Jun 29, 2020 I Paul Seaburn

Rare Red Rainbow Over England — Is it a Sign?

One would be hard-pressed to find a natural phenomena with more myths and symbolism associated with it than the rainbow. A welcome sight after a storm, a simple rainbow is a sign of better – or at least drier – things to come. It’s when the rainbow deviates from the norm that causes people to worry – both mythologically and meteorologically. That’s why an extremely rare red rainbow and a red dome seen recently over Birmingham, England, has people there wondering if 2020 is going to get worse or better … or if Stephen King is working on another movie.

"This is amazing, oh my God, I've never seen anything like it."

That’s the comment of Abigail Daisy Parkes, who recorded the red rainbow on June 13. The video (watch it here) was sent to the YouTube channel Disclose Screen 'The Grimreefar' where comments speculated on it being an effect of Nibiru or radiation caused by a hole in the ozone. While an appearance by Nibiru or Planet X would certainly be a sign of something (besides proving so many people wrong), could this appearance of one of the rarest of rare rainbows be a sign of something else?

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Double rainbow

The standard rainbow is an optical illusion nearly as common as the raindrops, fog, sea spray and other conditions that create it. Sunlight from behind the viewer hits the tiny droplets and is reflected and refracted into the standard color spectrum of light. The refracting also gives the light its ‘bow’. Variations include double (also triple and quadruple), fogbow, cloudbow, moonbow (all pretty self-explanatory) and the red or monochromatic. Meteorologists say red rainbows occur at sunrise or sunset and low in the sky. Because the light has to travel so far, only the long red waves make it through. The dome effect is merely a continuation of the reflection and refraction through the entire mist.

While most people see rainbows as a good thing (pot of gold, good luck, God’s promise to never cause another flood like Noah’s, seeing a deceased pet someday, etc.), there are plenty who see them as bad omens. A great one comes from Bulgaria, where some believe if you walk under a rainbow, you will change genders! Nicaraguans and Hondoruans see them as a sign of the devil and stay indoors long after a storm. Some in Japan see its resemblance to a snake as bad luck. The Old Farmer's Almanac Book of Lore warns pointing at a rainbow brings bad luck (uh-oh). Finally, some cultures see the different colors as separate stairs to heaven -- does this make the red dome over Birmingham a red slide that will keep them from getting to heaven?

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No gold or wrong end?


Maybe that slide was what Abigail Daisy Parkes was thinking about when she said this a few times while watching the red dome form over Birmingham. Fortunately, it eventually disappeared. On the other hand, the pot of gold was never there in the first place – the myth is based on a fable about a trick played by a leprechaun on a farmer and his wife in return for his freedom.

The slide at least sounds like more fun. Just don’t point at it.

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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