Predicitions for the End of the World from 1843 to 1900

About a variety of people's predictions and beliefs for the end of the world coming between 1843 and 1900.


APR. 3, 1843

Thousands of Millerites patiently waited on hilltops in New England, solemnly expecting the end of the world. Their leader, William Miller (1782-1849), a farmer and former atheist, had picked this day after carefully studying the Books of Daniel and Revelation. His warnings began in 1831 and were subsequently confirmed by shooting stars in 1833 and the massive comet of 1843. Miller convinced the New York Herald to publish his prediction that the world would be destroyed by fire on Apr. 3. Believing the dead would pass through to heaven first, fanatics murdered relatives and committed suicide. As evening approached, thee was suddenly a loud, eerie sound across the valley. Thousands stood up screaming and praying until it was discovered that the noise was the local village idiot blowing a large horn. Nothing else happened, except that one believer broke his arm trying to fly to heaven, using turkey wings attached to his shoulders. Unperturbed, Miller simply moved the date up to July 7.

JULY 7, 1843

The true Millerites prepared with their usual thoroughness. Many families bought ascension robes (sold by Miller) and waited in carefully dug family graves. Nothing happened. Unperturbed, Miller simply moved the date up to Mar. 21, 1844.

MAR. 21, 1844

Despite the two previous miscalculations, thousands of true believers waited. Not wishing to make coffins, many found it more convenient to sit in graveyards. At the appointed hour a tremendous thunderstorm erupted. The Millerites were jubilant. But the storm soon abated, leaving thousands of disappointed and drenched hopefuls. Unperturbed, Miller simply moved the date up to Oct. 22, 1844.

OCT. 22, 1844

After whipping themselves into a fanatical frenzy, thousands once more climbed the hilltops to await Armageddon. One farmer thoughtfully brought his cows all dressed in white ascension robes because "It's a very long trip and the kids will want milk." Nothing happened. This time the Millerites were perturbed. The once powerful 100,000-strong movement disbanded and split into several sections, of which the Seventh-Day Adventists became the most numerous. Miller still managed to keep many faithful followers, and he ended his days delivering over 3,200 speeches predicting the end of the world while he amassed a fortune from the sale of his white ascension robes.


According to experts who interpret the measurements of the Great Pyramid of Cheops, the Second Coming and Day of Judgment should have occurred in this year. Back in the 16th century, long-nosed, bug-eyed prophet Mother Shipton (Ursula Southill) had said, "The World to an end shall come in Eighteen hundred and eighty-one."

NOV. 13, 1900

In czarist Russia, a district called Kargopol (about 400 mi. from St. Petersburg) contained a 200-year-old secret sect which called itself the Brothers and Sisters of Red Death. The brothers and sisters shared some very provocative ideas. Although marriages were forbidden, sexual intercourse was permitted providing that the sinners immediately submitted themselves to suffocation with a large red cushion. Every member was obliged to recruit new members, and when he had added 12 followers to the flock and thus assured himself a place in heaven, he was allowed the privilege of committing suicide. Believing the end of the world was to be Nov. 13 (Nov. 1 Old Style), 862 members of the cult thought it would please God if they all sacrificed their lives by locking themselves in their homes and setting them on fire. When news of the threatened suicides reached St. Petersburg, troops were rushed out to Kargopol, but by the time they arrived, more than 100 members had already perished. The rest were prevented from committing suicide, and when the appointed day passed without catastrophe, the sect disbanded.

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