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Nostradamus Prophecy

Nostradamus Prophecy - Tops in the Tabloids
Nostradamus prophecy is pop culture at its best! Whenever world events reach a fevered pitch, people rush to the tabloids to see what the notorious 16th Century "prophet" had to say. Following the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Nostradamus quickly became one of the most popular search queries on the Internet. Immediately, claims circulated via email that Nostradamus predicted everything that happened. How did Nostradamus become such a cult figure?

Nostradamus Prophecy - Background of a "Prophet"
Nostradamus was born Michel de Nostredame in St. Remy, France on December 14, 1503. As a youth, he spent a great deal of time with his grandfather learning languages, mathematics, astronomy and astrology. He majored in liberal arts at the University of Avignon, and graduated from the medical school at the University of Montpellier. He practiced medicine and was known for successfully treating plague victims in the areas surrounding Montpellier. In 1534, Nostradamus married his first wife and had two children. Shortly thereafter, he lost his entire family to the plague, and traveled Europe for the next six years. In 1554, Nostradamus settled in Salon, France, where he married his second wife and had six children.

In 1555, at the age of 52, Nostradamus wrote his first set of prophecies, a collection of 100 "quatrains" known as a "century." (A quatrain is simply a poem with four lines.) In 1564, Nostradamus was appointed as Royal Physician to King Charles IX. During the next several years, until his death in 1566, Nostradamus wrote ten centuries of prophecies.

Nostradamus Prophecy - Some Famous Examples
Nostradamus prophecy was written primarily in French, although he threw in some Latin, Greek and Italian to murk some meanings. He also used other devices to obscure his quatrains, including symbols, metaphors and purposely-misspelled words. Most interestingly, many of the so-called Nostradamus prophecies circulating today are merely urban legends -- often his original quatrains are cut and splice to sound good after major world events. For instance, shortly after the September 11th terrorist attacks in the U.S., a large number of alleged Nostradamus prophecies began circulating the Internet and news media. Here are a few of them:

    "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, two 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"

    "It has been foreseen that exactly three hundred and fifty years into the future, Silver phoenixes shall strike down the twin brothers of oppression That carried the king's nation, which shall bring upon the apocalypse. In the City of God there will be a great thunder, two brothers torn apart by chaos"
So, did Nostradamus predict the attacks against the Twin Towers in New York? No, Nostradamus didn't write these quatrains - they were tweaked and twisted to somewhat match the event. For example, the first one says "In the year of the new century and nine months," but Nostradamus' original quatrain reads, "In the year 1999 and seven months, from the skies shall come an alarming powerful king" (Century 10:72). Neither is there a mention of "twin brothers" being "torn apart." The quatrain actually says, "Two royal brothers shall war so much one against the other" (Century 3:97). Finally, as for collapsing in the city of York and the sky burning, this is as close as he gets: "The heaven shall burn at five and forty degrees, the fire shall come near the great new city... when they shall make a trial of the Normans" (Century 6:97). Nostradamus never even mentioned the words "fortress" or "big war."

Nostradamus Prophecy - Why do we Care so Much?
After the 911 attacks, Nostradamus prophecy was everywhere! It made the BBC News and it was contained in books on's bestseller list. Dramatically, "Nostradamus" even displaced "sex" from the Internet's top-fifty list for a short period of time. Obviously, people love the notion of prophecy. The tabloids are a testament to that. Why then, do so many people subscribe to the vague and usually erroneous prophecies of people like Nostradamus, Jeanne Dixon, Edgar Cayce, and others that make all the "urban legends" lists? Why not read the most dramatic prophecies of all time - over 600 of them contained in a perennial bestseller known as the Bible? And, guess what? They've all been fulfilled to date! And there's another 300 or so still on the horizon!

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What do you think?
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