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Apocalypse Predictions Are Nothing New: A Look At Doomsday Theories

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Mayan 2012 prophecy says that a series of cataclysmic events will destroy the planet Friday -- December 21, 2012 -- the date when the Mayan calendar officially ends.

Doomsday worrywarts have a long history of predicting the end of the world. From biblical times to the present day, there have been many scenarios of our ultimate demise.

Here are just a few:

According to the website,, the end of the world might come in a variety of ways -- from severe global climate change to a worldwide pandemic to a "galactic alignment" when our solar system passes through the Galactic Equator.

But the Mayan 2012 prediction has become more of a Western ideology and pop culture creation than anything else.


Arguably one of the most well-known prophets is Nostradamus, a self-proclaimed seer of the future from the 1500s.

EXTRA: The Great 2012 Doomsday Scare: FAQ's From NASA

There are many who believe that a number of Nostradamus' predictions have come true in the past few hundred years, from the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany to the death of Princess Diana and the 9/11 attacks.

So it's no surprise that the prophet has a large following of people who believe in his 2012 divination.

LINK: 2012 – A Scientific Reality Check

Similar to those who accept the Mayan calendar theory, Nostradamus says in 2012, the world will end in fiery brimstone caused by a comet. But like most of his predictions, he doesn't say anything too specific about our last days on Earth.


Remember Y2K? We all thought the world was going to end in 1999 when computers' internal clocks had to switch over to the year 2000. The fear was that computers wouldn't be able to tell the difference between dates in the 1900s and the new millennium.

Planes were supposed to fall from the sky, atomic bombs would launch spontaneously and nuclear reactors would melt causing mass destruction and chaos.

PHOTO GALLERY: End Of The World Flicks Featuring NYC

I think we all know how that one turned out.

The Zombie Apocalypse

There really is a theory that a worldwide zombie outbreak will lead to the end of civilization as we know it.

The zombie apocalypse has taken over pop culture in recent years, with movies like Zombieland, 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead and Resident Evil, just to name a few.

The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks, is a comprehensive guide to understanding zombie behavior. It also teachers readers how protect their homes from zombie attacks and how to survive in the wilderness if the living dead take over your town.

The Center for Disease Control launched a zombie survival campaign on its website, complete with an official zombie survival kit and tips for staying alive during an infestation of the undead.

In truth, we really don't know if or when the world will end. It could be tonight, it could be tomorrow or it could be millions of years from now.

But one thing's for sure, we won't run out of doomsday prophecies any time soon.

Have you heard of other doomsday predictions? Let us know in our comments section below.

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