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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkDazed & Confused | Rumors

'In the City of God there will be a Great Thunder'
Nostradamus, the French astrologer born in 1503, published his barely scrutable collection of prophecies, "The Centuries," in 1555. Each four-line verse (or "quatrain") purported to foretell world events far into the future, and ever since Nostradamus' time devotees have claimed his work accurately predicted wars, natural disasters and the rise and fall of empires.

With all due respect to true believers, Nostradamus couched his "prophetic" verses in such obscure language that the words can be, and have been, interpreted to mean virtually anything. Inevitably, ponderous tracts will be written in the coming months and years extracting "proof" from the works of Nostradamus that he foresaw the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks of September 11, 2001 such exegeses-in-hindsight have appeared in the wake of every modern catastrophe but, thanks to Internet hoaxers, we needn't wait months or years for the he-told-you-sos to begin.

"Spooky" quatrains purportedly describing the events of 9/11 with amazing specificity were already circulating within hours of the first jetliner crash completely bogus quatrains, as it turned out. It wasn't a question of whether or not they accurately predicted anything; Nostradamus simply didn't write them. The first foretold "a great thunder" in "the City of God":

"In the City of God there will be a great thunder, Two brothers torn apart by Chaos, while the fortress endures, the great leader will succumb." The third big war will begin when the big city is burning"
- Nostradamus 1654

Let's interpret. Assuming "the City of God" is New York City, then the "two brothers torn apart by Chaos" must be the fallen towers of the Word Trade Center. The "fortress" is obviously the Pentagon, the "great leader" succumbing is the United States of America and "the third big war" can only mean World War III.

Spooky, right?

Wrong. Now let's apply a little intellectual honesty. What earthly (or unearthly) justification could there possibly be for characterizing New York City as "the City of God?" Why refer to the twin towers as "two brothers" when a far more apt word like "buildings" or "monuments" or even, egad, "towers" is at hand? Granted, "fortress" accurately describes the Pentagon, but by what stretch of the imagination could one assert that the United States "succumbed" to the 9/11 attacks?

Anyway, quibbling over words is futile, given that Nostradamus didn't even write the passage. He died in 1566, nearly a hundred years before the date of attribution. The quatrain in question is nowhere to be found in his entire published oeuvre. In a word, it's a hoax.

More precisely, its attribution to Nostradamus is a hoax. The passage was lifted intact from a web page (since deleted from the hosting server due to overwhelming post-9/11 traffic) containing an essay written several years ago by college student Neil Marshall entitled "A Critical Analysis of Nostradamus." Marshall invented the quatrain to demonstrate quite ironically, in light of its subsequent misuse how a Nostradamus-like passage can be so cryptically composed as to lend itself to myriad interpretations.

To start, end, or clarify a rumor, send us an email at Rumors@BanderasNews.com

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