9/11 and Nostradamus, Eight Years Later

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I wrote the following passage in the introduction of my biography on Nostradamus published in 2003. The terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Great and terrible moments in history ever bring back to life the heated debate about Nostradamus and his prophecies. What I say here is not only important to contemplate when regarding the terrible events taking place exactly eight years ago, but also these reflections, I would hope, shine a beacon of warning to those who would now project some Mayan Calendar doomsday link to Nostradamus’ prophecies for 21 December 2012, when the purported Mayan Calendar Long Count comes to an end bringing the end of the world. Hardly!


When we, and the controversy of Nostradamus, entered a new millennium, many interpreters and dilettantes of Nostradamus mistakenly believed his prophecies foretold the end of the world–a strangely popular but patently unqualified myth, since Nostradamus had dated the end of the world 1,797 years ahead in the year 3797. Nevertheless, a peaceful turning of New Year’s Day 2000 exposed Nostradamus in the minds of many believers and skeptics as a prophetic failure and charlatan. Then on 11 September 2001, the debate about this man and myth came back before global scrutiny. No sooner had the twin towers of the World Trade Center collapsed into billowing, apocalyptic clouds of debris, than Reuters News Agency broadcast across the planet a prophecy attributed to Nostradamus about “hollow mountains” falling in the “City of York.” The lines of the purported prophecy–much like what we know about the man Nostradamus–were a blend of myth and fact. Fake lines like “the city of York” drew people in, yet these were sewn together with stolen lines of two actual Nostradamus prophecies–the same prophecies that for decades many interpreters, including this author, believed forecast a future nuclear or terrorist attack on New York’s lower Manhattan financial district.

A prophetic hoax about an attack on the “City of York” rode on the back of these real quatrain (four-line) prophecies about what many believe is an attack on New York:

At forty-five degrees latitude, the sky will burn,
Fire approaches the great new city.
Immediately a huge, scattered flame leaps up,
When they want verification from the Normans [the French].

Garden of the world near the new city,
In the path of the hollow mountains:
It will be seized and plunged into a boiling cauldron,
Drinking by force the waters poisoned by sulfur.

(Quatrain 97, Century 6 and Quatrain 49, Century 10, The Prophecies of M. Michel de Nostradamus.)

When you have two prescient-sounding yet general provocations that include images like “fire approaching” a “new city” at “forty-five degrees latitude” in the “path” of “hollow mountains” near a “garden of the word,” the hackles can rise–especially if you apply present-day facts to conveniently join together the dots of a 450-year-old prophetic rant to see what you want to see. Does one brush it all off as a coincidence that the city of “new” York is near latitude 45 degrees, or that the first Boeing 757 hijacked by terrorists cut into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in “a huge, scattered flame” at a 45-degree angle? Is it just the law of chance fooling a prophetically sympathetic mind when the second hijacked airliner passed over New Jersey (also known as the “Garden” state) and swerved at high speed toward the South Tower of the “world” Trade center building exactly over the “Path” subway tunnel before slamming into the second man-made peak of “hollow mountains”? And when Nostradamus describes his vision of “hollow mountains” being “seized and plunged” into a “boiling cauldron,” are we conned yet again by a new generation of sycophants tagging events of their time on to cryptic ravings; or is it more than a coincidence that each tower as it fell looked as if it were seized by the hand of an invisible force and plunged into the boiling cauldron of its own debris cloud? Are the “Normans” some retroactive allusion to the people of Normandy, or is this, as Nostradamian scholars believe, a code name for the French, whose intelligence agents on 10 September were indeed frantically warning their opposites in Washington D.C. that a terrorist attack on America was imminent?

Do we have a 16th-century charlatan catching us in our projections when the multiple meanings of Renaissance French can satisfy what we want to see? The word Nostradamus uses for “cauldron” is cuue (spelled cuve in Modern French). It can mean a number of things beyond “cauldron” such as “tank” or “tub.” Is the skeptic right when he brushes off any application of this word to the fall of the twin towers? Is the skeptic right to suggest waggishly that we might as well say Nostradamus is predicting some future disaster in a jacuzzi; or, is it not a little disturbing to one’s flippant reason to discover that the World Trade Center was built on a huge, rectangular cement box of watertight floor and walls known as “the tub”?

Welcome to the debate.


John Hogue

(11 September 2009)

Books by John Hogue

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One Comment

  1. Steve
    Posted 4 March 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    It seems Nostradamus makes more sense using the ‘inside knowledge’ version of events rather than the network news version of events.

    Hollow mountains could refer to the unique architecture of the WTC having load bearing exterior columns holding much of the weight of the buildings. The floors were ‘open plan’ without support beams between the core and the outside columns in effect creating hollow buildings.

    Poisoning could refer to the many thousands of people poisoned and killed by the debris. More people died from poisoning than from the initial collapse.

    Sulfur was found on the steel and was a key ingredient in bringing down the towers. Thematic reactions were used to melt and cut the steel into sections so the steel could be blown out of the building. Sulfur was used to make the thermite burn hotter making thermate which cut the steel as cutter charges.

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