Shortly after the tragic events of that day, people stormed the Internet with searches on what Nostradamus might have predicted about it. Why?
It didn't take long after the tragic events of September 11, 2001 for people to begin seeking meaning in the devastation. People logged on to the Internet and in record numbers sought information on what Nostradamus - the famed 16th century French prophet - might have predicted about the tragedy. Nostradamus is credited for predicting many other major events from his time to ours, including two world wars, so certainly he must have foreseen an event so cataclysmic and profoundly affecting as the destruction of the World Trade Center towers and the thousands of deaths involved.
Over the years, people have exhausted themselves attempting to bend, twist and otherwise mutilate interpretations of Nostradamus's quatrains into something that looks like they pertain to the September 11 tragedy. Some even made up quatrains that Nostradamus never wrote and attributed them to the great seer. The truth is, however, that none of Nostradamus's writings quite fits. As we discussed in the article "The September 11 Tragedy: Was It Prophesied?", Nostradamus seems, by most accounts, to have missed this one.
Not everyone agrees that Nostradamus missed this prediction. David Ovason, for one, in his book Nostradamus Prophecies for America, makes the case that Quatrain 6:97 predicts the disaster, but such interpretations can often be highly creative exercises.
Why do we need Nostradamus to have said something about it? Why were people so hungry for verification from a long-dead prophet? Perhaps it's because we need to make sense of a seemingly senseless act: If the horrific events of that day had been prophesied, then perhaps they have meaning in a grander scheme that we cannot quite comprehend. It helps us cope with the horror. If a prophecy exists regarding 9/11, this somewhat twisted thinking goes, then perhaps it was meant to be; it was the hand of fate.
I'm not saying that people consciously want to think that 9/11 was meant to be. But on some crazy level, if it was prophesied it puts a degree of order back in the universe. The insane events of that day - two airliners crashing into the twin towers, the suicide pilots who took thousands of lives along with their own, the sight of those magnificent buildings crumbling into great clouds of dust and debris, the people on the street fleeing in terror - they are all so extraordinary, so unreal and so powerfully disorienting that we had to find ways of touching reality again.
Seeking Nostradamus's words were, for some people, a way to try to do that. A prophecy would help put meaning and order back into a world that, at that time, seemed so meaningless and chaotic.
While some sought out Nostradamus, others turned to their various religions for solace, but for the same purpose - to try to understand the "why" of such an event. Some found other prophecies in the so-called Bible Code... numerologists dissected 911 in every way imaginable... some people found a greater, more intricate conspiracy in 9/11... demonic faces were seen in the smoke from the burning WTC... some New Yorkers claimed to have seen the "ghosts" of the towers at night... hundreds of readers wrote in saying that they had had visions, dreams or just feelings predicting the events of September 11. Again, all for the same underlying purpose: to have it somehow make sense.
Ironic how we search in things paranormal (beyond normal) - from God to prophets to ghosts - to help us feel normal.
Humans, for the most part, need to feel that their world, their lives make sense - that there's meaning and a greater purpose even in the face (perhaps especially in the face) of unthinkable tragedy. We need to think that somewhere in the midst of chaos is order on some cosmic or heavenly level. The alternative is too frightening.
Humans need that hope.