Michel de Nostredame, or Nostradamus, (December 14, 1503 – July 1, 1566) was a French physician and author widely known for his prophecies. He recorded these predicitions in a four line rhyming verse called the quatrains, grouped in sets of 100 called centuries, 1000 quatrains in total. He wrote in his native French but to protect himself from witch hunters and religious persecution, he would confuse his verse with Latin, Greek, Italian and anagrams.
Nostradamus was born in the south of France, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, a son of the village notary. They were a Jewish family that converted to Christianity during the times of the Inquisition. He was schooled in the Classics, Sciences and Astrology. At age fifteen, he studied at University of Avignon. Nostradamus received his doctorate in medicine from the University of Montpellier. He married and had two children. His family would die in the plague that ravaged Europe at the time. Nostradamus would remarry and his new wife bore him six children. As a doctor, word would spread of his great healing abilities.
Nostradamus began his writings and published his the first almanac in 1550. It was very successful and he would write two annually. He wrote at least two books on medical science. Under the aegis of Michel Chomarat, he would write manuscripts of Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Then came the quatrains, written in a book titled Les Propheties (The Prophecies). He received a mixed reaction to these with people calling him evil and insane. Others, notably the elite of the day, thought these were spiritual. To this very day, his works are still published and reactions have not changed much since. Many misquotes and hoaxes are attributed to Nostradamus. Many scholars point out that his prophecies of the future are retroactive clairvoyance, only compared after events have already taken place.
Nostradamus was sought out by royalty of his day for his predictions. Some of his most intriguing predictions were not in book form. One story has him at a banquet where the host tries to trick him. The host tells him he has a white pig and a black pig. He is asked to choose which one will be served. Upon knowing his answer- the black pig, the host instructs the cook to prepare the white pig. During the meal the host asks again which pig was chosen. Again he replied the black pig. Then the host brings in the chef to tell him which pig was cooked. The cook says the white pig fell from the table and was devoured by dogs and that the black pig was served. His earliest known prediction was religious. In his youth he saw a young Franciscan friar and paid homage by kneeling and kissing his robe. Asked why he was paying such duty to a lowly friar he responded, "He must kiss the robes of his holiness the Pope." Many years after Nostradamus's death, the young friar became Pope Sixtus V. It is said that he predicted his own death and the day his tomb would be violated, May 1791.
Many events four hundred years later can be attributed to Nostradamus predictions, such as the rise of Napoleon and Hitler. His writings would be used as propaganda by the Nazis. Goebbels used the quatrains showing the defeat of the French in World War II. His 21st century visions include the rise of the third anti-Christ, from the Kingdom of Mohammed with worldwide death and destruction. After his defeat, a universal peace of 1000 years. In a letter to his son, he would write that the end of the world would take place in 3797.
He was known to be a strong believer in the Lord from his youth. We are taught that only God knows the date of the end of the world. His ways are considered to be of the occult. Many of Nostradamus's predictions have turned out to be wrong. Even today, he is seen as a great prophet and a false prophet.
Nostradamus was buried in the Franciscan chapel in Salon but later moved to the Collégiale Saint-Laurent.
- The Man Who Saw Tomorrow, 1981 documentary