The 13 Greatest End of the World Prophecy FAILs Events
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The 13 Greatest End of the World Prophecy FAILs

Don't panic. According to the Mayans, the world is going to end this Friday, December 21st, 2012. Whether by a reversal of the Earth's rotational axis, a collision with mysterious Niburu, or by some kind of implosion black hole issue, the Mayan calendar clearly indicates this TGIF will be our last (maybe set the DVR for a little Full House? Some Family Matters, for old time's sake?).

No matter how many times religious "prophets" predict doomsday based on numerology, the Bible or scientists wrongly calculate a comet's effect on the planet (Isaac Newton even wrote his own prediction of the apocalypse that was published after his death), people have kept bracing themselves for the end of the world or committing suicide to spare themselves from witnessing the Apocalypse (which, c'mon, would be pretty awesome to see).

What are some end of the world predictions? Inspired by the current prediction (Friday, December 21st), here are 13 failed apocalyptic prophecies of the past.


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  1. 6

    Taiwanese Cult Leader Says God Will Arrive in Spaceship

    "The True Way" (Chen Tao) was a cult started by a Taiwanese national named Hon-Ming Chen who was originally an atheist and a professor. The movement was a mix of Buddhism, Taoism and UFOlogy. Three things that obviously fit together.

    Chen believed the Universe was 4.5 trillion years old and had been created by a nuclear war. He also believed there had been five tribulations in the past which were survived by UFOs rescuing Earth's inhabitants each time.

    Chen predicted that God would appear on cable television in North America at midnight on March 31, 1998, regardless of whether you subscribed to cable or not. After announcing his return, he would land on Earth in his spacecraft. To prepare for God's arrival, "The True Way's" 140 members moved to Garland, Texas because it sounded like "God Land," bought twenty homes and started wearing cowboy hats.

    When the prophecy didn't come true Chen offered to be crucified or stoned but no one carried out the punishment. 2/3 of the members abandoned the group, some because of visa problems that forced them to move back to Taiwan. In other words, people were so disappointed that they didn't even care enough to want revenge on the guy.


  2. 5

    Y2K Bug Threatens To Plunge World Into Chaos. Nutjobs Prepare.

    Instead of getting ready to party hard to celebrate the privilege of welcoming a new millennium, theories that computers would shut down completely when they reached 00 due to the use of two digits for years (97,98,00) raised panic throughout the world.

    People bought gas-powered generators in case of massive power outages and stocked up on canned food and water because they were convinced that without computers running companies could not operate and the world would fall into chaos. In a Time article about Y2k that was written in 1998, the Eckhart family was featured as they prepared for the disaster. They loaded up on weapons (handguns, shotguns and rifles) in case any of the "unprepared" ones came onto their property after the New Year hit and Mrs. Eckhart made sure to learn some dentistry and medicine in case of emergencies.

    Never thought of that, did you? Where's the dentist in your apocalypse plan? All you've got are swords, boards and nails, and awesome looking leather stuff. What would you even wear (here are some ideas)? These people actually thought ahead of time.

    The acronym circulating on Y2k Internet sites was TEOTWAWKI or The End of the World as We Know It (as perpetuated by some Christian groups). A Christian Coalition even speculated that Bill Clinton would take advantage of the chaos to take over as dictator of America.

    And all because someone didn't think ahead of time to put four digits instead of two for the years. Whoever did that math wrong must've felt terrible.


    Someone should've carried the 1


    Needless to say, the millennium came, people still celebrated by freezing their asses off in Times Square and it only took several years for a recession to creep up on the U.S. and usher in the kind of financial meltdown that Y2K-enthusiasts had been predicting in the first place. So, you know, yay.

  3. 4

    Joanna Southcott Claims She Will Give Birth to The Second Jesus in 1814

    If this lady existed in modern day, she would most likely write slash fiction.

    In 1814, a British virgin over 60 years old from Devon, England declared that she was the woman in Revelation (12:1-6) --

    1. 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:
    2. And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
    3. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
    4. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
    5. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
    6. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

    According to her visions, she was pregnant with the next Christ and would give birth to him on Christmas day of that year. Despite the certainty that she had already gone through menopause and could no longer reproduce, Southcott was convinced that she was the next Mary. The second coming of Jesus would mean judgment day.


    So where her prediction fell through was instead of giving birth on Christmas day, she died. So she was way off.

    This wasn't enough proof for her 100,000 followers, however. Some kept believing in her until their death and up until 1927, one woman even put a large fortune behind publishing Southcott's writings

  4. 3

    Amateur Astrologist's False Observation Leads to Mass Suicide in 1997

    When amateur astronomist Chuck Shramek took a fuzzy CCD image of the comet Hale-Bopp, which was set to reappear in 1997, he mistakenly observed that a Saturn-like object was trailing behind it. The observation reached message boards on the early, pre-YouTube Internet and spread, making UFO enthusiasts predict that an alien spacecraft was trailing the comet.

    The closeness of the comet's appearance to the new millennium led religious cults like Heaven's Gate to see it as a sign of the apocalypse.

    39 people in the cult committed mass suicide in California because they believed the UFO disguising itself through the comet was there to rescue them from a doomed Earth. How they thought killing themselves would help them get on the UFO makes no sense. Other cults who thought themselves to be creatures from other planets were waiting for the UFO to take them back home and end their "visit" on Earth.

    Later it was discovered that two astronomers from the University of Hawaii had actually taken the photo and Shramek's had been altered to add the object. Oh, how gullible people were before the magics of social media and Photoshop were well known. I'll be right back, I need to drink my Acai, wheatgrass and bacon shot.

    The Heaven's Gate cult has been made fun of in various parts of pop culture and has become one of the many cult laughing stocks that we now have forever. We have that information now, and can make fun of it whenever we want, so maybe it's not that big of a fail.

    This is probably the most notable of them all:

    The Leaderrrrrrrrrrr

  5. 2

    Televangelist Pat Robertson Says God Told Him World Would End in 1982

    Televangelist, ex-Baptist minister and failed Republican candidate for the 1988 presidential election, Pat Robertson always has a prediction to make and commentary of the utmost insensitivity on any disaster that occurs (Check out The 10 Craziest Things Pat Robertson Has Ever Said)

    In 1980 he said on The 700 Club (a program named after the approximate age and/or weight of anyone who watches it) "I guarantee by the end of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on this world."

    He believed that as of 1980, the Anti-Christ was about 27 years old and that Armageddon would start in 1982 followed by 7 "nightmare years" of intense suffering. Which is awesome. I mean, the Biblical apocalypse is pretty epic.

    The "nightmare years" according to the book of revelations include 4 horsemen, Satan coming back to Earth, zombies, a dragon (yes, a dragon) and some other stuff that would actually be pretty damn awesome to see in real life before dying a terrible, terrible death at the hands of some creature that would look like a main character from Hellraiser. Or maybe we'd just get the traditional Satan, who knows? Either way, it would be exciting.

    The classic Christian Rapture/Apocalpyse/Armageddon is by far the most Metal of them all. Imagine not being run over by a car, dying of old age or succumbing to a terminal illness, but instead meeting the edge of this guy's sword:


    BWAAHAHAHAHA!


    Robertson, of course, had no reasoning behind this other than he felt the Lord told him it was going to happen and was 100% wrong. He said "times will be terribly hard, but we will survive." Maybe he was just talking about Olivia Newton John's "Physical" being the #1 hit in America in 1982, and hey, in that respect, he was right.

    In 2006 he predicted a tsunami would hit America.

    In 2008 God told him it would be a year of worldwide violence (pretty general there) and a recession would hit America before the stock market crashed in 2010 (it had hit by 2007).

    Robertson has called Hinduism "demonic" and Islam "Satanic" and has denounced homosexuality, abortion, feminists, and pagans, holding them responsible for 9/11. After Hurricane Katrina hit, Robertson said it was God's punishment for America's abortion policy. When the 2010 Haiti earthquake hit, Robertson said the Haitians had formed a pact with the Devil to liberate themselves from the French and the earthquake was a product of their curse.

  6. 1

    Harold Camping Thinks the World is Ending This Weekend (Just Like He Did in 1994 and on May 21 ...

    Because this is just something people should know about (it's pretty funny, and a little sad), here's what's going on with this weekend's Rapture.

    And in everyone on this list's defense, it makes sense that everyone thinks they're in the "end times" because life, in general, for people in pretty much any era in human history, almost always seems like it can't get any worse.

    California-based Family Radio host Harold Camping is back with another prediction! Unlike most radio talk show hosts, he doesn't just predict game scores or celebrity hookups, no, Mr. Harold Camping predicts apocalypses (apocali?).

    It's fair to say most people deserve a second chance, but considering that the 89-year-old has been wrong about the world ending before, it's shocking that people still believe him this time.

    In his book 1994, Camping applied numerology to the Bible (every douchebag that read the Da Vinci Code is nodding knowingly to the mention of numerology) and predicted that Christ would return between September 15 and 17 of 1994. When nothing happened Camping said he'd made a mistake in his calculations. He apparently hadn't considered the Book of Jeremiah.

    After recalculating, he decided the world is actually going to end on May 21 (Saturday) of this year. And some people BELIEVE him. No really, look! His followers are dropping out of med school, leaving their wives and children, and spending all their savings to spread the world about The Rapture. He and his followers are spending over $3 Million raising awareness. $3 Million (American). Good luck this year, orphans!

    Here's his reasoning:
    1. According to Camping, judgment day should occur 7,000 years after the Flood. Biblical scholars claim the Flood took place May 21 of 4,990 B.C. God told Noah to warn the people 7 days before the flood and using a Bible passage 2 Peter 3:8, "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day," Camping treats each of the days as a thousand years.

    2. The second piece of "evidence" is based off of the notion that the world began in 11,013 B.C. and after its 13,000th anniversary on May 21st, 1988, the "church age" was over and Satan took control of them (Camping and his followers do not believe in organized religion).

    3. Numerology, once again, comes into the picture -- Christ was killed on April 1 33 A.D., that is 722,500 days from May 21, 2011. 722,500 is the product of this equation: (5 x 10 x 7)^2. These numbers apparently mean something special. Five is atonement, ten completeness and 17 heaven.

    What if the numbers in the equation had been cubed instead of squared, though?

    If you're having a hard time following the logic of this argument don't worry about it because the chances of you being one of the 3% that God is taking with him to Heaven on the day of Rapture are very slim anyway. Unless you live on a farm and are the type of person who doesn't wear open toed shoes because they're the devil's handtools, then you're most likely going to die with the rest of us people-who-get-laid-and-have-fun.

    We'll be left here until October 21 to suffer the most horrendous tortures you can think of (God will most likely waterboard the planet) -- think earthquakes and the destruction of Earth and yes, even the entire universe, because sometimes you've just gotta start fresh.

    When asked if past failed apocalyptic predictions (*cough* 1994 *cough*) place any doubts in the minds of the believers, Chris McCann, a member of eBibleFellowship, a group who is spreading the word about May 21st, said, "It would be like telling the Wright Brothers that every other attempt to fly has failed, so you shouldn't even try."

    Yes Chris McCann, it is just as hopeful as that.

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