End of the world predictions goes far back in time. History notes that on December 31, 999, many people thought the world would end that day. Many flocked to Mt. Zion to await the coming Armageddon. Obviously, it didn’t occur.
Destruction of London 1 February 1524
Hundreds of years later, soothsayers in London predicted a flood that would destroy the city on 1 February 1524. Countless residents fled to higher elevations to escape the impending disaster. When nothing happened, the fortune-tellers quickly said they had made a mistake in their calculations and that London would not be destroyed for one hundred years, in 1624.
Destruction of London 13 October 1736
In 1736, another seer predicted the end of London on 13 October of that year. Once again believers fled to higher ground and once again nothing happened.
Destruction of London 5 April 1761
London seems to have had more than its fair share of Armageddon predictions. On February 8, 1761, an earthquake hit the city, a rare event, causing a soldier to predict the end of the world for 5 April. Once again crowds swarmed out of London. When no catastrophe happened, the soldier was overpowered and placed in an insane asylum.
Multiple Predictions by Reverend William Miller
In 1843, farmer William Miller told crowds in New England that the world would end on 21 March 1843. He was so convincing that mainstream newspapers published his prediction and the biblical references backing it up. Countless believers headed for the hills and waited for the cataclysmic event. At dusk a strange sound floated over the area, causing numerous people to be swept up into mania. It turned out to be a prankster from a nearby village blowing on a large horn.
When nothing else happened, Miller moved up the day of reckoning up to 21 March 1844. Miller made a tidy profit by selling “ascension robes” to the believers. When nothing happened that day, Miller moved up the date once again to October 22, 1844, and, incredibly, people still believed his prophesies enough to head for the hills again (one man even bringing his cows – wearing the robes — to provide milk for the saved children) but nothing happened. At this point, many of the believers fell away, although Miller went on a lecture tour that included many new predictions for Doomsday. And he continued to sell his robes.
End of the World 13 February 1925
In 1925, a girl in California claimed to have been visited by the Angel Gabriel, who pinpointed 13 February 1925 as the date of the end of the world. On that date, a crowd gathered to await Gabriel to lead them to the other side. When nothing happened, one of the true believers said that Gabriel did not reappear because of the distraction from newspaper photographers’ flashbulbs.
Later predictions would be based on the measurements of the Egyptian pyramids, asteroids, the apparent disintegration of the Roman Coliseum, and planetary alignments. All would be wrong.
Perhaps the most bizarre incident involving an Armageddon prophecy took place in 1806, in a rural village in England. In that village, a chicken laid an egg that clearly said: “Christ is coming.” Many people took this as a clear sign of Doomsday and local religious groups prepared for the End Times. A doctor heard of this event and traveled to the village to inspect the chicken and the egg. He easily saw that the message had been written in ink and then the egg had been reinserted into the chicken.
For years, claims have been thrown out that the world is going to end in 2012. The sources for these claims vary from ancient civilizations to modern “psychics.” The proposed causes for the 2012 apocalypse are just as varied. From cosmic collisions to solar storms, there was a lot to look forward to in the year 2012, if the doomsayers were to be believed.
Some say that Edgar Cayce, otherwise known as “The Sleeping Prophet,” foretold the end of days and pinpointed the year – 2012. The fact is that Cayce gave thousands of “readings,” many of which are missing. None of the existing prophecies say anything at all about 2012. He did speak of an Aquarian Age or New Age. However, Cayce’s New Age was not an apocalypse. It was a time of enlightenment and of “global consciousness.” Even this had nothing to do with 2012, unless, of course, it comes about in 2012.
Another prophet that reportedly predicted the end of the world in 2012 was Nostradamus. While Cayce’s prophecies only date back to the last century, Nostradamus’ date back to 1550. Nostradamus predicts wars and other catastrophic events but rarely mentions a date. Even when he does mention dates, they are as cryptic as his quatrains. Not only are the meanings slightly obscured by time and translation, but they were rather cryptic even then.
None of Nostradamus’ predictions mention the world ending in 2012, as far as we know. Of course, he may have, but left out a date or made it so cryptic no one could get at his meaning. What is more likely is that people have been spreading fake Nostradamus quatrains as they did after September 11, 2001. Alternatively, some of his doomsday predictions are simply being linked to 2012 because that is when some people assumed the world is going to end for other reasons.
According to some sources, the Siberian Yupik Shamans are linking the changes in the blue whales’ song to a 2012 apocalypse. The shamans supposedly held a meeting in 2002 and decided that the end of the world was going to come in ten years – 2012. Apparently, the blue whales knew this. So they changed their song to one of mourning for the coming end of times. Why they kept procreating in spite of this is anyone’s guess.
The Mayan Long Count Calendar
This is the mother of all 2012 prophecies and the one from which most references to a 2012 apocalypse stem. The Mayan Calendar that reportedly predicts the apocalypse is one of four ancient Mayan Calendars and the last one to end. The end date? Most say the calendar ends on December 21, 2012. The truth is that there is no prophecy involved. The calendar just ends. Of course, the Mayans may have known there would be no more need for calendars beyond that date. They may also just make another calendar if their civilization were still around.
With all of these people predicting the end of the world, one must wonder how the world is supposedly going to end. Well, they have you covered there too.
End of the World Scenarios
This is always a favorite doomsday prediction. According to the Bible, those who believe will be taken to Heaven (during the rapture, maybe before the tribulation) and those who do not will . . . well, you know what happens to them. The Book of Revelation is clear about what will happen on Earth when the time comes. Mountains will move, fire will rain, a star will hit the Earth, a third of humankind will be killed by fire, brimstone, and smoke, etc. It makes one wonder what kind of emergency kit you will need if the apocalypse is of the biblical kind. Of course, some thinking puts these events in the past, so the apocalypse already happened.
Niburu or Planetary Collision
Another proposed method for Earth’s destruction is the planet Niburu. Niburu is based on the writer Zecharia Sitchin’s claim that he translated a Sumer text that said a planet named Niburu — which hides behind the sun — is going to collide with the Earth. The date for the collision has not always been 2012. But it had to be moved up when the collision did not happen the first time.
This is similar to belief in Chtulhu and Scientology. It is relatively easy to prove something wrong when a fiction writer wrote it and admitted it was fiction. Furthermore, the existence of Niburu is not supported by any reputable astronomers.
Magnetic Pole Reversal
Magnetic pole reversal is exactly what it sounds like, but not nearly as scary as it sounds. The magnetic poles of the Earth are known to shift every few hundred thousand years. 2012 doomsayers claimed that a magnetic pole reversal was coming in 2012 and that it will have catastrophic consequences.
Astrobiologist David Morrison with NASA states that there is no evidence a magnetic pole reversal is happening any time soon. Additionally, it would not be a concern if it did. Magnetic pole reversals would be wiping out all living things on Earth every 400,000 years if that is what they do, which it is not.
Time will tell if any other predictions prove correct concerning the end of the world. If it doesn’t happen, the proponents of the prediction will be in good company.
This article was updated on 05 January 2020 by Historic Mysteries Staff. Co-authored by Doug MacGowan.