November 5th, 2012 17:57 EST
Mayan Calendar Fears ... Apocalypse?
Intensifying Natural Disasters . . . Or Déjà Vu?
Hurricane Sandy`s thrashing of the eastern United States, combined with one of the largest recorded earthquakes ever to occur off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, and a subsequent quake along the same fault line near Los Angeles, California have spawned a renewed fear that apocalyptic interpretations of the Mayan Long Count calendar may have been correct. Could nature`s recent bursts of anger be ominous precursors to the end of days? Could Armageddon occur on December 21st, 2012?
Before we all go running for the hills, let`s remember that the world has seen this movie before. No, not the one starring John Cusack. The best predictor of the future is the past, and there is no shortage of failed apocalyptic predictions. What is important to remember about these happy failures is that through the years leading up to the "imminent end" there occurred many an instance when Mother Nature unleashed her fury.
One of the most famous men in history, Christopher Columbus, claimed the world was created in 5343 BC and would last only 7000 years, thus coming to an end in the year 1658. Columbus`s believers would have been troubled to hear of the major earthquakes that same year that rocked Peru, the Philippines and New England. They may have also paid particular attention to the volcanic eruptions in El Salvador and Fiji. Yet, we are still here. No doomsday event transpired.
The industrial revolution chugged on when many thought it would come to a grinding halt after earthquakes shook Naples, Colombia, Iran and Venezuela in 1805. Through mathematical justification, Christopher Love had predicted the apocalypse in that year by way of a massive earthquake that would destroy Earth. Perhaps it is a good thing Love was not using his math skills to suggest locomotive design changes.
Herbert W. Armstrong showed true persistence when his prediction that the world would meet its demise in 1936 failed. He went on to change the date to 1943, then to 1972 and then made his final prediction of a 1975 rapture. The impressionable mind may have been convinced if one were living on the Atlantic coast where twenty-five hurricanes passed in the four years combined. Several volcanic eruptions and earthquakes also jarred various parts of the world. The earth`s motion carried us into 1976, albeit we moved a little differently, what with the disco era poised to fully blossom.
In the 1990s those who clung to the prophesies of Nostradamus must have been biting at their lower lips in anticipation as comet Hale-Bopp passed by the earth in plain sight. Photographs of Hale-Bopp`s blue ion tale taken over Val Parola Pass in the Dolomite Mountains surrounding Cortina d`Ampezzo, Italy, undoubtedly sent shivers down the spines of the many who read Nostradamus`s quatrains. Nostradamus believed that by July 1999 the "King of Terror" would come from the sky. Many claimed the world would end. Enter August, 1999. Hale-Bopp is just a pretty photograph and Y2K is upon us. The computers are about to turn against humanity. They didn`t.
In 2011, Hurricane Irene traversed the east coast of the United States much like Hurricane Sandy just days ago. Hurricane Irene, however, helped to support the prediction of Robert Camping that doomsday would swallow us on October 21st, 2011. He had actually predicted that devastating earthquakes would take place on May 21st, 2011, and then the end of the world would follow on October 21st. No devastation occurred on May 21st, but twelve minor earthquakes that day kept people tuned in. When Irene barrelled toward New York more speculation about the apocalypse blew its way to the media, and Camping`s popularity rose, but his credibility plummeted when we began to complete tasks scheduled on our calendars for October 22nd.
Now we view another calendar with grave anticipation. Recent forces of nature have sent our minds spinning and our fingers tapping. The speculation is flowing through fibre optics, and perhaps we have learned nothing from the past. The land will continue to rupture and shake, and the air will continue to spin. At some point it will all end, but I still plan to buy Christmas presents for the kids this year. Although, I could be wrong.
By Michael Alexander
Michael Alexander is the author of a new thriller, The Seventh Day. See www.michaelalexandernovels.comand amazon.com.