Fortune telling is the art of making future predictions through mystical methods such as consultation with the spiritual world or through natural means such as palmistry, cold reading etc. It is mostly taken up as a profession and indulged in, for commercial gains.
Fortune-tellers claim to accurately predict not only an individual's past life but also the entire course of his life and other important constituting elements such as the character of his would-be-spouse and the kind of marital life that he will enjoy as a consequence.
Others however, can rise above individualistic predictions to forecast events that would bring a major change in this world. These fortune tellers earn respect and great accolades for their work, posthumously. The clarity of their predictions put them on a notch above the rest. When figures of such eminence hail from a religious back ground, they are called Prophets.
Prophet Muhammad, who was considered to be a messenger of Allah, had many such predictions up his sleeves. Not only had he prophesied about the scientific developments which would lead to the discovery of medicine for every possible ailment but also about events that had changed the course of history.
Right from the byzantine triumph over Persia to the spread of Islam and conquest of Cyprus and Mongolian invasion, Muhammad's ability to understand the dynamism of the present world had practically convinced people about his divine link with the omnipotent power.
Born at a time (570 A.D) when the world was seeped in superstition and ignorance, Muhammad's works deserves mention. However, he can at best be considered an enlightened man for his range of predictions does not date forward to centuries after his death.
Another person who comes to our mind is Ursula Soonthtel who was better known as Mother Shipton. She was rumored to live in a cave and made a life out of fortune telling. Although most of her predictions were local, only two of them had prophetic significance.
While one was about the Great London fire of 1666, which gutted the city completely over a span of four days, the other was about the dawn of a modern civilization. She in various rhyming verses had spoken about a world vastly different from the then contemporary England, where men would sustain life under water and fly in air while carriages moving past without horses would be a common sight.
Although her description of the sights and sounds of the modern world was pretty accurate, her predictions were mostly localized and done at an individualistic level.
However, the icing on the cake in this list of world famous fortune tellers inevitably goes to Nostradamus. Born in the 16th century France, he was by profession an apothecary but by instinct a seer.
A clairvoyant of the first order, he had pin pointedly predicted the death of Henry II of France from a jousting accident. Refusing to pay heed to Nostradamus prophesies, the King had participated in a tournament and met with death. His second fulfilled prophecy is again the Great Fire of London. Brownie points should be awarded to him for getting the year spot on in this context.
Although I have been able to compile only a few names here, there are many more, mostly known by their civilization rather than by their name. The Mayans for example have been credited with the doomsday prediction of 2012. Everything said and done, Nostradamus name and fame has and shall continue to live long after he him.
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