to by their patients for specifics to ward off the dangerous gases which they suppose will envelop the earth when it passes through the comet’s tail. Priests and ministers were besought by their parishioners for words of comfort to help them through the ordeal through which they believe they are about to pass.
Princeton, May 19. — The failure of the earth to plunge through the comet’s tail as expected last night, is believed by astronomers at Princeton university to be due to the pronounced curve the tail developed.
Williams Bay, Wis., May 19.-—Setting at variance all scientific figures and predictions and dumbfounding the astronomers at the Yerkes observatory here, the tail of Halley’s comet was plainly visible in the east just before daybreak today. No satisfactory explanation of the phenomena is offered. Three explanations have been suggested, however. First, the curvature of the tail may be greater than supposed; second, like the comet of 1903, Halley’s Comet may have a creased tail, and third, it is possible all calculations were wrong, and the comet has not yet passed the earth.
There were other concerns if the earth passed through the tail of Halley’s comet, as is evidenced by the Hulett Inter Mountain Globe, August 24, 1911
Prof. H Alfred Mitchell, In N. Y. World. Just about one year ago Halley’s comet was the great center of interest and night after night, in the early days of June. It was watched with pleasure by hundreds of thousands of people. And now, after one-seventy fifth of it’s journey about the sun has been run, the comet is still visible, not to the naked eye but through powerful telescopes. A few days ago Prof. K. P. Whitman, who holds the chair of astronomy at Western Reserve University, advanced the theory that Halley’s comet may have had something to do with the recent hot wave which stretched across the country. His theory is that part of the comet’s red hot, fiery tall was still cavorting about somewhere near Mother Earth and had increased the temperature abnormally all over the world.
Cometsare cosmic snowballs, made up of frozen gases, rock and dust. When a comet’s orbit brings it close to the sun, it heats up and the dust and gases form a tail, or a “beard” that stretches out behind the comet’s head for millions of miles.
The Upton Newsletter put it this way. The luminous tail which streams behind the nucleus, and which Milton regarded as “horrid hair” that “shakes pestilence and war,” is startling, to say the least.
After the comet was no longer visible, people began to relax.
In the Buffalo Bulletin on May 19, 1910 And here it is the 19th and the comet hasn’t hit us yet.
Why the fear? Why was Dr. Huson worried enough to send a letter to the newspaper warning people about the possible end of the world? Could it be, like some authors believe, that at one time before the written history of man, a comet did hit the earth, and cause a great catastrophe on earth.
In fact, new evidence found in sediments show that approximately 13,000 years ago, there may have been a massive explosion, possibly caused by a comet. This explosion was larger than the Tunguska event in Siberia in 1908, that kicked in a massive global cooling and caused the end to the Clovis culture in North America.
Is this somehow a part of our genetic memory? Perhaps, at one time, there was a reason to worry about Halley’s comet, or other comets. Who really knows?
But Dr Huson, Clearmont, Wyoming, predicted that the two comets would, indeed, bring about the end of the world in 1911.