Jeanne Dixon had nothing on Nostradamus. The venerable tabloid supermarket sage only predicts the future a month at a time. Michel de Notredame (that’;s his full name) wrote upwards of 1,000 quatrains that told exactly what was going to happen from 1552 to the Apocalypse with baffling—no, make that disturbing—accuracy. Or is any guy who makes a bunch of predictions gonna hit at least a couple of them over 450 years?
For the record, Nostradamus was a 16th-century physician and astrologer praised for ministering to the afflicted during the plagues. It was for his writing, however, that he has become venerated. Nostradamus composed
The Way the Fortune Cookie Crumbles
Reality Check: The more vague the prediction, the more chance it has of coming true. Whether it’;s Nostradamus, the
What most often frustrates literalists about the predictions is that they are enigmatic to the point of confusion. The reason usually given is that Nostradamus was writing during the time of the Inquisition (“Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition”) and, had he been more explicit, he would have been toast. Additionally, he was foretelling the future with 16th-century French, which didn’;t have words for “computer” or “A-bomb.” Nevertheless, some of his predictions are startling (note: the following are out-of-context translations). Numerical references are to quatrains:
“Beasts ferocious with hunger will swim across rivers, the greater part of the army will be against Hister. The great one will cause him to be dragged in a cage of iron when the German infant observes no law” (2–24). This has been taken to predict the rise of Nazism and World War II and has stunned people by naming Hitler, almost
“The Antichrist will start uniting the monetary systems of his region to help merge them into a single political entity. His ambition to rule the world will be advanced by instituting a single currency with others going defunct” (1–40). What does this say about the Eurodollar and the consolidation of the European Union?
“Man will upset the balance of the earth and cause great changes in the climate and seasons, causing much hardship and famine” (2–95)
“A weapon detonated at night will cause victims to think they have seen the sun at night. The weapon produces a large explosion of light. In addition to vast climactic damage the weapon will produce monstrous birth defects in babies” (1–64). Sounds like thermonuclear weapons.
“The ransacking of the Vatican library by the Antichrist will bring to light and open to the world information, facts, and knowledge that had been suppressed for several centuries” (1–62). This Antichrist cuts both ways, however, revealing Nostradamus’;s suspicion of the Catholic Church
Nostradamus also made references in his quatrains to events that have been interpreted as the discoveries of microorganisms by Pasteur and of microchips. The advent of Watergate, AIDS, and even the
Nostradamus died on July 2, 1566. It would be a cheap shot to say that he died unexpectedly.
The Battle of Los Angeles
On February 23, 1942—10 weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor—panic spread through Southern California with the rumor that a Japanese submarine had been sighted just off Santa Barbara. Air raid sirens sounded, people went nuts, and before the city relaxed, “The Battle of Los Angeles” entered local lore.
What was not a hoax, however, was Executive Order 9066, which President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed on December 19, 1941, seizing the property of Japanese-Americans and confining them to domestic POW camps. Fifty years later, the U.S. government finally apologized and offered restitution to the survivors. Meanwhile, in 1979, the Battle of Los Angeles inspired the movie