The comet panic of 1910
The return of Halley's Comet in 1910 came at a pivotal time in human history. Mass communications kept people informed better than ever before — with books, newspapers — but the average reader wasn't all that well educated in the goings-on in the cosmos. Which is why eccentric French scientist Camille Flammarion got some traction for his more sensational predictions… He said Halley's comet contained a poisonous cyanogen gas that "would impregnate the atmosphere and possibly snuff out all life on the planet". When The New York Times ran a story on his assertion, the fear amplified on a global scale in the tabloids. Some folks were so frightened, they began sealing up the keyholes of their houses to "keep the poison out of their homes". The "Sacred Followers" religious group in Oklahoma was reportedly planning on sacrificing a virgin to ward off the disaster but was stopped by police. So while many cashed in on the comet by selling souvenirs and anything with a comet theme, others leveraged the panic with survival elixirs and protection devices — comet pills, comet shelters, comet soap, and even submarine rentals became the norm for these early doomsday preppers.
It's a close neighbourhood.
Westward bound, never found
"Missing your Holden hoodie, leopard leggings, hydroponic handbook, or that special pair of jandals ordered for a wedding?" writes Stephen Davy. "NZ Post's van loaded with our Westie essentials was stolen in June (next time just take the mags and stereo ay?)… NZ Post never updated the online track and trace from being in transit and did not advise customers their parcels were stolen. With their tracing system, they would've known what exactly was on board. We allowed extra time for delivery but when we contacted them were told it is more than 25 days since dispatch so no claim accepted. This is despite NZ Post knowing it was stolen and withholding this fact." So if you are a Westie with a missing parcel you might want to chase up any delays.
Sheltered life leads to middle-class problem
"I booked a campsite ages ago for a few days away with friends at the end of August. I sent friends the confirmation email and they found it absolutely hysterical as I'd booked a naturist campsite…I thought it meant it was a naturey place — there was lots of description of it being secluded and in the middle of the countryside. Also now there are no campsites left. Am I the only person who doesn't know what a naturist is?