I read the works of many of the ancient Greek philosophers in my youth. Those men were intellectually brilliant, even by today’s standards, and I always assumed that they knew that their myths about Zeus and all the other gods were merely fairy tales. Now, I’m not so sure about that. When facing the unknown, the human mind seems to want to accept fiction as reality. Thus, the ancient Greeks may have believed their myths were reflecting events that really occurred.
Mythology did not come to an end in ancient times. As we shall see shortly, it resurfaced in full blossom during the Renaissance in regards to Michel Nostradamus, history’s most famous seer. Today, you can find that mythology all over the Internet, everywhere purporting to be the true history of Nostradamus and his prophecies. I recently googled Nostradamus Predictions 2012 and got nearly one million results. In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Nostradamus was just as much of a moneymaking scam as he is today.
Scam artists, then, as now, typically resort to any type of unethical means to make money. Around the turn of the seventeenth century, they did all the following: wrote a fictional biography of Nostradamus, altered or created town and university records to support the fictional biography, republished Nostradamus’ almanacs adding freshly written predictions, wrote unprophetic books and falsely attributed them to Nostradamus, wrote letters and a last will and testament and falsely attributed them to Nostradamus, and published his prophecies backdating those publications to dates within or close to Nostradamus’ time. Beyond the facts to be found on Nostradamus’ original tombstone in Salon and a sprinkling of other information, almost nothing about Nostradamus can be taken for certain. What we think we know about Nostradamus and his prophecies is overwhelmingly mythology.
All of the encyclopedias will tell you that Nostradamus began to publish his prophecies in 1555, often citing the Bonhomme edition that displays this date, but apparently no one ever bothered taking a close look at that edition. In 1594, a charlatan by the name of Chavigny (perhaps also the originator of the fictional biography) altered some of the prophecies to suit his needs. The Bonhomme edition copies those alterations. How could it have been printed in 1555? Meanwhile, Benoist Rigaud, alleged printer of the complete 1568 edition, did indeed print a couple of editions of the prophecies, both dated 1596.
The period following Nostradamus’ death was a time of considerable religious strife in France. Recall the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre. Superstition was widespread, and if those prophecies were available, both sides would surely have used them for propaganda purposes. But there seems to be no record of any such thing. Many experts have investigated the early history of the prophecies and they have nothing to report. From a reliable source you cannot find a citation of a single verse of any…