Hey, Kid! C'mere! I won't hurt you! I have candy......
Let's start with a warning: If you ever see me on the street, and I tell you I have candy, DO NOT follow me. While I will actually have candy, it's all black licorice.
Well, not really. I'll have plenty of good candy as well, but that's for me. I only give away black licorice. Because I hate people. Especially candy moochers. Which is why I'm never home on Halloween. Sure, I buy tons of candy, but then I leave before the moochers come around asking for it. That way, more candy for me! And isn't Halloween all about getting candy?
Charlie Sheen might call me a winner. I would have to give him some Purple Nurples for insulting me......
Hey kiddies, guess what day it is! It's Made Up Monday! I lay down a story and you tell me if it's true or false.
Today we're going to focus on something that's been in the news a lot; Ebola.
I'm not going to spin a tale about how the Nazi's researched it's use as a biological weapon, or how Cortez brought it with his conquistadors to the Americas and wiped out the Aztec, or how it caused the Clovis civilization to fall.
And why won't I do that? Because, anyone who knows anything about ebola knows it didn't show up until 1976.
At least, that was the first time it was isolated as a virus.
We can be certain that it's been around a lot longer than 1976, though. The question is, how long, though.
And that's why I'm here. To tell you all about this hemorrhagic fever and the first time it wiped out masses of people. You get to decide if I'm telling you the truth or pulling your leg.
DATELINE ATHENS, 430 BCE
The Peloponnesian War is in it's second year. Things are looking good for Athens. The Spartans and their Dorian cousins are having a tough time against the Athenians and their Ionian kinfolk. This is not something the Spartans are accustomed to. Sparta is, well...Sparta! But Athens is tough. They are the city-state that is large and in charge of the Mediterranean.
A sailor in Athens main port coughed. Then a second one did as well. Within a few days, all work at the port had shut down. All the workers were too sick to do their jobs. The rulers of Athens said "Uh-oh...".
Within a week, the sickness had spread. The dock workers gave it to their neighbors and to shop keepers, who in turn spread it further until there wasn't a safe place in Athens.
Word quickly spread: "There's a plague in Athens!"
Too bad the plague didn't stay in Athens. It spread all around the Aegean and Mediterranean. By the time it burned it's self out, hundreds of thousands were dead. The lucky ones who survived carried the scars the plague left.
But it wasn't over yet. It resurfaced in 429 and also in 427, although it didn't kill as many people in those outbreaks. People had learned to recognize the first signs of the disease and could take the needed steps.
So, what was this plague? For a long time, historians thought it was Typhus. But they don't think so anymore.
There has been extensive studies of the Athens Plague, and going by the symptoms and the way it presented it's self, the consensus is, the Plague of Athens was actually ebola. Everything we know about ebola today, from the way it spreads, to the way it affects people to the petechia it shows on the skin, is exactly how the people in Athens described their plague.
So my faithful followers, am I lying? Or was ebola the reason most of Athens died 2,500 years ago? Which, by the way, allowed the Spartans and their allies win the Peloponnesian War.