Countdown to Rapture: Top 10 Failed Doomsday Predictions
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With less than two days left until Rapture, it seems timely in our final hours to take a trip down memory lane to other end-of-the-world predictions from history. This list, edited for brevity, is taken from a 2009 article by Benjamin Radford on livescience.com. Feel free to add your own favorite doomsday prediction -- and tell us if it came to pass!
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1. Board Game: Chicken Limbo [Average Rating:3.50 Unranked]
Ed
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In 1806 a hen in Leeds, England began laying eggs on which the phrase "Christ is coming" was written. As news of this miracle spread, many became convinced that doomsday was at hand — until a curious local actually watched the hen laying one of the prophetic eggs and discovered someone had hatched a hoax.
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2. Board Game: The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:449]
Ed
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A New England farmer named William Miller, after years of careful study of his Bible, concluded the world would end sometime between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. He drew thousands of followers (known as "Millerites") who decided the actual date was April 23, 1843. Many sold or gave away their possessions, assuming they would not be needed. After April 23 arrived -- but Jesus didn't -- the group disbanded—some of them forming what is now the Seventh Day Adventists.
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3. Board Game: Mormon-Opoly [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
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Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church, called a meeting of his church leaders in February 1835 to inform them he had spoken to God and learned that Jesus would return within the next 56 years, after which the End of Times would begin.
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4. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:556]
Ed
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In 1881, an astronomer discovered through spectral analysis that comet tails include a deadly gas, cyanogen (related, as the name imples, to cyanide). This was of only passing interest until someone realized that Earth would pass through the tail of Halley's comet in 1910. Would everyone on the planet be bathed in this toxic gas? That was the speculation on the front pages of The New York Times and other newspapers, resulting in a widespread panic.
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5. Board Game: Christian Fluxx [Average Rating:5.57 Unranked] [Average Rating:5.57 Unranked]
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In May 1980, televangelist and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson startled and alarmed many when he informed his 700 Club that he knew when the world would end. "I guarantee you by the end of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on the world," Robertson said.
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6. Board Game: Conquest of Planet Earth: The Space Alien Game [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:814]
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When Hale-Bopp appeared in 1997, rumors surfaced that an alien spacecraft was following the comet — covered up, of course, by NASA and the astronomical community. Though the claim was refuted by astronomers (and could be refuted by anyone with a good telescope), the rumors were publicized on Art Bell's paranormal radio talk show, "Coast to Coast AM." These claims inspired a San Diego UFO cult named Heaven's Gate to conclude that the world would end soon. The world did indeed end for 39 of the cult members, who committed suicide on March 26, 1997.
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7. Board Game: Wings of War: Fire from the Sky [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked]
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One of the most famous quatrains of Michel de Nostrdame read, "The year 1999, seventh month / From the sky will come great king of terror." Many Nostradamus devotees grew concerned that this was the famed prognosticator's vision of Armageddon.
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8. Board Game: Illuminati: Y2K [Average Rating:7.02 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.02 Unranked]
Ed
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As the last century drew to a close, many wondered if computers might bring about doomsday. The problem, first noted in the early 1970s, was that many computers could not tell the difference between the dates 2000 and 1900. Many suggested catastrophes ranging from blackouts to nuclear holocaust. Gun sales jumped and survivalists prepared to live in bunkers.
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9. Board Game: Descent: The Tomb of Ice [Average Rating:7.91 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.91 Unranked]
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According to Richard Noone, the Antarctic ice mass would be three miles thick by May 5, 2000 — a date in which the planets would be aligned in the heavens, somehow resulting in a global icy death.
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10. Board Game: America in Flames [Average Rating:6.36 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.36 Unranked]
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According to God's Church minister Ronald Weinland, the end times were upon us again in 2008. His book, 2008: God's Final Witness, states hundreds of millions of people would die and, by the end of 2006, "there will be a maximum time of two years remaining before the world will be plunged into the worst time of all human history. By the fall of 2008, the United States will have collapsed as a world power, and no longer exist as an independent nation." As the book notes, "Ronald Weinland places his reputation on the line as the end-time prophet of God."
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11. Board Game: 88 Stop [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
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I fear that no list would be complete without my personal favorite.

Edgar C. Whisenant was an ex-NASA engineer who predicted that -- based on his reading of the Bible -- that the Rapture would occur during Rosh Hashana, 1988. He published a book famously entitled "88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988" and sent out literally hundreds of thousands of free copies to pastors all over the United States. The popularity of the idea was widespread, with the Trinity Broadcasting Network regularly interrupting programming for rapture preparation during the time leading up to the event.

When Rosh Hashana 1988 passed without incident, he revised his findings and published "The final shout: Rapture report 1989", predicting that the Rapture would occur in 1989.

When Rosh Hashana 1989 passed without incident, he waited a few years before publishing "23 reasons why a pre-tribulation rapture looks like it will occur on Rosh-Hashanah 1993"

And just in case anyone was still listening, he even published ANOTHER prediction -- this time for 1994 entitled "And now the earth's destruction by fire, nuclear bomb fire".

He continued making other scattered rapture predictions after that, but none of them had quite the pizazz that the original "88 Reasons" did.

While originally given away free, copies of the book manage to go for a fair bit of money these days as collectors items. Our church library has an original copy of 88 Reasons sitting on the shelf -- it's fun (and a bit enlightening) to pull it down and read it every now and again.

Edgar died in 2001.
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12. Board Game: INWO SubGenius [Average Rating:6.08 Overall Rank:5178]
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This entry is not as serious, but just as entertaining.

The Church of the SubGenius, a parody religion based in Texas ("Eternal salvation or TRIPLE your money back!"), decided that they wanted in on this Armageddon action. So they announced that on July 5, 1998, the X-ists would come via flying saucers, rescue them, and KILL EVERYBODY ELSE.

The SubGenii being who they are, they used this day as an excuse to party. They scheduled a huge get-together, and in various states of intoxication, awaited the flying saucers, which naturally never showed up. In retaliation, they tarred and feathered SubGenius head honcho Rev. Ivan Stang (although rumor has it Stang supplied the tar and feathers himself).

Varying explanations have been offered regarding why the world failed to end on X-Day. Some say that our calendars are wrong and July 5, 1998 hasn't happened yet. Others say that it did happen, but Earth and Mars were switched at the last second. My personal favorite explanation is that when the religion's savior figure, J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, saw the end date written down from JHWH-1, he accidentally read it upside-down, and that the world really will end in the year 8661.

Of course, the SubGenius seized on X-Day, and still use it as an excuse to throw a big party every year.
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13. Board Game: Global Warming [Average Rating:5.75 Unranked]
Me, sin? Pf! Nah! Chill
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In 2006, Al Gore predicted that the ocean levels would rise by 20 feet in 10 years, IIRC. Five of those years have passed. And he's made more recent predictions that ocean levels could rise 67 meters in 10 years. He has a much larger following than this latest rapture guy.
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14. Board Game: Billboard Top 40 Trivia [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
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The only Rapture worth listening to was sung by Debbie Harry of Blondie.



This song was the Billboard Hot 100's first #1 song that is classified as rap music.
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15. Board Game: Space Station Assault [Average Rating:5.67 Overall Rank:7849]
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Not exactly world-ending, but nonetheless very funny is fashion designer Paco Rabanne predicting the MIR space station would fall upon Paris in 1999.
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