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Nostradamus predictions are a HOAX
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- Subject: Nostradamus predictions are a HOAX
- From: Don Hosek <dhosek@QUIXOTE.COM>
- Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2001 07:53:11 -0500
- Message-Id: <200109131301.GAA19730@palimpsest.Stanford.EDU>
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I heard it first from my Dad yesterday, then it was read on the news.
And the language was all wrong for Nostradamus.
It's apparently getting widespread circulation, based on the fact that=20
http://www.snopes.com/ is currently overloaded, but the Nostradamus=20
prediction is a HOAX.
Let me repeat. IT IS NOT TRUE.
Here is the info from snopes.com. In the interests of trying to keep the=20
peace, I implore you to forward this to anyone who sends you the=20
Also on the news was the first reports of American thuggery as a mob=20
marched on a mosque in suburban Chicago (thankfully turned away) and of=20
assaults against middle eastern men in Indiana. I had hoped that we would=20
be spared this sort of hatred and senseless violence. But sadly Americans=20
seem determined to behave in the worst possible way.
Claim: A 1654 Nostradamus prediction said World War III would begin with=20
the fall of "two brothers," a reference to the destroyed World Trade Center=
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2001]
"In the City of God there will be a great thunder,
Two brothers torn apart by Chaos,
while the fortress endures,
the great leader will succumb,
The third big war will begin when the big city is burning" Nostradamus 1654
Origins: The turmoil of recent events has us all scrambling, some to look=20
for solace and meaning, others for the terrorists responsible, and yet=20
others for signs that what happened could have been prevented or at least=20
foreseen. The 11 September 2001 attack on America destroyed not only the=20
two World Trade Center towers in New York City, a chunk of the Pentagon in=
Washington, and caused untold loss of life, it also shook America's sense=20
of invulnerability. No longer do Americans presume safety in an unsafe=
For some, that realization is an eye-opener, unsettling but necessary, in=20
that a child's blissful unawareness has been replaced (at great cost) with=
an adult's more clear-eyed view of the world and its sometimes horrifying=20
ways. For others, it spells the beginning of the end, in that they equated=
an illusion of safety with its reality and thus now feel their world is=20
ending. It is the fears of that second group that are given voice in the=20
Nostradamus prediction circulated on the Internet even before the dust had=
settled in New York.
The French physician and astrologer Nostradamus (1503-1566) penned numerous=
quatrains populated by obscure imagery that the credulous have ever after=20
attempted to fit to the events of their times. These predictions can often=
ring somewhat true in that the images employed are so general they can be=20
found in almost every event of import, but by the same token, the=20
prophecies are never a dead-on fit because the wordings are far too=20
general. Not that this stops anyone from believing in them; our society's=20
need for mysticism runs far too deep to ever allow for that.
Those looking for the certainty of a Nostradamus prophecy come true have=20
been known to sledge hammer the results to force a fit by inventing=20
fanciful translations from the original French, bend over backwards to=20
assert one named term is really another, and (as in this case) outright=20
fabricate part or all of the prediction.
Nostradamus did not write the quatrain now being attributed to him. (One=20
wonders how a guy who died in 1566 could have written an item identified as=
being penned in 1654 anyway.) It originated with a student at Brock=20
University in Canada in the 1990s, appearing on a web page essay on=20
Nostradamus. That particular quatrain was offered by the page's author,=20
Neil Marshall, as a fabricated example to illustrate how easily an=20
important-sounding prophecy can be crafted through the use of abstract=20
imagery. He pointed out how the terms he used were so deliberately vague=20
they could be interpreted to fit any number of cataclysmic events.
(A dissertation on a somewhat similar-sounding real prophecy of=20
Nostradamus' which contains the line "From the sky will come a great King=20
of Terror" can be found here. Note that even a liberal reading places the=20
events it describes in July of 1999, not September of 2001, and the same=20
prophecy has already long since been applied to a wide variety of different=
events -- both real and imagined.)
It appears someone mistook Marshall's illustrative example for an actual=20
Nostradamus prophecy and, not content to let well enough alone, added "The=
third big war will begin when the big city is burning." A fabrication was=20
thus further fabricated.
But that wasn't the end of it. More fakery was piled on in later versions=20
that now included all of the text quoted in the Example section above but=20
now concluded with:
"on the 11th day of the 9 month that...
two metal birds would crash into two tall statues...
in the new city...
and the world will end soon after"
Similarly, another enhanced version incorporates the Example text into a=20
more detailed prophecy:
And Nostradamus predicted this (who knows how long ago): "In the year of=20
the new century and nine months,
From the sky will come a great King of Terror...
The sky will burn at forty-five degrees.
Fire approaches the great new city..."
"In the city of york there will be a great collapse,
2 twin brothers torn apart by chaos
while the fortress falls the great leader will succumb
third big war will begin when the big city is burning"
Another version asserts:
"The third great war will start when the two tall lances fall in the great=
city. The day birds offer themselves up to the heavens"
The closest any true Nostradamus writing comes to any of these is the one=20
often cited as Century 6, Quatrain 97:
Cinq and quarante degrez ciel bruslera
Feu approcher de la grand cit=E9 neuve
Instant grand flamme esparse sautera
Quand on voudra des Normans faire preuue.
An approximate English translation would be:
Five and forty steps the sky will burn
Fire approaching the large new city
Instantly a great thin flame will leap
When someone will want to test the Normans.
Even if this is a real prophecy of Nostradamus', it simply provides more=20
evidence of how much shoehorning has to be performed to get one of these=20
vague "predictions" to fit modern occurrences. It cites no date whatsoever.=
The line about a sky that "will burn at forty-five steps" is interpreted to=
refer to New York City, the "forty-five steps" being the Big Apple's=20
latitude -- never mind that New York City is actually below the 41=B0=20
latitude mark, and that several major North American cities (e.g., Boston,=
Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis, Toronto, Montreal) are much closer to 45=B0=
latitude than Gotham. As well, New York (one of North America's oldest=20
cities) is only "new" in the sense that its name contains the word "new" (a=
criterion which describes many other of the world's large cities, such as=20
New Delhi), the flames resulting from the terrorist attack in New York were=
anything but "thin" (or "scattered"); and nobody has a clue what "Normans"=
have to do with hijacked airliners crashing into American cities.
All in all, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 is a much better fit for this=20
one. So is the explosion resulting from the collision of the ships Mont=20
Blanc and Imo in 1917, which killed thousands of people and destroyed much=
of Halifax -- a city just a few degrees shy of 45=B0 latitude. To top it all=
off, this very same verse was widely cited five years ago as having=20
"predicted" the mysterious crash of TWA Flight 800 in July 1996.
Just once, we'd like someone to tell us what one of Nostradamus'=20
"prophecies" means in advance of the event it supposedly describes.
Barbara "la cosa nostradamus" Mikkelson
Last updated: 11 September 2001
Don Hosek firstname.lastname@example.org Quixote Digital Typography
312-953-3679 fax: 312-602-1014 orders: 877-634-1811
For information about SERIF: THE MAGAZINE OF TYPE & TYPOGRAPHY,
http://www.quixote.com/serif/ or mail email@example.com
Have you seen Sans Serif? http://www.quixote.com/serif/sans/=20
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