Midweek Review
The attack on New York and Nostradamania


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By Nadeera Seneviratne
Michel de Nostradame (he later Latinised his name to Nostradamus) was born in St. Remy de Provence, France in 1503 to a Jewish family which converted to Christianity and he was brought up as a Catholic. Learning languages, mathematics and astrology, Nostradamus held unorthodox views for his time: he upheld the Copernican theory that the world was round and circled around the sun more than 100 years before Galileo was prosecuted for the same belief.

He later studied medicine and became famous for curing plague victims. Yet when the plague returned, it claimed the lives of all his young family. That was the beginning of Nostradamus’s ventures into prophecies, an ability that he was gradually to recognise in himself.

In his wonderings around France and Italy, Nostradamus encountered a group of Franciscan monks in Italy. Going past Nostradamus who was standing aside for them, they would have been amazed to find him suddenly exclaiming and falling at the feet of Felice Perriti, a former swine herder of very lowly birth. When he was asked why he had done that, Nostradamus replied ‘I must yield myself and bow before his Holiness’. Nineteen years after the death of Nostradamus in 1566, Perriti became Pope Sextus V.

In another minor incident common among prophets, Nostradamus proved his ability to predict the future. Seigneur de Florinville, a sceptic, challenged Nostradamus’s supposed ability at prophecies. He asked the visionary to state whether they would have the black or the white of the pig sucklings for dinner one night. Nostradamus said they would have the black. Florinville then told the cook to prepare the white one. At dinner, when asked which of the pigs they were eating, Nostradamus said they were consuming the black one. Florinville triumphantly turned to the cook and asked him which one he had prepared. The cook replied that while preparing the white pig a tame wolf cub had wondered into the kitchen and eaten it up. He had then had to cook the black pig. Later, Nostradamus remarried, and had six children.

In 1555, Nostradamus published ten books, all entitled Centuries and containing a hundred quatrains each in all but one, which had forty-two. This is what Nostradamus actually wrote:

Centuries VI.97

At forty-five degrees the sky will burn,

Fire to approach the great new city:

In an instant a great scattered flame will leap up,

When one will want to demand proof of the Normans.

Centuries X.72

The year 1999, seventh month,

From the sky will come a great King of Terror:

To bring back to life the Great King of the Mongols,

Before and after Mars to reign by good luck.

- (Nostradamiama)

But, as will be seen below, they have been put into circulation via internet in patently doctored versions.

Many stories of Nostradamus’s predictions that had come true were circulating the internet and email soon after New York was attacked last week. Most of them were clear fabrications, designed to fit into the events that took place. They were all based on deletions and additions to the above two quatrains, having been hammered into the required shapes:

"In the year of the new century and nine months,

From the sky will come a great King of Terror...

The sky will burn at forty-five degrees.

Fire approaches the great new city..."

The line ‘The year 1999, seventh month,’ from the 72nd quatrain of Century X has been amended in this email version to ‘...the new century and nine months’, and lines three and four in the original quatrain have been omitted. Instead, the first two lines of the 97th quatrain in Century VI (see above) have been included.

The following quatrain, circulated in the above email is a complete fabrication:

"In the city of York, there will be a great collapse,

2 twin brothers torn apart by chaos,

while the fortress fall, the great leader will succumb,

the 3rd big war will begin when the city is burning."

And another

"The anti-Christ will attack the new city in the morning.

Fire from the sky will strike down cause great destruction."

...is also a hoax.

Such inventions will only serve to discredit the prophecies of Nostradamus, who some experts agree correctly predicted many things, among them the rise and fall of both Napoleon and Hitler, the Kennedy assassinations, and the French Revolution. One of his more spectacular predictions was that of the Great Fire of London in 1666:

The blood of the just will be demanded of London, burned by fire in three times twenty six.
- Erika Cheetham

The problem with Nostradamus’s predictions, is that there are so many different interpretations, partly due to the reason that he confused his verse with Latin, Greek and even anagrams to avoid attack from witch hunters. They are cryptic, and it has been said that they can be interpreted to mean anything, and are often ‘interpreted’ after the events have occurred.

However, interest in Nostradamus has sky-rocketed over the past few days. The number of ‘hits’ per day on web sites dedicated to Nostradamus have gone into a million, from the previous maximum of around 10,000, and book-shops even in Sri Lanka, are selling the many books that have been written on the prophet to glory.

It might be possible to give some twist to the interpretations made prior to the attacks on US to mean that Nostradamus predicted the attack on New York. Experts agreed that forty-five degrees is a reference to New York, (the latitude of Central Park, is approximately 40.5 degrees), and that the ‘new city’ is New York. Erika Cheetham, in 1985 starts a chapter entitled ‘The Third Antichrist’ in ‘The Further Prophecies of Nostradamus: 1985 And Beyond’, with the following:

‘The advent of the Third World War, according to Nostradamus, will be heralded by an attack upon New York-city and state-through both bombs and chemical warfare and gives VI.97, sans the last line, as proof.

It is also known that many entrepreneurs have produced dramatic interpretations of Nostradamus’s Centuries in books and videos simply in order to fill their pockets. Erika Cheetham herself says in the same book, that she had been approached several times by international figures of some repute, mainly politicians, who have asked her to interpret various quatrains of Nostradamus’s with reference to themselves or their countries. Cheetham goes on to say: ‘This has been an almost impossible task..’.

Some who have studied Nostradamus however, are agreed that he referred to Napoleon and Hitler, as ‘anti-Christs’. According to such studies, the third anti-Christ, would be from Asia:

Long awaited he will never return in Europe, but he shall appear in Asia. One of the league issued from the great Hermes, he will grow above all other powers in the Orient.

Cheetham says that in terms of Hermetic literature, Hermes stands for Jupiter and Mercury, which generally means Islam. And he said how long the war will last:

..his war having lasted some twenty seven years.
- Erika Cheetham

Looking at the translated quatrains, the reader can come to his/her own conclusions.