California preacher Harold Camping has predicted that October 21 will be the end of the world, after his previous prediction that the rapture would take 200 million Christians to Heaven on May 21 turned out to be a dud.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Camping has avoided talking to the media this time round about his current prediction, so while we wait and see if his latest shot in the dark comes true, read through some other apocalypse predictors who must have put a decimal point in the wrong place or forgot to carry the one.
Jehovah's Witness Predictions
The Jehovah's Witness religion has made several predictions about the end of the world (1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975 and 1994, if you're wondering), based on prophecies from the Book of Daniel. After the first prediction failed, they changed the meaning and said that 1914 was the date when Jesus came back to rule the Earth invisibly.
Edgar C. Whisenant
Believe it or not, Whisenant was a NASA engineer who also wrote books about the approaching end of the world. In 1988, he released a book called "88 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1988," which went on to sell 4.5 million copies. His predictions again came from calculations drawn from the Bible and came to the conclusion that the world will end betweenSeptember 11 and 13 of 1988.
When people woke up on the morning of September 14 still very much alive, Whisenant simply altered his calculations to September 15. Then October 3. And so on. He continued to do so until his death in 2001.
Possibly the most famous of all the incorrect foreseers, Nostradamus predicted that in July 1999, a 'King of Terror' would arrive on Earth. His full prediction was:
The year 1999, seventh month,
From the sky will come a great King of Terror.
To bring back to life the great King of the Mongols,
Before and after Mars to reign by good luck.
As with all of Nostradamus' predictions, there is a lot of grey area and they are so vague, they can be interpreted in many different ways. But one thing is for sure, there was not one reported sight of the King of Terror during July 1999 and the world carried on as normal.
1999 was a big year for end of the world predictions, with many people spreading rumours that the Millenium Bug would signal the beginning of the end. People predicted that the world's computers would not handle the 'rollover' from '99 to 00 with scaremongers suggesting that planes will fall out of the sky and nuclear missiles would accidently be deployed.
When the clock did strike midnight on New Year's Eve, everyone breathed a sigh of relief as the whole thing appeared to just be completely blown out of proportion.
Joanna Southcott was a self-proclaimed English mystic, born in 1750. She became convinced that she had supernatural powers and declared herself the woman spoken of in Revelation 12:1-6: "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. Joanna predicted that she would give birth to the Messiah and hailing the end of the world, on 19 October, 1814.
The world did not end and Joanna died two months later, People even kept her body for some time in the hope that she would raise herself from the dead. They only gave her body to the authorities once she started to decay.