Widely celebrated as Europe’s most successful prophet, Nostradamus (1503 – 1566) continues to astound. This mythical figure’s formidable reputation looms large, despite it being almost five hundred years since the publication of his sensational predictions.
A physician by trade, Michel de Nostradame of St Remy, Provence was an exceptional talent. He successfully treated and cured plague victims in the early sixteenth century, refusing to accept conventional medieval medical practices such as ‘bleeding’ in order to do so. Indeed, his curative techniques were just as revolutionary as his theories of the cosmos. Almost a century prior to Galileo, Nostradamus understood that the Earth orbited the sun – anathema to the sixteenth century Church and establishment.
However, Nostradamus was best known as an exceptional clairvoyant. His mode of divination involved focusing upon a bowl of water which was carefully positioned upon a brass tripod. From 1555 onwards, he published the ‘Centuries’ – a series of ten volumes of predictions. The Frenchman chose to compose his visions in the form of poetic quatrains in order to avoid being accused of witchcraft by the Inquisition. It is for this reason that many of his predictions remain obscure and have only been conclusively deciphered with the benefit of hindsight.
Nonetheless, during Nostradamus’s lifetime incredible evidence of his talents emerged. Whilst travelling in Italy, he predicted that an obscure monk he met by chance on a dusty country path named Felice Peretti would one day become Pope. This wild prophecy did indeed come to pass when in 1585 he became Pope Sixtus V.
Whilst staying with a member of the French aristocracy, Nostradamus was asked to predict which pig from two they would eat for dinner – the back or the white. The Frenchman proclaimed that a wolf would eat the white one, whilst the guests would feast upon the black beast that evening. Seeking to disprove Nostradamus, the nobleman instructed his chef to prepare the white pig for the meal. Later that evening the host was stunned to discover that a wolf had strayed into the kitchen and had consumed the carcass of the white pig. This calamity had resulted in the black one being used as a substitute for the meal. Thus, Nostradamus’s prediction was proven correct!
But perhaps Nostradamus’s most incredible and disturbing prophecies involve the coming of the first, second and third Antichrists: Napoleon, Hitler and the mysterious ‘man of blood’ from the East (who is yet to appear). He successfully predicted that an ‘Emperor will be born near Italy (Corsica) who will cost the Empire (France) dearly’. Napoleon did indeed cost France much loss of life, and plunged Europe into chaos.
In the twentieth century Nostradamus ominously foresaw: ‘Beast wild with hunger will cross the rivers, the greater part of the battlefield will be against Hister.’ This statement is astonishing, not only because of the accuracy of the name (very close to Hitler), but because when the Nazi leader attacked the USSR, his forces did indeed cross many of the major rivers in Eastern Europe and Russia – turning the tide of war against the Third Reich.
Nostradamus is not dissimilar to many prophets when he speaks of the coming of the apocalypse at the end of the twentieth century: ‘In the year 1999 and seven months from the sky will come the great King of Terror, before and afterwards war reigns happily…’ He speaks of the ‘man of blood’ from the East who is apparently the third Antichrist. This sinister figure will trigger the Third World War, or Apocalypse, which will result in the complete destruction of civilisation as we know it! To date, this has yet to happen and scholars widely agree that Nostradamus appears to suggest that the final Antichrist will come from China. Thankfully, at the time of writing, China is a peaceful nation that is very keen to sustain, establish and build friendly relationships with other states – so hopefully this is one prediction the great Frenchman has gotten wrong.
Bizarrely, Nostradamus predicted the date of his own death, and also ordered a metal plaque to be inscribed and placed inside his coffin with him. When his body was exhumed in 1700 to be taken to another site, onlookers were astonished to discover that the plaque bore the same date on which they had opened his casket…
David Fox is a professional entertainer and freelance writer. Visit his website at: www.magician-midlands.co.uk or phone him on: 07946686258.