We’re living in the Last Days! But then, we’re always living in the Last Days. Since ancient humans began recording their observations about the world, they’ve been making their guesses as to when it will end. Needless to say, everyone has been wrong so far.
Religion offers many prominent prognosticators: Popes, prophets, cult leaders, televangelists, and one tenacious radio host have all famously wagered about when God will return to punish the wicked and reward the righteous. But plenty of theories arose from popular dismay about events seemingly signaling humanity’s decline. An Assyrian tablet dated 2800, B.C. warns, “Children no longer obey their parents, every man wants to write a book, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching.” More timeless words were never spoken.
Some apocalyptic predictors chose dates so far in the future they would never have to worry about being proven wrong. The 16th century apothecary and seer Nostradamus prophesied an apocalypse for 1999. Many modern prophets have not been so wise.
It must be awkward to wake up on the day of a scheduled apocalypse and find everything in perfect order: no fire, no ice, and the four horsemen are nowhere to be found. But, as you can see from the double, triple, and even six-time failures on our infographic, some people never give up. Lately, scientists have looked to the skies for clues about how and when it will all end. It looks like our generation and millions after it will find favor with the cosmos, provided we don’t destroy ourselves.
Taking comfort in that, sit back and enjoy our diagram of the numerous—and often hilarious—doomsdays that didn’t deliver.