For four centuries Nostradamus's prophecies have inspired fear and

controversy. His followers say he predicted the French Revolution, the

birth and rise of Hitler, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Did he,

as his believers claim, predict some of history's most monumental events -

from the Great Fire of London to the launch disaster of the space shuttle

Challenger? Nostradamus was typical of the Renaissance time period. He made

many prophecies and was a major contributor to not only the Renaissance but

the 'Spirit of the Renaissance'.

Michel de Nostrodame (or his more used Latin name of Nostradamus) was born

a Jew in the small town of St.Remy de Province in southern France on the

14th of December 1503. Little is known about Nostradamus's family apart

from Jean his youngest brother became Procurer of the Parliament of


As a small boy Nostradamus underwent significant changes in his life. While

Nostradamus was a child his family was forced to convert to Roman

Catholicism. Around this time he was sent to live with his grandfather who

taught him the basics of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Mathematics and Astrology.

A few years later Nostradamus's grandfather died and he went to Avignon to

finish his schooling. Whilst at Avignon he also believed as did Galileo

that the Earth was round and circled the sun.

Nostradamus used his ability to help people through harsh times and did not

even fear for his own life. In 1525 he received his Bachelor's degree for

Medicine and went to help the fight against the 'Black Death' that was

feared throughout the Renaissance period.

After traveling for almost four years helping the sufferers of the Plague,

he returned to Avignon and won fame for his eagerness for learning which

ties in with the spirit of the Renaissance.

In 1532 he earned his Doctorate and became a Professor at the Montipellier

University but resigned within the same year. He then moved to Agen,

married and had a son and daughter. His life now seemed complete until an

outbreak of the Plague in Agen that killed his wife and children.

In 1538, he was accused of heresy because of a remark about a statue of the

Virgin Mary being like a devil that he had made years before. The

Inquisitors sent him to Toulouse to stand trial.

Leoni, Edgar stated that in 1554 Nostradamus settled in Marseilles after

wandering for six years keeping well clear of the church authorities.

During these time legends started to appear about his foreseeing powers. It

was not until later however that he received his fame with his prophetic

visions of the future - 942 cryptic poems called The Centuries - that have

preoccupied generation after generation of readers.

The Centauries (ten in total) were written in poem like form and contained

hard-to-break codes that were use to stop attention being drawn to him self

as the church authorities could not arrest him for writing in gibberish,

because in that time prophecies were considered as witch craft or devil

work. The Centauries were written by night as not to be seen in 1555.

He eventually settled down in the town of Salon, France in 1554 where he

Married his second wife, Anne Ponsart Gemelle, with whom he rose six

Children - three boys and three girls.

Do these writings actually predict the death of popes, rise of tyrants, and

natural disasters to come? The code in which the prophecies were written

could be comprehended to mean many things, but if the people who claim to

be able to crack the code of Nostradamus' work are right then World War

Three will reach its climax in the year 1999. Bio-warfare will be used -

which will virtually wipe out most of humanity with minimal survivors with

the human race living until the year 3797.

Nostradamus travelled to Paris and booked in at a hotel on the 15th of

August 1556 and the queen at the time sent a message to Nostradamus asking

him to see her. The queen talked to Nostradamus privately for two hours,

nothing is know about what they talked about. Two weeks later Nostradamus

was again summoned to speak with the queen. This time she asked him to give

horoscopes on all her children - all turned out correct except one

horoscope, her youngest child who died before taking the throne. In 1564

Nostradamus was appointed Royal Physician to King Charles IX.

On the 1st of July 1566 he sent for the local priest to give him this

message, "I will not be seen alive again". That night Nostradamus died.

It was rumoured that Nostradamus' coffin contained the a document that

would decode his long cryptic writings and give