Thousands of years ago, there came a night that lasted a generation. Kings froze to death in their castles, the same as the shepherds in their huts. And women smothered their babies rather than see them starve, and wept and felt the tears freeze on their cheeks. So, is this the sort of story you like?
People quickly point to 2020 as the worst when thinking of horrible years. True, in 2020, the world changed forever. However, the strides of the pandemic were greatly reduced by the advancement of medical science. Looking further into modern history, the first half of the 20th century was indeed horrible. But even the horrors of the World Wars never come close to the single most horrific year in recorded history.
The year after the Consulship of Belisarius, 536 A.D, is itched in infamy as the worst. The year saw a drastic shift in the weather patterns, and as a result, famines took place worldwide. It is to be noted that these famines made the terrible Holodomor look like child’s play. The sudden climate change, thought to have been the effect of a volcanic eruption early that year, made the temperatures plummet sharply across Europe and China. Other mysterious events during the year include the sudden appearance of a mysterious fog during summer, and a massive decline in the temperature, initiating the coldest decade in the past 2300 years. With such adverse incidents, it’s no wonder the folks labeled the year as the worst time to be alive.
This mysterious change in climate lasted for a decade since 536 A.D, and the Irish Chronicles recorded “a failure of bread from the years 536–539.” Then, in 541, the bubonic plague struck the Roman port of Pelusium in Egypt, and many historians and scholars attributed this to the events that started in the year 536 A.D.
What happened in the Year 536 A.D?
With the appearance of the mysterious fog, the sudden drop in the temperature, cold days, and even colder nights, the middle of the 6th century can easily be the literal Dark Ages. To make things worse, the arrival of the cold climate decimated the crops and vegetation, plunging the world into hunger. The available food was of low quality, messing up the immune system and making the human body the perfect candidate for a plague. In time, the fog swept even to China, leaving the farmers scratching their heads.
For the uneducated common folk, the fog and the sudden change in the climate were curses, most probably set upon them by witches. However, the main suspect for the horrible climate and the famines was a volcanic eruption that happened across the world in Iceland.
The Mystery Of 536 A.D
After the eruption, a great veil of dust covered the skies of the northern hemisphere, blocking the sunlight. Religions, the rise and fall of empires, and even superstitious practices further worsened the horrible climate’s effects. To add icing on the cake, the eruption of the first volcano, likely to be a super volcano, set off a cluster of other geological activity, including minor eruptions. Even written accounts state that the sun had prolonged eclipses throughout the year, but this could be the effects of the dust veil that settled on the atmosphere. Either way, one thing is evident: the year was downright miserable.
Mythical Claims and Scientific Research
While most people will say that 2020 was the worst year in existence, they are unaware of the history that 536 A.D holds, and the researchers agree that it was the worst time to be alive and that year holds the infamous title of the worst year in history. Though the events like climate change and crop failures existed, the superstitious folk of the time blamed vampires, witches, and other supernatural entities for the occurrences. As a result, people turned towards religion, who stoked the flames and benefitted from the mass paranoia.
Today, scientific researchers have worked out the details behind the occurrence. Researchers led by McCormick and glaciologist Paul Mayewski found that a volcanic eruption in Iceland in early 536 led to very large quantities of ash that spread across most of the globe, creating the fog that cast the world into darkness and misery. The eruption was immense and led to massive climate change and crop failure, which turned out to be the major events that occurred during this year, hence proving that nature had its way even back then to scare people in natural ways.
Yes, the supernatural aspect seems more thrilling, but in this case, we can safely conclude that the occurrences of the year 356 and the consequent years were nothing more than a succession of unfortunate events.
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