Quatrain HTML version

January 17, 2013. Los Angeles, California.
―Nostradamus was most certainly not a prophet,‖ intoned UCLA Philosophy and
Anthropology Professor John Morse, scolding his debate opponent across the stage. ―The
best that can be said about him is that he accidentally cured some very sick people during
his lifetime. The worst that can be said about him is that he was a charlatan, snake oil
salesman, and a liar, and the great weight of the historical evidence points toward
viewing him in an extremely negative light. But whatever he was, he was not, as you
say, ‗the greatest seer whoever lived,‘ and I challenge you to come up with any facts—as
opposed to after-the-fact rationalizations--to prove it.‖
John Morse was quite at ease in front of the lectern, and, in his own mind anyway,
was badly beating Los Angeles best-selling author Erika G. Flynn in their debate entitled
―Nostradamus: Prophet or Quack?‖ which was televised over Time Warner‘s local
interest television channel in Los Angeles. It was astounding to Morse that this woman‘s
books on Nostradamus garnered fifty times the sales of his own books on the subject.
She simply had no compelling facts to support any of her wild assertions, yet the
audience seemed to hang on her every word. Listening to her tell it, Nostradamus
predicted the French Revolution, Hitler‘s atrocities, Saddam Hussein, 9-11, Osama Bin
Laden, the election of Barak Obama, global warming, and the death of Michael Jackson.
Yet ask her to predict any specific future global event based upon the sixteenth century
figure‘s Propheties, and Flynn suddenly became very short on details.
Morse knew his stuff. He had read over two dozen scholarly books on Nostradamus
(many of them in their original French), and had visited Nostradamus‘ birthplace in St.-
Remy-de-Provence, his home in Agen where he met his first wife, and his home in Salon-
de-Provence where he had gone on to write his famous ―quatrains,‖ or four-line verses.
Nostradamus organized his prophetic quatrains into ten groups, or ―centuries.‖ Each
―century‖ had 100 quatrains. However, the seventh Century only had 42 quatrains. The
missing 58 quatrains from Century VII were either never written or were lost by the
publisher. Morse had poured over handwritten manuscripts attributed to the seer, as well
as letters written by Nostradamus‘ son Cesar. And he had been called upon from time to
time to authenticate centuries-old French artifacts believed to have been once possessed
by the psychic. Morse was fairly well-versed in astrology and was familiar with the
ancient astrological texts which had been used by Nostradamus in the sixteenth century.
But after over a decade of research, Morse became quite convinced that there simply was
nothing of substance to Nostradamus, and that the seer had managed to somehow
hoodwink centuries of followers concerning his so-called psychic gifts. To Morse,
Nostradamus was a fraud.
Morse had become interested in Nostradamus and other psychics about eleven years
ago, just after his wife Lola died. Now there was a person who should be remembered
through the ages. Lola was like a perfect day—when the sky is blue and the breeze is
cool and every traffic light turns green and an unexpected check arrives in the mail.
When he woke up next to Lola each day, Morse felt flabbergasted at his luck. She was
incredibly beautiful, way above him in the looks department. He had met her on a trip to
Peru. He had planned to visit Machu Picchu with a group of other professors and some