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Source: Toledo Sunday Bee
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “This Comet Has Heralded the Assassination of 3 Presidents”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Toledo, Ohio
Date of publication: 27 October 1901
Volume number: 26
Issue number: none
Part/Section: 3
Pagination: 21

“This Comet Has Heralded the Assassination of 3 Presidents.” Toledo Sunday Bee 27 Oct. 1901 v26: part 3, p. 21.
full text
Encke’s Comet; presidential assassinations (comparison); McKinley assassination (popular culture).
Named persons
Edward Emerson Barnard; Napoléon Bonaparte; Constantine I; James A. Garfield; Flavius Josephus; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley; William the Conqueror.


This Comet Has Heralded the Assassination of 3 Presidents

ASTROLOGERS the world over are seeking to fathom the curious coincidental connection between Encke[’]s comet and the assassination of three presidents of the United States.
     President Lincoln was assassinated April 15, 1865. Encke’s comet appeared January 25, 1865, and was visible five months.
     President Garfield was assassinated July 2, 1881, and died September 19. Encke’s comet appeared August 20, 1881, and was visible to the naked eye.
     President McKinley was assassinated September 6, 1901. Encke’s comet appeared August 15, 1901, and was visible for several weeks.
     These coincidences afford a parallel, puzzling if not significant, and have led to a research through back pages of history which plainly shows that the visit of almost every comet to this world’s celestial vicinity has been marked by some great tragedy.
     Credence has been given to this belief since the earliest times. Throughout the middle ages they were regarded as presaging the death of kings.
     Josephus mentions as foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem a comet with a tail like the blade of a sword, which hung over the doomed city a full year.
     The death of Emperor Constantine was announced by a comet.
     The plague which afflicted Constantinople in the year 400 was presaged by a comet.
     Halley’s comet, a periodical comet, like Encke’s which would be visible at the present time were it not lost in the tremendously powerful rays of the sun, appeared in 1060, when William the Conqueror was about to invade England. “Nova stella, novus rex”—a new star, a new king—was a proverb of the time.
     Coming down to modern times, the famous comet of 1769 appeared in the year that Napoleon was born, and the equally celebrated one of 1812 was seen just before he started on his disastrous Russian campaign.
     The great comet of 1861, one of the most magnificent comets on record, and the beginning of the great American civil war, was coincidental.
     In 1865, the year of President Lincoln’s assassination, Encke’s comet appeared in January, and was visible for five months. Two other comets, of lesser brilliancy, are reported to have shown themselves during that year.
     Eight comets visited the solar system in 1881; one of them, discovered by Professor Barnard, remained visible for six weeks. Five more appeared on September 19, the very day of President Garfield’s death, after his lingering illness from July 2, and Encke’s comet was one of the eight, and was first seen in August.
     One investigator discovered that the years when spots are at a maximum are more rainy than the average, and that cyclones and other violent storms are then most prevalent. Closely allied to sun spots and dependent upon them are the Northern Lights. A most remarkable display of these preceded the siege of Paris in 1870.
     The story of the visit of Encke’s comet this year is fresh in the minds of everybody. It will be remembered that it was simultaneously located by an observer at Kiel University Minn. At no time was it visible to the naked eye, but it could be discerned with the aid of a powerful opera glass before it approached so near to the sun as to be overpowered by his rays.
     The assassination of President McKinley, coincident with the advent of this comet, certainly affords a parallel, puzzling if not significant, to the tragical events of 1865 and 1881.



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