Who knows? Numerous people, according to them. In January, psychic predictions are plentiful.
Why are we so curious about tomorrow, while today is fresh? Charles Dickens in his “Christmas Carol” presents the spirit of Christmas Present with sumptuous robes, offering a scrumptious feast. The spirit of Christmas Past and Future are both less rich.
Truly, if we were fully aware, would the beauty of each present moment be sublime?
Nevertheless, since ancient times, humans have burned to look ahead. In 1100 B.C. in the spooky Greek oracle at Delphi, Pythia would go into frenzied fits. Her predictions would be interpreted by pagan priests — vaguely and mystically. It was difficult to tell what they meant. The oracle’s influence was impressive in all of Grecian life. It waned as Christianity rose. Emperor Theodosius closed it in 390 A.D.
Ancient Greece also boasted Cassandra. According to Homer, Apollo loved her and granted her powers of prophecy. She would not love him, so he decreed that nobody would believe her. She warned Troy not to shelter fair Helen, nor admit the great wooden horse. They ignored her to their own catastrophe. Or so the story goes.
We don’t believe such superstitions. Or do we?
In France in 1555, Michael of Notre Dame, known as Nostradamus, published a long poem, “Centuries,” which made many predictions, notably the death of Henry II. Again, the wording was rather nebulous, hard to understand. Recently, interest in his writings revived, as some thought he predicted the rise of Adolf Hitler. Hitler, incidentally, relied much on psychics for guidance.
England boasted a noted psychic: Ursula Southeil, known as “Mother Shipton.” She was born illegitimately in a cave, and was hideously ugly from birth. Strange events reportedly surrounded her life. She married Mr. Shipton, who apparently valued something beyond her ugliness. She made many predictions, including the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 and certain modern inventions. Unfortunately, these were not published until more than 20 years after her death, and ultimately confessed as fake by their producer, Charles Hindley. Yet her prophecy that the world would end in 1881 was taken seriously by some.
America has its prognosticators. Edgar Cayce, 1877–1945, became a household name because of his predictions and perceived healing powers. He was called the “Sleeping Prophet” because he always received his revelations in a trance. He predicted the Great Depression and the start of World War II. He also prophesied that Japan would disappear into the sea, a City of Gold would be discovered on the Gobi Desert, America’s West Coast would disappear and the Great Lakes drain through the Mississippi Valley. He was fascinated with “Lost Atlantis,” and predicted it would rise again.
In my own tender years, Jeanne Dixon was the psychic celebrities liked. Franklin Roosevelt invited her to the White House in 1945. She went, carrying her crystal ball discreetly under her coat. She gave him advice, which he promptly ignored and did the opposite. She predicted that Russia would be first on the moon (sorry about that) and that China would be broken into various warlord territories. Some said she predicted Kennedy’s assassination, but she herself denied this. Her grandest prophecy: A child born in 1962 in the Middle East would unite all religions in an all-inclusive unity by A.D. 2000.
A study reported her 60 percent right and 40 percent wrong. If the mechanic who repaired your car said you had a 60 percent chance to make it to Boston, would you want to go with it?
Most theologians acknowledge a spirit world, both good and evil. Between it and humans there is a protective barrier. (I’m grateful!) Occasionally a rift seems to appear. Angels speak to humans. So do demons. But demons are limited in knowledge, and don’t mind lying — or impersonating the dead.
By contrast, evangelicals believe the Holy Bible records hundreds of prophecies concerning Jesus Christ. Their language is not vague, but very specific: “A virgin shall be with child and bear a son.” “Thou, Bethlehem ... out of thee shall come He ....” For all to be fulfilled in one man is far beyond the mathematical possibility of random chance.
What’s ahead? God alone knows all.