People did not always know what comets were. In ancient times, people thought comets were "power rays" of supernatural beings. They thought comets contained fire because they were so bright in the sky.

 

 
 

 

Some people in ancient times thought that a comet was a curse. To save himself from the "curse of the comet," Emperor Nero of Rome had all possible successors to his throne executed.

 

 
   
 

 

In 1910, people panicked when a comet passed through Earthís path around the Sun. In Chicago, people sealed their windows to protect themselves from the cometís poisonous tail. Others committed suicide. Special "Comet Protecting Umbrellas," gas masks, and "anti-comet pills" were sold.

 

 
 

 

Not everyone saw comets as bad luck. Some thought they brought good luck. They also believed that comets carried angels through the heavens.