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TheStreet Open House

The Mayans Aren't The Only Ones To Get It Wrong - Worst 'End Of World' Predictions... And The Embarrassing Excuses

William Miller (founder of the Millerites, now the Seventh Day Adventists) predicted the end would come between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. The dates came and went with nothing occurring so the date was revised to April 18th. Again nothing happened and the date was changed to October 22, 1844. Miller continued to wait for the end until his death in 1849, which certainly was the end for him. However, the modern-day church that Miller founded continues to claim to this day that the date was correct, but as it was an event that occurred in Heaven it went entirely unnoticed by us on the Earthly plane.

The Jupiter Effect

The Jupiter Effect was written in 1974 by two astrophysicists, John Gribben and Stephen Plagemann. Predicted for 10 th March 1982 when all nine planets would align and create a gravitational pull that would cause a "huge increase in sunspots, solar, flares, and/or earthquakes". Gribben later claimed it never was a prophecy but a theoretical "what if?" However, people did believe that it was actually going to happen, the credentials of the theorists adding weight to the calculations. And indeed an effect was measured on Earth - a 0.04 millimetre high tide!

Cult Following

Amateur astronomer Chuck Shramek observed a companion object following the Hale-Bopp comet and called a radio show to report his findings. This led to several end-of-the-world theories which spread across the world via the Internet. Many prophecies merely bring about a little embarrassment, but this one truly did herald disaster in the form of The Heaven's Gate cult, who took it as their signal to commit mass suicide in March 1997.

Al Porta's Planetary Portal

Respected meteorologist Albert Porta predicted that on December 17, 1919 the conjunction of six planets would "cause great explosions of flaming gas and eventually engulf the Earth." This prediction led to mob violence and suicides. It proved cataclysmic for Albert; he lost his job as a respected meteorologist and ended up as weatherman on a local paper.

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