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Tuesday, 22 May 2012


Tapestry commissioned by Louis, Duke of Anjou, of the third angel and wormwood

To some, coincidences are nothing but random incidents impinging upon one another merely by chance, and therefore lacking any significance or meaning. To others, they are abruptly-revealed links within a grand chain of recognition still to be forged in its entirety within the human mind. What do you think?

Consider the following example, which I came upon yesterday while browsing through Sir Alec Guinness's A Commonplace Book (2001) - a fascinating collection of eclectica and esoterica drawn from countless sources and jotted down by this celebrated British actor over the years in a couple of exercise books but not collated in published form until a year after his death - and judge for yourself.

In the New Testament of the Holy Bible, the following verses (10 and 11) can be found in Chapter 8 of the Book of the Revelation of St John the Divine:

"And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;

"And the name of the star is called Wormwood; and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter."
Was this truly a revelation of what would be at the end of the world, or, rather, a prophecy regarding an event of much closer proximity in time, specifically 26 April 1986?

I only ask because it just so happens that in Russo-Ukrainian, the word for wormwood is...Chernobyl.

Chernobyl disaster (Wikipedia)

Just a coincidence...?


  1. I'm slightly unclear Karl - is everything after "judge for yourself" (excluding Revelations 8:10-11) Alec Guinness?

    I'm taking it it is and find myself wond'ring if Sir Alec ever saw the episode of Millennium based on this connection?

    Did you?

    If you missed that series (and a lot of people including myself were too dazzled by The X-files at the time to pay it any heed) boy're you in for a treat.

    Lance Henriksen and a 'mythology' which continues to grow in relevance in exponential proportion to X-files' growing irrelevance...whew!

    ps I was looking at your poetry and I was left with the abiding impression there's another more elastically-parametered Karl Shuker in addition to that more sceptically-minded scientist behind Shuker Nature.

    [Ooh! I've only just got it - SUPERNATURE! Of course!]

  2. Hi Alan,

    Yes, everything after "Judge for yourself" (other than the Revelation quote) is my paraphrasing of Alec Guinness's notes re the Wormwood/Chernobyl link.

    No, I've never seen Millennium, sounds interesting!

    Re my poetry: who can say? Many of my poems were written when I was a lot younger, so perhaps there was indeed a more elastically-parametered me back in those days, as most of us tend to be more so when younger than when older.

    Yes, ShukerNature is indeed a play on the title of Lyall Watson's first and most famous book, Supernature. One day, I'll reveal a piece of artwork that I have on file that has been prepared for the front cover of my ShukerNature blog's eventual book version, and you'll see that it is an equally apposite play on Supernature's cover artwork.

    All the best, Karl