CORONAVIRUS has found a foothold in Europe and Asia as tens of thousands of people fall ill with COVID-19 – but did Nostradamus warn the world of the epidemic nearly 500 years ago?
The coronavirus disease has infected nearly 116,000 people and killed at least 4,029 since it first appeared in China last December. The novel virus appeared without warning and has never been seen in humans before, prompting conspiracy theorists to flood social media with bizarre claims about its origin.
Some conspiracists have claimed the coronavirus was accidentally unleashed from a top-secret laboratory in Wuhan, Hubei Province.
Others have claimed novelist Dean Koontz eerily predicted the outbreak in his 1981 book The Eyes of Darkness.
Many people on social media have also claimed the epidemic was predicted by the famed apothecary and writer, Michel de Nostredame.
Here are three Nostradamus prophecies that speak of plague and destruction in the future.
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Nostradamus penned his supposed visions of the future in four-lined poems known as quatrains.
The bulk of the prophecies were published in 1555 in the book Les Propheties.
In Century V, Quatrain 63, Nostradamus wrote: “From the vain enterprise honour and undue complaint,
“Boats tossed about among the Latins, cold, hunger, waves,
“Not far from the Tiber the land stained with blood,
“And diverse plagues will be upon mankind.”
Could this be a warning to Italy about the coronavirus?
The Tiber is a river that runs through Rome and Italy is now under lockdown, with more than 9,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections.
And diverse plagues will be upon mankind
Nostradamus also warned of plague in Century II, Quatrain 6.
Nostradamus wrote: “Near the gates and within two cities
“There will be two scourges the like of which was never seen,
“Famine within plague, people put out by steel,
“Crying to the great immortal God for relief.”
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There is also mention of plague in Century II, Quatrain 19: “Newcomers, place built without defence,
“Place occupied then uninhabitable:
“Meadows, houses, fields, towns to take at pleasure,
“Famine, plague, war, extensive land arable.”
But is there any reason to believe Nostradamus did indeed want the world of a devastating pandemic?
Nostradamus cryptic writings can be interpreted in many different ways and there have been many big epidemics since his death in 1566.
Popular sceptic and author of the Skeptoid podcast Brian Dunning believes it takes a great deal of hindsight to draw links between modern-day events and Nostradamus’ writings.
He said: “Nostradamus’ writings are exploited in a number of fallacious ways.
“Ambiguous and wrong translations, ‘creative’ interpretations, hoax writings, fictional accounts, and the breaking of non-existent codes within his quatrains all contribute to a vast body of work, all of it wrong, and many times the size of everything Nostradamus ever actually wrote.”
There is also no indication the coronavirus epidemic will bring death and destruction to the world.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most people only fall ill with mild COVID-19 symptoms.