Foretelling the future is becoming a popular–& highly paid–business. But few soothsayers will ever be able to equal the record of Jules Verne in predicting what’s ahead for the World.
First & foremost among all science-fiction writers, Verne reached the peak of his writing career before the start of the 20th century. In his books, he prophesied atomic submarines, the military tank, skyscrapers, aircraft, television, earth-moving machines, talking pictures, & a host of other modern inventions.–And not only did he predict them, he explained how they would work.
But Verne’s most uncanny forecast of things to come was his detailed description of a voyage to the Moon. Verne described a Moon rocket long before anyone dreamed of such a thing, & even told of a dog that would be sent up first–as the Russians did–to test the projectile.
Most amazing of all, however, in his book “Around the Moon”, this fantastic man actually described the place from which a Moon rocket would take off. These are his words: “Everyone in America made it his duty to study the geography of Florida. As a point of departure for the Moon rocket, they had chosen an area situated 27 degrees North Latitude & 5 degrees West Longitude.” That location is only 80 miles from Cape Kennedy.
Old Mother Shipton, (1488-1561) the ancient prophetess of Knaresborough North Yorkshire was born in a cave. She was misshapen “with big bones and large bogging eyes” But boggling into the future she foresaw the following phenomena:
Ships of steel:
“Iron in the water shall float, as easy as a wooden boat
“Carriages without horses will go”
The Internet and the Telephone:
“Around the world thought will flie in the twinkling of an eye.”
She also predicted either the Channel Tunnel and the European Union, or the 2 World Wars:
“Then shall the worse fight be done,
England and France shall be one!”
One other prediction is close enough, but is said by researchers, to have been tinkered with -obviously- by Victorian Students:
“The world then to an end will come
In nineteen hundred and ninety one!”
Some Poor Predictions
As we approach the year 2000, certain traditional millennial activities have already begun. Not the least of these are the experts’ prognostications about what the next years will bring. As a public service, we at the Institute of Expertology are pleased to make available a select number of predictions by those who foresaw what was destined to happen this century.
“Man will not fly for fifty years.”–Wilbur Wright, to his brother Orville, 1901.
“The actual building of roads devoted to motor cars is not for the near future, in spite of the many rumors to that effect.”–Harper’s Weekly, Aug. 2, 1902.
“Video won’t be able to hold onto any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring into a plywood box every night.”–Darryl F. Zanuck, head of 20th Century-Fox Studios, around 1946.
“Nuclear powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality in ten years.”–Albert Lewyt, president of the Lewyt Vacuum Cleaner Corp., quoted in the New York Times, June 10, 1955.
“Castro in Cuba will be overthrown within months.”– Kiplinger Washington Letter, Feb. 18, 1961.
“I’ll have my first Zambian astronaut on the Moon by 1965. We are using my own firing system, derived from the catapult.”–Edward Mukaka Nkoloso, director-general of the Zambia National Academy of Space Research, Nov. 3, 1964.
“Castro’s finished. It’s just a question of how quickly it happens.”–Richard Perle, former assistant secretary of defense, “Larry King Live,” March 4, 1991.