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History and Folklore Podcast

Jun 13, 2021

For thousands of years people have watched the Aurora Borealis with awe, fear and wonder and told stories to explain what created them. 

In this episode we look into the tales of whales and frozen swans, fires and lamps, valkyries and the spirits of the dead to see how people in the past understood the Northern Lights. 



Aurora Zone, 'Mythology of the Northern Lights'

Francis Celoria, 'The Alleged Dark Segment in Aurora Borealis Displays', Journal of the British Astronomical Association, Vol. 78, pp.129-132 (1968).

Harald Falck-Ytter, 'Aurora: The Northern Lights in Mythology, History and Science' (1999).

Lapland: Above Ordinary, 'Dark Side of the Auroras: Legends and Myths'

Musei Vaticani, 'Prophet Ezekiel'

Nasa, 'The History of the Borealis' (2006)

Richard Barber, 'Bestiary MS Bodley 764' (1999).

Royal Museums Greenwich, 'What Causes the Northern Lights'

Simon Hughes, 'Aurora Borealis: The Folklore of the Northern Lights' (2009)

The Viking Answer Lady, 'The Aurora Borealis and the Vikings'