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Prediction Hoaxes
Nostradamus Predicted 9/11
Soon after 9/11 an email began to circulate claiming that the sixteenth-century astrologer Nostradamus had predicted the terrorist attacks. Some "genuine Nostradamus quatrains" were offered as proof of this claim. More…
The Prediction of Tamara Rand, 1981
A few days after President Reagan was shot in March 1981, a startling piece of footage ran on many news programs, including NBC's Today show and CNN. It appeared to show that psychic Tamara Rand had accurately predicted that the attempt on Reagan's life would occur when she had appeared on a Las Vegas TV show, Dick Maurice and Company, two months earlier. If genuine, it was a remarkable prediction. But an AP reporter discovered that the footage had actually been taped the day after Reagan was shot. The Las Vegas show had collaborated in making it appear as if her prediction had been made before the assassination attempt, not after it.
Enigmatical Prophecies
Poor Richard's Almanac was a yearly almanac that Benjamin Franklin began publishing in 1732. In 1737, five years into the life of the almanac, Franklin included three "enigmatical prophecies" in the almanac. He predicted that: A great storm would cause all the major cities of North America to be under water; A "great number of vessels fully laden will be taken out of the ports… by a Power with which we are not now at war;" and that an "army of 30,000 musketers will land… and sorely annoy the inhabitants." A year passed and none of the prophecies appeared to come true. But just when Franklin's readers were about to label him a... More…
The Death of Titan Leeds
Benjamin Franklin published a highly successful, yearly almanac from 1732 to 1758. He called it Poor Richard’s Almanac, adopting the literary persona of "Poor" Richard Saunders, who was supposedly a hen-pecked, poverty-stricken scholar. In the first year of its publication, Franklin included a prediction stating that rival almanac-writer Titan Leeds would die on "Oct. 17, 1733, 3:29 P.M., at the very instant of the conjunction of the Sun and Mercury." The prediction was intended as a joke. Nevertheless, Leeds took offense at it and chastised Saunders (Franklin) for it in his own almanac. Franklin responded by turning the death of... More…
Mother Shipton, c.1641
Mother Shipton was said to be a sixteenth-century Yorkshire seer who made a number of startlingly accurate predictions. However, it is uncertain whether she actually existed, and many of the predictions attributed to her are outright hoaxes written long after the sixteenth century. During the period when she was supposedly alive, there were no written references to her or her predictions. More…
Medieval End of the World Hoaxes
The medieval mind fixated on the end of the world. Predictions of imminent, world-encompassing disaster turned up during the middle ages with almost clockwork regularity. More…
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Eras: 0-1699 1700s 1800-1849 1850-1899 1900-1949 1950-1979 1980s 1990s 2000s
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  • All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.