Can You Predict Your Own Death? These People Have

by M-Gillies
A fortune teller looking into crystal ball surrounded by candles

Some notable people have predicted their own deaths and even the way that they would die. Photo by: Vjeran Lisjak

The fickle finger of fate is an enigma of unfathomable proportions, but sometimes, some of us are capable of foreshadowing the events to come. When we wake some mornings, we can instantly tell if it will be a good day or not. Sometimes a bad day can be determined by the foreboding weather painting the window to our bedrooms, other days it can be attributed to waking up on the wrong side of the bed.

However, for these few individuals, their predictions detailing the dates of their deaths, and in some instances how they will die was far from premeditated.

Mikey Welsh – Former bassist of Weezer, Mikey Welsh surprised many back in September 2011, when he tweeted how he had “dreamt I died in Chicago next weekend (heart attack in my sleep). Need to write my will today.” Moments later, he amended his tweet with, “Correction – the weekend after next.”

What happened following could only be attributed to the long held belief of psychic dream premonitions, when he was found dead from a suspected drug overdose leading to a heart attack in his hotel room that weekend in Chicago.

Pete Maravich – Pete Pistol Pete Maravich was a professional basketball player known for his showmanship on the court. He was the epitome of an athlete leading a healthy lifestyle, but in 1974, during an interview with the Beaver County Times, Maravich said, “I don’t want to play 10 years (in the NBA) and then die of a heart attack at the age of 40.”

Six years later, Maravich completed the first of his predictions, retiring from the NBA after only playing for ten years due to an injury he sustained. Then, on January 5, 1988, while playing a game of basketball, he collapsed and died of a heart attack at the age of 40 due to a previously undiscovered congenital heart defect.

Nostradamus – It was on July 1, 1566, when renowned prophet Nostradamus was wished a goodnight by his assistant, Jean de Chavigny, to which Nostradamus replied, “You will not find me alive at sunrise.” He was discovered dead, the next morning on July 2, 1566, and his body was interred standing upright in the Church of the Cordeliers of Salon.

But his story doesn’t end there. For the man who had made countless predictions, he even went so far as predicting his posthumous life with a message written in Century 9, Quatrain 7, which read:

Under the Oak (coffin) lightening strikes in Gienne.
Not far from there (Salon) is hidden the treasure
For after long centuries it is grabbed
Found, shall die, eye pierced by a spring of a trigger. 

On the night of 1791, during the French Revolution, soldiers from Marseilles broke into the church where Nostradamus was interred in search of loot. After they had desecrated the tomb, one soldier claimed Nostradamus’ skull and used it as a wine glass. The next morning the soldiers were ambushed by Royalists, the soldier who had Nostradamus’ skull died from a sniper’s bullet.

Mark Twain – American author and humorist, Mark Twain is perhaps best remembered for his books, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. However, it was his wit and satire in both prose and speech that garnered praise from both critics and peers.

On November 30, 1835, Twain was born during a visit by Halley’s Comet, which is only visible from Earth every 75-76 years. While Twain found success with writing, he often joked that it would the “greatest disappointment of my life” if Halley’s Comet passed Earth and he didn’t go out with it.

In fact, as his quote goes, he said, “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year (1910), and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt, ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together’.”

What happened next was a prediction that came true when Twain died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910, one day after the comet was closest to Earth.

Frank Pastore – Former Major League Baseball pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, turned Christian radio personality, Frank Pastore was known for his joy in riding a motorcycle. It was just something in which he took pride. However, on November 19, 2012, as he was discussing some of his favorite subjects with his listeners on the immortality of the soul and riding motorcycles, Pastore remarked, “You guys know I ride a motorcycle, right? At any moment, especially with the idiot people who cross the diamond lane into my lane without any blinkers – not that I’m angry about it – at any minute, I could be spread all over the 210.”

Three hours after his prediction, Pastore was riding his motorcycle on the 210 freeway when a 56-year-old woman driving a Hyundai Sonata drifted into his lane. Just as he had predicted, the Hyundai collided with his bike, leaving Pastore to fall on the freeway, suffering massive head injuries. After a month in a coma, he died on December 17, 2012 as a result of his injuries.

William Thomas Stead – The renowned English journalist and editor was best known as a pioneer of investigative journalism as well as a controversial figure of the Victorian era for his series of articles that helped influence a bill raising the age of consent from 13 to 16.

It was in 1912, when Stead was set to visit the United States to take part in a peace congress at Carnegie Hall at the request of William Howard Taft. He was a revolutionary and heralded by many as the greatest newspaperman of his age, but before boarding the ship that would seal his fate, he wrote and published two short stories, one called How the Mail Steamer went down in Mid Atlantic by a Survivor, in 1886, which told the story of a steamer colliding with another and the high loss of life due to the lack of lifeboats.

Stead further commented, “This is exactly what might take place and will take place if liners are sent to sea short of boats.”

In 1892, he published a second story called From the Old World to the New, which detailed a vessel called the Majestic, rescuing survivors of another ship after it had collided with an iceberg. But to make matters more eerie, Stead had long held the belief that his death would be either from a lynching or drowning.

When Stead boarded the ship known as the unsinkable Titanic, he would never have guessed his prediction of drowning on a ship after it hit an iceberg while sailing to the new world with a limited amount of life boats would come to fruition.

Arnold Schoenberg – Schoenberg had a fear of the number 13. It was not just any kind of fear, it was a crippling fear that only got worse each year. In fact, Schoenberg, who was a huge influential composer at the time soon believed that he would die during a year that was a multiple of 13. In fact, his fear was said to have begun in 1908, when he discovered his thirteenth composition titled Moses and Aron (originally spelled Moses und Aaron) contained 13 letters. He promptly changed the spelling of Aaron by dropping the second “a”.

By 1950, Schoenberg was turning seventy-six, but it would not be a good year after his friend, mentor and fellow composer and musician, Oskar Adler wrote Schoenberg a note warning him that the year was a critical one, by indicating that 7 + 6 = 13. On Friday, July 13, 1951, Schoenberg died shortly before midnight, after having stayed in bed – sick, anxious and depressed all day.

Abraham de Moivre – Famed mathematician, de Moivre was best known for his ability to link complex numbers and calculate trigonometry functions. He was a friend of Isaac Newton, Edmund Halley and James Stirling. His passion for mathematics soon saw the publication of his article called Annuities Upon Lives, in which he revealed the normal distribution of the mortality rate over a person’s age – a publication that would go on to influence the types of formulas used by insurance companies today.

Meanwhile, de Moivre continued studying the fields of probability and mathematics well into his later years. So much so, that as he became increasingly lethargic and needed longer sleeping hours, he noted he was sleeping an extra 15 minutes each night. This soon spurred him to speculate that when those 15 minutes added up to 24 hours, he would simply not wake up. On November 27, 1754, the day he had calculated as his last, de Moivre died in his sleep in London.

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