In recent weeks, a French seer has become a very common name in American households. This

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In recent weeks, a French seer has become a very common name in American households. This is primarily a result of an earthquake that he supposedly predicted to occur in California during the month of May. But what is the story behind the man who is sending Californians running for cover? Michel Nostradamus was a sixteenth century French astrologer and physician. His Centuries (an assortment of brief rhymed prophecies call quatrains), have been interpreted as predictions of the French Revolution, the Second World War, and many other events ranging over half a millennium. Nostradamus is perhaps the most respected occult prophet of all time. In Italy, Nostradamus reportedly predicted that Felix Paretti, a young swine herder who had become a monk, would one day be Pope. Two years after Nostradamus's death Paretti became Pope Sixtus V. Many other accurate predictions of events in his own era are attributed to Nostradamus. Nostradamus's more astonishing prophecies, however, are those that seem to foretell major European events that occurred 200-400 years after his death. It must be admitted that some of his predictions do seem to fit certain events well, such as the flight of Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette from Paris, their capture in Varennes, and their ultimate execution. However, most of his predictions are vague and open-ended. As it is observed in _Man, Myth and Magic - An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Supernatural:_ "Generation after generation of Nostradamus enthusiasts have supposed that the quatrains, no mater how obscure their contents, must be regarded as genuine prophetic messages. It is conceivable, however, that Nostradamus composed them with tongue in cheek, and that he was well aware that there is an enduring market for prophecies and particularly for veiled ones." (Vol.15, p.2017). The prediction of a giant earthquake to occur in California actually gets its base from a film about Nostradamus. In the Orson Welles narrated film "The Man Who Saw Tomorrow," the details about the prediction are made. Nostradamus bases his predictions on the alignment of planets and constellations particularly Saturn, Capricorn, Jupiter, Mercury in Taurus, Venus, Cancer, and Virgo. Unfortunately for his prognostitions, the planets are not lined up according to how they were predicted to be. The possibility of an earthquake occurring in California around the time of Nostradamus's prediction is likely. The primary reason though is that California is earthquake country. Particularly over the past several months, earthquakes have been happening on a regular basis.

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