By Dylan Hofer
Michel de Nostredame, most commonly known as Nostradamus, has captured the eyes and ears of the people for centuries with his terrifying predictions of the future, usually entailing some sort of biblical doomsday or other sorts of catastrophic events. Born well over 400 years ago, Nostradamus published his famous book, “Les Prophéties,” in 1555. Many people have been drawn to his forecasts of what time has in store for us, even if he was not very respected by his contemporaries (via The Guardian).
Nostradamus reportedly took large doses of nutmeg (which ScienceDirect explains can act as a hallucinogen in large quantities) when he told his secretary his infamous quatrains that contained his apocalyptic prophecies. According to The Guardian, he was described by some as someone “who is shouting nonsense and publishing his prognostications and fantasies on the streets.” Nonetheless, all these years later, Nostradamus still attracts many followers, mostly for his predictions that seemed to be eerily familiar. Many of his adherents have given him credit for predicting events like the rise of Napoleon, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and even 9/11. So what does the doomsday-sayer claim 2023 has in store for us?
One of the most eye-catching prophecies for many of us living into 2023 is Nostradamus’ claim of a “great war.” One of his quatrains states “seven months great war, people dead through evil” (via History). Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, some followers of the French soothsayer speculate that this could entail a severe escalation of the conflict, perhaps between the United States and Russia, according to the India Times. There is concern over the possibility of a nuclear war, given that both nations have the most nuclear bombs in the world (via World Population Review). However, History states that, in the short timeframe of the war, it might not be as apocalyptic as it sounds.
But another prophecy may be doubling down on the likelihood of World War III, which has to do with a prediction of celestial fire. One of the lines in Nostradamus’ books says, albeit in a very cryptic manner, “Celestial fire on the Royal edifice.” This might suggest another end-of-the-world scenario, or that some sort of destruction will be brought upon a royal castle somewhere in the world (via the India Times).
Unless you’ve been living completely off the grid, you have probably noticed that a lot of everyday goods have increased in price in the past year and a half on a global scale. But was Nostradamus aware of this inflation? Well, one quatrain states: “So high will the bushel of wheat rise, that man will be eating his fellow man,” according to History. This might be worth paying attention to because, in 2022, the price of wheat rose to an all-time high at $9.33 a bushel, reports Capital.com. Luckily, the whole cannibalistic part hasn’t happened, so that’s something to celebrate, right?
On the upside, the price of wheat is expected to drop slightly to $8.6 in 2023, states Capital.com. Economists expect core inflation to drop from 5% in 2022 to roughly 3% in 2023, according to The New York Times. That is only about one percentage point away from what is considered to be “healthy inflation,” states The Balance. However, given the shocking events over the past three years, such as COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine War, there could be another surprise event that makes inflation stick around, or possibly get worse (via The New York Times).
Life On Mars
There’s one individual who Nostradamus might’ve been targeting all those years ago, and they’ve already been having a rough year in 2022: Elon Musk. Since Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion, he’s been facing the heat of critics who accuse him of driving the company into the ground after losing more than half of its employees since October (via The New York Times). On top of that, loads of advertisement revenue has been pulled from the company due to Musk’s somewhat erratic behavior and reinstating controversial figures to the social media platform, according to CNN. Now Musk is dealing with Tesla’s stock plummeting, states CNBC, but perhaps his space company, SpaceX, might be facing not-so-favorable times, according to Nostradamus.
The stanza reads, “the light of Mars will go out,” and it’s rather mysterious, according to History. It could foreshadow a failed attempt to reach Mars since Musk claims that humans will begin colonizing the Red Planet by 2029. This is already five years behind the original date Musk said he would get a human there, already proving that the company is facing some sort of setbacks. On the flip side, there is some good news for space enthusiasts. NASA launched a new program to send humans back to the moon for colonization efforts, dubbed Artemis, which saw its first test launch in November 2022 (via NASA).
Nostradamus may have predicted climate change as well as the catastrophic natural disasters that will ensue because of it. In one verse, he said, “For forty years the rainbow will not be seen. For 40 years it will be seen every day. The dry earth will grow more parched, and there will be great floods when it is seen.” (via History).
In February 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded after examining data from 34,000 studies conducted in more than 60 countries that the effects of climate change are not only here, but worse than what scientists expected and that irreversible damage has already been done to the planet’s biosphere. The report found that a multitude of issues, such as crop productivity in Africa dropping by over 33% since 1961, diseases becoming more commonplace, and higher conflict have all occurred as a result of global warming (via World Resources Institute).
A Pinch Of Salt
But before you go prepping for the apocalypse, it should be noted that much of Nostradamus’ predictions have turned out to be not so true. One of his most famous quatrains was that the world would end in 1999. It reads, “The year one thousand nine ninety-nine seven month… From the sky shall come a great King of terror… [Shall be] revived the great King of Angolmois. Before and after, Mars [shall] reign as chance will have it.” (via The Guardian). As we all know, that prediction never came true.
On top of that, many of Nostradamus’ predictions don’t have date-specific terms, so many of his stanzas can be reinterpreted to mean a variety of different things. Some of the same omens of doom for 2023 were used to foretell doom in 2022. It would be pretty reasonable to say that some of these predictions should be taken with a grain of salt. But there’s one thing that doomsday prophecies can show us: While Nostradamus may not be correct about what 2023 may hold, we at least have the ability to step back and make changes to improve our world.