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Here Are The 10 Most Terrifying Predicted Disasters…That Didn't Happen

New York City was supposed to have what our mayor described as a “historic” snowstorm. It was a storm that was supposedly “worse than anything we’ve ever seen before.” It turned out to be a historic overreaction. Despite the city being a bit soupy on Tuesday, it surely wasn’t the apocalyptic tundra de Blasio et al. thought it was going to be.

This isn’t the first time a major disaster was overhyped. These panic-driven moments from our leaders and the media have been going on for centuries. Here are a few that seem silly in retrospect, but were kind of a huge deal at the time.

1. Y2K

There was widespread panic on New Year’s Even in 1999. It was believed that all computers listing the date would be so confused that they would cause airplanes to fall out of the sky and the banking system to collapse. This of course never happened, and we were so happy that we somehow let a Creed song reach number 1 on the Billboard charts.

2. The War Of The Worlds Radio Drama

The alien invasion depicted in HG Wells’ The War of The Worlds became a reality for some people as they tuned into Orson Welles’ radio broadcast of the story and believed it to be actual news. This was partly because there were no commercials, and many people only tuned in well after the introduction.

3. 2011 Rapture Prediction

In 2011, radio host Harold Camping predicted that the world would end on May 21, 2011 (my 21st birthday!). He proclaimed that God was going to take the true believers up to heaven, leaving the rest to rot. On May 19th, “end of the world may 21st” reached the second position in Google search trends. May 22nd was a Sunday and I was pretty hungover.

4. 2012 Mayan Calendar Phenomenon

We were all scared three years ago because a group of people who lived thousands of years ago ended their calendar on December 21, 2012. These people used to kill their women and sacrifice whole teams of perfectly good men for losing at sports games. Yet we believed their assertion that the world was going to end. It was all very silly.

5. Killer Bees

Around the mid/late ’80s, a bunch of stories appeared about super bees from Africa that were going to invade America from the south. They always said, “from the south,” too, like the bees had a whole military plan sketched out. Anyhoo, it never really happened, and we all went about our bees-knees.

6. Halley’s Comet

Halley’s comet is a totally harmless comet that we observe every 75 years. It was discovered by astronomer Edmund Halley in 1705. About 200 years after that, people forgot about it being harmless and were terrified it would destroy the Earth. It did no such thing. I hope we remember this for its return in 2061.

7. The Hadron Collider’s Black Hole

There’s a ton of science behind the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. Just before scientists fired it up in 2008, people felt they didn’t have the time to read up on particle physics and instead accused the European nuclear research organization that runs it (CERN) of trying to create a black hole to destroy Earth. It didn’t destroy the Earth, and actually made some pretty huge discoveries in astroscience that, again, nobody really feels like reading about.

8. Nuclear War With Russia

This is hard to believe nowadays, but up until the early ’90s, there was a legitimate fear that Russia and the U.S were going to nuke each other and the entire planet into oblivion. The concept of mutually assured destruction was hardly comforting. Instead, people built elaborate bomb shelters and waited out the Cold War, which proved to be the world’s most passive aggressive war.

9. Global Cooling Scare of 1975

We’ve all heard about global warming, but scientists in the mid-’70s had the opposite conjecture. Due to a slight decrease in temperature, magazines began running articles calling for an impending ice age. As long as Hummers are still gutpunching the ozone, I seriously doubt this will be the fate of mankind.

10. Niburu

Niburu, also known by it’s way cooler name, Planet X, is a rogue planet that was supposed to collide with Earth in 2003. This was all according to a woman named Nancy Lieder. Why was she so qualified? Oh, she is just a woman who talks to a group of extraterrestrials from star system Zeta Reticuli through a micro implant in her brain. (Of course!) When it didn’t happen the first time, she then joined in on the Mayan calendar hype and said Planet X was coming in 2012. Can’t we already see the planets that are near us with a telescope? We’d know if one is coming for us, right? Am I missing something here?

We may laugh now, but who’s to say that all of this is just one big boy-who-cried-wolf scenario? Could the beings from Zeta Reticuli zoom over in their warship and finish the deed Planet X couldn’t complete? I sure hope not.