Top 10 Historical Predictions That Actually Came True
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Clayton Martino.
Wanna hear some of the most accurate predictions of the future? Between Mark Twain predicting his own death would coincide with Halley's Comet, H.G. Wells predicting the Atomic Bomb or John Elfreth Watkins Jr. foreseeing the invention of the Television, these are some of the most impressive predictions in history that turned out to be true. WatchMojo counts down ten predictions from the past about the future that actually came true!
Special thanks to our users Shawn Mark and Chi_red48 for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at http://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Historical%20Predictions%20That%20Came%20True
Script written by Clayton Martino.
Top 10 Historical Predictions That Actually Came TRUE
These predictions may have sounded ridiculous at the time, but turned out to be right on the money. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Historical Predictions That Came True.
For this list, we’ll be looking at predictions from the incredible thinkers that actually became a reality.
#10: The Atomic Bomb
H. G. Wells
Literature is full of wonderful predictions, especially when it comes to science fiction. While many sci-fi stories deal with potential apocalyptic destruction, one story had the method down to a tee. That would be “The World Set Free,” a novel written by H.G. Wells, which was released in 1913. In the story, Wells describes an atomic bomb, which made a thunderous noise in the sky and released radioactive vapor that stayed dangerous long after the bomb exploded, ensuring an even greater number of deaths. Of course, 32 years later, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with scarily similar results.
John Elfreth Watkins Jr.
At the turn of the 20th century, a man named John Elfreth Watkins Jr. submitted an article to “The Ladies’ Home Journal,” titled “What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years.” The list included everything from the height of the average American to ready-cooked meals, but his most impressive prediction without a doubt was the invention of the television. Watkins wrote: “Man will see around the world. Persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of cameras connected electrically with screens at opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span.” Today, more than half of the homes in the United States have at least three television sets.
#8: The Periodic Table
In 1863, scientists had discovered 56 known elements. Several people at the time hoped to organize these elements by creating a table of periodic elements, but none did so quite like Dmitri Mendeleev. A Russian chemist, Mendeleev published his periodic table in 1869, but left gaps in it for future elements. He then claimed that he had a dream where he saw a table with places for including 10 then-unknown elements. By arranging the elements in a periodic way, he was able to predict characteristics of the elements that would fill in the missing gaps. Remarkably, 7 of his 10 predicted elements were eventually discovered and added to the table.
#7: Debit Cards
Sci-fi writer Edward Bellamy released a utopian novel entitled “Looking Backward: 2000-1887” in the late 19th century. In it, one character explains to another that, in the new world, everyone will “have a credit card issued him with which he procures at the public storehouses, whatever he desires.” Bellamy was spot on, although his credit cards function more like current debit cards– but it was still an incredible prediction, considering that today, just about every person with a bank account has a debit card.
#6: Organ Transplants
Considered today to be the first modern chemist and one of the founders of modern chemistry, Robert Boyle is perhaps best known for Boyle’s Law, an experimental gas law concerning the pressure and volume of gas. He’s also known, however, for predicting that organ transplants would someday be real. Writing in the mid-17th century, Boyle described “the cure of diseases at a distance or at least by transplantation.” In 1954, the first successful organ transplant was completed at Brigham Hospital in Boston– which means that Boyle amazingly predicted the first organ transplant 300 years early.
#5: Mark Twain’s Own Death
One of the greatest writers in the history of English literature, Mark Twain wrote “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” considered by many to be the great American novel. He was born on November 30, 1835, just after a visit by Halley’s Comet. Sometime later, Twain wrote “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it…They came in together, they must go out together.” Remarkably, on April 21, 1910, the day after the comet returned, Twain died of a heart attack in Redding, Connecticut.
#4: Wi-Fi / Wireless Devices
One of the most enigmatic men in history, Nikola Tesla is best known for his role in the ‘War of the Currents’ with Thomas Edison and his contributions to the AC electricity supply system. Tesla also had several strong ideas about the future and how the world would change in the coming years. In 1909, he told The New York Times that “it will soon be possible to transmit wireless messages all over the world so simply that any individual can own and operate his own apparatus.” Several decades later, the first wireless devices were created, and in 2007 the first iPhone was released, proving Tesla right.
#3: The Great Fire of London
The name Nostradamus is synonymous with predictions. A reputed seer, he’s best known for his book “Les Prophéties,” containing a number of prophecies concerning future events. One of these predictions went as follows: “The blood of the just will be lacking in London, burnt up in the fire of ’66, the ancient Lady will topple from her high place, many of the same sect will be killed.” Of course, London was engulfed by fire from September 2nd to September 5th, 1666. It decimated the city, destroying more than 13,000 houses as well as landmarks like St Paul’s Cathedral.
#2: The Titanic Disaster
In 1898, Morgan Robertson wrote a novella called “The Wreck of the Titan: Or, Futility.” The plot revolved around the Titan, a British luxury liner that hit an iceberg and sank while crossing the northern Atlantic. The ship was considered unsinkable, but hit an iceberg some 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland in the month of April. Of course, in 1912, the Titanic sank in similar fashion, hitting an iceberg some 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland in April. Strangely, both ships were between 800-900 feet long, and in both accidents the lack of lifejackets and lifeboats resulted in a significant loss of life among passengers and crew.
Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Assassinations of MLK & JFK
#1: The Moon Landing
In 1865, legendary sci-fi author Jules Verne wrote a short story entitled “From the Earth to the Moon.” Verne did more than just predict that we would eventually go to the moon, however. He included some rough calculations that were remarkably similar to the real figures. He placed the rocket launch in Florida, the same site as the Apollo 11 launch, and he also predicted the feeling of weightlessness the astronauts would experience despite not knowing there would be no gravity in space. To top it off, the story was released a century before the actual launch.