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12 Things Nostradamus Was Totally Wrong About

Updated September 23, 2021 24k views12 items

For the most part, Nostradamus prophecies are either so vague it's impossible to tell what they're predicting, or have no specific date by which they will have come true. Therefore, it's hard to say they're "wrong" because there's no way to know what "right" is. His predictions were written in an obscure French dialect, often using previous events as their guide, and are full of metaphors and arcane references.

Any Nostradamus predictions that do appear to have come true are ways of interpreting the quatrain to mean something that just happened, as opposed to something that was going to happen. But some of the prophecies are just flat out wrong. They use dates that have come and gone, refer to planetary alignments that went by without incident, or are so outlandish that they can really never happen.

So, was Nostradamus wrong and about what? Take a look below to find out which predictions from the seer missed the mark.
  • The Capture of a Persian King by Egypt

    Photo: Public domain

    The Prediction:
    "The third climate included under Aries The year 1727 in October, The King of Persia captured by those of Egypt: Conflict, death, loss: to the cross great shame." III:77

    Most Nostradamus quatrains are so vague in their details that they could be about anything or anyone. But III:77 is different in that it specifically predicts something to happen in a month and year: October 1727.

    Needless to say, Persian Shah Ashraf Hotak was not captured by Egypt in that month, or any other month around then, though he was deposed two years later. Egypt and Persia had been at peace for centuries in 1555 when this was written, and there's no way around saying the great seer was totally wrong about this.

  • The King of Terror Coming from the Sky

    Photo: AZ Quotes

    The Prediction:
    "In the year 1999, in the seventh month, from the sky will come the great King of Terror, bringing back to life the great King of the Mongols. Before and after, Mars to reign by good fortune." X:72

    This quatrain unambiguously predicts a great cataclysm coming from the sky in July, 1999 - one that would lead to war, possibly with the east. However, no King of Terror came from the sky or anywhere else in 1999 - not even the Y2K bug.

    Nostradamus buffs have tried to transform this into a 9/11 prediction, using 1999 as a reverse anagram for "9-11-1" and "King of the Mongols" as a reference to Kabul being the capital of the Mongols. Except it never was - merely a city they laid waste to. Other interpretations have "Mongols" actually being the defunct French province of Angoumois - which, of course, had no king.

  • World War II Air Combat

    Photo: Public domain

    The Prediction:
    "They will think they have seen the Sun at night, When they will see the half-pig half-man: Noise, song, battle, fighting in the sky perceived, And one will hear brute beasts talking." I:64

    Nostradamus interpreters think he's talking about World War II air combat - specifically, the oxygen masks worn by fighter pilots making them "half-man half-pig" and the "talking" of the "brute beasts" being gunfire.

    But taking the quatrain literally, he's talking about actual man/pig creatures. Given that this kind of gene splicing technology is well beyond human capability (not to mention totally unethical), the only way to get this one right is to grossly distort its meaning.

  • The Great War of 2002

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    The Prediction:
    "Mars and the scepter will be in conjunction, A calamitous war under Cancer. A short time afterward a new king will be anointed, Who will bring peace to the earth for a very long time." X:75

    Astrologers claim that "Mars and the scepter" being in conjunction is a reference to an alignment between Jupiter and Mars that took place on June 21, 2002, with the "calamitous war" to follow. Of course, no war took place on that day - meaning either the prophecy is wrong or the common interpretation is wrong.