Sometimes I wonder why I’m so easily duped. I like to think I have critical thought processes, that I can separate the wheat from the chafe. The last couple of days a meme has been bouncing around in my head like a frenzied piranha, feeding on all of my fears and anxieties about the future of our world. The whole debacle started while looking to whore out the new website I started, WinnipegForums.ca. I only knew of a couple of Winnipeg-centric forums on which to announce the new bastion of Winnipeg discussion, one of them from having read forums for a local lan party. I set out to investigate All your base cafe to post a welcome message to anyone who was interested in talking about politics. There, glowing on my screen like a beacon of finality, lay a thread entitled “end of the world is coming? (smells like bs)”. Clicking and following the ether trail I found myself at a religiously tilted pro bush site proclaiming that the end of the world was upon us, that on June 19th the first meteor would strike.
I’m normally quite sceptical about such things but I read them anyways out of a morbid sense that at some point or another, the shit is going to hit the fan. The link was a gathering of a series of posts on some unmentioned (and subsequently ‘mysteriously shutdown’) forum by a person known only as “Aussie Bloke”. AB was very vague on specifics, yet he laid a series of bread crumb clues that started to add up to some interesting coincidences. He claimed that the solar system was on an intersection course with a dust cloud containing three objects – two of which will hit the earth with some certainty, one of which was anomalous and not a meteor / comet or anything that had been seen before.
One of the links mentioned was about the sunshine reaching the Earth was dropping by 2 to 3% per decade, an article that I had previously read. I started to do some googling to see what others had written about this subject, and I found articles about how the Federal Reserve has been shifting money around in alarming ways, how the US navy had deployed more carrier groups to sea than had ever been done in history, the seemingly strange increase in the occurrences of large meteorites, and I started to panic. Every piece of new I read added to the puzzle. I, myself, had recently seen an incredibly large shooting star not two weeks ago. The facts were starting to pile up. Armageddon was at hand.
So at this point I was convinced. After relaying these facts to the kitty the next day, we became convinced that this was in fact the End Times, strangely (to me) prophesized and about to inflict incredible hardship on an already overworked system. What would I do? Would I survive? How would we live? The original piece by Aussie Bloke indicated that there would be many years of hardship, as humanity preyed on each other in order to survive on a shattered planet. He claimed that it would get better after that mystical year of 2012, but the years in between would be out of a Mad Max style Sci-Fi novel. Whatever it took to survive. I began to count up my batteries. I also told friends. I told my mother to sell her mutual funds, they wouldn’t matter in 4 days. She told me that if that if it were true, that I should try and have a fun time before the terror began. Better advice I’d never heard. 😉
One day later and this prediction of upcoming horrors haunted me. I scoured the internet for any additional pieces to fit the puzzle. As I figured this cloud of debris was the remnants of a Supernova, and as this cataclysmic event seemed to follow events in the Bible, I figured that the Star of Bethlehem was a star exploding and was also probably the source of our Armageddon. It seemed to make sense in a poetic way. Evidently, I wasn’t the only one to come to this conclusion. Astronomers had located a binary pulsar that would have seemed to have exploded at around the right time to reach Earth at around 2 B.C. So here was the source of our doom, but was it possible? If things happen like they’re supposed to in the Bible, then this would be true. However I decided to try and factor in some good old fashion science and see if the results agreed. This is where the truth and fiction start to diverge.
In order to find out if the binary pulsar in question, 1913+16, was the source of these meteors I had to find out how far away from Earth it was. Mass takes a much longer time to travel than light, so if this pulsar was more than say 50 light years from Earth then there was no way that the meteors would reach us 2000 years later. It just doesn’t travel that fast. So after doing countless searches (apparently binary pulsar 1913+16 is famous for being the first binary pulsar to be discovered) I finally found an article that compared it to another set of pulsars which were much better to study, because at 2000 light years they were 10 times closer than 1913+16. So there it was, one claim shattered. There was no way that the supernova that probably led the wise men to Christ would have ejected the matter that was (apparently) coming to destroy us. With one puzzle piece gone, the whole mess started to fall apart.
Eventually I stumbled upon a thread at Above Top Secret, a website devoted to conspiracy theories and other such topics. This thread contained a message from an anonymous group called “The Monitors” which claimed that the entire theory was an experiment of theirs, run to gauge the response of the general population to Armageddon memes.
Because of the overwhelming success of this project, we will not be apologizing. You all behaved exactly as we had predicted, falling into 2 camps on either side of the issue. The believers held fast to every scrap of datum, whether it was credible or not. The non-believers grew frustrated and angry as their attempts to apply logic and reason were ignored. Anger and dissent grew and grew, and ultimately the entire story devolved into an unintelligible mass of contradictory assertions and accusations. We are acutely aware that even our own admission in this forum will be viewed as yet more hoax material, albeit more cleverly crafted and well-thought out than standard fare for these pages.
BLIND SKIES is not, as many have claimed, a