For several weeks in the fall of 2007, amateur astronomers and sky watchers around the world were entranced by the mysterious, energetic display of Comet Holmes 17P. The Internet still abounds with exotic theories about the comet's nature -- some have claimed it is the "Blue Kachina" foretold in Hopi Prophecy, others assert that the secret government shot it with a nuclear missile, and still others say its nucleus is acquiring mass and turning into a PLANET.
But according to the ancient record, comets have long aroused terror in human beings, and this fear has clearly persisted into modern times. Even the astronomical mainstream recognizes that comets have historically been viewed as portents of destruction. The NASA report "Comets in Ancient Cultures" observes: "Comets have inspired dread, fear, and awe in many different cultures and societies around the world and throughout time. They have been branded with such titles as 'the Harbinger of Doom' and 'the Menace of the Universe.'"