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End of the World Predictions That Proved Wrong

Reshu Mehrotra
So doomsday came and went, and left a long list of disgruntled predictors still alive in its wake. Let's have a few laughs at their expense, as a fitting ode to the supposedly-ominous year of 2012.
Ever since that fateful someone stumbled upon the Mayan's doomsday prediction, the world seriously split into two. We had the believers on one side, with the skeptics on the other, and as we're reading this, there are no prizes for guessing who won.
End-of-the-world predictions have been as old as civilization itself, with man prophesying catastrophes that gained varying degrees of success. So what's with these people and their age-old obsession of putting a death date on our planet?
I reckon it's got something to do with the perversely pleasurable idea of predicting our collective end - the one thing that many seem to dread. Or it could be that these wise voices were doing the noble deed of shaming us into being conscientious Earth-dwellers, advising us to stop paving a shortcut to doomsville.
Little did they know about our dear planet's endurance to survive all the human abuse she's been getting since a gazillion years now. But survive she indeed has, delivering a definitive punch on the following people's noses...

William Miller

Mr Miller was the fellow who dug his own grave by predicting doomsday not once, but twice, before his 'Millerites' noticed something amiss. With a lot of spare time on his hands, he initiated a series of calculations using the Bible, to predict the date of Christ's Second Advent.
The purpose of the Second Advent was to "cleanse, purify, and take possession of the world", and a specific date of October 22, 1844 was set for the event by a Millerite preacher, Samuel S. Snow. (At this point, it is surprising how these followers did not question equating Christ's second coming with destruction).
Miller successfully managed to deviously publicize his phoney theory among the unsuspecting public.

Thousands of Millerites downed the shutter on their lives in anticipation, and stood with bated breath to receive the Lord... and we seriously needn't be told how that ended. All I can add is that October 22 was rechristened 'Disappointment Day'.

Dorothy Martin

Presenting, Dorothy Martin, a.k.a Marian Keech's Doomsday Prophesy!

Starring (in order of appearance)
Automatic Writing
Aliens (from the not-yet-found planet Clarion)
Flying Saucers
The Plot
Dorothy Martin was the housewife who "experimented" with automatic writing. One of these very experiments left her with a message that a huge flood would end the world on December 21, 1954. But, there was hope!
Aliens from the planet Clarion would come zooming in to rescue her, along with her loony bunch, whisking them to safety.
No, E.T. didn't come. But smarty-pants Martin claimed that, "the little group, sitting all night long, had spread so much light that God had saved the world from destruction". Yeah, like no one's heard that one before.

I'd like to add that Dorothy Martin was pally with L. Ron Hubbard, and was the semi-inspiration behind...ahem... Scientology.

Harold Camping

Harold Camping, an American Christian radio broadcaster is, in one word, relentless. Get a load of this -
1. His book 1994? told us that doomsday would fall sometime in September 1994 (duh!). To his credit, he conceded in the book that he could be wrong. Score: Earth-1; Camping-0.

2. It was March 31, 1995's turn next. Score: Earth-2; Camping-0.
3. He brought in the concept of Rapture, and set the date of May 21, 2011 for it. World destruction would follow five months later, on October 21, 2011. Score: Earth-3; Camping-0.

Let's just hope that someday Mr. Camping accepts he ain't any good at Biblical Mathematics.

Pat Robertson

Marion Gordon Robertson, also known as Pat Robertson, has had a long career as a media magnet and as a former Southern Baptist minister, including a failed bid to seek a Republican nomination for President in 1988. Mr. Robertson, all said and done, is a man of strong likes and dislikes.
Among his dislikes are feminism, abortion, homosexuality, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Protestantism, paganism, and every other -ism that does not fall in line with Robertson-ism. Among his business allies are Charles Taylor of Liberia and Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, both prominent tyrants.
And yes, this is the same guy who predicted that the world would end in "October or November, 1982".


The year 2000 or Y2K, had a lot going in terms of doomsday theories - a spanking new century, the Age of Aquarius, naughty noughties, and what not. If nothing, the Y2K scare certainly had all the techies working overtime, as it was believed that the computers then were ill-equipped to smoothly transit from 1999 to 2000.
People went berserk with their creativity, claiming that this glitch would cause plane crashes, economic crashes, elevator crashes, train crashes, not to mention the brain crashes that would follow.

Well, computers survived to give us Orkut, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr... yes, the end is certainly drawing near.

The Mayans

I'd safely bet that half of the people who believed in the Mayan doomsday prophesy didn't know their Mayans from the Aztecs. For all you know, they could have been the Egyptians, or even the Martians.
Hollywood even went so far as to make an imbecilic movie on the entire Mayan/Mesoamerican Long Count calendar theory (called what else, but 2012), and happily made its millions.
So what if their calendar supposedly ended on the 21st of December, 2012? Why did we automatically assume that it spelled doomsday? Couldn't they just be too worn out to continue calculating the next year?

Naaah, if the world settled for easy explanations such as these, there would be no chaos, no comedy, and certainly a relatively poor Hollywood.

CERN's Large Hadron Collider

CERN or European Organization for Nuclear Research's Large Hadron Collider, in layman's terms is a really large underground tunnel that particle physicists use to smash particles. Yes, smash particles.
So, every time these scientists use this tunnel to study their fancy particle collisions, the doomsday seekers wait with a collective bated breath. Some say they are planning to blast the earth from within, which, according to the capable minds at CERN, is simply not possible.
If we try to guess why would these innocent, scholarly people be blamed of planning an apocalypse, we'd never find an answer. If nothing else, the very existence of the Large Hadron Collider can provide fodder for intellectually stunted doomsday theories for years to come.
While there are very few regular Jacks and Janes who understand particle physics, the mass paranoia they generated may have something to do with the organization's name. European Organization for Nuclear Research sounds more sinister than, say, Organization for Particle Physics, doesn't it? Let's say these pompous nerds took all the infamy upon themselves.
So these were some of the most hilarious cry wolf stories that openly lampooned human sanity, and emerged triumphant. Until next time, be prepared... our Sun is gradually becoming warmer by the day, and expanding by the minute...