from German Flugblatt from Sillok

Professor Yi Tae-Jin’s New Theory Explains “the Age of Superstition” in Europe with Sillok Records

Professor Yi Tae-Jin of Seoul National University, a noted historian and former president of the National Institute of Korean History, relates his stunning discovery about a peculiar period in European history as follows.

When Professor Yi visited Ottawa, Canada, he saw a painting displayed in one of its museums. He was stunned. The picture depicted exactly what he had read in one of the Sillok entries describing an abnormal atmospheric phenomenon. The Sillok refers to the Veritable Records of the Joseon Dynasty, daily records of the five hundred years of the Joseon period (1392-1897). Incredulous, he sought further information about this painting and how it came into being.

He found that the picture belongs to a large group of paintings created in the 16th through the 18th century mostly by German-speaking peoples (Germans, Swiss, Austrians, and such) who were horrified by an unprecedented surge in abnormal atmospheric phenomena, the likes of which they had never encountered before. This series of heavenly abnormalities occurred with “inexplicable” frequency in a period spanning roughly three centuries from 1490 to 1760, dates later to be corroborated by an unexpected source.

These terrifying celestial cacophonies were accompanied by a rapid and significant drop in temperature and thus in agricultural production for an extended period of time, which is now recognized in earth science as the “little ice age.” Such foreboding heavenly signs and a hostile and drastic climate change led to the distrust of, and then a violent rejection of, papacy. German Lutherans in particular, viewing those heavenly abnormalities as divine censure and fulfillments of biblical prophesies, played a major role in creating and disseminating the paintings as indictments against the Pope they condemned.

What is amazing is that those paintings, once instrumental in overthrowing the status quo, became largely forgotten by later generations and written off as mere signs of “the Age of Superstition” that was inexplicably obsessed with “imagined” heavenly disasters. This understanding of the times prevails to this day in historical circles within and without Europe—until, that is, Professor Yi researched portions of the Sillok records describing strange atmospheric phenomena that bear striking similarities to what are depicted in the European paintings created and widely circulated during “the Age of Superstition.”

As it turned out, the time frame of abnormal celestial activities observed and recorded by the Joseon observatory, now known to have been caused by a massive and sustained meteoric interference with the earthly atmosphere, matches the range in which the European paintings began, and then ceased, to be made. This unexpected corroboration strongly suggests that what is assumed to have been “imagined” by the 16th and 17th century Europeans was real and that the strange heavenly phenomena portrayed by the European paintings of the era indeed occurred although the exact depictions of them varied depending on how the painters interpreted what they saw.

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