Congratulations! You have already survived several doomsday predictions. If you haven’t, it’s only a matter of time before you get to hear the end-of-times calls.
The concept of the apocalypse is not new. If anything, apocalyptical calls have played a central role in several religious and scientific predictions for centuries. But, what is even more interesting about apocalyptical events is that no one predicts that the world will end calmly and safely, with humanity deep in slumber. Most talk about chaos, floods, fire, and nothing short of mayhem.
If you’re wondering just how weird they can get, here are ten of the creepiest apocalyptic predictions.
Related: 10 Ways The World Could End Today
10 The Mayan Apocalypse
The first known Mayan civilization dates back to 2000 BC and covers what is now Guatemala, Mexico, parts of Honduras, Belize, and El Salvador. They built sophisticated mathematical systems, pyramids, temples, astronomical maps, and calendars during their civilization’s peak. One of the notable pieces of history regarding the Mayans is their “long-count” calendar that uses a 394-year cycle.
New age historians and authors marked December 21, 2012, as the date of cosmic peace and understanding according to the Mayan calendar. The Mayans also foresaw the wiping out of humanity by reversing the earth’s magnetic field. Many people misinterpreted this to mean the world’s end, marking the day as Armageddon. The Armageddon idea led to the publishing of hundreds of books and the creation of thousands of websites, preaching the end of the world in December 2012.
Some people supporting the Mayan apocalyptic prediction painted the picture of the world ending with earth’s collision with another planet called Nibiru. Others said solar flares would shift the earth’s axis and cause a flood to wipe out humanity—pretty creepy scenarios. There was mass confusion and hysteria, with many people rushing to prepare for the world’s end by building arks and refuge centers and buying and selling survival kits.
9 Isaac Newton’s Doomsday
Many people are familiar with Isaac Newton’s extensive contributions to mathematics and science but not his doomsday prediction. It’s probably because it’s hard to tie an event like doomsday, a tale of imminent failure, to a man with several recorded successes.
But, even with his interest in science, Isaac Newton also studied theology and religion. He studied biblical scholarship extensively and thought that the Bible’s prophecies were symbolic and required interpretation by a skilled scholar like himself.
Newton’s doomsday predictions came to light in 2003 when media outlets claimed to possess one of Newton’s early writings predicting the world would end in 2060. While others believe that Newton’s writing on the apocalypse was pure speculation and not an actual prediction, the rumor persists.
People against Newton’s doomsday prediction insist that he was an atheist despite his interest and study of theology. He did not believe in Christ or the worship of a divine being. For this reason, he couldn’t have predicted an apocalypse based on his theological writings.
Much like other apocalyptical predictions, it’s hard to believe that the world will end in 2060. We’ll just have to wait and see.
8 True Way Doomsday Prediction
The “True Way” or “Chen Tao” was a cult movement created by Taiwanese leader Hon Ming Chen. The religious cultivation group mixed aspects of Taiwanese religion, Buddhism, Christianity, and UFO conspiracy theories with their prophecies.
Hon Ming Chen, who was previously an atheist until joining the cult, predicted that on March 31, 1998, at exactly 12:01 am, people across North America would see God on their TVs. It didn’t matter if the person had cable service or not.
It’s no surprise that the prediction failed, leading Hon Ming Chen’s revisal of the apocalypse date to another one the following year. He predicted the end of the world in massive floods and devil spirits. He also asked his followers to buy their salvation by paying for spaceships to save them from extinction. The second prediction also failed, which led to the group’s ultimate decline.
7 Planet Clarion
This doomsday prediction dates back to 1954 when a Chicago housewife, Dorothy Martin, claimed to receive communication of an impending alien attack from Planet Clarion. She claimed that the aliens would cause a massive flood that would swallow the earth. Next, newspapers would run headlines warning about “A Day of Disaster.”
Despite being unfounded, her prophecies amassed her followers, who went by “Seekers.” In preparation for the D-day, seekers quit their jobs, sold their belongings, and started gathering at Dorothy’s home to sing carols. Christmas Eve of 1955, the day marked for the end of the world, went on uneventfully, to the disappointment of the seekers.
Later in the night, when the aliens and flying saucers that were supposed to save them failed to show up, Dorothy claimed to receive another message from Planet Clarion saying that God was impressed with the Seekers’ faith and instead decided to postpone the apocalypse. Nice save, Dorothy!
6 The Coming of Jesus – William Miller
Most of us are familiar with the religious roots of many apocalyptic predictions. The book of Revelations covers the end of the world extensively. You’ll be happy to learn that religious leaders have predicted and anticipated the world’s end for centuries. A great example is William Miller, a preacher who predicted that the second coming of Jesus would happen in 1843.
Miller had succeeded in attracting a following of at least 100,000 people. Which by that time’s standards was a significant number. He predicted the opening up of clouds and cleansing of the world while referencing scriptures and asking his followers to atone. The 1843 prediction did not materialize, forcing Miller to recalculate and predict another date for Jesus’ coming the following year.
That, too, did not pass, as we are still here. The event is dubbed “The Great Disappointment.”
5 Prophet Hen of Leeds
In most cases, people headline apocalyptic events. But, the entire event becomes even creepier when an apocalyptic prophecy comes from a hen. This was the scene in Leeds in 1806 when a hen started laying eggs with the inscription “Christ is coming.” This sparked a religious frenzy in Leeds, with many people visiting the hen to see the eggs and repent in preparation for the coming of Jesus.
People later discovered that the hen was not laying prophetic eggs. But instead, the hen’s owner, Mary Bateman, was inscribing the eggs with ink and reinserting them in the hen for it to lay them again. The act was uncovered by a “Believer” who had come to visit the hen and see the “prophetic egg.”
4 Halley’s Comet
If you’re one of the firm believers of the existence of some form of life on other planets, then it’s good that you weren’t born when the apocalyptic prophecy of Halley’s Comet happened. We know that Halley’s Comet is a ball of dust visible every 76 years based on our current scientific knowledge.
But that’s not what people knew, or at least believed, back in the day. When astronomers announced that the comet was scheduled to pass in 1910, it led to fear and confusion in a surprising number of people. Claims that the comet’s tail contained poisonous cyanogen gas led to widespread doomsday predictions. The media also contributed to the widespread panic by publishing alarming headlines about a doomsday caused by a comet’s poisonous tail.
People stopped working, opting to seek refuge in their homes. As the doomsday approached, people covered their windows, airways, and keyholes with towels and papers to prevent the poisonous gas from getting into their homes. The “unbelievers” who didn’t fall for the apocalyptic predictions watched as the night passed silently, with others holding “Comet Parties” on their rooftops to commemorate the night.
3 Shoko Asahara Doomsday Predictions
The only thing better than waiting for the apocalypse is to create the apocalypse yourself. That’s what Shoko Asahara, born Chizuo Matsumoto, did in 1995. Shoko Asahara was a Japanese doomsday prophet who became a cultic leader after his arrest for selling fake Chinese cures.
Asahara started amassing a following after establishing a yoga studio in 1984, claiming he could levitate and had reached enlightenment. In 1987, he created the Aum Shinrikyo religion, naming it after a Japanese word that means “Supreme Truth.” With an estimated following of 10,000 people in Japan and 40,000 in Russia, Asahara’s religion even had some candidates running for Japanese legislative elections in 1990.
As his popularity grew, so did his superiority and god complex. Asahara encouraged his followers to drink blood and bathwater to save them from the apocalypse. Asahara predicted that the apocalypse would happen between 1997 and 2000 through gas poisoning. Some members of Aum Shinrikyo decided to take matters into their own hands and, quite literally, create the apocalypse.
On March 20, 1995, members boarded five trains and released toxic sarin gas, killing 12 people and injuring at least 5,500 others. Asahara was later arrested by Japanese authorities and sentenced to death in February 2004.
2 Heaven’s Gate Doomsday Prediction
Marshall Applewhite pursued a career in education but later resigned from his position after his father’s death. His father’s demise led to Applewhite’s spell of severe depression. After a couple of years, Applewhite met Bonnie Nettles, a nurse who introduced him to mysticism. Together they formed the religious sect called Heaven’s Gate after believing they were divine messengers tasked to deliver a doomsday message to the people.
After his arrest, Applewhite’s first chance to preach his “gospel” was in jail. He was arrested for failing to return a rental car. After spending six months in prison, he had convinced a small group of people to become followers. After his release, Applewhite and Nettles traveled to Oregon and California, where they convinced another group of people to join them.
Upon acquiring a following, Applewhite started preaching about aliens that will ascend through spaceships and experience body transformation. His doomsday theories were primarily based on New Age movements and popular culture.
Applewhite’s apocalyptic predictions gained more publicity in the ’90s after the group learned of the passing of Comet Hale-Bopp. He changed his preaching to mean that the comet was the long-awaited vessel that would transport their souls. Applewhite and his followers prepared to board this spaceship by planning a mass suicide for their transformation journey.
On March 26, 1997, Applewhite’s followers killed themselves using vodka cocktails, barbiturates, and suffocation with plastic bags. Authorities found 39 bodies of the Heaven’s Gate members draped with clothes on their heads. This mass suicide is a notable reference to the consequences of religious extremism and another example of a failed apocalyptical prediction.
1 The Sun Turns into a Red Giant
You might think that humans will accept defeat and desist from making doomsday predictions because there isn’t any successful apocalyptic prediction. However, the fascination with end-of-day predictions seems embedded in our DNA.
The preceding prediction is that six billion years from now, the sun will turn into a red giant after converting all its hydrogen to helium. This conversion will cause the sun to shine 3,000 times brighter and expand to 20 times the current size of the earth. The sun’s increased radiation will eventually erode planets like Saturn and Jupiter. If Earth remains in its orbit, it won’t be able to withstand the sun’s radiation.
Some scientists predict that it will reduce to a white dwarf after the sun’s expansion. Others say that the sun will continually drift from Earth, ending life as we know it. Based on this prediction’s scientific theories, the apocalypse feels like the astronomical biblical doomsday that fills you with fear.
Fortunately, we can neither classify this apocalypse as another failed doomsday prediction nor wait to prove it because none of us will be alive anyway.