Crixeo: Failed End-of-the-World Predictions
Is It the End of the World as We Know It? 10 Failed Predictions
A constant stream of bad news can certainly make it feel like the end of the world, but congratulations — this big rock we inhabit has made it to 2017! Throughout the course of human history people have predicted our planet’s actual demise. Some people have even gained fame and fortune for their predictions. Others, when proven wrong, met a harsh end themselves. Let’s look at the most bizarre prophecies, the most anticlimactic predictions, and the end-of-the-world forecasts that aligned with real natural disasters. And don’t get left behind — there’s a bonus item at the end.
3 Bizarre End-of-the-World Predictions
1. MARY BATEMAN AND THE PROPHET HEN OF LEEDS
In 1806, the people of Leeds, England, whipped themselves into a frenzy over an allegedly prophetic chicken owned by the “Yorkshire Witch,” a farmer’s daughter by the name of Mary Bateman.
Bateman was no stranger to mischief. Around the age of 10, she was fired from a position as a servant girl for petty theft. A few years later she convinced her village she possessed supernatural powers. And by the end of the 1780s, she was running her own business, selling potions and magical remedies as well as fortune-telling services.
But Bateman’s career didn’t really take off until 1806 when she claimed to possess the Prophet Hen of Leeds, whose eggs predicted the end of the world. Specifically, the egg messages said “Christ is coming!” The people of Leeds took this as a sign that doomsday approached, and a great many people traveled from around the country to visit this apocalyptic hen. But disaster struck when one of these visitors caught Bateman writing the message with a corrosive ink, or some kind of acid, on each egg before reinserting them into the unfortunate hen. Then in March 1809 Bateman was executed — not for the Prophet Hen but because she had poisoned a husband and wife with a magical pudding she claimed would heal their chest pains. Supposedly, after her execution, Bateman’s skin was sold to villagers in strips as a magic charm to ward off evil spirits.
2. Chen Tao, or The True Way
Founded by Hon-Ming Chen, a university professor in Taiwan, Chen Tao was a religious movement that combined UFOs with Buddhism, Christianity and Taiwanese folk religions. In Taiwan, the group was registered as The Chinese Soul Light Research Association. But in 1997 the group of 160 people moved to Garland, Texas, because the city’s name sounded like “God Land.” Shortly after the move, Chen predicted that on March 31, 1998, at 12:01 a.m. God would appear on channel 18 of US television, whether that television had access to cable or not. He went on to explain that God would then descend to Earth the following week in a human form identical to Hon-Ming Chen himself. The following year Chen predicted a mass extinction of humanity due to flooding and millions of devil spirits descending to Earth. He sold his own version of indulgences to followers by having them purchase tickets to spaceships, disguised as clouds, that God would send to rescue them. When none of this occurred, Chen offered to be crucified or stoned by his followers, but none took him up on it. Instead, the group went into a steady decline and many were forced to return to Taiwan due to visa problems. Chen’s response? He stated that he had obviously misunderstood God’s plan.