Clube & Napier
Victor Clube & Bill Napier are two British Astronomers, who published The Cosmic Serpent . in 1982, which was later revised as The Cosmic Winter ,>which was also the title of a lecture given by Clube(b).<
They have promoted what became known as ‘Coherent Catastrophism’, which envisions encounters between our Earth and large comets, events that are recorded in ancient history and mythology. They claim, for example, that the biblical Exodus story contains an early reference to Halley’s Comet! Among other encounters, they date the story of Phaëton, mentioned by Plato, to 1369 BC and also discuss catastrophic close encounters with Encke’s Comet or a proto-Encke.
Although Clube & Napier do not refer to Atlantis, from time to time, some commentators have claimed some connection between the demise of Atlantis and encounters with comets named and unnamed.
Philip R. “Pib” Burns has an extensive overview(a) of Clube and Napier’s work on his excellent website.>It is argued by some that Clube & Napier should have given greater recognition to the theories of Immanuel Velikovsky(c).<
Gerrit L. Verschuur (1937- ) was born in South Africa and is now living in Lakeland, Tennessee, working as a radio astronomer. He has written a book in which he interprets many of the ancient catastrophe myths in a similar manner to Edith & Alexander Tollmann and Victor Clube & Bill Napier. They all agree that catastrophic collisions with our planet occurred within the memory of man and are preserved in the legends of various cultures. These impacts have been seen as a possible cause of such events as the Biblical Deluge and even the destruction of Atlantis.
Phaëton in Greek mythology was the son of Helios the Greek sun god. Phaëton was also the name given to a comet that impacted or had a close encounter with the Earth in the 13th century BC. The Egyptians knew this comet as Sekhmet. Ancient inscriptions record that some of the consequences of this dramatic encounter were the drying up of the Nile and the desertification of Libya.
Michel-Alain Combes has noted(j) that Phaëton has also been associated “with Anat in Syria, the star of Baal in Canaan (Palestine and Phenicia), Absinthe, The star of the Apocalypse) among the Hebrews, Surt in the countries of the north.”
A 2012 paper by Peter James and M.A, van der Sluijs entitled ”Silver’: A Hurrian Phaethon’ (l) concluded that “there is an attractive pattern of correspondences between the well-known Greek myth of Phaethon and the Hurrian myth of Silver.” Silver was a character in Hurrian mythology, also know as Ushu.
Interestingly, Plato records in Timaeus how Phaëton caused immense devastation, but does not link it directly with the destruction of Atlantis but the context implies an event that was in the distant past, considerably earlier than Solon. Some ancient authorities, such as Eusebius and Isidore of Seville, have associated Phaëton with the time of Moses.
The poet Goethe considered the story of Phaëton to have had a real astronomical origin.
Franz Xavier Kugler was a Jesuit priest who spent over thirty years studying ancient astronomical texts written in cuneiform. In 1927, he published a paper in which he concluded that an asteroidal impact in the Mediterranean inspired the story of Phaëton.
More recently, Bob Kobres has written a number of articles on the subject of Phaëton having a cometary origin(k). Some of these papers can be found on the Internet(a). Kobres dates this Phaëton event to around 1200 BC.
Stavros Papamarinopoulos from the University of Patras in Greece presented a paper to the 2005 Atlantis Conference held on Melos in which he linked Plato’s Phaëton with an encounter between the earth and cometary fragments around 1200 BC.
Emilio Spedicato has opted for 1447 BC as the likely date of the Phaëton explosion. He describes this as a super-Tunguska event, which exploded over southern Denmark(m). He further contends that the after-effects gave assistance to the Israelite Exodus from Egypt.
Spedicato’s identification is comparable with Jürgen Spanuth’s idea that Phaëton was a fragment of Halley’s Comet. Two other followers of Spanuth, Günter Bischoff and Walter Stender have written extensive papers, in German, on a meterorite impact with Northern Europe around 1220 BC, which they identifies as Phaëton(c). The same interpretation has been applied specifically to Lake Chiemgau in S.E. Bavaria and is expanded on in papers by Barbara Rappenglück among many others.(d)(f)
Clube & Napier  have proposed a slightly later date of 1369 BC for the encounter with Phaëton.
Dale Drinnon has argued(g) against any connection between Phaeton and the destruction of Atlantis saying “There are two different kinds of catastrophes being described and distinguished from one another and the Phaethon event is categorically differentiated from the Destruction of Atlantis in the Atlantis dialogues of Plato. There is no good reason to equate the two and certainly no textual justification for doing so.”
Amanda Laoupi offers an extensive article on the history of the Phaëton myth and its interpretation in both ancient and modern times.
Phaëton was also the name given by Johann Gottlieb Radlof (1775-1829) to a planet which he believed disintegrated after a collision with a comet, within human memory, resulting in the asteroid belt.
(g) See Archive 3605
(k) See: Archive 3365.
Encke’s Comet has the shortest orbital period of just over three years and was the second comet after Halley’s to have its period determined. It is named after the German astronomer Johann Franz Encke (1792-1865) who announced its periodicity in 1819. More information about Encke’s Comet is available on Kevin Curran’s website(f), which promotes his book, Fall of a Thousand Suns, in which he analyses the effects that cometary encounters have had on religious beliefs.
One website(c) suggests that Encke was only part of an even larger comet, proto-Encke, sometimes identified as Tiamat in Babylonian mythology and that Encke gave birth to the Taurid meteor shower.
Victor Clube and Bill Napier published their groundbreaking book in 1982 in which they identify Encke’s Comet or more correctly its larger progenitor as having had catastrophic close encounters with the earth in the past. They expanded their book in 1990.
Martin Sweatman is a University of Edinburgh scientist and the author of Prehistory Decoded . Building on the work of Clube & Napier he believes that around 10,900 BC an encounter with a fragment of Encke that led to catastrophic climate change of the Younger Dryas and kick-started the Neolithic Revolution. After an in-depth study of the carvings at Göbekli Tepe he believes that they record astronomical events and in a 2017 joint paper with Dimitrios Tsikritsis, published in Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, (Vol. 17, No 1) offers an illustrated outline of this theory.(g)
A number of investigators, including Frank Joseph have adopted their findings and have attributed the destruction of Atlantis, among other disasters, such as the eruption of Thera, to the repeated near misses by proto-Encke. In his latest literary recycling Joseph claims that Comet Encke in 1198 BC “scores a number of meteoric hits along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and possibly on Atlantis itself, which perishes ‘in a single day and night’, according to Plato. The catastrophe is global, encompassing the destruction of the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah.” Joseph bases this claim on the conclusions of two Swedish geologists, Thomas B. Larsson and Lars Franzén.
Another writer, Martin Gray, claimed that in 3113 BC proto-Encke collided with asteroids in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter causing extensive meteor showers that punctuated the Bronze Age, including the partial destruction of Atlantis(a) . Without hard evidence we must treat this as nothing more than interesting conjecture.
A fully illustrated article detailing an encounter with Comet Encke is offered by Stuart Harris(b) who dates this event to 8366 BC and which led to catastrophic destruction across Europe. Harris also offered the possibility of a return visit during August-September 2012, if the Cluster still exists. He added further data in 2013(d).
Graham Hancock has gone further and suggested that 2030 will possibly have another catastrophic encounter with Encke, hidden in the Taurid meteor shower. This ‘prediction’ in his Magician of the Gods(e) will do no harm to sales figures!
Halley’s Comet is named after Edmond Halley (1656-1742) who correctly predicted its periodicity and that it would return after his death in 1759. In 1694 Halley proposed(f) that Noah’s Flood had be caused by a cometary impact, a suggestion for which he was censured by the Royal Society. However, he was rather off the mark when he was the first to propose a ‘hollow Earth’ in 1692(c).
Although the comet’s average orbital period is 76 years, it has been as high as 79.3 years. The nucleus of Halley’s Comet is approximately 5x5x10 miles but has a very low density. The earliest observation of the comet was noted in 240 BC by the Chinese, although there is now a suggestion of 466 BC being the earliest reference in ancient Greek records(e). It has also been famously recorded on the Bayeux Tapestry, mentioned in the Talmud and frequently associated with the Star of Bethlehem(h).
A more recent suggestion has been that a fragment of HC hit the Earth in 536 AD lowering temperatures globally causing drought, famine and disease(g).
Polish Professor Kamienski considered the biblical mention of ‘an angel with a sword’ (1Chron 21.16) to be a reference to Halley’s appearance around 1010 BC. However, Kamienski dated another close encounter with Halley’s Comet, which led to the destruction of Atlantis, to circa 9550 BC. In a similar fashion the historian Donald V. Etz in 1986(b) argued that Isaiah 14.12-15 was possibly inspired by the appearance of the same comet.
>In 1956, Kamienski then entered the contentious matter of the date of the Trojan War, which he proposed had ended circa 1165 BC and suggested that it may have coincided with the appearance of Halley’s Comet!(o)<
Halley’s Comet, in fact, comets generally, were considered to be harbingers of doom, as their appearance seemed to eerily coincide with various disasters, both natural and military.
In 1456, Pope Calixtus III excommunicated the comet as an agent of Satan. This appears to have been theologically unsound as the comet was never a member of the Church in the first place. Amazingly, comets have continued to reappear, obviously concurrent with a least one of the daily earthbound calamities that is our lot.
The French astronomer Nicolas Camille Flammarion predicted that the appearance of Halley’s Comet in 1910 would fill the earth’s atmosphere with toxic gas and kill all life on earth! Obviously nothing catastrophic happened then nor on its next visit in 1986.
Another suggested date for Halley’s Comet leading to the demise of Atlantis is 1628 BC put forward by David Wiseman, a Bible teacher(d).
Jean Silvain Baillywas the first to compute the orbit of the comet and coincidentally also wrote on the subject of Atlantis at the end of the 18th century.
Col. Braghine theorised that Atlantis was destroyed as a result of a close encounter of the Earth with Halley’s Comet and similarly the Polish Professor Kamienski suggested that a large chunk of Halley’s Comet fell into the Gulf of Mexico in 9542 BC . Kamienski has also written very technical paper(a) on the 2320 BC appearance of the comet. The American astronomer Jack Hills, an asteroid specialist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory holds similar views to Kamienski.
Halley’s Comet has also been blamed for the disappearance of the Pannonian Lake, another proposed Atlantis location.
Jürgen Spanuth thought that Phaëton was a fragment of Halley’s Comet. Two other followers of Spanuth, Günter Bischoff and Walter Stender have written extensive papers, in German, on a meteorite impact with Northern Europe around 1220 BC, which they also identified as Phaëton(j)(n) . The same interpretation has been applied specifically to Lake Chiemgau in S.E. Bavaria and is expanded on in papers by Barbara Rappenglück among many others(k)(l)(m).
In a 2018 paper(i), Charles A Rogers associates Phaëton with Halley’s Comet, dating the close encounter to 1404 BC. He goes further, linking the ‘pillar of light’ in Exodus with both Halley’s Comet and the eruption of Thera. He then proceeds to connect this event(s) with the destruction of Atlantis on the Gulf of Gabes at the mouth of the River Triton!
Clube & Napier in The Cosmic Winter suggested that the Biblical Exodus story contains the earliest reference to Halley’s Comet. The controversial Jeffrey Goodman also links a number of Biblical events with cometary encounters in The Comets of God .
For trivia lovers, I note that both the birth (1835) and death (1910) of the writer Mark Twain coincided with appearances of Halley’s Comet!
(d) See Archive 3339
>(o) Atlantis, Volume 10 No. 3, March 1957<