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   prophesy mining
Sunday, January 2 2011
Somehow today I found myself researching end of the world prophesies. I'm not referring to the kinds of EoPs based on man's propensity to kill one another with whatever weapons are handy, crashes in human population due to resource depeletion, or the various rare-but-lethal events that periodically trouble Planet Earth (asteroids, supervolcanos, nearby supernovæ, and major solar irregularities). I mean the kind of prophesies that people develop that have little or no basis in natural phenomena. Some of these prophesies are explicitly contained in ancient texts, though ancient prophesies tend to be vague about the where and when of the shit going down. (And when they stray from vagueness, Biblical prophesies tend to be demonstrably useless; for example, it was said that Jesus claimed he'd be returning "soon," but if the world is six thousand years old, it has grown 50% older during our wait for his "soon" return.) Today my interest was in modern people reading ancient texts and finding prophesies in encoded therein. I'd never really looked at these prophesies before, so I was interested in how much logic they contained.
So take for example William Tapley, the host of numerous wacky Youtube videos wherein he shows us various "prophesies" he's uncovered. In one, he finds a prophesy about Barack Obama encoded in the shroud of Turin. What does this prophesy say? What does it mean? The answers: nothing at all; we have to place faith in Tapley as he makes stream-of-consciousness associations Glenn-Beck stylee. Here's how the prophesy boils down:

  • The shroud of Turin has a vague set of marks on it that Tapley reads as "444" (in Arabic numerals, which, of course, post-date Jesus by hundreds of years).
  • "444" is said by Tapley to represent Barack Obama. How? He's the 44th president of the United States (okay, that's two of those fours). And he was elected on the 4th day of November.
  • Obama is said to be the "leopard" in the Bible's book of Daniel because the leopard has four heads and four wings (two of those fours from the shroud of Turin).
  • Somehow all of this means that Obama will be the last president of the United States and will lead our nation to defeat on the battlefield.

Tapley is "mining" scripture and the shroud for numbers related to Obama, and because he thinks in Arabic numerals, it's Arabic numerals he hopes to find. The connections between these things are nowhere but in Tapley's mind, but he could have just as easily obsessed with the number five and found things about Obama that relate to that number (the number of letters in his last name, his first supreme court justice was approved on the 5th of August, he has five digits on each hand, Dreams from My Father was published in 1995, and he was a US Senator until 2005).

Another ridiculous prophesy comes from a place called, which predicts the end of the world on May 21st, 2011. Why that date? Because it is seven thousand years after Noah's flood, and, well, you have to follow the link to see why I can't make sense of it, but basically because in 2 Peter 3:8 it says that "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day," and because God gave Noah "seven days" of warning before sending the flood, that means (somehow, and this is where I get lost), seven thousand years will pass after Noah's flood before the world will be destroyed again, though this time with fire. (It should be noted that nowhere in the Bible does it say that either "seven days" or "seven thousand years" shall pass between Noah's flood and some other future catastrophe.)
Though it doesn't take a Biblical scholar to see the nonsense in these number mines, there are real people who are taking this stuff seriously. I just wish there was some easy way I could exploit them for the money they surely think will be valueless by June of this year.

Using scripture and logically-unsupported leaps of imagination to puzzle out a prediction for the timing of the apocalpse is one of the most wasteful deployments of a human brain that I can imagine. The creativity comes only in the selection of ancient words and the ignoring of other ancient words. And then the resulting creation lasts only for the several years (or months) it takes for the prophesy not to come true.

A somewhat lesser catastrophe befell Gretchen's basement library today when I ducked in there for some reason to find Nigel (our newest cat) smiling and saying hello just as a yellowish-green cloud of cat piss fumes enveloped my head. Apparently Nigel had become lazy about using the litterbox on the first floor and had taken to pissing on the books, ribbons, baskets, and other potential regiftable items in one of Gretchen's closets. He hadn't been shitting down there at least, but in terms of cleanup, cat piss is far worse that cat shit. Gretchen was going to throw all of the stuff away, but I grabbed the books and put them on a high place out in the garage shop area to air out "for a year." It will be an experiment to test the permanence of cat piss odor in cellulose. After cleaning up the mess as best we could, we closed ever door in the basement, leaving only the featureless hall accessible. Nigel hung out in the hallway for awhile but eventually he decided that the dining room was more pleasant, even if it did occasionally contain his archnemesis Julius (aka "Stripey").

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