2 Sept 1859: The Carrington Event

On this date, 2 September 1859 your planet was struck by a massive solar storm which caused the Carrington Event.

Read about it.  A powerful solar wind struck the Earth.  The “Northern Lights” were visible in the Caribbean.  You could read by them at night.  Telegraph wires melted.

Life was not affected much at that time, because so few things used electricity.

But, today?

One of these days, once again, there will be a huge coronal mass ejection from your planet’s yellow star that strikes your planet square on.  The result will be a vast electromagnetic pulse which fries almost all your electronic stuff.  You will be plunged in an instant back to something like the 19th century.  Within months, the larger part of the world’s population would probably be dead in the horrifying aftermath.

Will you have what it takes to survive?

On the other hand, perhaps there will be nuclear attacks that cause EMPs, or perhaps there will be a pandemic or other natural events which brings down the world’s economy, resulting in much the same.

Here are a few books you can try out, just to scare the stuffing out of you.

Lights Out by David Crawford

One Second After by William R. Forstchen (a sequel – One Year After)

Dark Grid by David. C. Waldron

The following isn’t a CME/EMP scenario, but the effects are in many respects the same.

Patriots by James Wesley Rawles.

It is really good to think about these things, especially if you are responsible for others.
Something for you hams out there to think about, too.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Global Killer Asteroid Questions, Look! Up in the sky!, Semper Paratus, TEOTWAWKI, The Coming Storm and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Maybe this event should make it into our US. and World History text books. Periodically I pose the question to students, “How would you cope if there were, suddenly, no computer, no internet, no phone?”

  2. LeeGilbert says:

    There have been a couple of times in the past ten years when our vulnerability to disaster from a variety of directions has loomed very large in my mind. It seemed to me that since we have a pantry in our apartment, it would simply be foolish not to stock it with a year’s worth of food. But as we began to build that reserve, there was a very big glitch in our income. Honestly, I felt as if my knuckles were being rapped for my lack of trust in God’s Providence.

    The same sort of thing happened, by way of confirmation, a few years later.

    Only recently the gurus I follow were suggesting that we have cash on hand in case of a credit collapse and the banks close, so I had an envelope with x amount of cash in it in our cabinet. A month or two later I was in a fender bender, clearly my fault, and to avoid filing a claim I paid out cash from the envelope, about two thirds of it. So to me at least, the truly prudent thing to do is simply to trust in the Lord for all eventualities. “Sufficient for the day are the troubles thereof.”

    Nevertheless, as newspaper editors know, people like to be scared. Me too, but since I am too old for horror movies to get my circulation going I will read a disaster book from time to time.

    [“But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into.”]

  3. JTH says:

    Based on people who study such things, a global pandemic is way overdue.

  4. mo7 says:

    Ted Koeppel’s book Lights Out discusses the same but as the result of cyberattack. He said the police in major cities spend the first few days just getting people out of elevators.

  5. JonPatrick says:

    It wouldn’t even take a malicious attack. Many of our systems that we rely on have grown more complex and dependent on computer software to function. The complexity has grown to the point where no one person can grasp how the system works. For example there was a recent crisis where the 911 system in several cities suddenly stopped accepting calls. It took almost a day to find the problem which turned out to be a bug in the software. There was also the recent problem with the 737 MAX airplanes where the computer system was sending out false indication that the plane was in a stall. The complexity of these systems offers many benefits but they come at a price, that being we no longer can understand them. Unfortunately we are going to see more of this in the future.

  6. Glennonite says:

    Good books. I can also recommend the, Heading Home series by A. American as a good primer on the ‘first days’ progression of new problems after the power goes off.

  7. Sonshine135 says:

    William R. Forstchen did one last book called The Last Day as well. They were all a pretty good read.

  8. Semper Gumby says:

    A few thoughts on a post-catastrophe situation, whether from CME, nuclear war, global pandemic, etc.

    Catholic, not merely “c”atholic, monasteries and seminaries will be important for recovery.

    No contact for an extended period of time with the Roman Pontiff, who might not be in Rome, is likely.

    Morale and social cohesion will be strengthened by the TLM, Latin, the Bible and Catechism, the 1962 Missal, Adoration, the Catholic calendar (Feast Days, Ember Days), and weakened by liturgical improvisation.

    Aggravating the grave health and security situation, there will likely be a lack of credible news beyond a twenty-mile radius or so.

    Important technology skills are likely to be: generating electricity, maintaining radios and antennas, and making gunpowder.

    The ability to get along with most Protestants, to view them as allies or at least co-belligerents against the barbarians, will likely be important.

    Practical knowledge of military operations, agriculture, construction, metal-tipped plows, horse collars, and three- or four-field rotation will be valuable.

    Cultural choices (leisure time will be limited) such as Tolkien over Harry Potter, musical instruments over rap, the U.S. Constitution over the Communist Manifesto, and Paul Johnson’s History of the American People over Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States will be important.

    Different countries will recover at different rates. Different regions within a country will recover at different rates than other regions in the same country.

    Water routes, generally speaking, are faster, cheaper, and safer than overland routes. In the U.S. the region where the Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri rivers meet could be valuable for river traffic and several other reasons. Though, the New Madrid Fault could deliver a sharp setback to recovery. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

    Military bases, depending on their individual situation, could serve as “lilypads” to recovery.

    Prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance, faith, hope, charity, patience.

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