Date sent: Tue, 21 Oct 1997 23:29:49 +0200
From: Timo Niroma <email@example.com
Subject: A correction
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 1997 17:23:46 +0200
From: Timo Niroma <firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: A correction
My website is http://personal.eunet.fi/pp/tilmari. In my previous letter
the two last items were in wrong order. Sorry for any inconvenience.
Date sent: Tue, 21 Oct 1997 11:29:14 -0400 (EDT)
From: " Benny J Peiser" <B.J.PEISER@livjm.ac.uk
Subject: NATURAL DISASTERS TRIGGER MASS HYSTERIA IN ITALY
NATURAL DISASTERS TRIGGER HYSTERIA & APOCALYPTIC PANIC IN ITALY
Following a number of major earthquakes during the last couple
weeks, Italy has been gripped by an outbreak of mass hysteria and
apocalyptic mania. These events are a classic example of how
natural catastrophes, depending on their nature and scale, can
trigger end-time fears.
Natural disasters do not necessarily lead to collective
in form of apocalyptic panic or millennialist movements. In many
cases, the scope of the catastrophe is limited in time and extent
and the destructive agent is clearly identified. However, if a
natural catastrophe results in extreme devastation over a
prolonged period of time (as is the case in Italy) and if the
agent of destruction is unknown, or if, what appears to be even
worse in the Italian case, if the national soccer team is - at the
same time - almost knocked out of the finals for next year's World
Cup in France, the disaster(s) can prove to be a very traumatic
experience which can trigger collective hysteria and/or
These activities stem from the desire of communities struck by
disaster to influence and pacify the agents of destruction and to
psychologically work off apocalyptic tension by preparing oneself
for the final blow, world's end. Furthermore, expressive and in
many cases extremist and violent responses (which are often
symptomatic for apocalyptic movements) are triggered by collective
anger and tension following such traumatic catastrophes.
Throughout history, outbreaks of end-time panic have been
ancient texts reporting about past or predicting future natural
disasters on a worldwide scale. Whether these traditions reflect
actual global catastrophes in prehistoric times or whether
local/regional disasters were perceived as the end of one's world,
is perhaps less relevant in this context than the fact that these
ancient traditions have always been used to predict future "world"
It appears even more interesting to me that a rather
cosmic occurrance, said to have happened over the skies of
Portugal in 1917, should have triggered the 'Fatima' mass
movement, a new apocalyptic movement within the (traditionally
apocalypse-sceptic) Roman Catholic Church. One wonders why the
Vatican has surrounded the story with such as secrecy for such a
long time. But once the files about the "last secret of Fatima"
will hopefully be opened to public scrutiny, scientists will, most
likely, decipher the cosmic "vision" as nothing else than an
unusual astronomical event (perhaps a prolonged meteor shower?).
From what little is known, the Portugese "revelations" point to an
extraordinary astronomic occurrance: "The vision occurred six
times, to a growing crowd of witnesses, culminating in 'balls of
fire' as the sun appeared to fall to earth, a phenomenon seen by
70,000 people." Unless the Vatican wishes to encourage further
spread of apocalyptic hysteria (which is, historically speaking, a
certain recipe for the emergence of schismatic movements), the
Catholic Church should now open the "Fatima" files for public
research. Only a rigorous analysis of this and other sacred
'revelations' and end-time texts might help to overcome irrational
panic and fear.
Benny J Peiser
THE TIMES, 17 October 1997
QUAKING ITALIANS FEAR THE APOCALYPSE NOW
from Richard Owen in Rome
ANOTHER powerful tremor hit Umbria yesterday, as rumours
throughout Italy that "the Big One" would strike today, in
accordance with the prophecies of Nostradamus.
The first double earthquake hit central Italy three weeks ago,
killing 11 people and damaging medieval frescoes at Assisi, where
thousands of homes have been evacuated. There have since been more
than 2,000 tremors, six of them measuring more than four on the
Richter scale. On Tuesday a quake with its epicentre at Sellano,
20 miles from Assisi, was felt in Rome ­ where a baroque church
with 18th-century frescoes suffered damage ­ and even as far south
as Naples. The epicentre of yesterday's tremor was also at
Sellano, where the town centre has been almost completely
destroyed. Rescue workers salvaged 12th-century archives from the
town hall. Thousands of residents of Umbria and the Marche are
living under canvas or in prefabricated homes. Seismologists
remain baffled by the continuing tremors. Vulcanologists from the
Etna and Vesuvius areas have been called in to see if they can throw
any light on the phenomenon.
For many superstitious and increasingly nervous Italians, the
reveal "the hand of God"or at least of fate. "An earthquake
obsession without end" was the headline in yesterday's La Stampa,
which reported that people near the epicentre were "awaiting the
end of the world".
Bookshops in Rome and Perugia have sold out of the prophecies
Nostradamus, the 16th-century astrologer, physician and adviser to
Catherine de Medici, who is said to have predicted that the end of
the world would be presaged by quakes "on three Fridays in a row".
Many Italians believe Nostradamus predicted a third, apocalyptic
earthquake today. Psychologists said pre-millennial fears
were becoming widespread.
The continuing quakes were giving rise to a national
psychologists from the University of Padua, Roberto Marino and Carlo
Heinrich, said people in the quake zone suffered from psychological
disorders, including loss of libido.
THE TIMES, 22 October 1997
ROME SEEKS TO ALLAY FEARS OF APOCALYPSE
The Vatican has lifted the veil on the last secret of
THE Vatican sought yesterday to reassure Italians over
widespread fears that
the continuing Umbrian earthquakes presage a pre-millennial disaster, and
possibly the end of the world.
Senior Vatican officials revealed for the first time that the
"secret of Fatima" ­ to which only the Pope and his closest
advisers have access ­ is not linked to the millennium and
contains no forecast of apocalyptic doom. The earthquakes, which
have damaged priceless artworks in centres of Christianity such as
Assisi and Spoleto, are regarded by some Italians as proof of dire
forecasts allegedly contained in the writings of the 16th-century
astrologer Nostradamus, and in prophecies linked to appearances by
the Virgin Mary to three peasant children in Fatima, Portugal, in
In an unusual move, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the
the Doctrine of the Faith ­ the modern successor to the Inquisition ­ told
the Catholic daily L'Avvenire that reports that the "last secret of Fatima"
referred to the disintegration of the papacy and the Church in a worldwide
social and moral collapse were untrue. The "secrets" were revealed by the
Virgin Mary ­ "a lady brighter than the sun" ­ to Lucia dos Santos and her
two cousins while they were tending sheep. The vision occurred six times, to
a growing crowd of witnesses, culminating in "balls of fire" as the sun
appeared to fall to earth, a phenomenon seen by 70,000 people.
Fatima has since become a significant Marian shrine, with
speculation about the "three secrets" which are held in the
Vatican and have never been published. The first is said to offer
a hellish vision of "charred bodies in an ocean of fire" ­ a
possible forecast of the Second World War ­ coupled with a message
to the world to "repent". The second secret, which was disclosed
in 1942 by Cardinal Ildefonso Schuster of Milan, was that Russia,
which was in the grip of a Marxist revolution at the time of the
visions, would "spread her errors throughout the world, causing
wars and persecution", but ultimate disaster would be averted if
Russia reconverted to Christianity. Sister Lucia, now a Carmelite
nun in her nineties at Coimbra, near Fatima, suggests the rise
of Mikhail Gorbachev and a Polish Pope ­ John Paul II ­ together
constituted "an action by God to free the world from the danger of
Many believe, however, that the "third secret"
involves a "terrible
cataclysm at the end of the century" because of the failure of the
world to repent fully. In a rare interview yesterday, Loris
Francesco Capovilla, the former secretary to Pope John XXIII, said
the Fatima document contained "no deadline of doom". He told La
Stampa : "The secret is not linked to the end of the millennium as
people have claimed." Mgr Capovilla, 82, is one of the few people
other than the Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger and Sister Lucia who knows
what the Fatima secrets contain. In the secretive world of the
Roman Catholic hierarchy, it is highly unusual for a papal
secretary to make disclosures. He said he could not reveal what
the third secret was, but talk of "millions of deaths"
was inaccurate. "You can exclude this," he said.
Mgr Capovilla said the "horrors" of the Spanish
Civil War and the
Holocaust, to which the secrets appeared to refer, were behind us.
"Of course more will die, but you don't need divine inspiration to
see that. Man is capable of anything, and there are a lot of
atomic weapons around. It only takes one madman to lose his head
... only now are we becoming aware of the responsibility we all
share." Asked if the prophecy would cause panic if revealed
publicly, he replied elliptically that "nothing could be worse"
than the private troubles many families already had to face.
Sister Lucia sent the "secrets" in a handwritten
letter to Pope Pius XII but
said their meaning would not become clear until 1960. Pius XII died in 1958,
and in 1960 his successor John XXIII set in motion the reformist Second
Vatican Council, which some see as the beginning of damaging divisions
between liberal and conservative Catholics. Last week René Laurentin, a
theologian, said the third secret was that the Church would collapse because
of "temptations and deviations".
But Mgr Capovilla said that "internal struggles within
the Church have
nothing to do with the Fatima prophecy. We have always had heresies and
disputes." He also denied reports that Pope Paul VI was quoting from the
third secret when he spoke about "the smoke of Satan entering the Church".
Mgr Capovilla said it was not clear whether Pius XII had ever
Fatima letter, which he had found "sealed in the archives. It was only after
he had announced the Second Vatican Council that John XXIII went to
Castelgandolfo [the Popes' summer residence] and asked me to bring him the
Fatima letter. He did not open it until his confessor came five days later."
Mgr Capovilla said the Pope handed him the letter, "four or five pages
handwritten in dialect by a girl with only local culture. It was not easy to
understand." It was translated by Mgr Paolo Tavares, later Bishop of Macao.
"The Pope then dictated a note to me, saying, 'The Holy Father has read this
letter and orders it to be put back in its envelope, with this phrase: 'I
make no judgment'."
When Paul VI became Pope in 1963, he asked the Holy Office for
letter, and panic ensued when it could not be found. "I told them it was in
the Pope's own desk, in a right-hand drawer, second or third down. A few
days later, Paul VI asked me whether John XXIII had said anything except 'I
make no judgment'. I said no, and the Pope said, 'In that case, I shall not
say anything either'."
Despite the attempts to calm fears, the disclosures are
unlikely to put an
end to pre-millennial speculation, especially since Pope John Paul II has
hinted at apocalyptic visions. Talking to German prelates privately in 1980,
he said: "When you read that oceans will inundate entire continents, and
that millions of men will suddenly have life snatched from them in a second
­ if you know this, there is no need to publish the secret." The Pope is
devoted to the cult of Fatima, and regards it as providential that the
abortive attempt on his life by a Turkish gunman in 1981 took place on May
13, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. He donated the bullet extracted from
his body to the shrine, where it is embedded in the Virgin's golden crown,
surrounded by pearls and precious stones.
Date sent: Tue, 21 Oct 1997 09:18:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: Benny J Peiser <B.J.PEISER@livjm.ac.uk
Subject: USGS Cartographer's Computer Wizardry Asteroid Impact and Flying
Dinosaurs Come To Salt Lake City
from: Ron Baalke <BAALKE@kelvin.jpl.nasa.gov
U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey Western Region
Outreach Office 345 Middlefield Road, MS 144 Menlo Park, CA 94025
Contact: Pat Jorgenson, Phone: 640-329-4000, Fax: 650-329-4013
Release: October 16, 1997
USGS Cartographer's Computer "Wizardry" ... Asteroid
Flying Dinosaurs Come To Salt Lake City
The asteroid impact that occurred 65 million years ago comes
on the computer screen, Tuesday, Oct. 21, as a research cartographer
with the U.S. Geological Survey demonstrates his latest HyperCard
animation at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America
(GSA) in Salt Lake City.
Tau Rho Alpha, a research cartographer with the USGS in Menlo
Calif., will show fellow scientists and educators how the massive
impact that is believed to have caused the extinction of the
dinosaurs can be better understood by elementary through
college-level students through the computer animation and an
accompanying teacher's guide.
In Alpha's animation, the peanut-shaped asteroid is shown
toward Earth, where a Triceratops is seen, and heard, munching away
on the Chicxulub Plain, better known to us as the Yucatan Peninsula.
The asteroid hits and bam! the next thing we see is the skeleton of
the Triceratops lying on the seared landscape, while the surviving
small mammals, such as mice and moles, forage in the debris, in their
successful quest for survival.
Following the animation, patterns for paper models of the
and a Pterosaur (flying dinosaur) come on the screen, ready to be
printed out, colored and glued together. The finished Triceratops
measures about eight inches, from horny head to tail, and stands
about five inches high. The Pterosaur is about six inches long, from
beak to tail, and has a wing span of about five inches.
The accompanying 14-page teacher's guide explains the impact
Chicxulub impact; how scientists determined that such an event had
occurred; and where it occurred. A glossary defines the terms used in
the report, and an abbreviated geologic time scale defines the
various eras when the dinosaurs and their relatives roamed the earth.
Descriptions of the Ceratopsians, or "horned-faced dinosaurs" and
Pterosauria, "flying reptiles," accompany the model patterns of the
The HyperCard diskette version of the report is available from
USGS-Information Services, Open-file Report Section, Box 25286, MS
517, Denver Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225, or by calling
1-800-435-7627 or 303-202-4200. The cost is $10 each. A paper version
is available at the same address, at a cost of $5.50 plus a handling
charge of $3.50. When ordering, be sure to specify: OF 97-442-A, for
the diskette, or OF97-442-B, for the paper version. It also can be
obtained from the Survey's Learning Web site. The URL is:
Alpha will demonstrate the computer animation at 9:45 a.m.,
Oct. 21, in Room 150 of the Salt Palace Convention Center. The
product also will be demonstrated and will be for sale at the USGS
booth in the convention's exhibit hall, Oct. 20-23.
Date sent: Tue, 21 Oct 1997 09:13:46 -0400 (EDT)
From: Benny J Peiser <B.J.PEISER@livjm.ac.uk
Subject: NEO News (10/20/97)
BUDGET CUTS STOP CLEMENTINE 2 MISSION
from: David Morrison <email@example.com
NEO News (10/20/97)
Dear friends and students of NEOs:
The US Department of Defense Clementine 2 mission to test
technologies for interception of asteriods has fallen victim to the
Line Item Veto. President Clinton has deleted $30M in funding for
Clementine from the FY1998 budget. While this action could be
overridden by Congress or even invalidated by appeal to the courts,
both are unlikely. Thus it appears the Clementine is dead, at least
for this fiscal year.
Below is some additional information posted today from
Beatheveto@aol.com (Mon Oct 20 12:52 MDT 1997)
President Vetoes DoD Space Projects: Acting on the advice of
Secretary of Defense John Hamre, on Wednesday, October 15th, the
President used his new line-item veto authority to line out two space
programs, the Space Plane ($10M) and Clementine II ($30M), the
Department of Defense mission to send a miniature probe to collide
with an asteroid. Clementine II would result in a significant
increase in our knowledge of the structure and composition of
asteroids, and at the same time demonstrate technologies that could
be used to defend against ballistic missiles. This probe is being
developed by the same people who produced Clementine I, the probe
which produced evidence of water at the south pole of the Moon, a
critical resource for future lunar settlements. Deputy Secretary of
Defense Hamre stated "these are the items for which we really don't
have a military requirement in the Department."
CCCMENU CCC for 1997
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