News Column

11 Dead-wrong Prophecies of Doom

Dec 21, 2012

Peter Mucha

Once again, the Earth has survived.

Unless typing at this terminal is Heaven -- and it's clearly far from Hell -- no rapture or disaster happened overnight, contrary to movie-inspiring misreadings of Mayan calendars.

Add that to the list of dead-wrong prophecies about the end of the world.

Here are 10 previous apocalyptic flops:

1. Radio preacher's dud and redux. California evangelist Harold Camping said he could "absolutely guarantee," based on his Bible-based math, that on May 21, 2011, a grave-opening earthquake would let 200 million blessed souls get "caught up" or "raptured" into Heaven, while remaining billions would feel "horror and chaos" until Oct. 21, "when God will completely destroy this earth." After the May date, Camping revised, declaring the real delivery date would be Oct. 21, when "the world is going to be destroyed all together ... very quick."

2. Into the black hole. On Sept. 10, 2008, physicists turned on Europe's Large Hadron Collider, and contrary to alarmists, no planet-swallowing mini black hole was created, although comic Al Franken did get the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota.

3. Man of many dates. God's Church minister Ronald Weinland wrote two books forecasting the death of millions and the downfall of the United States by autumn 2008. Church fasting inspired God to mercifully delay, "But NOW, time has run out!" Weinland blogged in February. "... God's righteous judgment must NOW be executed in order for His Kingdom to be established at the coming of His Son on May 27, 2012."

4. Day of the Beast. June 6, 2006, or 06-06-06, was reminiscent of scary talk from Revelations about "the number of the beast, for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six." But the world didn't end then, or on any of the seven days since that when the Pennsylvania Lottery's Daily Number came up 666.

5. Nostradamus knows? In the seventh month of 1999, "from the sky will come a great King of Terror. To bring back to life the great King of the Mongols." Worried, designer Paco Rabanne warned that the Russian space station Mir would fall on Paris, if not in July, then by the total solar eclipse in August.

6. Millennial mayhem. The year 2000 loomed with a double whammy: 2000 years since the days of Jesus, and a calendar-year rollover that could drive computers crazy. Indeed, it was the end -- for many bottles of champagne.

7. Comet cleanser. Believing that the Earth was about to be recycled, 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult committed suicide on March 26, 1997, supposedly thinking this would help them hop aboard a UFO posing as the Comet Hale-Bopp.

8. Prior conviction. Camping, the man behind the May 21, 2011, prediction, was also convinced the world would end in September 1994, then added another week when it didn't.

9. Seoul vigil. Thousands expecting "Rapture is coming!" took to streets in South Korea in the fall of 1992, but when the deadline passed in late October, officials for churches such as the Mission for the Coming Days told the faithful to go home. Four people committed suicide before the countdown ended.

10. "The Great Disappointment." Adventism founder William Miller predicted the world would end between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844. He then extended the date to Oct. 22, before acknowledging he goofed.



Source: (c)2012 The Philadelphia Inquirer. Distributed by MCT Information Services.