Desecration of the Tomb of Nostradamus

Stats Staff

Century 9, Quatrain 7

The man who opens the tomb when it is found
And who does not close it immediately,
Evil will come to him
That no one will be able to prove.

Anne Gemelle, Nostradamus' wife, carried out his last wishes concerning the disposal of his body. He was entombed upright in a wall of the Church of the Cordeliers in Salon, France to ensure that his detractors would not be able to "put your filthy feet on my throat while I'm alive or after I'm dead."

His resting place became a pilgrimage site soon after his entombment, and for centuries, a rumor circulated that the prophet had had a secret document, giving the keys to deciphering the quatrains, buried with him. In 1700, city officials decided to move his body to an area behind a more prominent wall of the church. While they had the tomb open, they couldn't resist a careful peek inside the coffin.

No papers were found, unfortunately. However, a medallion hung around the skeleton's neck. This medallion had been inscribed with the date 1700. Nostradamus had a last laugh by predicting, in 1566, when his tomb would be invaded. The tomb was resealed and undisturbed for another 91 years.

In 1791, during the French Revolution, drunken soldiers broke into the church and, using picks and shovels, looted the tomb of Nostradamus. The sound of the commotion alerted the mayor of Salon, who hurried to the church to investigate. He arrived to witness the ghastly scene of soldiers and townspeople tossing the prophet's bones into the air, dancing in macabre drunkenness. One guardsman stood in the center of the group, drinking wine from the skull of Nostradamus. (Local people believed that drinking blood from the skull of the great prophet would bestow psychic abilities.) Nostradamus had warned that anyone who dared disturb his rest would suffer a quick and violent death.

The mayor acted quickly and explained to the soldiers that Nostradamus, in having predicted the French Revolution in supportive tones, should be considered a national hero. Those present collected the bones from the floor and helped to reinter the remains.

According to the legend, these revolutionary soldiers were ambushed by royalists while returning to their base in Marseilles. The soldier who had brazenly drunk from Nostradamus' skull was killed, quickly and violently, by a sniper's bullet.

In Paris, for ten days following the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, visitors to the fortress filed past a table upon which was a copy of The Centuries opened to the page of Nostradamus' predictions describing the French Revolution ("Common Advent of the People"), written over 200 years earlier.

[Source: Nostradamus: The New Revelations by John Hogue]


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