Why is everyone in a rush to end the World? On 11/13/2009 (Friday the 13th) Hollywood gives us anther apocalyptic movie in spectacular special effects. This time the day of reckoning is on December 21, 2012 based mostly on the predictions from the Mayan calendar. And so soon after Y2K?
Remember the good ole days when only Nostradamus and religious types like Pat Robertson and Jack Van Impe preached the end of time. But now scientist, technology, and even the History Channel have jumped on the “we’re screwed” bandwagon. Are we going to start hearing songs like “We gonna party like its December 20, 2012”? Where is Dr. Strangelove when you need him?
And in today’s connected Internet world, it seems everyone with a YouTube account, some cheap video special effects software, and cheesy soundtracks are creating their vision of how the 2012 disaster will enfold. And these videos are getting an unnerving number of hits.
It’s funny how after-the-fact we giggle dismissively at each failed apocalypse prediction. But what’s more perplexing is how many of us become entranced with the next big Judgment Day forecast. We soak it up like a ShamWow. So before you sell all your earthly possessions to prepare for the end, keep in mind there have been a lot of Doomsday predictions of all different flavors. But all end-of-time prophecy has one thing in common: they did not happen.
So just to help you put things in perspective, here are just a few failed Doomsday predictions. (They are A LOT more.)
The Hen of Leeds in 1806
It was rumored a hen in the English town of Leeds in 1806 began laying eggs on which the phrase “Christ is coming” was written. People went crazy until it was uncovered as a hoax and the only thing this chicken was laying were some bad eggs.
Mormon Judgment Day before 1891
Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, in February 1835 said that he had spoken to God recently, and during their conversation he learned that Jesus would return within the next 56 years, after which the End Times would begin promptly.
The Millerites Preached the end would be April 23, 1843
A New England farmer named William Miller concluded that God’s chosen time to destroy the world could be divined from a strict literal interpretation of scripture. He prophesied the world would end some time between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. He preached and published enough to eventually lead thousands of followers (known as Millerites) who decided that the actual date was April 23, 1843. Many sold or gave away their possessions, assuming they would not be needed; though when April 23 arrived (but Jesus didn’t) the group eventually disbanded. Interesting to note that this group formed what is now the Seventh Day Adventists.
Pat Robertson and Jack Van Impe
Poor Pat. He’s like a Twinkie; you just cannot destroy him. (Twinkies are indestructible thanks to a toxic mix of modern chemicals.) Even when he predicted Judgment day before the year 1982 expired and it did not occur, people still watch him and send him money. This is truly a great mystery.
And his brother evangelist Jack Van Impe has made several failed predictions of when Jesus will return. People still listed to him, too. Go figure.
Death by Melting Ice on May 5, 2000
Cashing in on the failed Y2K bug, Richard Noone wrote the book “5/5/2000 Ice: the Ultimate Disaster.” According to Noone, the Antarctic ice mass would be three miles thick by May 5, 2000, a date in which the planets would be aligned in the heavens, somehow resulting in a global icy death (or at least a lot of book sales).
And of course, my favorite global death comes from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where the Earth is demolished to make way for an Intergalactic freeway. But don’t panic, fortunately the Earth was restored from a back-up. (You should always back-up your data!)
Here are more of the end-of-time’s greatest hits:
So enjoy R.E.M. serenading you about the end of the world set to some interesting clips.