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Super Blood Wolf Moon over Washington

Updated: Jan 25, 2019

I am reliably informed that any connection between the moon and lunacy is purely etymological[i][ii] and yet the so-called Super Blood Wolf Moon of 2019 seems to have drawn out the loonies. These are not just your run-of-the-mill astrological loonies, such as the official sounding Dr. Athena Perrakis whose talk of new creative opportunities assures the success of this first blog post,[iii] but also your far more frightening apocalyptical loonies, foremost of which is the wonderfully deranged Paul Begley.

Paul Begley

Begley, an internet evangelist who has been repeatedly featured on the pages of the Express over the last few years, makes a decent living peddling apocalyptic prophesies on YouTube.[iv] Past portents have included mass animal deaths,[v] lakes of blood,[vi] zombieism,[vii] and the mythical planet Nibiru.[viii] So it’s perhaps not surprising that he has also jumped on the blood moon bandwagon, indeed not even slightly surprising considering that he’s done it multiple times before, including twice in 2018.[ix][x][xi]

John Hagee

This particular band wagon apparently set off in 2013 with the Blood Moon Prophecy. This prophecy, taking its inspiration from those passage in the bible which talk of the moon turning to blood, claimed a set of four total lunar eclipses in 2014-2015 signalled the end times. Despite critics pointing out that tetrads such as this weren’t particularly uncommon,[xii] the prophecy was popularised by the likes of Pastor John Hagee,[xiii] whose book on the topic reached number 4 on the New York Times best-seller list in the “advice/how to” section.[xiv] That particular tetrad, in case you’re wondering, came and went without the prophecy being fulfilled, but the apocalyptic blood moon was seemingly cemented into both online popular culture in and Begley’s repertoire.

Melania Trump

The Blood Moon Prophecy isn’t Begley’s only bandwagon, he has repeatedly attempted to link himself and his prophecies with President Trump. In one interview, in which he was falsely titled a White House pastor, he claimed that First Lady Melania Trump had ordered an exorcism of Obama’s demons from the White House before taking up residence.[xv] In another he trumpeted his support for Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel,[xvi] which again is believed to be a sign of the end of days.[xvii][xviii] It was, in hindsight, just a matter of time before he found a way to link the two.

Paul Begley

So it is that the Super Blood Wolf Moon provides the impetus for Begley’s magnum opus; here comes the science bit. Trump’s birth on June 14, 1946 coincided with a Blood Moon and was exactly 700 days before the Israeli Declaration of Independence on 14 May 1948, the Embassy of the United States of America in Jerusalem was opened on May 14, 2018, the 70th anniversary of that declaration, following it’s relocation from Tel Aviv by Trump, and the Super Blood Wolf Moon will appear over Washington on the second anniversary of Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017.[xix][xx] A web of connections so random that they don’t even warrant being dismissed as coincidences, and yet when connected to an evocative name like Super Blood Wolf Moon they apparently seem compelling.

Pergigee/Apogee Moon comparison

The term Supermoon, which provides the first part of that name, has, since being coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979, been begrudgingly accepted in astronomical circles over the slightly less snappy Perigee Syzygy Moon.[xxi] It describes when a full or new moon is within 90 percent of its closest approach to Earth on its elliptical orbit,[xxii] although there still seems to be disagreements as to how that is measured.[xxiii] This is fairly common with two more coming, after this one, in 2019 alone[xxiv] and, while it can result in the moon appearing 14% bigger and 30% brighter,[xxv] is unlikely to appear any different to the average viewer, without a frame of reference.


Blood Moon was, as previously mentioned, popularised by Hagee and others after 2013,[xxvi] presumably because they realised they’d sound silly making apocalyptic prophesies about what is, in actuality, a lunar eclipse. The name comes from the reddish-hue given to the moon during a total lunar eclipse when the Moon’s surface is illuminated by sunlight filtered and refracted through the Earths atmosphere.[xxvii] This is just one of many ways the biblical passages about the Moon turning to blood could be read, as atmospheric conditions and dust also have a similar effect.[xxviii] Lunar eclipses are fairly common with two more to come in 2019,[xxix] however the next total eclipse won’t be until 2021 and the next one featuring a Supermoon won’t be until sometime later.[xxx]


Finally, Wolf Moon comes from The Old Farmer’s Almanac, allegedly based on Native American terminology for the first full moon of the year, so called because the howling of wolves was heard more at his time.[xxxi] This etymology has been disputed, with claims that the name may be Anglo-Saxon in origin,[xxxii] and the term does not seem to be commonly used by astronomers.

Paul Begley

In conclusion, a return to etymology, where we began, reveals a hodgepodge of dubious sources behind the term Super Wolf Blood Moon that gives far more prestige to Begley’s prophecy than it deserves. Without this sensational set of pre-modifiers to sell his story, the jumble of random connections Begley pulled together would have been pretty quickly dismissed, even by a paper of such integrity as the Express. I can only conclude therefore by echoing the plea of science writer Ryan F. Mandelbaum for us to stop making /ʃɪt/ up![xxxiii]

[i] (Kelly, Rotton, & Culver, 1985)

[ii] (Arkowitz & Lilienfeld , 2009)

[iii] (Markarian, n.d.)

[iv] (Paul Begley, n.d.)

[v] (Adams, 2011)

[vi] (Barrick, 2011)

[vii] (Farley, 2015)

[viii] (Sutherland , 2018)

[ix] (Naish, 2018)

[x] (Evans, 2018)

[xi] (Rousseau, 2018)

[xii] (Weise, 2014)

[xiii] (Pulliam Bailey, 2014)

[xiv] (Awford & Tahir, 2019)

[xv] (Emery, 2018)

[xvi] (Berkowitz, 2017)

[xvii] (Burston , 2017)

[xviii] (Sengupta, 2017)

[xix] (Keach, 2018)

[xx] (Klett, 2019)

[xxi] (Todd, 2016)

[xxii] (Byrd, 2018)

[xxiii] (McClure, 2018)

[xxiv] (McClure & Byrd, 2019)

[xxv] (Phillips, 2011)

[xxvi] (McClure & Byrd, 2019)

[xxvii] (Weaver, 2015)

[xxviii] (Hignett, 2019)

[xxix] (McClure, 2019)

[xxx] (Lang, 2018)

[xxxi] (Full Moon for January 2019, n.d.)

[xxxii] (January: Wolf Moon, n.d.)

[xxxiii] (Mandelbaum, 2018)


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Kelly, I., Rotton, J., & Culver, R. (1985). The Moon Was Full and Nothing Happened. Retrieved from Skeptical Inquirer:

Klett, L. M. (2019, January 19). Pastor claims upcoming 'blood moon' is 'sign' we're living in 'the last days'. Retrieved from Christian Post:

Lang, C. (2018, July 26). Americans Can't See Tonight's Lunar Eclipse. Here's When the Next Lunar Eclipse Will Be Visible in the U.S. Retrieved from Time:

Mandelbaum, R. F. (2018, December 28). 'Super Blood Wolf Moon?' Now We're Just Making Shit Up. Retrieved from Gizmodo:

Markarian, T. (n.d.). The Zodiac Signs the Blood Moon Will Affect the Most. Retrieved from Reader's Digest:

McClure, B. (2018, December 2). Will December’s full moon be a supermoon? Retrieved from Earth & Sky:

McClure, B. (2019, January 4). Dates of solar and lunar eclipses in 2019. Retrieved from Earth & Sky:

McClure, B., & Byrd, D. (2019, January 1). How many supermoons in 2019? Retrieved from Earth & Sky:

McClure, B., & Byrd, D. (2019, January 9). What’s a Blood Moon? Retrieved from Earth & Sky:

Naish, J. (2018, July 26). Doom-mongers warn that it means the end of the world. Retrieved from Mail Online:

Paul Begley. (n.d.). Retrieved from Social Blade:

Phillips, T. (2011, March 16). Super Full Moon. Retrieved from NASA Science:

Pulliam Bailey, S. (2014, April 15). Blood moon' sets off apocalyptic debate among some Christians. Retrieved from Washington Post:

Rousseau, M. (2018, July 24). Lunar eclipse blood moon July 2018: Is it the end of the world this time? Retrieved from Metro New York:

Sengupta, K. (2017, December 8). The real reason Trump declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel was because he feared losing his evangelical voter base. Retrieved from Independent:

Sutherland , S. (2018, April 23). Despite what you've heard, the world is NOT ending today. Retrieved from The Weather Network:

Todd, I. (2016, November 11). Supermoon or super hype? Retrieved from Sky at Night Magazine:

Weaver, M. (2015, September 28). All you need to know about the 'blood moon'. Retrieved from The Guardian:

Weise, E. (2014, April 12). Blood moon eclipse on April 15 is a special event. Retrieved from USA Today:

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