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. 13

    Richard Miller Says the World Will End On Or Before March 21st, 1844

    William Miller was a Baptist preacher, a self-proclaimed Bible scholar, and another guy on the growing list of jerks who survived the day they proclaimed would be the apocalypse.

    Between the years of 1831 and 1844, Miller began focusing his Bible studies on the book of Daniel, paying special attention to the verse stating

    "For two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state" (Daniel, 8:14).

    Using the extremely convenient -for-Doomsday-predicting "Day-Year Principle"- where a day is actually written to represent a year- Miller concluded that the clock counting down the 2300 days the verse spoke of would actually expire in sometime between March 21st, 1843 and March 21st, 1844. Curious, you may say, that this year would come up so quickly after Miller had begun his bible study, allowing him to be the center of attention as mouthpiece of the coming end of days that was prophesied by...choosing a day of historical significance approximately 2300 years ago that would signal the end of existence on Earth. Here's a chart: please reference it to understand the obvious conclusions Miller came to.

    The incident of Miller's concern was the 457 B.C. decree to rebuild Jerusalem by Artaxerxes I of Persia. Can you imagine, in 1000 years, if some nutbag cited the decree to rebuild the Twin Towers as a signal of the end of the world? You'd think they were crazy, right? Well, Miller's followers were not so discerning and they became convinced 1843 would be their last year on Earth and began living it up.

    Now, if Miller had convinced, let's say, 1,000 people to buy into this notion of the world ending, you might think, "ok, yeah, that's pretty understandable that 1,000 people would buy into what the guy has to say". If he had 10,000 followers, that would probably raise the "that lunatic??" eyebrow. But when you find out the guy had OVER 100,000 FOLLOWERS, you have to start wondering what kind of mass hysteria these people were conned into.

    Well, in a time where Snake Oil salesman could convince you to buy an alcohol-based remedy to cure your drinking addiction, it really doesn't come as too much of a surprise that one man could convince a few who would then convince thousands more. These people, who referred to themselves as Millerites, sold or gave away their possessions, withdrew from their jobs and the community, and basically embraced fully the fact (FACT) that the world was going to end.

    Except it didn't.

    March 21st, 1944 passed without incident, at which time Miller said "Oops! Used the wrong calendar", and changed the date to reflect the Kararite Jewish calendar, giving the end of the world a four week reprieve before the second coming.

    Excuse me, excuse me, the second not coming.

    No surprise, the extension date came and went as well, and the world didn't end. Yet the movement pressed on! I suppose if I had given away all my Earthly possessions, I'd be holding out for a one-way ticket to the apocalypse too. After a thrice amended date came and went, most of the Millerites went back to living their lives, while Miller himself went on waiting for the end of days until he finally left the earth (alone) in 1949.

  2. 12

    Richard Noone Predicts Ice Age To Start 5/5/2000

    In his book Ice: Ultimate Disaster Richard Noone (which, surprisingly is not pronounced no-one) stipulated that the planets' alignment with the moon and sun would cause disturbances in the Earth's axis, sending the ice from the poles to the equator and ushering in an ice age.

    Noone used the Great Pyramid as evidence for a moment in the past when the climate changed very quickly and interviewed Egyptologists along with archaeologists and geologists.

    The book also explored the lore of the Freemasons, Illuminati and Knights Templar. While Noone was attempting to predict the f*ture, he wound up gaining more knowledge about the past, which makes his findings not a total loss, but still make him kind of a psychopath.

  3. 11

    Botticelli's Mystical Nativity Bears Ominous Inscription

    The Mystical Nativity was the only painting Botticelli signed and with it wrote an inscription that said:

    "This picture, at the end of the year 1500, in the troubles of Italy, I Alessandro painted. In the half time after the time, during the fulfillment of the eleventh chapter of St. John in the second woe of the apocalypse."

    Botticelli was convinced that he was living in the times of the Tribulation (the pre-apocalyptic period described in the Bible during which the untrue would suffer great disasters) because a fanatical preacher named Savonarola had arrived in Florence in 1490.

    At first, he was seen as a prophet for having predicted the Italian War of 1494-1498 and talked the French king out of invading the city. Savonarola was a pimp like that. He sought to purge Florence of its artistic vanity and wealth by making its residents burn their luxuries and paintings.

    Savonarola was eventually executed, but Botticelli's inscription predicts an apocalypse in the 16th century and has been the key to reading The Mystical Nativity not only as a scene of salvation and goodness but one that foreshadows the second coming of Christ and has dark imagery such as demons fleeing to the Underworld.

    FUN FACT: There's actually a freakin red dragon in the Book of Revelations

  4. 10

    20,000 Londoners Flee Their Homes In The Second Great Flood

    A respected German scholar and priest, Johannes Stoeffler, predicted in 1499 that the world would be flooded again because all six of the planets known then would be in conjunction in the constellation of Pisces.

    Since Pisces is represented by a fish, Stoeffer assumed it meant water would be responsible for killing all of the Earth's inhabitants. Perfectly reasonable.

    Because he was well-respected, people listened to his prediction and braced themselves for the second Great Flood.

    English astrologers set the date for February 1, 1524. People sold their waterfront property even if they lost profit and an elevated fortress was built at the Priory Church of St. Bartholomew the Great with two months worth of necessities.

    Boat builders became filthy rich as families commissioned arks to be built to protect themselves when the flood arrived.

    The craziest part, and definitely the one who believed Stoeffler the most was German count named Von Iggleheim who actually constructed a luxury, three-story ark for his friends and family.

    That's a lot of trust to put in a guy you've never met. But, I mean, c'mon, who wouldn't trust this face?

    Give in to your feeeeeear

    On February 1st 20,000 Londoners left their homes to get to higher ground and await the rain. Nothing happened and they all went back to their houses.

    In Europe, however, it began to rain at dawn. A crowd around von Iggleheim's ark became panicked and tried to get onto it, killing many in the stampede.

    When he refused to let them on, they dragged him out of the ark and stoned him to death. Makes sense.

    Fantasies of London flooding are not uncommon, though:

  5. 9

    Large Hadron Collider Potentially Creates a Black Hole Large Enough to Swallow the Earth

    The Large Hadron Collider that stretches 27 km between France and Switzerland is the largest particle accelerator ever built and was set to be turned on on September 10, 2008 to recreate the Big Bang.

    It was built by Cern, the European Organization for Nuclear Research and cost 5 billion pounds (or almost 10 billion American dollars), which was paid for by 20 different countries.

    The hadron particles within the accelerator would be crashed into each other at a speed almost as great as the speed of light in an area a billion times smaller than a speck of dust.

    Some scientists were worried so they filed a lawsuit because they thought the experiment could create a black hole that would devour the Earth.

    And even the fact that it was a small possibility was pretty terrifying. It was kind of like being on a plane, statistically you're safe, but you're obviously doing something that is challenging nature. I'm all for science and everything, and even love that the LHC exists, for science (you monster), but the fact that some scientists could turn something like this on, with even the slimmest probability of the world ending, was terrifying.

    How could something this shiny not be dangerous?

    Scientists working on the Collider insisted that the chances of a black hole being created were minuscule and that even if one did appear it would be too small to affect the planet and would be gone in seconds. The Collider was turned on successfully and will run until 2014.

    What ended up happening once it was turned on, though, was one, big, anti-climactic sigh of relief.

  6. 8

    Early Heretic Montanus Founds End of the World Cult

    In the 2nd century, a native of what is now Turkey, Phrygia, and a pagan priest of an Oriental cult (yes, you can use this in a historical context) for Cybele (mother goddess of fertility) converted to Christianity and began a schism (or, an opposing group).

    His ecstatic revelations, which were supposedly directly from God and which he told in the first person, claimed that the end of the world was near.

    New Jerusalem was to drop from heaven right to his hometown of Pepuza, where only true believers would be allowed to live.

    Montanus, with a prophetess on each arm, Priscilla and Maximilla (both of which had left their husbands to join the cult), set out to purify his followers by making them fast and denying them material possessions. His followers had seizures and uttered phrases in strange languages that were interpreted as oracles of the Holy Spirit.

    Even though doomsday never came, the cult spread to North Africa and remained alive for centuries after Montanus and his two prophetesses had died and been buried in a shrine in Phrygia. Tertullian, the first Christian to compose in Latin, who came up with terms like The Trinity and Old and New Testaments was a devoted follower of Montanus' cult.

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