Michel de Nostredame (14 December or 21 December 1503 – 2 July 1566), usually Latinised to Nostradamus, was a French apothecary and reputed seer who published collections of prophecies that have since become famous worldwide. He is best known for his book Les Propheties ("The Prophecies"), the first edition of which appeared in 1555. Since the publication of this book, which has rarely been out of print since his death, Nostradamus has attracted a following that, along with the popular press, credits him with predicting many major world events. The prophecies have in some cases been assimilated to the results of applying the alleged Bible code, as well as to other purported prophetic works.Most academic sources maintain that the associations made between world events and Nostradamus's quatrains are largely the result of misinterpretations or mistranslations (sometimes deliberate) or else are so tenuous as to render them useless as evidence of any genuine predictive power. Moreover, none of the sources listed offers any evidence that anyone has ever interpreted any of Nostradamus's quatrains specifically enough to allow a clear identification of any event in advance.
A range of quite different views are expressed in printed literature and on the Internet. At one end of the spectrum, there are extreme academic views such as those of Jacques Halbronn, suggesting at great length and with great complexity that Nostradamus's Prophecies are antedated forgeries written by later hands with a political axe to grind.Although Halbronn possibly knows more about the texts and associated archives than almost anybody else alive (he helped dig out and research many of them), most other specialists in the field reject this view. At the other end of the spectrum, there are numerous fairly recent popular books, and thousands of private websites, suggesting not only that the Prophecies are genuine but that Nostradamus was a true prophet. Thanks to the vagaries of interpretation, no two of them agree on exactly what he predicted, whether for our past or for our future.Many of them do agree, though, that particular predictions refer, for example, to the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, both world wars, and the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There is also a consensus that he predicted whatever major event had just happened at the time of each book's publication, from the Apollo moon landings, through the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, and the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986,