It began much like the common cold. Yet within a day fever took over black swellings the size of baseballs appeared on the neck and finally a highly contagious bloody cough quickly sealed the victim's fate. During the worst biological disaster in the history of mankind the so-called black death released an indiscriminate fury which shook the very foundations of human order. Religious hysteria began to break out and in desperation frenzied masses scrambled to find a scapegoat. When all was said and done nearly one-third of Europe's population had been completely wiped out and devastated survivors were left to contend with a world forever changed both socially and economically. In this feature-length special THE HISTORY CHANNEL-® investigates the origins of this devastating moment in human history and explores the many questions surrounding the terrifying possibility of a modern-day biological threat..