Over the years, a lot of people have predicted the end of the world, and thus far, a lot of people have had egg on their faces. We're glad they were wrong, because now we get to make fun of them forever. Here are eight of our favorite doomsayers:
1. Billy Graham
Speaking in 1950, a young Billy Graham was quoted as saying "We may have another year, maybe two years. Then I believe it is going to be over." Later in his career, he revised the date to 1998.
2. A (supposedly) talking carp
Witnesses (of which there were rather few) say that a mystical twenty-pound carp began shouting in Hebrew at a New York fish market in 2003. Roughly translated, it said "account for yourself, the end is near!"
3. Watchtower magazine
"Sometime between April 16 and 23, 1957, Armageddon will sweep the world! Millions will perish and in its flames and the land will be scorched."
4. Assyrian stone tablet, circa 2800 B.C.
"The world is degenerating these days. Bribery and corruption abound. Children no longer mind their parents, every man wants to write a book, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching."
5. 16th-century German astronomer Johannes Stoeffler
"The world will end with a giant flood on February 20, 1524."
6. William Miller, 19th century harbinger of doom
As quoted in the New York Herald: "The world will be destroyed by fire on April 3, 1843.
7. Archbishop Wulfstan of York, 1014 A.D.
"The world is in haste and is drawing ever closer to its end, and it always happens that the longer it lasts, the worse it becomes. And so it must ever be, for the coming of the Anti-Christ grows ever more evil because of the sins of the people, and then truly it will be grim and terrible widely in the world."
8. Self-styled prophet Harold Whisenant
... author of 88 Reasons Why Christ Will Come Back in 1988.
Thanks to Laura Ward, whose book Famous Last Words has a great chapter on failed apocalyptic prophecy.