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Solar Eclipses Used To Totally Scare The Shit Out Of People

Holy crap, the sun is gone!

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It's 2017. The internet told us there's going to be a solar eclipse next week. So needless to say, we are totally ready for it.

Since we know what to expect, most people are stoked about this year's eclipse. But solar eclipses used to be terrifying AF. That's what happens when the internet isn't around to give you a heads up.

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Folks in ancient China thought a solar eclipse meant a dragon was eating the sun. So they freaked out big time, and banged pots and pans to get the dragon away. It worked!

In Mesopotamia, people thought a solar eclipse meant the king would die. And seriously, who could blame them?! The sun just disappeared out of the sky without warning!

The ancient Greeks could predict when some solar eclipses would occur, but they still lost their shit! They thought eclipses meant the gods were angry and were about to mess things up.

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The Aztecs in ancient Mexico didn't like eclipses either. When one happened, they cried, they yelled, they shrieked, they killed captives. They thought demons were coming to eat people.

Check this: Some aboriginals in Australia thought a solar eclipse meant the moon was pulling a curtain for some privacy with the sun as they, well.....

Even in modern times, people still have fears about eclipses. As a child in the 1970s, astronomer Tyler Nordgren thought looking at an eclipse would make you blind, as did many people, so he hid inside with the curtains drawn. (You still shouldn't look directly at the sun. Wear special protective glasses.)

Good luck out there, everybody. Take deep breaths. It'll all be over soon.


Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.

Contact Alex Kantrowitz at alex.kantrowitz@buzzfeed.com.

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