Last night before going to bed my husband said to me, "If the world ends tomorrow, I will be frustrated that I hadn't gone to see 'The Hobbit.'"
We are so fascinated by our own demise. I can't for the life of me begin to guess why. Maybe it's a change, something new to think about. But, then again, maybe the apocalypse has become as cliché as life on earth.
Upon typing "doomsday theories" into the search engine, I came up with a website that gave me no less than 10 theories long past. I remember Y2K and Harold Camping clearly, but the end of the world has been a hot-button topic since the nineteenth century.
William Miller predicted first that the end of the world would occur on March 21, 1843. When that passed, he corrected himself, stating that he actually meant March 21, 1844. Nice try.
In 1881, scientists realized that the tail of Halley's Comet contained Cyanogen, a toxic gas similar to cyanide. While our planet did travel through the comet's tale for six hours in on May 19, 1910, we're still alive and kicking today. The comet is supposed to enter into Earth's atmosphere in July 2061. Don't say I didn't warn you.
A March 2, 1982 theory known as the Jupiter Effect determined that all nine planets would align, creating a gravitational pull that would increase sun spots, solar flares, and earthquakes. What it actually did was increase the tide by 0.04 mm.
We related the end of the world to extra-terrestrial life in 1997 when rumors flew that an alien space craft was following the Hale-Bopp comet. I'm not kidding. The San Diego UFO cult called Heavens Gate was created, who firmly held the belief that NASA was covering the truth and that the only way to join their alien friends was to leave their earthly bodies. A mass suicide commenced on March 26.
Also in 1997, Shoko Asahara claimed to be Christ and led a Japanese cult into thinking that the world would end. His prophecy, obviously not carried out in 1997, kept extending until 2000.
Isaac Newton seems to think that we have at the very least until 2060, according to a manuscript he wrote in 1704.
"This I mean not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail."
So there you have it.
And, just for fun, I'll place my bet at Sept. 19, 9190. It's palindromic.