Pat Shingleton: "A Split Moon and Flooding Rain"
On this date in 1178, five monks in Canterbury, England, witnessed an astronomical event on the Sunday before the feast of St. John the Baptist. Historian Juanita Rose Violini, reported that their diaries note "an east-facing crescent moon" split in two. In addition to the "split," a blaze of hot coals and fire surrounded the moon. They also noted that the moon began to "throb like a wounded snake," and the scenario repeated a dozen times. This event was documented by the famous medieval chronicler, Gervase of Canterbury. Space scientist Dr. Jack Hartung of the State University of New York, reviewed the testimony 800 years later. He calculated the impact point and size of the moon crater, believing it was caused by a nine mile wide meteor.Another note of interest, for many years, Baton Rouge has certainly experienced its share of flooding rain. Torrential rains on this date in 1815, created so much mud at Waterloo, that Napoleon delayed his attack on the British for six hours. It gave the British, with the help of Prussian reinforcements, the assistance they needed to defeat the French. During the retreat from Gettysburg, Pa, during the Civil War, storm-swollen streams stopped the pursuit of Confederate troops. In 1856, lightning struck St. Jean Church on the Mediterranean island of Rhodes. Exploding gunpowder, stored in the basement, killed more than 4,000 villagers. On May 6, 1937, the dirigible Hindenburg burst into flames over Lakehurst, NJ; due to electrical flickering from a thundercloud, igniting a mixture of air and hydrogen. My column is available on your desk top at www.patshingleton.com.