1. The Clairvoyant Who Predicted the Great Depression
Schoolchildren line up for free soup and a slice of bread during the Depression
Edgar Cayce is one of the most famous clairvoyants in recent history. Active during the beginning of the 20th century, the man was known for predicting future events while in a self-induced sleep state. Some of his celebrity clients included inventor Thomas Edison and President Woodrow Wilson.
Probably one of Cayce's most well-known predictions dates back to 1925 when he claimed that the United States would experience an economic crisis the likes of which it had never seen before withing the next 4 years. We all know today that Cayce's prediction did come true, as it was exactly in 1929 that The New York Stock Exchange crashed and brought about the onset of one of the most devastating economic crises in US history - the Great Depression.
2. Science Fiction Author H.G. Wells Predicted the Atomic Bomb
Atomic cloud over Nagasaki from Koyagi-jima on August 9, 1945
One doesn't have to possess paranormal powers to be able to predict the future. The Nobel winning science fiction author H.G. Wells, author of such works as 'The Island of Doctor Moreau' (1896) and 'The War of the Worlds' (1898) was a scientist at heart and knew much about atomic physics, or at least enough to use his knowledge to imagine and describe the atomic bomb in 1914 in the story 'The World Set Free'.
Unfortunately, the uranium grenade Wells imagined generated a massive explosion, exactly like the painfully real atomic bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II, thirty-one years later, that caused irredeemable damage and destruction in the two Japanese cities and took the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
3. The French Historian Who Knew the Cold War Was Coming
George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev sign the US/ USSR Agreement that Ended the Cold War
Those whose job it is to guess the future development of countries sometimes manage to predict the future, too. Alexis de Tocqueville was a 19-century French political scientist and historian. In the 1830s, Tocqueville traveled through pre-Civil War United States and recorded his reflections in the book 'Democracy in America' (1835). In this literary work, he analyzed the sociopolitical conditions in the US and observed improved living standards in the then-new democratic country.
One of his observations went as follows, “The Russians and the Anglo-Americans… each seems called by some secret desire of Providence one day to hold in its hands the destinies of half the world.” At that time, the US was a very new country, and Russia was still a monarchy ruled by a tsar, so comparing the two states was absurd. And yet, over a century later, both countries did end up engaging in a 45-year-long opposition - the Cold War.
4. Nostradamus Predicted the Great Fire of London
The Great Fire of London in 1666 by painter Lieve Verschuier
What list of future predictions would this be if we failed to feature the great Nostradamus? Many people believe that the astrologer made several successful predictions throughout his life, one of the most accurate and prominent ones being the Great Fire of London in 1666, during which 70,000 of the city's 80,000 inhabitants were left without a home and most of the buildings of the city were destroyed in just 4 days! More than a century before the tragic event, in 1555, Nostradamus wrote the following, “The blood of the just will be lacking in London, burnt up in the fire of 66.”
5. Ray Kurzweil Predicts a 3-Digit Life Expectancy
Luckily, not all true predictions are devastating. In fact, some of them are truly reassuring. In 1999, inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil said it would be not unusual to see people over the age of 100 by 2019, and that the life expectancy of people would rise thanks to medical innovations.
Kurzweil was right in the sense that the life expectancy in the US is on a steady rise, and the UN also reports that the number of centenarians grew by five times between 2000 and 2019 to over 573,000 worldwide. Though the average life expectancy is still not a three-digit number today, it definitely seems like we're slowly getting there!
6. Abraham de Moivre Predicted the Date of His Death in 1754 by Following His Sleep Cycles
Abraham de Moivre was a genius French mathematician, probably most famous for his accomplishments that link trigonometry and complex numbers. He was also a friend of Isaac Newton and Edmond Halley. A lifelong fascination and study of the mathematics of probability even led the mathematician to calculate his own death.
As he aged, Moivre noticed that he started needing more sleep every night to feel rested, and he calculated that he slept about 15 minutes longer every night. Knowing that, he predicted that the date of his death would be November 27, 1754 - the moment in time that his sleeping time would culminate to 24 hours. No matter how silly this may sound at first glance, the eerie part of this story is that the man did die on the very day he said he would.
7. Jules Verne Was Right About Pretty Much Everything
Jules Verne is considered to be one of the most renowned literary authors in history and the father of science fiction today, but his strange plots and imaginativeness were often frowned upon in his own days. One of his books was so unbelievable to the public of the mid-19th century, that his publisher refused to release it. This book is known as the 'lost novel', and it was locked in the author's empty safe for over a century until rediscovered by his great-grandson in 1989.
The novel tells the story of life in the futuristic world of 1960s Paris, a world full of machines eerily resembling modern technologies like computers, high-speed trains, wind power, and even the Internet, with unbelievable accuracy. Not only that, but Verne's version of 20-century Paris also included department stores, glass skyscrapers, and mass education. When reading 'Paris in the Twentieth Century', it's difficult to believe it was written in 1863!
8. Bill Gates Predicted the Coronavirus Pandemic
Little did we know, the 2015 TED talk Bill Gates gave about the rise of a worldwide pandemic that would kill hundreds of thousands of patients and halt the global economy would come true in 2020 through the COVID-19 pandemic. Tragically, Gates was very accurate with both the nature of the disease and the reasons why it would spread so fast across the globe. To view the now legendary lecture, click the following link: Watch Bill Gates Warn About the Pandemic Years Ago.
9. Video Communication Metropolis
Let's end this list on a positive note - video calls, the thing that allows us to see and communicate with our loved ones even if they live thousands of miles away and even it times when we cannot meet our family and friends for one reason or another. And while we may take video calls for granted today, the same technology was a wild fantasy for people just a century ago.
The first time video calls made a public appearance in the media was the classic 1927 science fiction film 'Metropolis' directed by Fritz Lang. In this film, one of the characters used a so-called video phone - a contraption that allowed you to talk and see the person you're calling on a screen. Who knew an even better and more portable version of this technology would be so widely available to the public less than a century later? View this iconic movie scene in the video above!