by Izzy Smelkinson
Theories of an apocalypse have haunted us throughout most of human history. With the “end of the world” quickly approaching (yet again), here are some examples of the many times through the recent years that the human race has come close to mass destruction.
The arrival of Halley’s Comet in 1910 caused panic in Chicago when it was said to have released a poisonous gas called cyanogen into the atmosphere, according to smithsonianmag.com. Halley’s Comet was the first end-of-the-world theory that was associated with science, rather than religion.
Additionally, the Hale-Bopp Comet in 1997 scared members of the Heaven’s Gate cult. Having been visible for around 18 months, the comet was said to have been followed by an anonymous object. Members of the Heaven’s Gate Cult, convinced this object following the comet was a UFO, committed mass suicide in an attempt to be saved from a soon-perishing Earth, according to news.nationalgeographic.com.
Also, the beginning of the new millennium brought one of the most memorable theories of the end of the world, Y2K. With the start of the 2000s, many believed that computers would be unable to make the shift between millennia, which would lead to major problems in transportation and electricity, according to adl.org.
Most recently, American Christian Radio Broadcaster Harold Camping’s prediction of the Rapture in 2011 brought fear to select members of the Catholic faith. Camping predicted that Jesus Christ would return to Earth at 6 p.m., bringing those who believed into heaven and destroying non-believers through an earthquake, according to guardian.co.uk. However, as 6 p.m. came and went in many time zones, the idea of the Rapture became yet another hoax.
Today, we face the newest end of the world theory, according to the Mayans. However, unsure of how the world may end, many believe this doomsday will stay like all the rest: a theory.