By Enyinnaya Appolos
I grabbed my pillow early on Sunday 12th April, 2020 and woke up about 1am Monday 13th April 2020, and reached out to my phone to get updates on global and local goings-on.
There was a WhatsApp message from a friend. The content of the message is about predictable claims or future tellings of Michele de Nostredame, better known as Nostradamus, the 16th-century physician who lived in France.
According to the WhatsApp message, which am sure is still circulating, Nostradamus ‘predicted‘ or ‘saw‘ and ‘wrote’ about the 2020 corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“There will be a twin year (2020) from which will arise a queen (corona) who will come from the east (China) and who will spread a plague (virus) in the darkness of night, on a country with 7 hills (Italy) and will transform the twilight of men into dust (death), to destroy and ruin the world. It will be the end of the world economy as you know it.
First, I was taken aback. What an exact prediction! Immediately, I opened my google search engine and typed “Nostradamus predictions of corona virus”. Indeed I saw there have been arguments around and about it, as a lot of persons and organizations have written to give their opinion on the claims.
As a journalist from Isiko, I remembered the Bible in 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) said: “Study l to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
So I read all I could read about the Nostradamus and the corona virus claims and predictions. I am still studying.
A study titled, ‘No evidence Nostradamus predicted novel coronavirus’ found on the website of politifact.com reads: “Nostradamus is best known for ‘Les Prophéties,’ a collection of poetic quatrains that are united in sets of verses, or ‘centuries,’ that was first published in 1555.
This purported prediction does not follow the pattern of his typical vague, four-line poems, and we couldn’t find anything resembling it in Les Prophéties, or in various versions of his compiled works.
“Recent social media posts also appear to be the first and only occurrences of this prophecy online, and none provides additional details or evidence as to where it was found, which typically indicates it was fabricated.
“There is no evidence Nostradamus wrote this, it doesn’t follow the quatrain format of his predictions and the words cannot be found in his works. We rate it False.”
Also, Stephane Gerson, Professor of French, French Studies, and History at New York University, told Reuter.com that the claims are unfounded.
Reuter.com reports under the heading: “False claim: Nostradamus predicted the coronavirus outbreak” said the claims are unfounded.
“Posts on social media claim 16th century French astrologer Nostradamus predicted the new coronavirus. The different posts include a quote attributed to Nostradamus describing the spread of a plague in Italy that will be the end of the global economy as we know it. Some iterations of the claim also reference Nostradamus’ famous book ‘Les Propheties’ (‘The Prophecies’).
“The claims include a prophecy written out as follows: “There will be a twin year (2020) from which will arise a queen (corona) who will come from the east (China) and who will spread a plague (virus) in the darkness of night, on a country with 7 hills (Italy) and will transform the twilight of men into dust (death), to destroy and ruin the world. It will be the end of the world economy as you know it.
“This claim is unfounded. Reuters found no evidence of this prophecy being written by Nostradamus. Stephane Gerson, Professor of French, French Studies, and History at New York University, told Reuters this text ‘does not come from Nostradamus’s ‘Prophecies’, nor from other prognostications made by Nostradamus.
“Gerson told Reuters, “One should keep in mind that plagues were recurrent in 16th-century Europe, during his lifetime. They were one of the travails about which he wrote (indeed, there are at least 35 references to plagues in his ‘Prophecies’).
“A search for key words in ‘Les Prophéties’ online including ‘twin year’, ‘queen’ and ‘east’ brought no results.
“The text is also not written in Nostradamus’ famous quatrains style, a type of poem that consists of four lines. Examples of Nostradamus quatrains can be seen here .
“In his book ‘Nostradamus: How an Obscure Renaissance Astrologer Became the Modern Prophet of Doom’, Professor Gerson says Nostradamus’ lasting appeal relies on the fact that his ‘arcane predictions could mean anything’. According to Gerson, past experts linked Nostradamus’ success to the ‘sheer number of quatrains and the Prophecies’ dearth of categorical statements and references to specific times and places.
“Gerson told Reuters why the timing of this claim during this outbreak doesn’t come as a surprise. There is nothing surprising about the reemergence of such false Nostradamian prophecies in the wake of a disaster. The same thing has happened for over 400 years: invented or altered predictions, endowed with the aura of Nostradamus, surface again and again, part of an economy of forgery, mass media circulation, and yearnings for order and design each time an unforeseen event threatens our material well-being and our conceptual frameworks.”
Reuters Fact-Check team has debunked similar claims on alleged predictions of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Reuter’s verdict is that; “There is no evidence to support that Nostradamus prophesied the coronavirus outbreak.”
My submission is found in the Bible book of Daniel 4:17 (NIV) “‘The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people.’
Enyinnaya Appolos, a journalist, writes from Isiko in Abia State