End of the world: A history of epic doomsday fails - Macleans.ca

End of the world: A history of epic doomsday fails

The Mayan December 12, 2012 apocolypse didn’t happen, nor did these other end-of-days predictions


Well, the Mayan doom-pocalypse was not as predicted. But at least it’s in good company. Since the beginning of time, humans have predicted the world’s demise. For the highlights of historic end-day prophesying, check out the infographic below. (And for a terrifyingly long list of unrealized predictions, head over to the Wikipedia page that catalogues the non-catastrophes).


End of the world: A history of epic doomsday fails

  1. I don’t understand why humans keep falling for this gag.

    Some of them even appear to want the ‘end’ to occur.

    • You answered your first question with your second point.
      Unhappy and/or misanthropic people want the world to end…to end their misery and/or enjoy seeing the insane human race expunged from existence.

      • Well there’s always Plan B….get past the Monkey Mind and make it a better world.

  2. there are some really hilariously funny things about this maya apocalypse. This site:


    sells “Survivor” T-Shirts for all Doomsday survivors :-)

    • I loved the one about ‘so all I got for Christmas…..’

  3. Sorry folks, heat death of the universe and the Sun burning up the last of its fuel are two different things. We’re talking about a few billion years later for heat death. Our solar system is not the entire universe.

    • Heat Death of the Universe is based on the principles of Thermodynamics. Entropy or disorder is always increasing. Any process creates heat as a waste product (and thus entropy), such as from friction by rubbing your hands together on a cold Christmas walk.

      As time goes on, more and more disorder is created until such a time as no work (in the physics sense) can be done. This is a VERY slow process – the heavier elements in the periodic table can only be created through multiple supernovae. Our Sun’s lifecycle is but a blip on the universe’s.

      There are two major predictions of heat death styles – in a permanently inflationary universe we get to infinite entropy and near zero temperature (expansionary cooling writ large), while in a contracting universe we would get infinite temperature and entropy in a state of infinite compression. Lots of different models all proposed by eminent physicists and cosmologists, none of which involve the end of the universe in anywhere near as quick as a mere few billion years.

      This is why journalists need to be careful about a quick throwaway comment on serious physics.

    • Thanks for bringing this to my attention. You’re absolutely right. I’ve corrected the graphic.

  4. It wasn’t Mayans that predicted the end of the world this time, it was Hollywood with a distorted understanding of the Mayan calendar.

  5. The world will end for YOU, sooner or later. You will die one day.

  6. ………2 Thessalonians 2:3-4………

    3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.