Comet Catastrophe

comet-halleyToday, it’s exciting to see a comet streak across the sky. But in 1910, when Halley’s Comet approached, it sparked mass hysteria and had people rushing out to buy “comet-protecting umbrellas.” Yes, umbrellas.

Newspapers even reported that the comet would “snuff out all life on Earth,” and shady entrepreneurs were quick to smell an opportunity. Besides umbrellas, they sold things like gas masks and anti-comet pills.

The comet passed by without harm, of course—which means we can still see these great links to the original newspapers, thanks to the US Library of Congress.