This year has seen weird happenings along the south coast. First came news of two large ships see floating in the air, obviously mirages, but the kind of event that can lead to the legends like the Flying Dutchman. Then we had a boat balanced on a rock in the Scilly Isles, a kind of mini Ark on Mount Ararat. Now we have a picture of waves crashing on a harbour wall to look like Neptune – there is even a hand to be seen further along the breakwater.
All these events involve natural phenomena, though I must admit the boat on the rock was to a large extent self-induced – by the way the people on board sensibly got into a dinghy and waited for high tide before they got back on board their boat to sail away,.
Of course we live in a era of comparatively rapid climate change. New types of weather are bound to throw up oddities by influencing the local weather and sea currents, which could lead to a whole load of strange events happening. This is kind of an inevitable consequence.
If these events had happened when we did not have the scientific knowledge to explain them, then they would have been thought of as magic, like the era after the Romans left and before the Saxon kingdoms stabilised.
Wait a minute. Weren’t there two catastrophic volcanic eruptions in 536 and 539/540 – the first from a high altitude volcano in either Alaska or Iceland and the second from Ilopango in modern day El Salvador? Between them they threw up so much sulphur and dust that the Earth cooled by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Crop failures in Northern Europe and their consequences were inevitable. And this is the time associated with King Arthur and the knights of the round table.
Now what if… yes the famous science fiction question… what if we went through history checking when there was a rise in ‘magical’ incidents to see if those were the times of severe changes in climate?
Let’s take this a step further… could all fantasy that is derived from magic be actually derived from mis-reported real events that had no explanation at the time? It would be interesting to see if there is a correlation.