The Best Apocalypses in History
The end of the world is near—again! For centuries, doomsdayers have prophesied the apocalypse. But there's a tiny catch: None of the end-of-world predictions ever come true.
Every year, new apocalyptic predictions waft through the dark fringes of the internet and the tabloid media. In the past couple of years, the world was predicted to end in a supervolcano eruption, an asteroid impact, and a new ice age, to name just a few of the more popular doomsday prophecies.
Needless to say that none of them have come true.
Apocalypse Predictions for 2023
Of course, the current global security situation is worrying. But especially in such a climate of uncertainty, the last thing we need is yet another baseless armageddon fantasy to exacerbate our anxiety.
At the end of the day, despite all of the recent heartbreak, humankind is still around, and thriving!
And yet, as in past years, there is no shortage of fresh end-of-world prophecies for the coming year. The following 2023 predictions are currently particularly trendy among doomsday enthusiasts:
The Stray Earth
One rather bleak prediction for 2023 concerns our home planet losing its way in space. Attributed to the blind Bulgarian mystic Baba Vanga, this prophecy has our climate shift dramatically as Earth veers off course following a “global nuclear explosion.”
So, let's get this straight: humankind will experience a nuclear blast powerful enough to throw our entire planet off its path around the Sun—but the thing we're supposed to worry about is...Earth's orbit?
The Perfect Storm
Another prophecy you might come across wants us to believe that a massive solar storm will destroy Earth's magnetosphere, exposing us to enough space radiation to end civilization as we know it.
And now, guess who supposedly made that prediction. It's Baba Vanga again!
To Baba's Defense...
According to some sources, some prophecies were falsely attributed to Baba Vanga after her passing in 1996. Our aim here is not to ridicule the person but to highlight the improbability of the sum of prophecies attributed to her.
The Alien Invasion
But hang on, there's more. On top of all that, 2023 will see the arrival of aliens on Earth, according to another prediction attributed to Baba Vanga. No, not the friendly kind—they will be bloodthirsty monsters, resulting in, you guessed it, the end of humankind.
It's the Nuclear Climate Alien Space Radiation Disaster!
So, to summarize, according to prophecies all attributed to the same person, 2023 has our home planet drifting aimlessly through deep space with a faltering magnetic shield and a rapidly collapsing global climate, facing nuclear fallout and an unprecedented solar tsunami, all the while crawling with killing machines from outer space.
You have to hand it to Baba: she makes Nostradamus sound like an amateur!
The Best Doomsday Predictions That Fizzled
If all this has got you worried, have a look at some of the more notorious doomsday scenarios in history that failed to materialize, just like hundreds of other prophecies through the ages.
While some of the listed events had tragic consequences for many involved, a look at the track record of prophets and prophecies is a good reminder that there is no need to panic.
After all, predicting the end of days is a tricky business.
The Mayan Calendar
The end of the world was predicted to occur on December 21, 2012, when one of the great cycles in the Mayan calendar came to an end.
In the run-up to the day, the internet abounded with predictions about an apocalypse happening on “12/21/12”.
Faced with the wealth of alarmist information available on the world wide web, even NASA was compelled to publish an information page about why the world would not end on December 21, 2012.
Camping and the Rapture
The world was also supposed to end on October 21, 2011. American radio host Harold Camping had arrived at the date for the apocalypse through a series of calculations that he claimed were based on Jewish feast days and the lunar calendar.
In addition to his claims about the end of the world, he also predicted that on May 21, 2011, at precisely 6:00 pm, God’s select people would be assumed into heaven, in an event he called the Rapture.
Those who were not raptured, he said, would have to remain on Earth to wait for their doom five months later.
According to media reports, some of his followers quit their jobs, sold their homes, and invested large amounts of money in publicizing Camping’s predictions.
When the Rapture did not occur, Camping re-evaluated his predictions saying that the event would take place simultaneously with the end of the world. After October 21, 2011, the self-proclaimed prophet stated that “nobody could know exactly when the time of the apocalypse would come.”
The Black Hole from Geneva
Scientists use the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, to set up controlled collisions of particles at very high speeds.
The experiments have caused some to believe that the energies set free by the collisions will form a black hole powerful enough to consume Earth and all life on it.
No such black hole has been sighted yet, and several high-profile studies have concluded that no such dangers are associated with the experiments conducted at the LHC.
Y2K and the Millennium Bug
Toward the end of the second millennium, people around the world feared that the world would end simultaneously with the beginning of the year 2000, or Y2K.
This prediction was based on the practice followed by computer programmers of abbreviating year numbers with two digits when developing software. For instance, “1999” would be coded as “99.”
At the turn of the century, computers would revert to “00,” assuming that the date was 1900 instead of 2000, leading to software errors.
According to popular belief, this so-called “Millennium Bug” threatened banking systems, planes, and even the safety of weapon systems, leading to all-consuming chaos on planet Earth.
However, at midnight on January 1, 2000, the world celebrated the new year, and no planes dropped out of the sky.
Nostradamus and the King of Terror
Renowned seer Nostradamus prophesied 250 years ago that a “king of terror” would come from the sky in 1999.
Austrian geologist and Nostradamus buff Alexander Tollmann decided to play it safe by sitting it out in a self-built bunker in Austria. Tollmann was convinced that the apocalypse was to come early in August, a fear that was consolidated by the total solar eclipse on August 11, 1999.
The Great Flood and the Flying Saucer
Chicago housewife Dorothy Martin (a.k.a. Marion Keech) claimed to have received a message from planet Clarion in the early 1950s: the world was to end in a great flood before dawn on December 21, 1954.
Martin and a group of followers were convinced that a flying saucer would rescue the true believers before the inevitable destruction of Earth.
The belief was so strong that some broke completely with their previous lives, quitting their jobs, leaving their spouses, and giving away money and possessions.
Social psychologists Leon Festinger, Henry Riecken, and Stanley Schachter infiltrated Martin’s group to study the effects of such convictions and the group’s reactions when the prophesied event did not occur. Their work, When Prophecy Fails, delivers the first instance of Festinger’s noted theory of cognitive dissonance.