Claim: Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution have uncovered new interpretations of Nostradamus that relate to Barack Obama.
Example:[Collected via e-mail, November 2008]
An email is being spread around claiming a Professor from the famous Smithsonian Institution has released information on April 10th 2008 based on Nostradamus prophecies. The body of the email is sent below.
Scholars for the Smithsonian Institute have uncovered new interpretations that may relate to Barack Obama, the Illinois senator vying to become the next US president.
Professor Eugene Randell, Deputy Director of the Smithsonian Institution Archives has released information pertaining to the up and coming US elections.
The Institute which holds some very rare Nostradamus manuscripts, believes that some of the quatrains written by the 16th century soothsayer are very close to describing the fight for the White House that is happening now.
Origins: The game of inventing Nostradamus prophecies that supposedly describe or predict current political events from a vantage point 450 years in
the past is a familiar one. Most such inventions flare briefly and die out once they're revealed as hoaxes, but the item referenced above has enjoyed continued circulation several months after its inception, likely because its prediction of "The great empire [that] will be torn from limb" due to "power given to the dark one from slaves come" is of renewed interest given the outcome of the recent 2008 U.S. presidential election.
Nonetheless, this Nostradamian "prediction" is nothing more than another bit of satire from The Daily Squib, which describes itself as "a satirical publication not be taken too fu**ing seriously." The article, entitled "Nostradamus Obama Prophecies Revealed," was published back on 10 April 2008 but continues to circulate widely enough (stripped of context which identifies its origins) that the Smithsonian is still fielding questions about it. As that institution has been noting in its responses to such inquiries, they have neither "professors" nor anyone named Eugene Randell on staff, and neither the Archives nor the Libraries (which are two separate Smithsonian organizations) has any Nostradamus book or manuscript such as the one described by the Daily Squib.
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
Thank you for writing to us! Although we receive hundreds of e-mails every day, we really and truly read them all, and your comments, suggestions, and questions are most welcome. Unfortunately, we can manage to answer only a small fraction of our incoming mail.
Our site covers many of the items currently being plopped into inboxes everywhere, so if you were writing to ask us about something you just received, our search engine can probably help you find the very article you want.
Choose a few key words from the item you're looking for and click here to go to the search engine.
(Searching on whole phrases will often fail to produce matches because the text of many items is quite variable, so picking out one or two key words is the best strategy.)
We do reserve the right to use non-confidential material sent to us via this form on our site, but only after it has been stripped of any information that might identify the sender or any other individuals not party to this communication.