He who makes kittens put snakes in the grass
-Jethro Tull, Bungle in the Jungle
There is a prevailing sense of doom in the air. From the dearth of avocados in the lead-up to Cinco de Mayo to the rising cost of bacon because pig fever epidemic, the nearness of the End seems to be quickening. Don’t look now, but in the wee hours of Tuesday, April 15th, a lunar eclipse will occur in such a fashion that will paint the moon a rusty hue of red. It is known as a “blood moon” when the earth’s atmosphere distorts the light of the sun reflecting off the moon to create the bloodiness. Now dig this: the next four lunar eclipses all happen to be blood moons. For apocalyptics looking for signs from above, this does not portend well. For doomsday capitalists, though, business is booming.
Search Amazon for “blood moon” and you will find three different books detailing the same basic plot points: four blood moons (what astronomers call a “Tetrad”) occurring over four Jewish holidays is not just eerie, it is historically profound. In the past, according to the snake-oil salesmen of this doomsday du jour, four blood moons falling on Jewish feast days have occurred alongside the beginning of the Inquisition (kicking Jews out of Spain), the 1948 creation of Israel and the 1967 capturing of Jerusalem by Israel in the 6 Day War. What Goliathian event must await the world with this pending tetrad of four blood moons beginning with April 15th?
Allow me to reintroduce Cyrus Lee Hancock, a gentleman scoundrel who I’ve outed as a charlatan in the past. After swindling his fanatic followers with his doomsday insurance for the anti-climactic 2012 Maya Apocalypse, he and his wife (affectionately called by locals, “the Princess Di of Oviedo”) were forced to flee Florida for the Appalachian comforts of Tennessee where Cyrus Lee was born again as a preaching man. He too has picked up on the blood moon hysteria and is selling his doomsday insurance and hosting parties (his wife, Layla Santana Crow, is planning each extravagant bout of revelry). While Cyrus Lee is not taking my call, I knew I could lure one of his henchmen out of the wilderness to discuss the Blood Moon Prophecy in more detail.
Finding Rufus Holdsworth is no easy ordeal. He lives off the grid like the neighborhood tomcat that keeps knocking up your pet and stealing the coffee grinds out of your garbage. For me, I knew which disillusioned housewife was laying scraps outside her window for the tomcat, so I dropped him a message vis-à-vis her. As expected, Rufus showed his weathered and wizened mug at my suggested burger joint in Longwood, Fla an hour late. He was excitable, showing pictures of the paw prints of a Florida Panther he had been tracking in the scrub brush while drinking bottles of Corona with an expediency suggesting he expected the heavens to ignite with a nuclear mushroom cloud at any moment. Which he did. Expect. At any moment. Luckily for me, he was willing to answer questions in his fleeting time.
“Hancock saw how much money these fat preachers were making off of their ‘four moon’ books and his initial thought was to put out a ‘five moon’ book.” Rufus Holdsworth informed me. “Y’know, what is worse than four blood moons? Five blood moons.”
How could that possibly work when astronomers know there will only be four in a row?
“He argued we don’t need to convince the science boffins and space wonks, we only need to convince the doomsday crowd.” Rufus explained, as he reached for another bottle of Corona, sticking in a slice of lime before overturning the beer and toasting, “First one today. Hancock knows he will never convert skeptics like yourself, but he doesn’t need to. There are enough lemmings waiting to take the bait. I was able to talk him down from five blood moons to the four, but it might not have mattered.”
How so? You cannot peddle complete lies.
“This is where you are wrong.” Rufus informed me as he scrutinized the beer wench. “She has kind eyes. So… Vic, here’s the thing, man, people do not take new evidence and change their opinions. They take whichever new evidence supports their moral objective and ignore everything else. You know this, dude. If someone believes global warming is a left-wing conspiracy, they will ignore every scientific fact while grabbing a hold of an irrelevant blizzard in Atlanta to prove the world is not getting warmer. You do not convince people with facts, you convince people by playing upon their predetermined moral objectives. If you have people desperate to have the return of Jesus to end their misery, and cousin let me tell you there are scores of theses lunatics about, then they will believe anything you present that suggests their dreams of Armageddon are about to come true.”
There is no point in trying to reason with them?
“No! What did I just tell you? Reason is but bricks used to rationalize their preconceived notions of a wall. They take the bricks of reason that helps build the wall they want, they ignore the facts that will not support the wall. This is new neuroscience stuff, man. Scientists are finding reason is only a tool used to prove what people want to believe.”
Blood Moon Prophecy is selling, but could there be something to it?
“Sure, search the Bible and you will find passages about moons turning to blood and stars falling out of the sky, so yeah, there might be something to it.”
The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
– Joel 2:31, King James Bible
What about the Jewish feast day coincidence? Is there something to that?
Rufus Holdsworth pulled his jowls out of a cheeseburger and spoke while moving the clump of food into his chipmunk cheek. “’Ere’s what you got to know…” He chewed and swallowed a chunk big enough to give me heartburn. “The Hebrews are an ancient race and like many pre-Christian peoples, their calendar is based off of the moon and not the sun. This is why their holidays float around so much; there are more than 12 moon cycles in a year. Ancient calendars wouldn’t have just a leap day every four years; they would need a leap month to catch up. Ironically, Cyrus Lee Hancock was born on a leap day on a blood moon and he doesn’t hesitate to capitalize on that shit. It’s on his fucking resume.”
What do lunar calendars have to do with anything?
Rufus Holdsworth gulped the remnants of his Corona and winked the barkeep over. She arrived all smiles and blue eyes. He saddened his expression, “It’s damn hot in here. If you can’t drop the air conditioning a couple of degrees, I might have to take off my shirt.” She teased him something about no shirt, no shoes, no service. Rufus was adamant with his douche-bag grin, “You and I both know I’d still get service.”
After a few finger-snaps, I redirected Rufus’s attention. What do lunar calendars have to do with anything?
“The Blood Moon myth is based off of the coincidence there are four straight blood moons on Jewish feast days. Jewish holidays are based on lunar cycles, so there is a high chance they occur on a full moon. You can’t have an eclipse without a full moon and 1 out of every 6 eclipses just so happen to occur on a Jewish Holiday.”
So it isn’t a coincidence?
“Not so much.”
Two similarities is a coincidence. Three similarities is a conspiracy. Four blood moons is the end of the world as we know it.
– Cyrus Lee Hancock
What about the history described by the prophecy pushers?
Rufus spoke to the bartender in the gray tank-top instead of responding to me. “Hey, so do you have any roommates?” The bartender smiled quizzically as she admitted she did have roommates. “Will they mind if I shower at your place? I’ve been camping for the last month and could use a good scrub.” The girl was closer to 20 than 30, but she didn’t mind they grayed temples of Rufus’s wild mane or his middle-aged sunburnt smile. Her gasp of startle was filled with enough delight to qualify as approval, though she said little else. I told myself I wasn’t envious of Rufus and the coquetry on display as his object of desire sauntered away. I snapped my fingers to recapture his attention.
WHAT ABOUT THE HISTORY?
“Bollocks.” He admitted before saluting his bottle of beer, “First one today. First of all, these preachers talk about three tetrads that occur on Jewish holidays (tetrads are four consecutive blood moons). There has been more than just those three significant tetrads, but the spares do not have any historical significance, so they are ignored. So these blood moon preachers are already fucking with the data, eliminating inconsequential detail to improve their statistics. You follow? Yeah? So what of the three tetrads they do bring up? Three tetrads that have been important to the Jewish people?
“First they reference the Spanish Inquisition, which began in 1478. There was a royal decree in 1492 to expel from Spain any Jew that did not convert to Christianity. Well, the fucking blood moons don’t even start until April of 1493. If the blood moons are some sort of warning to the Jewish people, the Almighty was a little late to the party. While we are on the subject, if these blood moons were supposed to be this great warning, why weren’t there any before the Holocaust? Might’ve been handy to have then, right? Fucking Nazis.”
I once saw Rufus Holdsworth fight a Holocaust denier at a tailgate party before a football game. Rufus not only walloped the denier with a half-eaten turkey leg, he disposed of the imbecile in a portable toilet box. The home team Citronauts won on that day. No word on the denier.
What of the other historical blood moon tetrads?
“I won’t call her.” Rufus spoke about the barkeep. He scowled an admission, “I have chiggers and my junk is all jacked-up. I mean, it isn’t scabbies or herpes or anything, but my junk is all itchy and red. I can barely sleep at night.”
I had been there. Have you tried applying meat tenderizer?
“The other historical blood moon tetrads being referenced are the nationalizing of Israel in 1948 and the 6-Day War of 1967 when Israel took back Jerusalem. Here is the thing: the first blood moon of the 40’s was in 1949 and the other tetrad didn’t begin until 10 months after the 6-Day War ended. What sort of warning is that? If we are really using history to predict blood moon prophecy, then we need to find out what happens before the blood moons begin. Since the blood moons begin on Tuesday, what the fuck just happened that is significant?”
Russia invaded the Ukraine. A Malaysian flight disappeared into the Indian Ocean. David Letterman announced his retirement.
“Right, so there you have it.” Rufus Holdsworth leaned over his empty plate towards the barmaid, “We’ll take the check. Put it on his card. Hey… do you have any calamine lotion at home?”