The following article appeared in The Daily Star on 13 September 2001. May its reproduction here serve as a reminder not to trust such publications blindly. The quotes are not, repeat: not Nostradamus. A prompt telephone call to the responsible editor did not help to reveal the true source. Instead, every word added seems a new cover story.
Soothsayer Nostradamus chillingly predicted the New York massacre—as the Daily Star revealed more than two years ago.
We warned then how the French soothsayer could see mayhem and destruction in the Big Apple, which he referred to as the New City. The spooky forecast in which he also frighteningly said there would follow a third "big war" was made back in the 16th Century.
When we told readers about it we illustrated our story with a photograph of the twin towers of the World Trade Centre with the caption "DISASTER: New York".
Before he died in 1566—predicting his own death the day before—Nostradamus may have tried to warn the world of the New York massacre when he wrote these eight chilling lines which until Tuesday's atrocity meant very little:
In the year of the century and nine months,
From the sky will come a great King of Terror
The sky will burn at 45 degrees,
Fire approaches the great new city.
In the city of York there will be a great collapse,
Two twin brothers torn apart by chaos.
While the fortress falls the great leader will succumb.
Third big war will begin when the big city is burning.
Later in his book Centuries, he wrote: "Earthshaking fire from the world's centre will cause tremors around the New City. Two great immovable powers will war for a long time, the Arethusa will redden a new river."
In another passage he wrote: "The garden of the world near the New City, in the roads of hollow mountains. It will be seized and plunged in the tank, forced to drink water poisoned with sulphur."
Last night experts were suggesting these were not idle ramblings but poignant words from the brilliantly intelligent man named Michael de Nostradame, born Dec. 14, 1503, in the town of Saint Remy in the Provence, France. For they believe "hollow mountains" was the clairvoyant's way of describing skyscrapers, and we are in the new century and the ninth month is September.
In the same breath he talks of "York" and "New City" and twin brothers torn apart could refer to the twin towers which crumbled. When he spoke of the sky burning at 45 degrees, New York was burning at a latitude of 41 degrees north of the Equator.
Nostradamus has an impressive track record. He foresaw the beheading of Charles I of England, the Spanish Civil War, said Germany would be led by a man called Hister, and foresaw the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963.
On a cheerier note he predicts the end of the world is not quite nigh. That will happen in the year 3797, he claimed.