Hold onto your hats, folks. As if George W. Bush's warmongering speeches weren't enough, just about every prophet, trance-medium and New Age crank today--and some long dead whose words are being quoted--is predicting a bad time for mankind in 2003, and a world-wide conflagration, if not the Apocalypse itself, beginning in the year 2012.
What's most alarming about all of this is that many of these (often reluctant) prophets present, though they may dress it up in somewhat different clothes, more or less the same vision of our future, no matter the respective backgrounds of the prophets. That vision: Atomic war with Islam, a drastic thinning-down of the earth's population by at least two-thirds, and the extension of the life span of the survivors to at least 1,000 years.
What's equally alarming is that it's impossible to dismiss some of these prophets as your ordinary, garden-variety New Age kook or crazy. One, for example, is Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet James Merrill (1926-1995), whose 500-page poem The Changing Light at Sandover (1982), allegedly partially dictated by spirit guides, contains complex and far-reaching predictions for our future that match the above scenario.
There are other prophets of doom as accomplished as Merrill who, if they don't see the same details, are unequivocal in their assertion that we're becoming involved, as 2002 turns into 2003, in an ever-downward-turning spiral of relentless violence. One of these is Dr. Chet Snow, a Ph.D. in history, living in Sedona, Arizona, a past-life regression therapist who is involved with a form of mental time traveling into the future. Another is the great French author of Les MisZrables Victor Hugo, who, in 1853-1855, while in political exile on the English Channel island of Jersey, attended over 100 "table-tapping" spiritistic sZances. Hugo's spirit guides predicted harsh convulsions to come in man's future, including a series of blows beginning in the year 2000. As a remedy, they proposed a radical change in man's nature, one apparently based on the ideas of Giordano Bruno and other earlier hermeticists such as Marsilio Ficino.