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Nostradamus

Perhaps the most famous scryer in history is the French Renaissance seer M. Michel Nostradamus (1503-1566). There is some disagreement, however, as to whether or not he actually scryed. In 1550 Nostradamus began publishing a yearly almanac. In Nostradamus's time the main purpose of almanacs was to make predictions of the weather and other events that were derived from astrology. Nostradamus was very successful at selling his almanacs and it seemed that some of his predictions came true. He was even summoned by the queen, Catherine de Medici, to make astrology charts for the royal family. Inspired by his success he took on the ambitious task of creating books of predictions for the future of the world, from his lifetime until the end of the world. The result was The Prophecies, which were collections of predictions in the form of four line poems, called quatrains. Nostradamus published it in three volumes, which came out in 1555, 1557, and 1558.

Although they are filled with predictions of horrible things like plagues, floods, earthquakes, wars, and murders, The Prophecies are

Figure 3.2 French engraving of Michel Nostradamus. (Stefano Bianchetti/Corbis)

water and see their chances for recovery. It would have been better to look for a cure but that is the way the practice has been reported by ancient writers.1

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