Have you ever thought about how the world will end? It seems people, in general, are obsessed with the idea of dying, and thus, with the extinction of their species and of the entire world. Almost all cultures have this apocalyptic prophecy or the other, just like they have creation myths.
It seems men like to weave stories with a beginning and an end, and they feel the need to say they know for sure how the world will end.
Of course, all of these ends of the world will be predicted by certain omens, mostly having to do with straying from the rules of that particular religion.
From Christianity to old Norse, Heaven’s Gate and more, let’s take a look at some apocalyptic prophecies out there, from the religious to the obscure…
1. Judgement Day
This prophecy is one most of us are familiar with. Written in the Christian New Testament, it tells the story of the end of the world as we know it. Few denominations can agree on exactly what’s going to happen, but the general gist of the prophecy is pretty creepy in itself.
Amidst natural disasters, the Antichrist will be born. Then there will come the four horsemen – Death, War, Famine, and Pestilence, and start exterminating us.
The sun and moon will go out, stars will fall out of the sky, the Earth will crumble, and the doors of heaven will be sealed shut. A comet kills a third of the sea creatures, sinks a third of the ships, and causes a third of the world’s water to turn to blood.
An angel of heaven will descend and mark 144,000 as righteous, to be left unscathed. The rest will be pestered by locusts and stung by scorpions. The locusts will turn into otherworldly creatures and kill one third of mankind.
The Virgin Mary will descend down on Earth and will battle a dragon that shoots stars to Earth to destroy it. A powerful beast will appear, and men start worshipping it to gain salvation.
Then, the Christians and the Heathens (sometimes just the Heathens) will be left to battle hordes of demons, and the Antichrist, as Satan, will walk on the Earth and raise hell, literally. The righteous 144,000 will gain the help of angels, but the heathen’s won’t be so lucky.
After 7 to 1000 years, Jesus will return to Earth, take the righteous to Heaven, and send the unworthy to Hell for an eternity of suffering.
2. Kalki of the Hindu
Kalki, the last reincarnation of Vishnu, the Hindu god of creation and destruction, will come on a white horse to bring good on Earth. Of course, for the greater good he must commit great evil. He will kill all those who have strayed from the right path, bathing the Earth in blood.
Then, he sets the whole planet on fire. The fire spreads and soon the whole Universe is aflame. After everything burns down, he will rebuild the Universe anew from scratch.
3. Qiyamah, The Islamic Judgement Day
It will start with natural disasters, as apocalyptic prophecies usually do. After, a red wind will sweep the Earth, and many people will find themselves with grotesquely malformed faces, or getting swallowed by the ground. There will be a lot of Christian vs Muslim warfare. At one point, the Christian army will get swallowed up by the ground when they try to reach Mecca, and the Muslim expand their empire across the whole Middle East and much of Asia. A three year global draught soon follows.
Al-Dajjal, the Muslim antichrist, will try and raise mayhem, while Al-Mahdi, another leader, will try and keep people as close to Islam as possible. Jesus comes back to Earth and defeats Al-Dajjal. He then apparently settles down, finding a woman to love and having children.
A beast then rises out of Mecca. A wind blows and kills all the faithful, leaving the non-believers to witness the atrocities of the end of the Earth. After much suffering, quiet sets in. Then, the angel Israfil will blow the Judgment Day trumpet, and the world will cease to exist. Everyone will face Allah for judgment.
4. The Maya Calendar
After the 2012 scare, this one shouldn’t be too unfamiliar. The Maya, excellent astronomers and time keepers, held their years with three complicated calendars. It’s said the calendars compassed everything, from the dawn of time to the end of it, and that 21 December 2012 was where the calendar stopped. Thus, that date would have been the end of the world.
Truth is, the Maya never said anything concrete about 2012 – or perhaps they did, but the Spaniards destroyed most of their culture, so we’ll never know for sure.
People took three sides regarding this issue. New Agers interpreted the fact that the Maya said the stars will align in a particular way in 2012 as a sign that this will bring on peace on Earth and spiritual enlightenment for all. Other people considered it would be the end of the world, with natural disasters everywhere. And the last category of people just went about with their lives and considered all of the above crazy.
Nothing happened on the 21st of December 2012, so the latter were right.
5. Ragnarök, The Fate of the Old Norse Gods
For three years, there will be an endless winter, and men will start fighting among themselves and lose morals. Then a giant wolf, Skoll, will fly down to Earth and eat the sun and the moon. Earthquakes will destroy the Earth, mountains will crumble, and trees will be destroyed.
Loki, god of mischief and this apocalypse’s bad guy, will be freed from his prison and will start raising mayhem with his wolf son, Fenrir. Then three cocks start crowing– the red cock calls the giants, the golden cock calls for the gods, and the brown one raises the undead.
A tsunami will awaken a giant snake from Hell, Jörmungandr, and he will raise from the sea. Then all kinds of beasts and monsters and other such creatures will appear, and make their way to Norway.
The final battle will happen in Norway, where the gods will meet after being woken up by Heimdall’s horn. Of course, we won’t notice their meet. We’ll notice that a whole shiver will take on the world. Yggdrasil, the world tree, will start trembling, and with it, our very core.
The gods will start fighting among themselves, and most of them die except for a few good ones. The land will sink into the sea. There will be only two human survivors, the Norse equivalent of Adam and Eve, Lif and Lifthrasi, who hid in Yggdrasil. The better world that succeeds our own will be repopulated with their offspring. The souls of all that die will be sent to Norse heaven, or a Norse snake pit.
6. Zarathustra and the Vile Demons of the East
Long before Christianity or Islam, the Persians practiced Zoroastrianism. Their prophet, Zarathustra, talked with Ahura Mazda, their god, and learned how the world will end.
It will all start with the current territory of Iran being occupied by a race of eastern “demons” that practice “a vile religion”. Iran will decay, conflicts will arise, and people will be born weaker and hypocritical. The sun will be often unseen and spotted, and cataclysms will start to occur.
The Turks, Balkans and Arab will wage wars against each other, with no good guy in sight. Demons will start to roam the Earth and cause mayhem, as well. Then, somewhere in Asia, will prince is born out of a virgin, a shooting star above.
This prince will defeat the armies of darkness, including the man-made ones, and because of this incur the wrath of Evil itself. His troops will start restoring faith and religion, and heaven’s warriors soon join in, including Ahura Mazda who gives a speech to restore religious morale.
The armies of heaven and hell will clash, and heaven will be victorious…but not for long. Evil will make a comeback a thousand peaceful years later. Another virgin will take a bath and get impregnated with the second messiah. A horde of wolves will come to Iran and merge into a monstrous beast, which gets defeated by this second messiah. People will no longer need to eat to survive.
A thousand years afterwards, the armies of evil will come back. Yet another virgin will take a bath, and get impregnated with the third messiah as a result. The dead will start to come back alive, their bodies fully restored. Those who died young are forever eighteen, those who died old are forever forty.
A huge comet will strike the Earth. A river a molten metal will pass through the land, and judgment will be passing through it. The molten metal will have no effect on the righteous, feeling like warm milk. The unworthy ones will feel it burning through their skin and end in agonizing pain. War will be waged again to get rid of evil one and for all.
Good wins, peace on Earth is installed, and Ahura Mazda destroys evil once and for all.
7. Heaven’s Gate’s UFO and Mass Suicide
Heaven’s Gate was a small, peaceful cult who didn’t really stand out.
The leaders were Doe and Ti, who had met years before and discovered a mutual fascination with UFOs, astrology, and science fiction. They believed they were the Earthly incarnations of aliens millions of years old, and that they were the two witnesses mentioned in ch11 of the book of Revelations, placed on Earth to harvest souls and save them.
They preached their message to all those who would listen. To escape Luciferians, those in the normal world who abided, chained, and were chained by sex, jobs, and families, they would have to sacrifice themselves. Upon doing that, they will ascend to Heaven in a cloud and be saved by God. Doe and Ti interpreted the cloud to be an UFO.
But what was their apocalyptic prophecy? They considered the coming of a very rare comet, the Hale-Bopp, to bring about the end of the world. The whole new age community was in frenzy, not just them. They all thought the world was going to end, and that the comet will bring about a new beginning. The spiritually advanced/righteous would ascend, while those who weren’t true believers would have to face and suffer the end of the world. It supposedly signaled the final three years of Satan’s reign on Earth and would usher in a more enlightened age.
Rumors started spreading, some fueled by so called ”specialists” that there was an UFO trailing the comet, and Heaven’s Gate saw in that their prophecies coming true. The end of the world was nigh, they had to ascend.
Heaven’s Gate members all killed themselves at the same time, using phenobarbital mixed with vodka. They wore all black sweatsuits, brand new Nike shows, and a square of purple cloth on their faces and torso. They believed death and that outfit ensured their salvation from the end of days.
As you can see, nothing happened from the Hale-Bopp comet.
8. Civilization As We Know It Collapsing: Y2K
The Y2K, also known as the Millennium Bug or The Year 2000 Problem, refers to the apocalyptic prophecy made when a design flow in mainframe computer software was noticed, which threatened to cause havoc in data centers around the world.
In the pre-2000 days, dates were showcased in 6-byte strings, such as YYDDMM or DDMMYY to save memories. The problem arose when the changed from 99 to 00 would have occurred, because no period longer than 99 years, 12 months and 31 days could be represented. It was thought that showing 100 years would bust all of the electronic appliances, ever. Programmers overlooked this flaw because they thought all of this technology would be replaced before the advent of the new millennium, but it had not.
Christian fundamentalists assimilated in it in their doomsday predictions. A large-scale survivalist movement started, spawning a cottage industry of low tech appliances and survival books who had great success at the time.
Y2K became the subject of much fictional literature (mostly of a pulp and, often, religious nature, often science fiction but sometimes other genres)
Y2K eventually proved to be a fruitless scare. As anxieties rose during New Year’s EVE 1999-2000, people were getting ready to get hauled back to the dark ages.
Midnight came and went, and…nothing much happened.
9. Death by Hailey Comet
Unique astronomical events always get people riled up. Only, unlike the Hale-Bopp comet, the Halley did not inspire any suicidal religious cults.
Halley’s Comet is visible from Earth every 76 years. One of its cycles were in 1910, when it would have passed near the Earth.
However, mass panic was induced then astronomers at Chicago’s Yerkes Observatory declared that the comet’s tail was made of poisonous cyanogen gas, and when the tail would whip trough Earth on May 18th, 1910, it would cause mass population death due to its toxic fumes.
Some opportunists took the chance to make a quick buck, selling “comet pills”, masks and bottled oxygen intended to help people survive the comet’s noxious effect. They made quite a few bucks due to mass hysteria.
As May 18th approached, people started stuffing towels under their doors and covered their keyholes with paper to prevent the gas from leaking in, bunkering themselves up in their homes. They refused to go to home, and holed up in presumed safety with their families, or in Churches. Others, more daring, watched the night pass away without incident while partying away at “comet parties” held across the U.S.
Nobody died of toxic fumes.
10. Large Hadron Collider of Doom
To anyone not knowing science familiarly, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) might seem like the perfect doomsday machine: it plays with matter, destroys particles, and uses complicated science to meet its ends. The massive particle accelerator’s circular tunnel, located just outside of Geneva, Switzerland, measures 17 miles (28 kilometers) in total circumference, and is used to make particles knock against each other at high speeds.
The LHC accelerates hydrogen protons to the speed of light, and makes them collide, helping scientists discover what might have happened when the Universe was first created.
However, such speeds and matter play made most people think that the LHC could either create a black hole big enough to swallow us whole, While most scholars acknowledge that black holes could happen, they stated that they would have a lifespan of just a few seconds at most, hardly enough to swallow anything at all, let alone the Earth.
Amidst general panic of the layman populace and intense media coverage, scientists fired up the LHC in 2009 and discovered some very interesting things. Needless to say, there were no black holes since then.