13 apocalyptic scenarios that never happened

Mirror, UK/September 11, 2008

We can all breathe a huge sigh of relief - the world didn't end yesterday after all.

Scaremongers tried to convince us the Earth would be sucked into a massive black hole when scientists pressed the "Big Bang" button.

The Large Hadron Collider, the world's most powerful particle accelerator, was turned on at 9.15am in a £5billion experiment to recreate the conditions at the start of the universe.

In case you hadn't noticed, we're all still here to tell the tale.

It's not the first time Doomsday has been upon us...

UFO cult

A taiwanese cult led by Heungming Chen predicted Christ would return on March 31, 1998, and invite cult members on to a UFO.

About 150 followers moved into Garland, a suburb of Dallas, Texas, to await His arrival. They abandoned their idea when a predicted precursor failed to materialise - Christ did not appear on channel 18 of every TV in the world.

Heaven's Gate

This cult of US web designers believed their souls could ride a spaceship behind Halley's Comet - if they all killed themselves simultaneously.

Thirty-eight members of the group were found dead in a rented mansion in San Diego, California, on March 26, 1997.

Madeley and Y2K

The Y2K Bug was supposed to bring civilisation crashing down as we entered the year 2000.

Doomsayers warned every computer would fail as the clock struck midnight on millennium eve, causing planes to fall from the skies, electricity to cut out and the world's financial networks to collapse.

TV presenter Richard Madeley's daughter Chloe, 21, said: "We had a millennium cupboard because he was worried about the Y2K bug. He told us we were going to fill the bath and all the cupboards with supplies.

"It was just an excuse for Dad to buy a whole load of toys, like gas lamps and wind-up radios. He'd have a bomb shelter if he could."


Fans of the 16th century French seer claim he predicted everything from the Great Fire of London to the rise of Hitler, the death of Diana and 9/11.

But critics say that with hindsight his vague verses can be taken to mean almost anything.

He wrote that in "1999 and seven months... from the sky will come the great king of terror", prompting fears the end of the world would come that July.

When that passed without a hitch, believers opted for 3797, the year Nostradamus's predictions run out.


Former sailor Michael Travesser reckoned he was the Messiah and had been told by God that the apocalypse would happen on October 31, 2007.

The 66-year-old American, previously known as Wayne Bent, spent 20 years preparing the 56 followers of his Strong City cult in New Mexico for Doomsday. On April 22, 2008, three teenagers were taken from the cult's compound and Travesser was charged with criminal sexual contact with a minor and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

These were dropped but lesser charges brought against him are still pending.

Psychic newsreader

TV Newsreader turned psychic Charles Criswell King - "The Amazing Criswell" - said in 1968 that the world as we know it would cease to exist from August 18, 1999. He did however get one prediction right - in March 1963 he announced that John F Kennedy wouldn't run for re-election in 1964 because something was going to happen to him.

The spooked goalie

Argentinian international goalkeeper Carlos Roa refused to sign a new contract with Real Mallorca in 2000 because he was convinced the world was going to end.

Roa returned to the game a year later, but never again hit the form for which he was acclaimed as one of the world's best keepers.

The Rapture

Former Nasa engineer and bible student Edgar C Whisenant boldly announced that the Rapture - the return of Christ and the end of the world - would occur between September 11 and September 13, 1988.

More than four million copies of his book, 88 Reasons Why The Rapture Could Be In 1988, were sold.

Despite the Rapture's failure to materialise, he continued to rewrite books predicting 1989, 1993 and 1994. Few of them were sold.

Planets line up

It Was predicted that on May 5, 2000, all the planets would be in alignment which would cause massive earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Pity they didn't look back to 1982 when the same alignment happened and all was quiet.

Waiting for Christ

North Carolina teacher Colin Deal announced in 1980 that Christ would return and the world would end in 1982. When that didn't happen, he changed his mind to 1983. Again, he had to recalculate to 1988, then 1989 and on March 17, 1989, he said it would be "about 11 years away."

Tomorrow again

In 1874, Charles Taze Russell, founder of the group that would become the Jehovah's Witnesses, first announced the apocalypse would come in 1914. Succeeding Witnesses changed the date to 1925, 1936, 1953 and 1973.

World's End

The Millerites, followers of Baptist layman William Miller, predicted the end of the world would be October 22, 1844 - the day later came to be known to followers as The Great Disappointment.


A group of astrologers caused mass panic on February 1, 1524, when they predicted the second Great Flood was about to start from the Thames. Twenty thousand people fled to high ground.

The jury's still out on these..

The end of the world may still be nigh, according to these prophecies.

The Mayan calendar comes to an end on December 23, 2012, and followers believe only a few people will survive the catastrophe that follows.

Rev Jerry Falwell told a congregation in Tennessee that the Antichrist is among us and Christ will return within 10 years. He spoke in 1999, so watch out.

Author Michael Drosnin, right, who wrote The Bible Code, claims to have found hidden messages in the first five books of the Bible which foretell of a comet which will crash into Earth and annihilate all life in 2012.

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