The spread of novel coronavirus, which was first declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 11 March has since then become a target of misinformation and conspiracy theories alike.
In one such instance, several users on social media are claiming that the 16th century French astrologer Nostradamus predicted the virus in his book ‘Les Propheties’ (The Prophecies). However, after proper checks and verification, we have found that there is no truth to these claims.
According to the claim being circulated on the internet, French philosopher Nostradamus in his book, ‘Les Propheties’ (The Prophecies) wrote: “There will be a twin year (2020) from which will arise a queen (corona) who will come from the east (China) and will spread a plague (virus)in the darkness of night, on a country with 7 hills (Italy) and will transform the twilight of men into dust (death), to destroy, and ruin the world. (sic)”
WHAT WE FOUND
‘Les Propheties’ is a collection of prophecies by French physician Nostradamus. One of his most famous works, it is a collection of poems and quatrains.
A Quatrain is a type of stanza/a poem consisting of four lines. The text attributed to Nostradamus in the virus message didn’t qualify to be a quatrain and raised several red flags about its veracity.
Further, Stephane Gerson, Professor of French, French Studies, and History at New York University, told Reuters that this text “does not come from Nostradamus’ ‘Prophecies’, ” nor from other prognostications made by him.
We followed it up with a Google keyword search using the terms “Nostradamus twin year prophecy” and found no results.
The Reuters report further quoted Professor Gerson as saying, “There is nothing surprising about the reemergence of such false Nostradamian prophecies in the wake of a disaster. The same thing has happened for over 400 years: invented or altered predictions, endowed with the aura of Nostradamus, surface, again and again, part of an economy of forgery, mass media circulation, and yearnings for order and design each time an unforeseen event threatens our material well-being and our conceptual frameworks.”
Evidently, a false claim saying that Nostradamus predicted COVID-19 is being shared to spread panic among the people.
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