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Debunking Nostradamus’ Nuts

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Enter the Serengeti of Synecdoche, to creep with elephant gun half-cocked through the high grass plains of the animal kingdom of Nostradamus’ words. We are doing the Safari Darwin of Debunk. We are up-wind of a pack of lionesses of skepticism watching their instinctive strategy of the hunt. They seek to pounce upon the weakest verses in the vast herd of Nostradamian quatrains: those Wildebeests of portent too slow to run off in sudden bright cognizance, the ones too vague in vision to see the huntresses approach.

These sorry ungulates of augury are ever the prey of debunkers, marking and maneuvering for the kill to cull the enfeebled and most confused in the “heard” of Nostradamus’ over 1,500 verses.

These are the only ones they dare hope to feast upon. You will rarely see a pack of debunkers fall between the horns of a full bull wildebeest prophecy: one with clear intent, gleaming in a black-eyed and sharp auguring vision, snorting and stamping its point hard in the ground, waiting. Daring a fool lion to think these are black haunches to claw and tooth without hazard.

A lioness tried it. Ten times. Back in the 1990s, the reigning “queen” of debunking lionesses, James Randi left his teeth rather than teeth marks in the behind of bull wildebeest quatrains and got gored for his troubles. It happened when I wrote for the sake of the hunted an answer to all of his attempts to eviscerate ten quatrains, famous for leaving behind them very large and lingering sharp horned prophetic accuracy.

Every once and awhile, when current events don’t demand a quick prophetic response, I will return to and refresh this prophetic showdown from the 1990s. We will run again from time to time with these skeptically dangerous quatrains, renewing the battle of beasts-of-prey prophecies and debunking predators.

For today, I’d like to talk about the vulnerable prophecies, the type we examined back in the blog article entitled “Nostradamus Predicts McCain Win? NOT!” — quatrains 78 and 79 of Century 10. These pathetic creatures are fair game for skeptics because they are exactly the right kind to easily chase down. They remain verses so vague and open to interpretation that con-skeptics swipe and claw them to the ground easily, so that you might think the rest of the “heard” quatrains are as easy for lions to clutch by the throat and smother like a scrawny dik-dik.

Beyond it being simply wrong or false, what makes a quatrain appear prophetically weak?

Either it may not give up its secrets until the clues make sense to those in the time it foresees; or, it’s something impossibly nebulous, intended for Nostradamus’ contemporary and long-departed audience. In either case, it is marked by weak credibility for a pounce and a “purr” puss full devouring.

Here’s the two prophecies again in the original Renaissance French followed by my English translation and commentary from 1997. I haven’t looked at these interpretations for 11 years and found it amusing that I waggishly predicted some future debunker would sink its fangs into them:


10 Q78
Subite ioye en subite tristesse,
Sera ?† Rome aux graces embrassees:
Dueil, cris, pleurs, larm. sang excellent liesse
Contraires bandes surprinses & troussees.

Sudden joy into sudden sadness
Will be at Rome for the graces embraced.
Grief, cries, tears, weeping. Blood, excellent mirth
Contrary groups surprised and trussed up.

A vision of the contradictory images fluttering on modern Italian television? Who knows. This could describe any number of instances of sudden joy and sadness felt by people waiting for news of survivors from some ship or airplane accident.

10 Q79

Les vieux chemins seront tous embellys,
Lon passera ?† Memphis somentree:
Le grand Mercure d’Hercules fleur de lys,
Faisant trembler terre, mer & contree.

The old paths will be all improved,
One will travel on them (to a place) similar to Memphis:
The great Mercury of Hercules, fleur-de-lys,
Causing to quake land, sea and country.

As far as I know, the authors of cheap-thrills Nostradamus articles in the tabloids have yet to make hay over line 2 of this quatrain:

FLASH! Nostradamus predicts Elvis slighting!

The new king from Memphis probably isn’t the King of Rock. As flashy as his sequined costumes were, I never saw any with fleur-de-lys designs. But all seriousness aside, a snarling and sexy king of another song and dance is meant here. The great Hercules of the lilies can only be a king of France. The references to home improvements in the first two lines are not intended for the new driveway at Graceland. They are better applied to the public works of Louis XIV during the period of 57 peaceful years when the rocks of the stonemasons rolled to finish the Palace of Versailles. “Thank-yuh-v’ry-much.”

Nostradamus: The Complete Prophecies, (1997) p. 809


We’ll take on the bull quatrains by the horns as soon as stock market crashes and forecasting the fates Obama cabinet choices give me the time to go hunting.

John Hogue
(07 November 2008)

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