Another new year, another round of resolutions that vanish before February appears … And a fresh crop of Nostradamus predictions for 2019 to keep us all happy. Or, more to the point, to remind us that, yes, this year too: “We’re all doomed!” Well, you’d better watch out, WW3 is now about to kick off. And oh, hold the front page, there’s a rogue asteroid on the way too.
But who is this Nostradamus? I hear you say (I know, it’s a gift!) Well let’s look at how this ancient star-gazer actually managed to nail down his fortune-telling gig, this annual doom-fest we all so look forward to.
In the beginning …
Nostradamus (aka Michel de Nostradame) is perhaps the world’s most well-recognised oracle, a supposed-mystic whose followers claim he has foretold the future with somewhat spooky precision. The facts are: Michel de Nostradame was a French physician who published a successful almanac in 1550, and a famous book in 1555 (Les Propheties). His book was a series of 942 quatrains (four-line verses, in old money) which experts believe owed a lot to existing literary and historical works. Nostradamus then spent most of his time working as an astrologer for a number of well-heeled patrons (Mystic Michel?). Yet, down the ages, many people have continued to claim his writings contain predictions about future world events occurring long after his own death in 1566. In more recent times he has been credited with predicting anything from the Great Fire of London (1666) to the rise of Hitler (1930s) and the atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1945).
Breaking news for 2019 …
Some of the latest cheery crop of Nostradamus predictions for this year include:
– World War 3 will begin between two superpower nations and will last for 27 years.
– An asteroid will crash to earth causing great devastation (Nostradamus: “A moment of great violence will coincide with the appearance of a comet in the sky.”)
– There will be an assassination attempt on US President Trump (Remember, this could still be fake news!)
– There will be more climate change: rising temperatures, melting ice caps and major hurricanes (Nostradamus: “We shall see the water rising, and the earth falling under it.”)
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Whilst some sceptics might just be having their doubts about all this, some women observers have spotted a further strange Nostradamus prophesy which, they feel, might just have more of a ring of truth about it. Writing about animals (and presumably further networking possibilities), the wise old seer apparently said: “The pigs will become brothers to man.”
In that case, ‘bringing home the bacon’ could soon mean inviting your four-legged buddy around to watch the match on telly!
But is it true?
The so-called Nostradamus predictions about the future are all couched in vague language which could, therefore, be broadly applied by future enthusiasts and followers trying to make his enigmatic prophecies fit future events. Of course, when you’re looking to link prophecies to real historical events, it’s always so much easier to do this retrospectively. And the wily old soothsayer also gave himself plenty of leeway by avoiding writing down any dates alongside his fortune-telling. Though, to be fair, Nostradamus would probably say he did this because he “knew” the Gregorian calendar would come along in 1582 and mess up all his careful calculations.
One of Nostradamus’ most inspired “hits” concerns the death of the French king, Henry II. So here’s what Nostradamus wrote down:
“The young lion will overcome the older one, On the field of combat in a single battle; He will pierce his eyes through a golden cage, Two wounds made one, then he dies a cruel death.”
The facts: In 1559, King Henry II of France – known as the old lion – happened to be jousting against the Comte de Montgomery (the young lion), who was his junior by six years. Both knights had lion emblems on their shields. At the finish of the combat, Montgomery’s lance penetrated the visor of the king’s helmet and splintered into pieces. He received two wounds with one shard piercing his eye. King Henry died from his wounds after suffering for 10 days.
It actually turns out that the quatrain containing this telling prophesy was only published for the first time in 1614, a full 55 years after the event took place.
Most academics dismiss the idea that Nostradamus made any successful predictions. It is argued that any supposed correlations found are the result of misinterpretations or woefully poor translations. The quatrains are judged to be characteristically vague, and many have noted that the worst translations of all seem to be those rendered in English, with some (maybe deliberately) altered to better match the predicted events.
You couldn’t make it up! But Nostradamus, of course, already knows he’ll still be back next year as usual!