Earlier this year a “lost book” created by the famous prophet Nostradamus was discovered in Rome, Italy. It had been lost in the Rome Public Library for years, and was only discovered while employees readied the library for a book fair. Millions of people worldwide believe in the prophecies of Nostradamus and were excited at the thought of gaining new information predicting the perils of our society.
The History Channel built up their 2-hour report on this lost book and left the viewer hanging for 1 hour and 50 minutes before revealing the ultimate knowledge – the date of our impending apocalypse. The special included many speakers from various Nostradamus obsessed societies, and presented an odd conclusion which proved just how desperate and far-reaching for prophetic knowledge some people can be.
Nostradamus was born in France in 1503 and was made famous by his accurate prediction that the King would be killed. Most people today are more familiar with the myth of the grave robbers that upon opening the coffin of Nostradamus found a medallion around his neck depicting the very date they attempted to rob his grave. This of course is not true, and many argue that Nostradamus himself merely had a way with words the same way some of today’s psychics do. One skeptic put it best when he compared a prophet’s words to that of an arrow being shot at a blank wall on which the believers paint a target around its landing.
The oddest part of the Nostradamus story has only recently unfolded. You see, this “lost book” of Nostradamus turned out to be a collection of watercolor paintings that have yet to be proven to be created by the prophet himself. In fact, Nostradamus was somewhat known for not being able to paint very well. The three pages of text included with the painting were all created by different people at different times, and were not by Nostradamus or his kin. The die-hard folks who insist Nostradamus created this book because his name is inside claim that the original copy must have been ruined and the hand of another created a new one. Possible? Yes. Enough proof to lay claim across the world that a lost book of Nostradamus has been found? Not really.
Much of the History Channel’s special focused on the image of the burning tower found in the collection, comparing it to the World Trade Center attacks. The fact is that Nostradamus was a psychic, an astrologer, and an avid follower of the Tarot. The burning tower is a major card in any standard Tarot deck, and is one of 80 images found in the lost book. It important to note that a full set of Tarot cards includes 78 cards, quite close to the number of watercolors found. Was Nostradamus creating his own deck of Tarot? It would seem likely considering the success he created for himself by transforming the view of fortune tellers.
Most people today wouldn’t actually go see a psychic similar to the way most people in the 1500’s would not go see a gypsy fortune teller with a crystal ball. Many people today do however, read their horoscopes in the newspaper and most will find some “truth” to their meaning. Nostradamus was indeed a literary genius in the sense that he created a modernized way of accepting fortune telling by poetically manipulating words while upholding a proper image of himself. His almanacs are nothing more than books of horoscope predictions which are too obscure to hold any weight at all. In fact, everything in this world that exists today had to be done for a first time, and Nostradamus should be noted as the father of horoscope, not as a prophet. Nostradamus was also very political, and made close friends with the Queen. What’s good for the Queen must be good for everyone, no?
No one will ever know what these images mean because no explanation was found with them. No one will ever know if Nostradamus created the watercolors although millions of people already have claimed them as his prophecy. In fact, Victor Baines the president of the Nostradamus Society was found saying phrases like, “I think”, “probably”, and “in my opinion” throughout the History Channel program. Hardly grounds for definitive proof of our apocalypse, which by the way will happen in the year 2012. It’s no coincidence that these Nostradamus freaks chose this date as their prophet’s choice. 2012 is the year the Mayan calendar ends, which in their culture symbolized an end to this life and a beginning to the next. Choosing this date gives more credibility to Nostradamus, but there’s only one problem – all of this information comes from watercolor drawings which have been interpreted and constructed to fit what they want it to. No where in the drawing does it directly say, “The world as we know it is going to end in the year 2012”.
Although there does not seem to be any credible information in the History Channel’s show on Nostradamus and the lost book, it is an interesting watch. It’s amazing to see the desperation of man whom so want to believe in something, anything, to avoid responsibility for the creation of our demise. Nostradamus had over 2,000,000,000 hits on the Internet the days following 9/11. The need for explanation is truly a universal human characteristic, and probably the reason so many believers and non-believers alike tuned in to the History Channel to watch Lost Book of Nostradamus.
If this topic interests you, please visit the History Channel’s website, www.history.com, for an interactive multi-media view of Nostradamus including his prophecies.