Although some people believe ancient Mayans predicted the end of the world on Dec. 21, 2012, in reality our mass extinction has been greatly exaggerated many times before.
Check out the top five failed apocalypse predictions ranging from death by comet to the second coming of Christ.
May 21, 2011 (Also, Oct. 21, 2011 and Sept. 6, 1994)
Harold Camping of the Family Radio Ministry was the top doomsayer of 2011, a year in which he predicted the Rapture and world-ending earthquakes not once but twice.
Camping and his followers spent a reported $100 million on a campaign of billboards, broadcast ads and RVs to publicize the impending May 21 cataclysm.
When the world failed to dematerialize in May, Camping, amid worldwide mockery, rescheduled the apocalypse for Oct. 21, which also, as many noticed, did not come to pass.
The elderly California preacher had previously fixed the world’s best-before date as Sept. 6, 1994, which had the same uncanny degree of accuracy.
Jan. 1, 2005
Warren Jeffs, the polygamist head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, put police in three countries on high alert, the Vancouver Sun reported, when he advised members in Bountiful, B.C., the U.S. and Mexico to stay in their homes on New Year’s Eve to await the apocalypse and ascension to heaven. The police worried about the possibility of a mass suicide by church members. Fortunately, both Jeffs’ prediction and police suspicions were unfounded.
Jan. 1, 2000 (and May 5, 2000)
While there were many predictions of the End of Days in 2000, these were overshadowed by dire warnings of death by technical difficulties. The Y2K bug, in some of the worst-case scenarios, would cause deadly computer glitches, resulting in planes falling from the sky or launches of nuclear weapons. Even after New Year’s came, we were still doomed, at least according to Richard Noone’s book, 5/5/2000 Ice: The Ultimate Disaster. He predicted we’d be wiped out by another ice age on May 5.
The appearance of the Hale-Bopp comet inspired the 1997 mass suicide of 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate Cult. The members, led by Marshall Applewhite, believed that all life on Earth would soon be wiped out. The only way to survive, they surmised, was to leave their physical bodies behind and hitch a ride on an alien spaceship they believed was travelling behind the comet. Applewhite and his followers were found lying in their bunk beds in their rented mansion.
Colourful and controversial televangelist Pat Robertson won a satirical Ig Nobel Prize for mathematics this year for predicting Armageddon in late 1982, sparked by a Russian invasion of Israel.
Robertson, a former Republican presidential candidate, shared the prize with a host of other well- known bad guessers, including Dorothy Martin (who predicted a 1954 Doomsday) and Elizabeth Clare Prophet (1990) for “teaching the world to be careful when making mathematical assumptions and calculations.”