Break the Chain No-no Nostradamus

Exclusive (9/13/2001) In the wake of great tragedy, human nature pushes us to look for answers and some clues that the unexpected and unexplained could have been predicted and avoided. One popular source for this reassurance is the cryptic writings of Nostradamus, which have been manipulated to predict natural disasters, the explosion of the Space Shuttle and the outcome of the O.J. Simpson trial - all after the fact, of course.

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In the city of York there will be a great collapse,
two twin brothers, torn apart by chaos,
while the fortress falls, the great leader will succumb,
the third big war will begin when the big city is burning.
- Nostrodamus

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Just a few minutes later, more detailed predictions surfaced:

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This is pretty scary...

In the year of 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
- NOSTRADAMUS

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

One version of the chain includes a very academic examination of Nostradamus' prediction of World War III:

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According to Nostradamus, the first two anti-Christs were extremely evil, and history has shown this to be so; however, Nostradamus speaks of a third anti-Christ who is more hideous than all the others combined. Some say Sadaam Hussein, the dictator from Iraq, could be this evil tyrant. Others say that he has not yet appeared. What does Nostradamus say about this third anti-Christ? First, Nostradamus tells us he will come from the Middle East.

Out of the country of Greater Arabia
Shall be born a strong master of Mohammed...
He will enter Europe wearing a blue turban.
He will be the terror of mankind.
Never more horror.

Here, Nostradamus says that a man from Greater Arabia will lead his forces on an invasion through Europe. This invasion will start a third world war that will be far worse than all the other wars put together (Guentte).

When will all this take place? In one quatrain Nostradamus gives us an exact date in which the war will be well under way.

In the year 1999 and seven months
From the sky will come the great King of Terror.
He will bring back to life the King of the Mongols;
Before and after war reigns.

Nostradamus predicts the war will begin shortly before the year 1999 (Roberts 191). He also tells us how long the war will last.

The war will last seven and twenty years. (Guentte)

Nostradamus says that the war will be so terrible that the world will come face to face with final annihilation. Here, he implies that the war might involve some kind of horrible weapon, possibly nuclear. Nostradamus tells what the first target will be.

The sky will burn at forty-five degrees.
Fire approaches the great new city.

In this phrase, Nostradamus refers to a great city in the new world of America near forty-five degrees latitude. Experts agree this could only be New York.

By fire he will destroy their city,
A cold and cruel heart,
Blood will pour,
Mercy to none. (Guentte)

Although Nostradamus 's predictions for our future sound frightening he does give us some hope by telling us how this third world war will end. He says it will end as a result of an unexpected alliance.

When those of the Northern Pole are united,
In the East will be great fear and dread...
One day the two great leaders will be friends;
Their great powers will be seen to grow.
The New Land will be at the height of its power:
To the man of blood the number is reported.

The new land was a common term used by Nostradamus to refer to what we now call America. The countries of the northern pole could be Russia and the United States. We have recently seen the breakdown of Communism in Russia and an increasing friendship between Russia and the U.S. (Reader's Digest 515).

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Many think that Nostradamus had some mystical powers of prognostication. More scholars tend to think he was little more than the 16th Century equivalent of an astrologer - creating vaguely worded cautions that could easily be applied to a variety of situations. The 16th century mathematician wrote his quatrains in early modern French, and his work has long been subject to translation and interpretation.

Snopes.com points out that the core of the "prediction" being circulating wasn't even the work of Nostradamus. It was written by a Canadian college student to "illustrate how easily an important-sounding prophecy can be crafted through the use of abstract imagery."

Of course, when we want something to be true, we tend to make it true. In the 48 hours since the attack, the supposed prediction has mutated to contain more details. I even saw one version with references to "two great metal birds" that will "fly into two mighty statues." One thing most Nostradamus scholars agree upon is that the more detail a prediction contains, the less likely it is to be Nostradamus' work. His writings tended to be very vague and archaic to avoid religious persecution.

Why does any of this matter? Does it change anything? Do the friends and families of the thousands of dead and missing care? Does it ease their pain? Does it strengthen the United States? Some find solace in the notion that such terrible events are predictable, others find it frightening or are enraged that we couldn't have foreseen or prevented the attack. This rumor is based on false information and serves no practical purpose. Break this Chain!

What Do You Think?


References: None

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