Ask your local candidate a question.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

PHALON’S FILE: The Plagues

The darkness is coming. As I write this, I await with trepidation as the light continues its battle for survival.

Earthquakes, the worst in these parts in two centuries. Locusts, the biggest infestation in three centuries, with trillions, will overwhelm us. They tell us they’re just “cicadas,” and they will just sing and breed all summer.

Yeah, right. Just read the details: two broods, Brood 19, known as the “Great Southern Brood,” and Brood 13, the “Northern Illinois Brood,” will rise from the ground simultaneously.

That sounds pretty serious. They even made a movie a while back called “The Brood.” By the way, I saw that one. It was pretty cool.

Endless rain and floods just this past week. Volcanos that you watch live on YouTube as they devour Iceland.

Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling. The dead rising from the grave. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria. There’s even a new “Ghostbusters” movie coming out. Just a coincidence?

Do these plagues mean End of Days?

Predicting the end of the world is a small industry dating back centuries. Remember the Mayans? They said the world was going to end in 2012. It turned out the guy interpreting their historical writings misread that part. It actually was a note somebody wrote that said, “Note to Self: human sacrifice, 20 after 12.”

It wouldn’t be the first time it wasn’t as near as the doomsayers might claim.

In 1806, the Prophet Hen of Leeds spread panic across England by bearing the words “The End Is Coming.” It was later discovered a neighbor had written the dire prediction on the eggs and returned them to the Prophet Hen.

The approach of Halley’s Comet in 1910 provoked fear in Aline, Oklahoma, when some local fanatics tried to serve up 16-year-old Jane Warfield as a sacrifice to atone for their sins and to ward off the comet. Fortunately, the sheriff was alerted and arrived just in time.

Even without the benefit of her reluctant sacrifice, the comet missed, Miss Warfield moved to Massachusetts and the brethren in Aline were left with egg on their faces. Perhaps that of the Prophet Hen. 

In 1936, the Rev. Herbert W. Armstrong promised rapture by December 31. When 1937 rang in with champagne and noisemakers rather than frogs and locusts, he revised his prediction to an equally erroneous 1943.

1956: Mrs. Dorothy Martin, a housewife from Chicago, Illinois, receives messages from the planet Clarion that a great flood is coming and that she and her followers will be rescued by a flying saucer. When the waters and their ride fail to materialize, they set about asking for their jobs back.

1975: Rev. Armstrong is wrong again.

1976: Televangelist Pat Robertson prognosticates curtains for 1982. Not so much. In fact, it wasn’t curtains for Rev. Robertson for another 41 years.

Well, if you are reading this it’s good news. It means the Earth was not burned to a cinder or cloaked in eternal darkness, and the cats are back where they belong. So, rest easy. At least until 2062, when Halley’s Comet returns.

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.