(WATCH) Sky over China turns blood red sparking apocalyptic fears of end days

Videos on the internet show the sky over the port city of Zhoushan, China turning a deep red on Saturday.

The audio recorded panicked residents shouting in alarm. The phenomenon’s cause was not immediately known, leading to much speculation ranging from natural causes to the mystical.

The Zhoushan Meteorological Bureau blamed the foggy weather and lights from ships:

“When weather conditions are good, more water in the atmosphere forms aerosols which refract and scatter the light of fishing boats and create the red sky seen by the public,” the bureau said in a statement.

Officials in the area also confirmed that no fire was reported in the port city at that time.

Other amateur online opinions suggested that the red sky was caused by particulate matter from the eruption of the submarine Tonga Volcano that lasted for four weeks in December-January. Preliminary data indicate that the event was probably the largest volcanic eruption in the 21st century. The eruption generated deadly tsunamis in New Zealand, Japan, the United States, the Russian Far East, Chile, and Peru, but no aerial disturbances were reported. 

China Aquatic Products Zhoushan Marine Fisheries Co. suggested that emissions from one of their boats that was harvesting Pacific saury may have been to blame.

Some researchers noted that such a red sky was reported in palace diaries and other historical documents from East Asia from almost 300 years ago.  Historians note that on September 10, 1770, the skies above China, Korea and Japan began to glow an eerie red, and remained so for eight more nights.  A 2017 article in Live Science  reported that researchers attributed the phenomenon to a giant magnetic storm.  Geomagnetic storms occur when solar eruptions hit Earth’s magnetosphere, the shell of electrically charged particles trapped by Earth’s magnetic field. If such a massive magnetic storm were to hit Earth now, researchers said it could wreak havoc on power grids around the planet. 

Fortunately, this did not seem to be the cause, as no power grid disturbances were reported. According to the observation records, an expert from the space physics research team of the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan told the media that solar and geomagnetic activity on Saturday was calm, and there were no significant anomalies in solar activity.

As startled residents looked to the blood-red heavens, speculation on Chinese social media websites, Weibo and Sina suggested that it was a bad omen over the country’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

China is officially n atheist state, but the government formally recognizes five religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Islam, with varying degrees of religious tolerance. Since ancient times, the Chinese have worshipped their ancestors in a cult that has remained alive up to the present day as many homes maintain an altar. China is traditionally pagan, and idols are common in all of the ancient temples. 

Such speculation has been made in the past as China is frequently hit with sky-based “omens.” In 2021, Beijing was entirely engulfed in clouds three times in the space of five weeks.

In May 2020, Beijing was hit with a “plague of darkness” that was attributed to a combination of stormy weather and Beijing’s notorious smog. 

Similarly, on June 4th, 2013, air pollution generated a similar blackout. The “plague of darkness preceded the most important political event of the year when the Chinese Parliament convened to discuss COVID. The darkness hit on the anniversary of the forcible suppression of the student-led Tiananmen Square protests. 

In April of 2021,  Beijing was entirely engulfed in dust clouds three times in the span of five weeks, turning the skies dark. China is one of the countries most severely jeopardized by dust-sand storms and desertification, with about one million square miles of desertified land equalling about 27.9% of the country’s landmass.  Studies point to the cause as deforestation and soil erosion which are indirect effects of the nation’s booming population.