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12 Things Nostradamus Was Totally Wrong About

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.
  • Rome Invaded by Albainians

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    The Prediction:

    "The Albanians will pass into Rome. By means of Langres the multitude muffled up, Marquis and Duke will pardon no man; Fire, blood, morbid watering the crops to fail." IV:98

    Nostradamus seems to foresee an invasion of Rome by Albania - passing through the small commune of Langres in northeastern France. Geographically, this makes no sense, as they're literally on different sides of Italy's geographical "boot." Nor does it make sense from a historical point of view, as Albania is a tiny military power with no hope of defeating Italy today. Fans of the seer have interpreted this as having something to do with Albanian refugees, but even then, the prediction doesn't make a lot of sense.

  • The Death of a "Great Man from Auxerre"

    The Prediction:
    "A great man from Auxerre will die in poverty, driven out by his own underlings, bound in chains at the end of a rough rope; in the year in which Mars, Venus, and the Sun conjoin in summer." IV:84

    The closest alignment of Mars, Venus, and the Sun during the summer was in 1968. While some have taken this as a reference to Robert Kennedy's assassination, that had nothing at all to do with a small French town, nor did they happen at the same time - as Kennedy was assassinated on June 5, and the conjunction took place on June 20. 
  • "Mabus" the Antichrist

    Photo: The White House / Wikimedia Commons

    The Prediction:
    "Mabus will soon die, then will come, A horrible undoing of people and animals. At once one will see vengeance, One hundred hands, thirst, famine, when the comet will pass." II:62

    This is one of the most-quoted quatrains, as it appears to spell out the coming of a terrible time of death and destruction when someone called "Mabus" dies. So who is "Mabus?" Likely the Flemish painter Jan Mabuse, who lived at the same time as Nostradamus. What does that have to do with the antichrist or a reign of terror that begins when a comet passes?

    Who knows? Likely nothing at all. But scholars have put forth a million guesses for who "Mabus" is, from Saddam Hussein to Barack Obama to the current US Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus (pictured above with Obama).

  • The Great California Quake of 2015


    "The sloping park, great calamity, Through the Lands of the West and Lombardy The fire in the ship, plague and captivity; Mercury in Sagittarius, Saturn fading." X:72

    Putting aside the reference to Lombardy in Italy, some scholars believed this predicted a major calamity in the West - like a great earthquake in California. The zodiac signs given seemed to refer to November 25, 2015 - which passed without a great earthquake in either Italy or California. But don't worry, Nostradamus scholars have already moved the goalposts on this one, to November 2016, or December, 2044.