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| Putting the psycho in|
|Men who stare at goats|
|By the powers of tinfoil|
|—Penn Jillette, Penn & Teller: Bullshit!|
Michel de Nostredame (1503—1566), usually latinised as Nostradamus (and known to skeptics as Nostradumbass), was a sixteenth-century French astrologer and scholar who is best remembered for making predictions about world events.
As with all visionaries, his success rate has been perfect in hindsight. This is mostly due to the fact that he wrote his predictions in a mixture of his native French, Greek, Italian, Latin, and Provençal and kept them so vague that they can be shoehorned to fit nearly any set of events.
The end of the world
Some predictions by Nostradamus suggested that the world would end in 1999. Obviously, that didn't happen. Then, some Nostradamus supporters suggested it would be in 2012, which obviously didn't happen either. And they wanted you to pay for the news...which itself is a pretty good indication that they didn't expect the end of the world, or why would money be important to them?
Available as a Book Download ($14.95) or Softcover ($19.95)!
Up until 1991 (when the USSR broke up) Nostradamus's books supposedly "predicted" a war between the United States and Soviet Union. None of them predicted the breakup of the Soviet Union. Cecil Adams, himself no slouch as a seer, put it best: "Nostradamus did for bullshit what Stonehenge did for rocks."
Modern websites such as Nostradamus Predictions actively discuss current world events, predictions, the end of the world, war and antichrist predictions.
Much of Nostradamus fame is based on predictions which he never really made. At least four forgeries bearing his name are known, with various publishers claiming to have found "new" material.
The original printer was unwilling to start in the middle of a "Century" (i.e., a book of 100 verses) because the work was published in three installments, the last fifty-eight quatrains of which — the seventh "Century" — do not exist in any extant edition, making it even easier to claim that "new" material has been found.
In some cases, parts from different actual quatrains were mixed together, forming brand new bullshit predictions.
Nostradamus Says So!
The Allies responded with their own forged Nostradamus predictions, some of which later made their way into the 1953 film, Nostradamus Says So!.
Try this at home
For example, see if you can make this Nostradamus quatrain correspond to something (anything, really):
The river that tries the new Celtic heir
Will be in great discord with the Empire:
The young Prince through the ecclesiastical people
Will remove the sceptre of the crown of concord.
No? How about this one?
In the sacred temples scandals will be perpetrated,
They will be reckoned as honors and commendations:
Of one of whom they engrave medals of silver and of gold,
The end will be in very strange torments.
He was the first to describe benzoic acid.
He may have been trying to criticize French royalty in a time when there was no freedom of the press. He wrote in a coded manner, so if royal agents were seeking to arrest him, he could claim that it was a prediction of the future instead of a criticism of the contemporary king. He may have never intended for anyone other than the secret police to think he was a prophet.
- 2012 apocalypse
- Failed biblical prophecies
- John Hogue
- Dennis Markuze (who refers to himself as the Nostradamian "Mabus")
- Baba Vanga
- Edgar Cayce
- List of predictions of the end of the world
- Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, episode S01E04, End of the World
- "King of Terror: 1999". Morgana's Observatory. 2006. http://www.dreamscape.com/morgana/1999.htm
- "The Nostradamus Code: World War III, 2009-2012." NostradamusOnline.com. 2009. http://www.nostradamusonline.com/?a=383
- "Nostradamus Predictions" NostradamusPredictions.org. 2014. http://nostradamuspredictions.org/
- Nostradamus' Recipe For Cherry Jelly
- QI — What Did Nostradamus Get Right?
- Nostradamus Says So! (Prophecies of Nostradamus)