1. Life & Culture

The world hasn't ended yet, but some other stuff happened

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Published Dec. 20, 2012

Dec. 21, 1954

Prediction: Dorothy Martin, housewife and leader of a UFO cult, said a flood would destroy the world.

Reality: Sen. John F. Kennedy was recovering from back surgery. A jury found Ohio doctor Sam Sheppard guilty of killing his wife. Tennis player Chris Evert was born in Fort Lauderdale.

March 10, 1982

Prediction: John Gribbin and Stephen Plagemann in their book The Jupiter Effect said gravitational forces of aligned planets would cause natural disasters.

Reality: Basketball player Kwame Brown was born. The Salvador Dalí Museum opened to the public in St. Petersburg. The planets did align, but nothing bad happened.

Aug. 17, 1987

Prediction: Artist José Arguelles organized gatherings of 144,000 people for "Harmonic Convergence" to save the world and bring about a new era.

Reality: Blue-chip stocks climbed. Rudolf Hess, former deputy to Adolf Hitler, killed himself. A 55-year-old man in Spring Hill was arrested for walking around naked, telling police he just wanted to go for a walk.

May 2, 1994

Prediction: Baha'i leader Neal Chase said New York would be bombed March 23, followed by Armageddon 40 days later.

Reality: Erick and Ron got married on TV's Northern Exposure. The lottery numbers were 13 14 23 24 25, and 16 people got all five correct to win $32,280.69. Cosmetics store Origins opened in Old Hyde Park Village in Tampa.

Oct. 23, 1997

Prediction: 17th century archbishop James Ussher of Ireland predicted the world would end after 6,000 years.

Reality: San Francisco had an early-morning power blackout. Dutch director Bert Haanstra died. A man and woman in New Port Richey sold crack to undercover cops.

Jan. 1, 2000

Prediction: A Y2K computer bug would bring the end of civilization. Many religious leaders also said the world would end at the turn of the millennium.

Reality: Nomads in Namibia milked some goats. Stock markets in Kuwait and Egypt opened with no glitches. Several people in Spring Hill called 911 with noise complaints. One person called to see if the phone was still working. It was.

May 21, 2011

Prediction: Repeated doomsday fanatic Harold Camping said the Rapture would happen, taking 200 million Christians, and the end of the world would follow.

Reality: A greyhound named Hi Noon Renegade won a $20,000 title at Derby Lane. Groups of runners took to the streets for Winter's Family Fun Fest 15K in Clearwater. People all over the country had parties to celebrate — or mock — the end of the world.