link to Home Page

Worlds in Collision

by Immanuel Velikovsky

The Red World, pages 48-49

In the middle of the second millennium before the present era (approximately 3,500 years ago), the earth underwent one of the greatest catastrophes in its history. A celestial body ... came very close to the earth. The account of this catastrophe can be reconstructed from evidence supplied by a large number of documents. The comet .. touched the earth first with it's gaseous tail. .. Servius wrote, "It was not of a flaming but of a bloody redness."

One of the first visible signs of this encounter was the reddening of the earth's surface by a fine dust of rusty pigment. In sea, lake, and river this pigment gave a bloody coloring to the water. Because of these particles of ferruginous or other soluble pigment, the world turned red.

The Manuscript Quiche of the Mayas tells that in the Western Hemisphere, in the days of a great cataclysm, when the earth quaked and the sun's motion was interrupted, the water in the rivers turned to blood.

Ipuwer, the Egyptian eyewitness to the catastrophe, wrote his lament on papyrus, "The river is blood", and this corresponds with the Book of Exodus 7:20: "All the waters that were in the river were turned to blood".

The Shadow of Death, pages 127-128

If the eruption of a single volcano can darken the atmosphere over the entire globe, a simultaneous and prolonged eruption of thousands of volcanoes would blacken the sky. Volcanoes vomit water vapor as well as cinders. Following the cataclysm, the author of Codex Chimalpopoca, in his history of the suns, shows us terrifying celestial phenomena .. followed by darkness that covered the face of the earth, in one instance for a period of 25 years.

In the Ermitage Papyrus in Leningrad .. there are lamantations about a terrible catastrophe, when heaven and earth turned upside down. After this catastrophe darkness covered the earth. The "shadow of death" is related to the time of the wandering in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt. The sinister meaning of the words "shadow of death" corresponds with the description of the Ermitage Papyrus: "None can live when the sun is veiled by clouds."

The phenomenon of gloom enduring for years impressed itself on the memory of the Twelve Tribes and is mentioned in many passages in the Bible. Psalms 44:19 - "The people that walked in darkness .. in the land of the shadow of death."

The Most Incredible Story, page 39

(A) story is told about Joshua ben Num who, when pursuing the Canaanite kings at Beth-horon, implored the sun and the moon to stand still. Joshua (10:12-13):

And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is it not written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.

On the Other Side of the Ocean, pages 45-46

The Book of Joshua, compiled from the more ancient Book of Jasher, states that the sun stood still over Gibeon and the moon over the valley of Ajalon. This description of the position of the luminaries implies that the sun was in the forenoon position. The Book of Joshua says that the luminaries stood in the midst of the sky. Allowing for the difference in longitude, it must have been early morning or night in the Western Hemisphere.

We go to the shelf where stand books with the historical traditions of the aborigines of Central America. The sailors of Columbus and Cortes, arriving in America, found there literate peoples who had books of their own. In the Mexican Annals of Cuauhtitlan, written in Nahua-Indian, it is related that during a cosmic catastrophe that occurred in the remote past, the night did not end for a long time.

Sahagun, the Spanish savant who came to America a generation after Columbus and gathered the traditions of the aborigines, wrote that at the time of one cosmic catastrophe the sun rose only a little way over the horizon and remained there without moving. The moon also stood still. The biblical stories were not know to the aborigines. Also, the tradition preserved by Sahagun bears no trace of having been introduced by the missionaries.

Naphtha, pages 53-55

Crude petroleum is composed of two elements, carbon and hydrogen. The inorganic theory (of the origin of petroleum states that) hydrogen and carbon were brought together in the rock formations of the earth under great heat and pressure. The tails of comets are composed mainly of carbon and hydrogen gases. Lacking oxygen, they do not burn in flight, but the inflammable gases, passing through an atmosphere containing oxygen, will be set on fire, binding all the oxygen available at the moment. The descent of a sticky fluid which came earthward and blazed with heavy smoke is recalled in the oral and written traditions of the inhabitants of both hemispheres.

Popol-Vuh, the sacred book of the Mayas, narrates "People were drowned in a sticky substance raining from the sky .. and then there was a great din of fire above their heads". The entire population of the land was annihilated. A similar account is preserved in the Annals of Cuauhtitlan. The age which ended in the rain of fire was called "the sun of fire-rain"

In Siberia, the Voguls carried down through the centuries and millennia this memory. "God sent a sea of fire upon the earth. In the East Indies, the aboriginal tribes relate that in the remote past "water of fire" rained from the sky. With very few exceptions, all men died. The (Egyptian) papyrus Ipuwer describes this consuming fire. "Gates, columns, and walls are consumed by fire. The sky is in confusion". The papyrus says that this fire almost exterminated mankind.

Earthquake, pages 62-65

The reason why the Israelite were more fortunate than the Egyptians probably lies in the kind of material of which their dwellings were constructed. Occupying a marshy district and working on clay, the captives must have lived in huts made of clay and reeds, which are more resilient than brick and stone. In Mexican annals, during a catastrophe accompanied by hurricane and earthquake, only the people who lived in small log cabins remained uninjured. The larger buildings were swept away. They found that those who lived in small houses had escaped, as well as the newly married couples, whose custom it was to live for a few years in cabins in front of those of their fathers-in-law.

Exodus (12:29) states "Forsooth. The children of princes are dashed against the walls .. the children of princes are cast out in the streets". The population fled. Ipuwer wrote "Men flee .. tents are what they make, like the dwellers of hills". The population of a city destroyed by an earthquake usually spends the nights in the fields.

This happened on the night of the 14th of the month of Aviv. (Exodus 12:6 and 13:4) This is the night of Passover, as the Israelites originally celebrated Passover on the eve of the 14th of Aviv. (Where) the Hebrews counted, and still count, the beginning of the day from sunset, the Egyptians reckoned from sunrise. For the Egyptians it was the 13th day. Here we have the answer to the open question concerning the origin of the superstition which regards the number 13, and especially the 13th day, as unlucky and inauspicious. (There is no) record of this belief found dating from before the Exodus.

The Tide, pages 70-75

The slowing down or stasis of the earth in its rotation would cause a tidal recession of water toward the poles, but the celestial body near by would disturb this poleward recession, drawing the water toward itself. The traditions of many peoples persist that seas were torn apart and their water heaped high and thrown upon the continents.

The traditions of the people of Peru tell that for a period of time the sun was not in the sky, and then the ocean left the shore and with a terrible din broke over the continent. The Choctaw Indians of Oklahoma relate: "The earth was plunged in darkness for a long time". Finally a dark light appeared in the north, "but it was mountain-high waves, rapidly coming nearer". According to the Lapland epic, after the sea- wall fell on the continent, gigantic waves continued to roll and dead bodies were dashed about in the dark waters.

The Hebrew story of the passage of the sea (relates that) the bottom of the sea was uncovered, the waters were driven apart and heaped up like walls in a double tide. The Sepuagint translation of the Bible says that the water stood "as a wall", and the Koran, referring to this event, says "like mountains". In the old rabbinical literature it is said that the water was suspended as if it were "Glass, solid and massive".

The Hurricane, page 67-69

Manuscript Troano and other documents of the Mayas describe a cosmic catastrophe during which the ocean fell on the continent, and a terrible hurricane swept the earth. The hurricane broke up and carried away all towns and all forests. A wild tornado moved through the debris descending from the sky. The end of the world was brought by Hurakan. From this name is derived hurricane, the word we use for a strong wind.

The theme of the cosmic hurricane is reiterated time and again in the Hindu Vedas and in the Persian Avesta. The 11th tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh says that 6 days and a night the hurricane, deluge, and tempest continued sweeping the land and mankind perished almost altogether. The Maoris narrate that amid a stupendous catastrophe the mighty winds, the fierce squalls, the clouds, dense, dark, fiery, wildly drifting, wildly bursting, rushed on creation, ... and swept away giant forests and lashed the waters into billows whose crests rose high like mountains.

The Polynesians celebrate a god, Taafanua. In Arabic, Tyfoon is a whirlwind and Tufan is the Deluge; and the same word occurs in Chinese as Ty-fong. It appears as though the noise of the hurricane was .. not unlike the name Typhon.