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Nostradamus

The astrological consultant Nostradamus was most famous for his book Les Propheties, published in 1555. The book, still in print today, contained collections of cryptic prophecies called quatrains. An example:

Century I Quatrain 46
“Very near Auch, Lectoure and Mirande
a great fire will fall from the sky for three nights.
The cause will appear both stupefying and marvellous;
shortly afterwards there will be an earthquake.”

Interpret him as you will -- followers of Nostradamus believe his quatrains predicted major historical events, such as the French Revolution, the atomic bomb, the rise of Hitler and even 9/11. Note that credit given to the “seer” has only ever been in hindsight, and that no one has been able to interpret Les Propheties specifically enough to identify any event in advance. As for the end of the world, 2012 is not in the cards. Nostradamus predicted it to be the year 3786 or 3797, depending on which expert you believe.

Photo: Keystone-France | Gamma-Keystone | Getty Images