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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Jehovah's Witnesses Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916) founded the religious sect now known as the Jehovah's Witnesses in 1872. While at that time there was much support for a theory by one Nelson H. Barbour that called for the end of the world to occur in 1874, Russell didn't come to accept that chronology until Barbour convinced him——after the dreaded date had already come and gone——that Jesus had actually returned——invisibly——at the named date. Barbour was the one who had made the false prediction, and he tried to justify it with a “spiritual” fulfillment.
      One of Russell's strange preoccupations was inventing correlations between historical events and the measurements of the Great Pyramid of Giza. In common with Flinders Petrie and many other fans of Great Pyramid lore, Russell “discovered” hundreds of seeming links that he said showed the divine nature of the Pyramid as a history book and prophetic document which could only be properly understood by an adept.
      His analysis, published in 1891, called for the resurrection of all mankind and the end of the world——again——to take place in 1914. Though there were some defections from the Jehovah's Witnesses sect when 1914 arrived and passed, the religion has survived and now prefers not to discuss their founder's odd Pyramid notions. Their most recent calculation called for the world to end in 1975.
      As the millennium approached, the Witnesses were busily knocking on doors, trying to convince prospective converts that world conditions were getting worse and that obviously the End Time was approaching.
      Again.



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