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A history of solar eclipses and bizarre responses to them - CNET

Johann Berkowski took this image of the total solar eclipse in 1851. Johann Berkowski

On Aug. 21 the moon will pass in front of the sun, completely blotting it out for those along a 70-mile-wide corridor stretching across the contiguous United States. Although a total solar eclipse only lasts a few minutes, the rare phenomenon has a long history of eliciting all sorts of odd reactions from the beings it briefly blankets with daytime darkness.

The Vikings made loud noises to scare off Skoll and Hati, the two wolves of Norse mythology who chased the sun and moon and occasionally caught them, causing an eclipse. Centuries later, a woman anxiety-ridden over the doomsaying associated with a 1748 solar eclipse "locked herself up in a room and cut her arm in such a manner that she bled to death," according to the London Evening Postat the time.

Some of the strangest responses came in previous centuries when understanding of what causes these stellar abductions was less...(continued)

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