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The King of Terror- Part 1
In one of Nostradamus' most famous predictions, he specifies July 1999 as the date for the arrival from the sky of a person or thing that will profoundly change life on Earth.

The year 1999, seventh month,
From the sky will come a great King of Terror.
To bring back to life the great King of the Mongols,
Before and after Mars to reign by good luck.

July 1999 is the month and year that 16th century prophet Nostradamus predicted for the arrival of a "King of Terror" from the sky. From Century 10, Quatrain 72 of his writings, this is one of the few times that Nostradamus provided a specific date for an event to occur. But like all of his predictions, it is open to interpretation, speculation, and controversy. Open for debate too, of course, is whether or not his writings have any merit at all. "The year 1999" is pretty plain, but is the seventh month really July? Who or what is the "King of Terror"? Who is the King of the Mongols? What is meant by the last line? There is no shortage of opinions and interpretations.

July, August, or September?
Most students of Nostradamus take this phrase as literally meaning the seventh month of the year - July. Some have even attempted to pinpoint the day of the month. July 4, 1999 was the earliest date suggested. This date was chosen because of another verse which mentions "the day the eagle celebrates her feast." It's easy to see how this could be interpreted at the Fourth of July, America's birthday, since the eagle is our national symbol, but it's not clear how these verses from two different quatrains were put together to yield this date. Nostradamus: Prophecies of Our Century goes so far as to say that World War III was to have started on July 4, with Russia and Iran launching missiles at western and southern Europe. Needless to say, it didn't happen.

The Cassini spacecraft will fly by the Earth on August 18. Should Cassini errantly enter our atmosphere and break up, the dispersal of the plutonium could be devastating to life on the planet.

July 7 was the next date to watch out for. Psychic Eileen Lakes named Wednesday the 7th as the day the great pole shift would take place. (See my article, Pole Shift!) Lakes doesn't necessarily correlate this date with the Nostradamus prediction, but she did foresee cataclysmic consequences to the pole shift, and it's likely that many who have read the two predictions would equate them. Rather, Lakes believes that the pole shift would have been caused by a particular planetary alignment on that day at 7 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time. She and other astrologers call this arrangement of the planets the "Grand Cross," and say that the gravitational influence of this alignment should have caused the Earth to flip on its side by 90 degrees, causing disastrous flooding in which much of mankind would perish. This would be followed, she says, by the second coming of Jesus Christ. Obviously, none of that happened either.

The next favored date is July 28. According to The Prophecy, Nostradamus must be referring to the 28th because that's when a total eclipse of the moon is to take place - that in conjunction with the "Grand Cross." There will be a full moon on the 28th, and there will actually be only a partial lunar eclipse that night. The Old Farmer's Almanac says that the full moon on this date is called the Full Thunder Moon by some Native American tribes.

Some interpreters of the verse think that Nostradamus might not have meant July by "seventh month." Nostradamus wrote in his native French, the first verse being: L'an mil neuf cens nonante neuf sept mois. "Sept" means seven in French, but maybe Nostradamus was being cryptic and was alluding to the month of September... just to throw us off, perhaps.

Nostradamus and the 1999 King of Terror [link has since been removed] prefers August, however, but they have to do some wordplay to arrive at it. They say that "nonante neuf" could be cryptic for "non ante neuf," or "no - before nine" - namely the eighth month, August. Also, our present-day calendar did not come into effect until 1582 (Nostradamus died in 1566), throwing dates off by about a month, so his seventh month would be our eighth (although why the great prophet did not foresee this they do not say.) They like August for this prediction because a couple of interesting events take place that month - events that could be seen as "terror from the sky." First, a total solar eclipse - the last of this millennium - will occur on August 11, visible in some parts of the world (including Israel). Second, the Cassini spacecraft - a probe on its way to Saturn - will fly by the Earth on August 18. Cassini has been controversial since before its launch in October 1997 because it is powered by over 72 pounds of highly toxic plutonium dioxide. Should Cassini errantly enter our atmosphere and break up, the dispersal of the plutonium could be devastating to life on the planet. NASA says that the chances of that happening "are minuscule." One more interesting note: August 18 is the 666th day since Cassini's launch.

So if it's August or September, that gives us another couple of months to get our affairs in order.

Who or What is the King of Terror?
So who is this King of Terror, if he is a person at all? Theories range from Jesus Christ to comets. As we've seen, some believe it is the Cassini spacecraft. If by some fluke it did disintegrate in Earth's atmosphere, the radioactive plutonium certainly could bring terror from the sky. Plutonium is so toxic that one millionth of a gram of the stuff can cause cancer; 72 pounds of it could be civilization's worst nightmare.

Peter Lemesurier, author of "Nostradamus: The Next 50 Years," interprets the line as saying "great financing lord" rather than "King of Terror." Most other translations aren't so mild. Prophecy expert John Hogue, author of Nostradamus - The Complete Prophecies among many other titles, offers two possible interpretations of the verse. His first theory is that the "King of Terror" is a PLO-trained Arab terrorist who will launch a war with Israel using nuclear or chemical weapons. His second theory depicts the People's Republic of China as the King of Terror seeking to restore the kingdom of Genghis Khan.

Hogue's first theory is that the"king of terror" is a PLO-trained Arab terrorist who will launch a war with Israel with nuclear or chemical weapons.

Those who prefer to view their prophecies - Nostradamus and otherwise - in light of the Bible look to Jesus' words in The Gospel According to St. Luke. When asked about the signs of his second coming and the end of the world, he replied, "... Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven." (Luke 21:10-11) The signs from heaven could be seen as "from the sky will come a great King of Terror."

In his book Nostradamus, 1999: Who Will Survive?, Stefan Paulus suggests that the terror could be a comet or large meteor that collides with Earth. Paulus believes that Nostradamus might have even foreseen the size of the celestial body in Century 1, Quatrain 69 as "seven stadia," and that it will be seen during an eclipse of the sun: "When the eclipse of the sun will then be / In broad daylight the monster will be seen." (Century 3, Quatrain 34). The eclipse of August 11? It just seems puzzling how verses from three different Centuries can be linked to be referring to the same event. The website King of Terror (which is no longer working!) elaborated to say that it is a meteor hidden inside the tail of the comet that will strike the Earth. Although it didn't say how it came by any of these details, it also said the meteor will be a quarter of a mile long, will strike possibly on a Thursday and possibly near Italy, and will kill 2 billion people.

Author William Henry (The Peacemaker and the Key of Life) has an interpretation that is more unconventional (if that's possible): that the "great King of Terror" is actually Jesus Christ! The route to that conclusion is a bit convoluted, but at his website, "The Return of the King of Terror," Henry explains that Nostradamus, fearing possible religious persecution, concealed many of his most important prophecies in code. "In Nostradamus' time," Henry writes, "the most terrifying - and powerful - image one could conjure was the Holy Grail. In the Grail legend [familiar to Nostradamus], the Grail story was dictated by Jesus to a young Frenchman. When this young man held the Grail in his hand, and looked into its bright light, he became instantly terrified, then enlightened. From this moment... Jesus and the Holy Grail were linked with terror, and terror with enlightenment." Henry also says that a famous English runic object dating from 700 A.D., called Frank's Casket, refers to Jesus as "the king of terror," although this is not meant in a negative sense.

Last but not least, the "king of terror" is also seen as the Antichrist. Erika Cheetham, in her book The Final Prophecies of Nostradamus, writes: "In this gloomy prediction of the coming of the Third Antichrist in July 1999, Nostradamus seems to foresee the coming of the millennium. This quatrain indicates that it will be preceded by the coming of the Third Antichrist from the East..."

In Part 2 we'll look at the second two verses, the various interpretations of "the King of the Mongols" and what is meant by the last line. Until then... keep your eyes on the sky.

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