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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Heard

Hilarious Apocalypse Predictions Part 1


Early on the morning of New Year’s Eve 1999, I sat in my apartment with my roommate (also my cousin) and watched midnight hit New Zealand. I had no plans that night. Having just broken up with my boyfriend, I didn’t feel like doing anything but getting shitfaced with my cousin. There was so much hype leading up to that night about Y2K that it was hard not to be curious about it, so we watched New Zealand take on the new year to see if anything would happen. We were chattering through the countdown, not paying full attention, and joking about what would happen if all the computers in the world suddenly shut down.

10… 9… 8…

We cracked a joke about having plenty of canned goods in our cupboards.

7… 6… 5… 4…

My cousin and I glanced at each other and said with a smirk, “nice knowin’ ya!”

3… 2… 1!

The lights on the television screen instantly went black after “one!” My heart burst into a full-on race.

“WTF?” My cousin shrieked.

“They were fucking right. My god, they were fucking right.” Panic was welling up inside of me. I felt beads of sweat form on my forehead.

“It’s not midnight yet here. We need to go get-”

“Oops, sorry, folks. Technical difficulties,” A television anchor interrupted my cousin. We stared in disbelief at the now lit-up screen, watching party-goers in New Zealand whoop it up with confetti and champagne. After a few seconds to take it in, we burst into laughter. We had truly thought we were facing the apocalypse.

This is far from the funniest story about a failed apocalypse prediction. Although I would love to be able to take the moonie for the most gullible idiot in the apocalypse predictions genre, I cannot. Too many people before me and since have stolen that award. Ridiculous apocalyptic prophecy is at the source of many of history’s most absurd and chuckle-worthy stories. Here are just a handful.

Failed Apocalypse Predictions

Comet pills

Comet pills

Failed Apocalypse Prediction #1 - Comet Pills

In 1910, the Earth passed through the tail of Halley’s Comet for 6 hours. In the months prior, French Catholic astronomer Camille Flammarion had theorized that all life on Earth could perish in the gases from the comet. The media helped fuel that fire by suggesting the gases were made up of cyanide. Christians were sure this was the second coming, while others threw caution to the wind and committed crimes they would not have otherwise. Some were even driven to commit suicide.

Some merchants sold comet pills to fight the effects of the comet’s gases, while others sold umbrellas, ensuring customers that they would protect them. On the night in question, people celebrated all night, assuming the morning would not come. But of course, the morning did come. And 40,000 more after that.

Failed Apocalypse Prediction #2 - The San Quentin Prophetess

Margaret Rowen was a Seventh-Day Adventist who claimed to have been visited by the angel Gabriel who told her the world would end on February 13th, 1925. Having built up a following of around a thousand people, Rowen tasted a small amount of power and wanted more. After the death of Ellen G. White, a noted Seventh-Day Adventist minister, Rowen enlisted the help of a friend, Burt Fullmer, to plant a fake letter at the Ellen G. White Estate. The letter outlined the important new role as prophetess that Rowen was to fill. When Rowen’s apocalyptic predictions proved false, Fullmer admitted the letter was a fraud and continued on to write a piece about how Rowen was a fake and a liar. Her response was a plot to murder him, for which she was caught and sent to San Quentin.

Failed Apocalypse Prediction #3 - Buttermilk and Brazil Nuts

Wilbur Glenn Voliva was a prominent flat earth creationist who offered a reward of $5000 to anyone who could disprove flat earth theory (Hey Deepak, remind you of anyone?). He preached against what he liked to call the “Trinity of Evils,” which were astronomy, evolution, and higher criticism. The man was a poster boy for ignorance, and when his prediction that the world would go “puff” and disappear in September 1935 failed, he turned his attention to longevity. He was sure he would live to be 120 because he consumed only brazil nuts and buttermilk. He passed in 1942 at the age of 72.

Failed Apocalypse Prediction #4 - Jehovah’s Witnesses

These guys are not just a goldmine of laughs for their door-knocking adventures but also because they've predicted the end of the world at least twenty times since their founding. Each time a new prediction is announced, in true ignorant human form, they gain plenty of new followers. They have predicted the end of our world would occur in: 1877, 1891, 1904, 1916, 1917, 1920, 1922, 1924, 1938, 1941, 1942, 1961, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1974, 1984, & 1989. I predict another prediction coming soon.

Failed Apocalypse Prediction #5 - The Brotherhood of the Seven Rays

The Brotherhood of the Seven Rays was a secret occult society led by Dorothy Martin, a Chicago housewife. She predicted the world would flood and come to an end on December 21st, 1954. She claimed to have been given this information by aliens from the planet Clarion. Her failed prediction sparked psychological research, which led to the founding and exploration of the theory of cognitive dissonance.

Failed Apocalypse Prediction #6 - Ashtar, The Alien

Ashtar looks a lot like Jeeby, no?

George Van Tassel had a nasty habit of chatting with ETs. He would receive communications from one alien in particular named Ashtar. After his first chats with Ashtar, made possible through channeling and alien tech, George organized the first ever Giant Rock Spacecraft Convention to be held at his compound located in a community called Giant Rock, California. His growing number of followers attending the convention were privy to the information he had gotten from Ashtar. This included the apocalyptic message that the Southeastern US would be destroyed by a USSR nuclear attack on August 20th, 1967.

Failed Apocalypse Prediction #7 - The Quaker Quack

Herbert Armstrong, the son of a Quaker family in Iowa, falsely predicted the end of the world on four occasions. He founded the Worldwide Church of God, which banned the use of doctors, and was one of the world’s first televangelists. He claimed to be Christ’s apostle and spoke out against many things, including cosmetics, long hair on men, masturbation, and basically everything that makes life enjoyable. He had very different ideas on Christianity than most, and many referred to them as Armstrongism. He predicted the world would end and Christ would come back in 1936, 1943, 1972, and 1975. Of course, Herbie died in 1986, and this world is still spinning 37 years later.

This is just a small handful of the near-limitless heap of humourous apocalypse predictions from recorded history. Click here to read part 2.

If you enjoyed this post, you can support this blog on Patreon and help ensure I can keep the lights on! Click here. Do you have a favourite apocalypse prediction story? Let me know in the comments!


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2 commentaires

17 mars 2023

In defense of the Y2K prediction – that's an example where people who actually knew something about the problem acted and prevented the apocalypse. Developers and engineers put in countless hours fixing the problem, and we avoided the systemic meltdown that would have occurred. Unlike all these whacked out flood/fire/angels/aliens religious apocalypses where humans can do nothing but wait.... and get disappointed/relieved when the world doesn't end... again.


Benin Oakland
14 mars 2023

I have been to giant rock. You'll never guess why they call giant rock. It's a really big rock. We are actually in the area today, and I told my nephew all about giant rock. The structure that you see is the Integratron built to communicate with aliens.


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