So, people are banging on about the world ending in 2012, which by the way things are going so far with the olympics, may be very soon. I thought it was a good time to have a look at how often people have predicted imminent curtains for the human race. It turns out the answer is, unsurprisingly: the end of the world has been predicted a lot. I’ve compiled some of my faves in the hope that people will stop guessing, because it isn’t helping anyone.
The harbingers of doom seem to be split into four broad categories as far as I can tell, nutters, numbers, astronomy and cash. Here’s our insight into how each one of them has drawn up ridiculous predictions for the end of the world…
No shock there, we’ve all met a nutter or two in our time, it’s just a shame that others who aren’t nutters don’t seem to be able to determine that the nutters are nuts. This game of guessing the hour of our destruction goes way back. In 44AD (that’s even before Ethel from Eastenders was born) there was a fruit loop called Theudas. He proclaimed he was the messiah and predicted the world was ending shortly, he managed to convince 400 gullibles to give up their worldly possessions and follow him into the desert. Once there, they were chased down by Romans and slaughtered. Theudas was beheaded and his head was taken on a stick to Jerusalem. That sent out a pretty strong message to future prophesiers you would think? But no.
Alongside Theudas we have a nutjob Californian “psychic” called Sheldon Nidle. He predicted, vehemently, that the end would come when 16 million space ships (I’m not sure if that number is rounded up or precise) converge upon the earth on December the 17th, 1996, along with a host of angels. Clearly this didn’t happen, but he puts this down to the angels placing us in a holographic projection to preserve us and give us a second chance. Nice one. He’s obviously unhinged and yet he still sells books to this day. Seriously. Here a video of the “psychic” shit chatter in action:
In 1997 The Sacerdotal Knights of National Security (awesome name to be fair) said that “A space alien captured at a UFO landing site in eastern Missouri cracked under interrogation by the CIA and admitted that an extraterrestrial army will attack Earth on November 27 with the express purpose of stripping our planet of every natural resource they can find a use for — and making slaves of every man, woman and child in the world!“.
The most famous nut in the nutters category is certainly David Koresh, but he and his fiery end in wacko Waco have been discussed at length so I’ll leave him alone for now.
Some of these would-be-soothsayers base their claims in numerology. These are some of the daftest out there. Because comeon, what the fvck have numbers got to do with cataclysmic events? We invented them did we not? Anyway, a Roman priest and a theologian in the second and third centuries predicted Christ would return in A.D. 500 (the year Ethel from Eastenders was born), based on the dimensions of Noah’s ark. I mean… tenuous? How do you convert cubits in to decades again? My abacus is broken.
Many used the mighty fail that is numerology to predict the end of us all in the year 2000 (the year that Ethel in Eastenders died), because if you divide it by 3 (a figure picked arbitrarily) the answer is 666.666667. So not even the number of the beast. You round that mother fucker up and it gives you 667 – the neighbour of the beast. Try again. This great and reliable method was similarly punted in to the public arena to prescribe impending doom in 1998 (3 x 666) – no cataclysm, but the Spice Girls did get the christmas number one which is quite cataclysmic I guess? No more than scenes of mild peril though.
Now, to be fair, the guys who thought the world was ending in AD950 because the sun turned black in the middle of the day, I kind of get. I mean, with no knowledge of how all of that sparkly black blanket up above works, something as reliable and warm like the sun being extinguished is a pretty good indication something is afoot. But, by 1982, we had a good idea of how it all works up there; so when the planets were set to align in order behind the sun, we shouldn’t really have been so surprised it all turned out fine and without explosions. Silly billys. The same planetary alignment thing happened in 2000, and it once again caused a fuss, people still hadn’t worked out it would be completely fine. Just like back in ’82, remember? Sillier billys.
Of course, with any mass hysteria comes the potential for the insalubrious individual to cash in. Human nature I guess. Massive destruction was fortold by Mary Bateman, the Yorkshire Witch, in 1809. This special lady specialized in fortune telling, but best of all, she had a magic chicken that laid eggs with end time messages on them. One message let them know that Christ was coming. The uproar she created only ended when an unannounced visitor caught her forcing an egg into a hen’s chuff. Mary was later hanged for poisoning a wealthy client.
Another nob-head called Edgar C. Whisenant wrote a book in 1988 called “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will be in 1988” and when this didn’t transpire, undeterred, he wrote one called “89 Reasons why the Rapture is in 1989” which funnily enough didn’t sell anywhere near as much as his first paper-backed lie sandwich.
Also in the cash grabbing folder is Lee Jang Rim who convinced 10,000 people of his numerological conclusions. He said Jesus would be returning via Sydney harbour(?) on 28th October 1992. He managed to embezzle 4.4 million bucks off his followers, which he put into bonds that didn’t mature until after the world’s end date he had personally invented. Cheeky bugger. Some of his followers are said to have commited suicide when it became clear they had been double duped. He got jail time. Just two years though? Seems fairly light for nicking millions and being partly to blame for suicides.
To round off our guide to the end of the world, we can’t not mention our good mates: the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Good old numb nut JW’s. They predicted the end of the world in 1874, 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975, 1984 and 1994. Finally in 1995 they came out to the newspapers and said that the end wasn’t nigh, it had been delayed. Phewy, they had me super worried there. BUT PEOPLE ARE STILL FOLLOWING THEM AS IF THEY ARE TRUTH TELLING PEOPLE OF GOD WHO ARE WIRED STRAIGHT IN TO JESUS’ MAIN FRAME. Wake you you fools.