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9 Times We Thought the World Is Ending

9 Times We Really Thought the End Was Coming!

As it turns out, there have been so many times in the past when people on Earth were absolutely sure that the end of the world was about to happen. In most cases, it really scared the bejeezus out of them. Even in the years before Christ, there are many records of people predicting the end of times.

Whether by weather, sickness, or any other catastrophe, the human race seems to be perpetually fascinated by, and quite intrigued by, the end of the world. Thankfully, they’ve all been wrong so far. Here are ten of the most well-known guesses that luckily never came through:

end of the world
Photo by Mulina Vesile from Shutterstock

The Stöffler Flood of 1524

Johannes Stöffler, a well-known German mathematician and astronomer, predicted a world cataclysm on February 20, 1524. How? Well, he said a flood was about to engulf the world, and many people freaked out. Boat businesses boomed because some of the most popular pamphlets at the time carried Stöffler’s prediction.

When the day finally arrived, it started to drizzle. In Germany, people rioted as they tried to board a three-story ark built on the Rhine. Hundreds of people were killed. Right after the disaster, it seems that Stöffler called for a mulligan, explaining that his calculations were incorrect. He added that the “correct” end of the world, caused by the same reasons, would be 30 years later. Naturally, he was also wrong about that.

Judgment Day of 1780

A Harper’s Magazine story published 100 years after the event described it really well: “Birds went to roost, cocks crowed at mid-day as at midnight, and all animals were terrified.” Well, people were scared, too. It was 9 a.m. on May 19, 1780, and New England was completely plunged into darkness. A rather strange mix of fog and forest fire ignited dark clouds to blot out the sun. However, people of the day were convinced the end was close.

As it turns out, people filled the streets with screams and cries. It lasted until midnight when the clouds parted and the sun was once again visible. Closeby practitioners of an ultra-conservative Shaker religion took the opportunity, and for the upcoming 26 months, they recruited new members who were scared straight by the dark day.

Halley’s Comet of 1910

In 1910, when Halley’s Comet was making its most recent appearance, as it does every 75 to 76 years, some people genuinely lost their collective minds. A couple of writers in the United Kingdom even claimed it was a sign that Germany was about to invade, and scientists in Chicago declared they had found a very poisonous gas called cyanogen in the comet’s tail. “The New York Times” even added that a French astronomer called Camille Flammarion predicted that the gas would impregnate that atmosphere and even snuff out all life on the planet.

Well, people hurried to buy gas masks and build their own safe rooms. Others were rather unconcerned about the predictions and decided to throw roof parties. Naturally, when the comet passed, no one was harmed.

The “Christ’s Kingdom” Prophesy of 1914

The year 1914 was a very special one for the Jehovah’s Witness religion. The Christian offshoot was founded in the 1870s and had always predicted that 1914 would be the year Christ and his kingdom would return to Earth.

Naturally, that also meant the world would come to an end. Door-to-door went to the Witness faithful, warning that the “bloody end” was inevitable. And as with any other story on this list, the year came and nothing happened.

Even so, Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated, which led to the start of World War I. In other words, you might say that’s a bit of a stretch, but it was still close to an apocalypse.

Heaven’s Gate in 1997

Heaven’s Gate was a cult founded by Marshall Applewhite, and they had the weirdest beliefs out there. At the center of their religion was the belief that aliens would come to our planet on a UFO in the tail of the Hape-Bopp comet.

The comet was set to pass Earth in 1997. They felt that the aliens would “wipe” the planet clean and transport their souls to the next life. Tragically, they made their own prediction come true, as 39 of the cult members were part of one of the worst mass suicides in the history of the United States, as the comet passed by without further incident.

Photo by lassedesignen from Shutterstock

Anytime Pat Robertson predicted anything (1982, 2006, and 2010)

“I can guarantee that by the end of 1982, there will be a judgment on this world.” That’s what TV evangelist and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson declared in 1980 on his show “The 700 Club.” Well, it obviously didn’t happen as he predicted.

Again, in 2006, he envisioned a similar calamity, stating that God told him the world would be devastated by enormous tsunamis. Again, in 2008, he said that by 2010, society would experience a huge stock market crash and worldwide violence. Honestly, we believe that he should continue to be persistent. After all, he’s bound to nail it at some point, right?

Y2K in 2000

As far back as 1984, tech geeks took a simple computer coding error and transformed it into something bigger than it actually was. They said that on January 1, 2000, worldwide technology would come to a halt and send us back to a version of the Stone Age.

But back then, computers were tracking dates in two digits, which means that “1998” was “98” and “1984” was “84.” When 2000 came, they might have confused 2000 with 1900, which would have caused mass chaos.

As the year 2000 loomed, people flipped out more and more. Religious followers thought this could be the Rapture or some version of the Apocalypse. Everyone stocked up on supplies, from water to food to even gasoline. Then the ball dropped on Times Square, and nothing happened.

The Big Bang of 2009

If you ever watched “The Big Bang Theory,” then you might have heard of CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, made the Large Hadron Collider, which is an intricate particle accelerator that would allow scientists to study the smallest-known particles.

But the process of colliding these particles, commonly known as “hadrons,” terrified plenty of people around the world. Some even thought that this process might create a black hole that would open over Switzerland and swallow up the whole world.

Well, in 2008, one group of independent scientists even tried to sue in order to stop the experiment from occurring. Well, it didn’t work, and in 2009, the collision went even further. In fact, they’ve been doing it ever since, and so far, no black holes have formed.

Harold Camping’s Rapture in 2011

Harold Camping, a radio preacher, thought he had everything figured out at one point. With the use of numerology and readings of the Bible, he interpreted that the Rapture would occur on May 21, 2011.

Then he was 89 years old, and he was awfully confident in his own predictions, so much so that he instructed his disciples to spread the world across the globe. Once again, God didn’t spirit those worthy followers to heaven, probably assuming most people just decided to make plans and celebrate Memorial Day 2011.

Then, Camping switched dates, announcing that the rapture would actually occur on October 21. Guess what? None of those things happened. If you want to prepare for doomsday situations, here’s a great survival handbook!

If you found this article useful, we also recommend reading: 7 Awesome NASA Discoveries That Changed Our Lives


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