7 Myths About the End of the World


As it turns out, December 21, 2012, isn’t the end of the world after all. Are you really that surprised? If history is any indication, people have thought the world was coming to an end hundreds of times in the past few thousand years. Click through to read about some of these predictions.

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1. December 21, 2012: The “End” of the Mayan Calendar

As I write this, December 21, 2012 isn’t even over yet in most of the world, but suffice to say it probably won’t happen. If it does, though, no one will be around to correct my mistake, so it’s a bet I’m willing to take. One of the prevailing theories goes that the Mayan calendar abruptly ends on 12/21/12. The Mayans were astute scientists — if they didn’t bother to continue their calendar after that date, the theory goes, — it’s because the world won’t exist any longer.

The part that’s left out of this theory? Well, the Mayans didn’t mean for December 21, 2012 to be the end of the world, they meant it to be the end of a cycle of time. A new cycle will start on what we refer to as December 22, 2012, and what the Mayans, would call Day 0. Think of it as, well, New Year’s Day on steroids.

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2. 1806: the Prophet Hen of Leeds

You don’t always have to be a charismatic leader to convince people that the rapture is coming. You don’t even need to be a human, apparently! In 1806, a hen purportedly started laying eggs with the words, “Christ is Coming” written on it. Believers in this “prophet” came soon after, convinced their time on earth was numbered. Not everyone was so gullible, however — a few men snuck to see the egg away from prying eyes and quickly discovered that the eggs had been written on and forced back into the hen.

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3. January 1, 200: Y2K

Looking back, the threat of Y2K — that the incorrect date on computers would essentially end down the world — seems pretty silly. After all, none of the worst-case-scenarios ever happend: bombs didn’t go off, banks didn’t lose our money, the electric grid didn’t shut down. And, certainly, plenty of these fears were probably overblown. But that’s not the entire picture. Governments and corporations spent billions of dollars to thwart any of these potential problems. So if nothing had been done, would life as we (knew) it been forever lost? No one one really knows.

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4. 1994, May 2011, October 2011: Harold Camping

How do you cover your butt when the day you predicted would be the end of the world comes and goes and nothing happens? By claiming you got the date wrong, and revising it to a time in the near future. That’s what Harold Camping, president of Oakland, Calif.-based Family Radio, has done time and again. September 26, 1994, May 21, 2011, October 21, 2011.. all days Camping claimed to be Judgement Day. And he’s not the only one: Herbert W. Armstrong had 4 different predictions over the span of a few decades; Pat Robertson has done so a few times, the Bible Student Movement had at least 7 predictions.. the list goes on.

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Image Credit: O’Dea at WikiCommons


5. March 26, 1997: Heaven’s Gate Cult

In March of 1997, police in San Diego came across a grisly scene: the bodies of 39 members of the doomsday cult known as Heaven’s Gate. Its leader, Marshall Applewhite, had convinced his followers that aliens were going to destroy the earth. In order to be saved by a UFO spaceship that was trailing theHaley-Bopp comet, they had to commit suicide.

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6. July 1999: Nostradamus

People across centuries have credited this famed seer with successfully predicting major world events, such as the September 11 attacks, the rise of Adolf Hitler, and the French revolution. So it’s no surprised that his prediction for the end of the world was taken seriously by many. Nostradamus once wrote,

“The year 1999, seventh month,
From the sky will come a great King of Terror:
To bring back to life the great King of the Mongols,
Before and after Mars to reign by good luck.”

So why didn’t the world end? Well, for one thing, he probably didn’t mean that. In the original French printing, Nostradamus used the word for “defraying the costs of something,” not the word for “terror.” The word “ciel” is translated to mean “sky,” but it could have also meant “region,” or, perhaps, “higher social class.” In short? Nostradamus never really predicted July 1999 as the time the world would come to an end, his work has been mistranslated.

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Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons


7. C. 5,000,000,000: Generally Accepted Scientific Theory

Even scientists believe that nothing can last forever, including our planet. But don’t start prepping for doomsday just yet — that probably won’t happen for another few billion years. So what will judgement day look like? Well, the sun will continue to get brighter: raising the temperature on earth, evaporating the world’s oceans, depleting carbon dioxide and generally making the earth uninhabitable.

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Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

interesting :)

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G5 years ago

Yes it is all very entertaining...

Catherine R.
Catherine R.5 years ago

What I don't understand is, why are people so ready to predict the END of the world? What's up with that? The Mayans just said that date was the end of an 5000 year ERA but because people are so quick
to interpret that into the end of the world just amazes me..What would really be nice if someone
would predict the enlightenment of the world. Like on 2-02-2013, people would become enlightened and all animal cruelty, any type of family abuse, Mother nature abuse and human abuse would stop..that kindness, health, intelligent procreation, equal pay and education for all would be enacted. That men, women. arts and sports would have equal respect. You know enlightenment. Guns and tobacco would be outlawed because people of all nations would be able to speak and listen with understanding and cooperation for their respective countries and the care of their people. Health and education would be high on the scale of how well a country was valued not how powerful or vicious they could be..2-02-13 would be a massive "change of heart and higher thinking" instead of the end of the world and fear mongering. How about we work on that instead of always being so quick to end it all? That is a personal choice..be nice of the those wanting the end so bad would just do it and leave the rest of us to try and make it better for all that want to live a quality life.

karlie h.
karlie Harper5 years ago

When I was little, I was scared to death thinking that the world was going to end and I would never go to prom, go to college, become a vet,get married, and have kids. I would pray to God begging him not to let the world end. As I got older, I realized that no one never knows when the world will end. The only one that do knows is the all mighty father himself. He is letting us live the life we all were born on this earth to do. Until then, I am going to live my life to the fullest! :)

Mari Garcia
Mari Garcia5 years ago

Most likely we will kill ourselves and the planet before number 7 happens. I dont believe in god or any other ghost stories so I don't worry.

Bill K.
Bill K5 years ago

every year or so we are told about another end of the world day, yet here we still are.

Ro H.
Ro H5 years ago


paul m.
paul m5 years ago

One day ...Maybe ??

Destiney E.
Destiney E5 years ago

People shouldn't force meaning and certainty out of the unknown.

Al C.
Al C5 years ago

Hello, I'm from Mexico, and more specifically, from the Mayan lands. The Mayans never said anything about the end of the world. The Stela 6 of Tortuguero, which refers to 2012, is eroded enough as to be imposible its reading. What can be read is the date and the 'descent of Bolom Yokte'", god related to war and creation. Even now, in the Mayan oral tradition, no one spoke of such event. However they are now seen as liars because Hollywood, its movies, the Mexican government and anyone who could profit from morbidity said the Mayans predicted such tosh. Who are the liars? Here many people continue with a traditional way of life. How was it possible for them to belie what the mass media was selling? How was it possible to defend themselves from the low men and the parody they made from the real Mayan tradition? They Mayan tradition is not a tourist attraction! Shameful! How many expected a cosmic beam to destroy the world or cleanse evil? The men from the Mayan tradition and so many other siblings (I avoid using the word 'indigenous' because it is imposed. 'People' is the word) have always known that to destroy the world men and their ambition is more than sufficient; and to save the world we must live orderly, with respect to our world, with honour.

Thank you for this article. Now that the people of the Mayan tradition is seen as a bunch of liars and a bunch of ignorants because of something they never said, it is probable that the Mexican government, the oil companies and