[From David Emery,Your Guide to Urban Legends and Folklore.]
'In the City of God there will be a great thunder'
Nostradamus, the French astrologer born in 1503, published his barely scrutable collection of prophecies, "The Centuries," in 1555. Each four-line verse (or "quatrain") purported to foretell world events far into the future, and ever since Nostradamus' time devotees have claimed his work accurately predicted wars, natural disasters and the rise and fall of empires.
With all due respect to true believers, Nostradamus couched his "prophetic" verses in such obscure language that the words can be, and have been, interpreted to mean virtually anything. Inevitably, ponderous tracts will be written in the coming months and years extracting "proof" from the works of Nostradamus that he foresaw the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks of September 11, 2001 — such exegeses-in-hindsight have appeared in the wake of every modern catastrophe — but, thanks to Internet hoaxers, we needn't wait months or years for the he-told-you-sos to begin. "Spooky" quatrains purportedly describing the events of 9/11 with amazing specificity were already circulating within hours of the first jetliner crash — completely bogus quatrains, as it turned out. It wasn't a question of whether or not they accurately predicted anything; Nostradamus simply didn't write them.
The first foretold "a great thunder" in "the City of God":
"In the City of God there will be a great thunder, Two brothers torn apart by Chaos, while the fortress endures, the great leader will succumb", The third big war will begin when the big city is burning"
- Nostradamus 1654
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