9 Failed Apocalypse Predictions
1. The preacher who warned the public that the world would end after the 4th blood moon
In late September 2015, Christian minister John Hagee claimed that the final “tetrad” in a series of lunar eclipses was a sign from God that would bring about the apocalypse. “The coming four blood moons point to a world-shaking event that will happen between April 2014 and October 2015,” Hagee said in his 2013 best-selling book, Four Blood Moons.
The first three blood moons in the series referenced by Hagee took place on April 15, 2014, October 8, 2014, and April 4, 2015. The final blood moon took place on September 27, 2015. Hagee said the last eclipse would fulfill a biblical prophecy. (He based this prediction on a number of biblical passages, including Joel 2:30-31: “I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”)
The final blood moon has come and gone, and we’re all still here. So, what does Hagee have to say for himself now? Well, the prominent evangelical leader who heads Christians United for Israel, claims the mainstream media—a body not known for closely following biblical prophecy—has been misreporting the core message of Four Blood Moons all along. Nowhere in Revelation does it say that the end of days was due to arrive on September 27, 2015. According to Hagee, the end times will arrive at some unspecified point in the future. The supermoon eclipse was merely a sign that the apocalypse will eventually happen at some point in human history. (Well, that’s vague yet obvious, isn’t it?)
2. The ancient calendar that forecast impending doom—or did it?
According to media reports of an ancient Maya prophecy, the world was supposed to be destroyed on Dec. 21, 2012. Obviously, that didn’t happen.
Since the ancient Mayans aren’t around to fill everyone in on what the calendar actually foretold (if anything), some NASA scientists broke it down in a 2012 video aptly titled, Why The World Didn’t End Yesterday.
According to Mayan theology, Earth was created just 5,125 years ago. In the Mayan system, the date would be “130000,” but on a modern calendar it would read August 11, 3114 B.C. The doomsday prophecy came into play because, on December 21, 2012, the date on the Mayan calendar read “130000″ once again.
People interpreted this as meaning the world was going to end, and that the ancient Mayans had predicted it; however, this was not the case. Although 130000 is a significant interval in Mayan theology, there isn’t any destruction associated with the number. None of the Mayan ruins, tablets, or standing stones that were analyzed by archaeologists foretold of the world as we know it as ending. Inevitably, the video concludes that the prophecy was nothing more than a misconception.
3. The prophet hen that laid eggs embedded with the message “Christ is coming”
In 1806, a hen in Leeds, England began laying eggs with the message “Christ is coming” scrawled on each one. This feathery harbinger of doom caused hysteria among villagers and visitors alike, who traveled to the area just to visit the alleged Prophet Hen. When they asked to see the miracle for themselves, the promise of a chicken laying eggs bearing an apocalyptic message was delivered upon.
Of course, the world did not end in 1806, but how exactly was the fatalistic fowl delivering these messages?
Enter Mary Bateman, the hen’s owner, who was more commonly known as the “Yorkshire Witch.” A repeated fraudster who would end up dying in the gallows for murder, Bateman had used some corrosive ink to inscribe the quote on a few eggs. She then re-inserted the eggs into the hen, so that they could be laid again. Her ruse was discovered one morning when a visitor caught her in the act.
4. The “Mad Monk” who predicted a “great slaughter” and fire would destroy humanity in 2013
KGB archives revealed secret documents in which Grigori Rasputin (aka, the Mad Monk) announced that the world would end on August 23, 2013.
Rasputin believed 2001 would be marked by a massive wave of suicides following proof of reincarnation by a European physicist. (In other words, people would kill themselves with the hope of doing better in the next life.) He also claimed a deadly virus would spread rapidly across the U.S., massive storms caused by climate change would occur, and, during that time, Jesus would appear. To top it all off, in the summer of 2006, a sea monster in a lake in Scotland (the Loch Ness) would make itself known.
Rasputin also predicted the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the early-2000’s, while, at the same time, Christians would take over the U.S. government. (That’s not too far off the mark.) A million souls were predicted to perish in a single battle called “the great slaughter,” and the world would end in 2013 when a fire devoured all living things.
American political scientist David W. Norvalk deciphered some of the documents and found that Rasputin predicted major events in Russian and world history. “Rasputin predicted the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and the assassination of Tsar Nicholas and his family. He anticipated the emergence and dominance of Hitler, first moon landing and the collapse of the USSR,” says the researcher. “Soviet leaders kept these papers secret because Rasputin not only predicted the appearance of communism but also announced its end,” said Norvalk.
However, thankfully for us, he was wrong about the end of the world.
5. The Chicago housewife who claimed aliens told her humanity would be wiped out in a flood
In 1954, Chicago homemaker Dorothy Martin claimed she was receiving messages from an alien being named Sananda. Sananda told her most of humanity was to be wiped out by a huge flood on December 21 of that year. Those who would be saved were instructed to build a special altar on a mountain top where a flying saucer would land and carry them away.
A group of believers formed around Martin, but the mountain idea was abandoned. The altar instead became Martin’s sun porch where the group would wait for the saucers to carry them away. Martin’s followers left jobs, school, and spouses behind and had given away their money and possessions in preparation for their departure.
The day came and went with no signs of a flyer saucer, or, for that matter, doomsday.
Martin left Chicago after being threatened with arrest and involuntary commitment. Later in life, she founded the Association of Sananda and Sanat Kumara under the name Sister Thedra. She continued to practice channeling and participating in contactee groups until her death in 1992. The Association is active to this day.
6. The television personality who claimed humanity would be suffocated by a black rainbow
In Tim Burton’s 1994 film Ed Wood, The Amazing Criswell (played by Jeffrey Jones) tells the burgeoning young director that most of his predictions were made up. He says, “Eddie, we’re in show biz. It’s all about razzle-dazzle. Appearances. If you look good, and you talk well, people will swallow anything.”
While that quote is just conjecture, Criswell was rarely accurate with any of his out-there predictions. Not that it made much difference—he was better known for wearing a sequined tuxedo, claiming to sleep in a coffin, appearing as a regular in the films of Ed Wood, and being a general Hollywood weirdo than he was for the psychic powers he claimed to possess.
His vast inaccuracies didn’t stop him from writing the 1968 tome Criswell Predicts from Now to the Year 2000. He wrote that the world would end on Wednesday, August 18, 1999. That day, every point on earth was to be covered by a black rainbow. Not just any black rainbow, mind you, but “a jet-black rainbow; an ebony rainbow; a black rainbow that will signify the coming suffocation of our world. This black rainbow will seemingly bring about, through some mysterious force beyond our comprehension, a lack of oxygen. It will draw the oxygen from our atmosphere, as a huge snake encircling the world. Hour after hour, it will grow worse. And we will grow weaker. It is through this that we will be so weakened that when the end arrives, we will go silently, we will go gasping for breath, and then there will be only silence on the earth.”
Later in life, he adjusted to the Mayan calendar and reset doomsday as inescapable in 2012. Fittingly, he was again dead wrong.
7. The Doomsday prophet who was forced to apologize after his predictions failed to materialize
Harold Camping used his evangelical radio ministry and thousands of billboards to broadcast the end of the world but gave up public prophecy when his date-specific doomsdays did not come to pass.
His most widely spread prediction was that the Rapture would happen on May 21, 2011. His independent Christian media empire spent millions of dollars—some of it from donations made by followers who quit their jobs and sold all their possessions—to spread the word on more than 5,000 billboards and 20 RVs plastered with the Judgment Day message.
When doomsday did not materialize, the preacher revised his prophecy, saying he had been off by five months. He said it had dawned on him that instead of the biblical Rapture in which the faithful would be swept up to the heavens, the date had instead been a “spiritual” Judgment Day, which placed the entire world under Christ’s judgment.
However, when the cataclysmic event did not occur in October either, Camping reluctantly acknowledged his apocalyptic prophecy had been wrong. He posted a letter on his ministry’s site telling his followers he had no evidence the world would end anytime soon, and wasn’t interested in considering future dates. He added that he felt so terrible when his prophecy did not come true that he left home and took refuge in a motel with his wife.
Camping died in 2013 at age 92.
8. The hippie cult leader who predicted an apocalyptic race war
Charles Manson believed in racial Armageddon. In the late ’60s, the cult leader preached that blacks would rise up, start killing members of the white establishment and turn U.S. cities into an inferno of racial revenge. In 1968, around the time he was forecasting this racial war, the Beatles released the White Album, which contained the song “Helter Skelter.” The lyrics spoke to Manson’s theory and the race war soon had a name.
Manson felt it was his responsibility to trigger and overcome this Armageddon. He commanded his “Family” of followers to carry out a number of murders under his instruction in a way that would make everyone think they were committed by black men. The Tate-Labianca murders were intended to enrage the white establishment until there was open revolution in the streets.
As war raged in the cities, Manson and the Family would survive by hiding in the desert. He believed that the “bottomless pit” mentioned in the Book of Revelations was a cave underneath Death Valley. There, the Family would find a city of gold—a paradise where they would wait out the apocalypse. They would multiply to 144,000 (a number he also drew from Revelation) and return to the surface to rule the world.
By late September 1969, most of the Family was at the group’s camp in the Death Valley area, searching for the Bottomless Pit. But that’s not all they were doing. Some also stole dune buggies and vandalized National Park property. It was these relatively petty crimes, and not the murders, that led to their eventual capture.
9. The computer calendar change that stoked fears for the end of the world
The so-called Y2K crisis never materialized, however, the potential for disaster seemed real enough in the days and weeks leading up to the final day of the 1900s. Fears within the computer industry and the resulting media frenzy it produced certainly helped to fan the flames.
The problem, as some saw it, was that older computers still being used for critical functions might break down when the date switched from 99 to 00, since the numeric progression convention, programmed to store data using only the last two digits of any given year, wouldn’t recognize the logic of a century change.
It was thought that as far as those computers were concerned, it would be 1900, not 2000, and a vast majority of data would be lost as the result of this 100-year miscalculation.
Governments and business took some precautions—systems were upgraded, or when they couldn’t be replaced, they were given additional backup.
At midnight on January 1, 2000, the last century passed into history with barely a whimper. A few glitches were reported here and there, but nothing catastrophic occurred. If the threat was real, then the precautions paid off. But if Y2K was a form of mass paranoia, then a lot of money was wasted.