Back in 2005 I wrote a post about NDEr Dannion Brinkley, who reported having an apocalyptic vision of the world's fate during his near-death experience. I found that many of the predictions had not come to pass.
Recently I took a new look at that post. What I found is that some of the predictions now look a little better than they did nine years ago — perhaps an indication of how rocky the last decade has been.
One thing that remains true is that the dates are mostly wrong. Events that were supposed to occur in the 1990s took place later, or have yet to transpire. Many details are wrong also. Still, Brinkley's disturbing vision is a little bit closer to reality today.
One thing to keep in mind is that Brinkley had his NDE in 1975 but didn't publish a book about it until 1994. As I wrote in the original post,
1994 is a long time after 1975. Unless there is independent verification of Brinkley's claim that he predicted these events as early as 1975, we are justified in being a bit skeptical … Even so, let's assume that Brinkley did indeed see these visions back in 1975. How accurate are they?
For extensive quotes from Brinkley's various "visions," see the original post. Here I’ll summarize briefly.
Visions 1 — 3 depicted general malaise in America, growing national debt, and urban violence: riots and drive-bys. An actor with the initials RR became president.
This is all true, but much of it was in the air by 1975. However, it is fair to say that the national debt has become an even greater concern in recent years, and urban violence has now escalated to the point that big-city police departments are equipped and trained like paramilitary forces.
Visions 4 and 5 showed the Middle East in turmoil. Jordan ceased to exist. A joint Arab-Israeli police was formed and became known for excessive brutality. Israel became isolated from the world community. The price of oil caused economic shocks, while Syria and China conspired to produce missiles capable of delivering chemical and biological agents.
Accuracy? Well, Jordan is still around. The Israelis and Palestinians have discussed forming joint police patrols. From 2013:
Palestinian, Israeli, and Jordanian police chiefs have been quietly meeting for the past 18 months (under the auspices of the U.S.-based Police Executive Research Forum), and ... Israeli and Palestinian police forces may soon begin joint patrols ...
It is true that Israel finds itself increasingly isolated. I don't think Syria and China are trying to build missiles together, and right now Syria (torn by civil war) has other priorities.
Vision 6. Chernobyl and a second nuclear accident. The USSR collapsed, and the new Russia was dominated by the Georgian mafia.
Brinkley identifies the second nuclear accident as possibly being in Norway. That’s incorrect, but the 2011 Fukushima accident in Japan could conceivably fit the general description. The USSR did collapse (though not because of Chernobyl), and the Russian mafia is very active in Georgia.
Vision 7. A Russian strongman on a white horse emerged as a world leader on enviornmentalism.
Vladimir Putin is hardly known as an environmentalist, but he is a quintessential strongman and has actually been pictured riding bare-chested on a horse as part of a relentless PR campaign to emphasize his macho qualities.
Visions 8,9. Russia and China clashed along their border.
Happily this hasn’t happened yet.
Visions 10, 11. Economic collapse worldwide. Devastating earthquakes in the US. Iran and Iraq obtained nukes and wmd. Wars in the Middle East. A chemical attack on the water supply of France. Riots in Egypt put religious fanatics in power.
There were riots in Egypt that led to the collapse of the Mubarak regime and the temporary rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, who certainly qualify as religious fanatics. The Brotherhood's time in the spotlight was short lived; they were quickly ousted by the Egyptian military. Iran is apparently on the verge of obtaining nuclear weapons. There has been no terrorist attack on the French water supply and no worldwide economic collapse, though there have been escalating terrorist attacks in general and mounting economic problems around the world. The financial crash of 2008-2009 roiled markets and led to huge anxiety, even panic, in the US.
Vision 12. A brilliant biological engineer developed a virus that could manufacture computer chips, which became ubiquitous and eventually were implanted in virtually all humans, with dystopian sci-fi consequences.
No such developments have occurred, though some bio-engineers are working on "biochips," and implantable nanotechnology is very likely in the near future.
Vision 13 advised that these dire outcomes could still be changed if people made better choices.
In summary, the dates were clearly wrong, and many of the details are wrong, but Brinkley's forecast appears marginally more accurate than it did in 2005.
Again, we need to remember that the book came out in 1994, meaning that many of these “predictions” could have been made after the fact. But if we assume that Brinkley really did foresee these developments in 1975, and if we grant him considerable leeway on the timetable, then there is some truth in what he said. How much of it is explainable as logical extrapolation from what was already happening, or as generalized disaster scenarios that could occur to almost anyone, is debatable.
Certainly it's not correct to claim that Brinkley's predictions were uncannily accurate, as some enthusiastic proponents have said. But they do look a little less far-fetched today, and nine years after my original post, I find it harder to dispute the claim that the world is headed very much in the wrong direction.
It's also worth noting that there are questions about Brinkley's medical condition at the time of his NDE, and questions about his biographical claims. There's a long, balanced discussion of Brinkley here.