Predicting the end of the world has been elevated from pastime to national obsession. Although plenty of predictions pass unnoticed, a few find large followings. What are some of the most outrageous end of the world predictions ever made?
Elenin and Nibiru: May 2003, October 2011, December 2012
Space.com defines Nibiru as a purportedly rogue plant that is scheduled to swoop into the solar system and collide with earth in 2012. This particular doomsday prediction has been traced back to 1995, when a self-styled alien contactee predicted the cataclysmic event to occur in May 2003. When this date came and went, the prediction was moved up to 2012, where it coincides with the current obsession related to the Mayan calendar. Believers pointed to the 2011 appearance of the comet Elenin and connected it to the end of the world prediction. As the comet neared earth, previously failed Nibiru predictions were transferred to Elenin, which was now blamed for earth axis shifts and earthquakes. As predicated by scientists, Elenin passed by earth and Nibiru has yet to make an appearance. Will 2012 be the year?
Harold Camping: May 21, 2011 and October 21, 2011
Christian radio personality and doomsday predictor Harold Camping claimed that May 21, 2011 would be the long-awaited rapture. When the prediction proved false, the BBC reported that he moved up the date to October 21. Camping cited God's decision to give humankind a five-month reprieve. In the wake of his predictions, there were reports of ardent followers who had liquidated their assets and become penniless. ABC News has since reported on Camping's sincere apology. "We humbly acknowledge we were wrong about the timing. We tremble before God as we humbly ask Him for forgiveness for making that sinful statement," he stated.
Dami Mission: October 28, 1992
On October 29, 1992 the L.A. Times reported that an estimated 20,000 Korean believers of Seoul's Dami Mission doomsday prediction were shaken when the foretold rapture failed to materialize. As would be the case in 2011 with Harold Camping's followers, plenty of believers liquidated assets and prepared for the end of the world. Yet some took even more sinister actions; reports of abortions and "at least four" suicides prior to the predicted rapture have come out. What makes this one of the more outrageous predictions is the manpower allocated to the church where the faithful had holed up. Some 1,500 riot police officers were on standby to prevent a possible attempt at mass suicide.
Assuming that the predictions of a 2012 apocalypse are about as unfounded as the Y2K disaster predictions, it stands to reason that doomsday prophets, self-styled psychics, and purported alien contactees will continue to throw out dates and supposed means by which humanity will be wiped off the planet.