A Bradford family has bought a year’s supply of food and gas and six chemical suits for fear of an Ebola epidemic in the UK. But the end has been nigh for centuries apparently, as these cases illustrate…
1. Y2K bug
It was feared that computers would be so confused by the transition from ‘19’ to ‘20’ at the end of the 20th century that they would shut down completely, wreaking havoc.
2. Halley’s Comet panic
As the comet approached in 1910 global panic ensued that it would destroy the planet. Headlines such as ‘Comet may kill all Earth life, says scientist’, added to the frenzy.
3. The Prophet Hen of Leeds
In 1806 a hen appeared to lay eggs inscribed with the message ‘Christ is coming’. It transpired the hen’s owner had been writing on the eggs and reinserting them into the bird’s body.
Enthusiasts of the 16th century apothecary have credited him with predicting events ranging from the French Revolution to the dropping of the first atomic bomb.
5. 21 December 2012
Regarded as the end-date of a 5,126-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, it was predicted by ‘prophets’ that cataclysmic events would befall the planet on this day.
6. Harold Camping
The US evangelist predicted the world would end in 1994, and when the year passed without incident, he pinpointed 21 May 2011, preceded by five months of fire, brimstone and plagues.