He wrote his first book of Quatrains, four line predictions, in 1555 and books are still being rolled out today.
There is even a Nostradamus For Dummies.
Following are a few of the prognosticators greatest credits and a couple of predictions that believers try to fit to events, but fall a little short.
Death of Henry II
"The young lion will overcome the older one,
On the field of combat in a single battle;
He will pierce his eyes through a golden cage,
Two wounds made one, then he dies a cruel death."
What happened: In the summer of 1559 King Henry II of France (older one) lined up to joust the Comte de Montgomery (young lion), six years his junior, on the fields of France (field of combat).
Both had lions on their shields.
In their final pass Montgomery's lance tilted up, and burst through the king's visor splintering to pieces.
Two shards, one through the eye (pierce his eyes through a golden cage), and one through the temple, lodged in the king's head (Two wounds made one).
Henry suffered for 10 days (then he dies a cruel death) before dying in his bed.
The Great Fire of London
"The blood of the just will be demanded of London
Burnt by fire in the year '66
The ancient Lady will fall from her high place
And many of the same sect will be killed."
What happened: The small fire that started in the bakery of Thomas Farriner on Pudding Lane in London September 2, 1666 (in the year '66) turned into a three day blaze that consumed the city.
One of the explanations for the blood of the just, refers to the millions of flea carrying rats that were killed.
Peasant deaths were not recorded at the time, but it has long been held that six people perished in the fire.
"From the enslaved populace, songs,
Chants and demands
While princes and lords are held captive in prisons.
These will in the future by headless idiots
Be received as divine prayers."
What happened: In 1789, the French people decided they'd had enough of poor aristocratic rule and revolted.
The peasants (enslaved populace) took control of Paris and forced their demands on royalty.
The aristocracy (princes and lords) were taken from power were locked in the Bastille (prisons) and beheaded at the guillotine (headless idiots).
"PAU, NAY, LORON will be more of fire than of the blood,
To swim in praise, the great one to flee to the confluence.
He will refuse entry to the Piuses,
The depraved ones and the Durance will keep them imprisoned. "
What happened: (PAU, NAY, LORON) Three towns in southern France: Pau, Nay and Oloron.
The capitalization hints that something is hidden within the words and to look further.
Rearranging them spells out NAPAULON ROY, or Napoleon the King in French.
(More of fire than of the blood), refers to Napoleon's non-noble lineage and the (refuse entry to the Piuses) speaks to Popes Pius VI and VII, both imprisoned by Napoleon.
"The lost thing is discovered, hidden for many centuries.
Pasteur will be celebrated almost as a God-like figure.
This is when the moon completes her great cycle,
But by other rumors he shall be dishonored."
What happened: Louis Pasteur (Pasteur will be celebrated) is credited with discovering microbial decay (lost thing is discovered, hidden for many centuries).
In 1995 the science historian Gerald L. Geison ran a story in the New York Times illustrating that Pasteur gave a misleading account on his preparation of the anthrax vaccine (shall he be dishonored).
"From the depths of the West of Europe,
A young child will be born of poor people,
He who by his tongue will seduce a great troop;
His fame will increase towards the realm of the East."
"Beasts ferocious with hunger will cross the rivers,
The greater part of the battlefield will be against Hister.
Into a cage of iron will the great one be drawn,
When the child of Germany observes nothing."
What happened: On April 20, 1889 Hitler was born in Western Europe, to very poor parents.
Hitler moved Germany to action in the years following WW I, in part, (who by his tongue) through his over the top oratory skills.
(His fame will increase towards the realm of the East.) The Axis alliance with Japan in the East. Hister is believed to be a spelling error.
The German Army invading France (Beasts ferocious with hunger will cross the rivers) and the "greater battlefield" refers to the Allied Powers defeating Hitler.
Charles De Gaulle
"Hercules King of Rome and of Annemark,
Three times one surnamed de Gaulle will lead,
Italy and the one of St Mark to tremble,
First monarch, renowned above all."
What happened: Charles de Gaulle (de Gaulle), was a three time (Three times) leader of France.
First as leader of the Free French Forces, then as prime minister of the provisional post WWII government, then as the first president of the French Fifth Republic.
The Atomic Bomb
"Near the gates and within two cities
There will be scourges the like of which was never seen,
Famine within plague, people put out by steel,
Crying to the great immortal God for relief."
What happened: In early August 1945 the United States dropped two atomic weapons on the island of Japan, in (within two cities) Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The suffering endured by those in the blast and the radiation poisoning suffered by those who escaped the immediate detonation (Crying to the great immortal God for relief) .
JFK & RFK Assassinations
"The great man will be struck down in the day by a thunderbolt,
An evil deed foretold by the bearer of a petition.
According to the prediction, another falls at night time.
Conflict at Reims, London and a pestilence in Tuscany."
What happened: The (great man) John Kennedy, received numerous death threats (petition) and was gunned down (thunderbolt) in the afternoon of November 22, 1963.
Bobby Kennedy was killed just after Midnight on June 5, 1968 (another falls at night time). The world mourned (Conflict at Reims, London).
DEBUNKED: The Challenger explosion
"From the human flock nine will be sent away,
Separated from judgment and counsel:
Their fate will be sealed on departure
Kappa, Thita, Lambda the banished dead err."
What happened: On January 28, 1986 the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds after takeoff, killing all the astronauts on board.
The cause of the crash was a defective O-ring made by Thiokol and believers try and arrange the letters from Kappa, Thita and Lamda to fit the name of the company.
They also ignore the fact that seven dies in the disaster, not nine (nine will be sent away).
DEBUNKED: The death of Princess Diana
"God the Last but First the nickname of Nostradamus of the 90's
Takes the Goddess of the Moon for his Day & Movement
A frantic wanderer and witness of Gods Law
In awakening the worlds great regions to Gods will."
What happened: On August 31, 1997 Princess Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed did die in a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris.
The above quote (quatrain) is used to highlight the foretelling of the death of Princess Diana. Here's how that questionable leap of logic is made:
Believers say Diana is the Roman Goddess of the Moon. They also say the nickname for prophet is seer. Rees (seer backwards) is the name of the sole survivor in Diana's crash, Trevor Rees. Seer, (the nickname of Nostradamus) as a seer into the future.
The verse of the quote is 2:28, this is used as proof that Nostradamus knew she would be killed on the 31st, despite the fact the number is one day off, if 28 and 2 are added together that's only 30.
DEBUNKED: The death of John F. Kennedy Jr.
"The year 1999 seven months
From the sky will come the great King of Terror.
To resuscitate the great king of the Mongols. Before and after Mars reigns by good luck."
What happened: On July 16, 1999 (1999 seven months), John F. Kennedy, Jr. was piloting his plane (From the sky) off the coast of Massachusetts with his wife Carolyn Bessette and her sister as passengers.
The plane crashed, due to pilot error, and all aboard were killed.
Sept. 11, 2001
"Earthshaking fire from the center of the Earth
Will cause tremors around the New City.
Two great rocks will war for a long time,
Then Arethusa will redden a new river."
What happened: On the morning of September 11, 2001 the two towers (two great rocks) of the World Trade Center were attacked in New York City (New City).
COMING SOON: Another big earthquake???
"The sloping park, great calamity,
Through the Lands of the West and Lombardy
The fire in the ship, plague and captivity;
Mercury in Sagittarius, Saturn fading."
What's supposed to happen: A great earthquake (sloping park, great calamity) is reputedly foretold in this quatrain. In the New World (he Lands of the West), California is the logical choice.
According to astrologists ( Mercury in Sagitarius, Saturn fading) the next time that Mercury will be in Sagittarius and Saturn in a “fading" position will be on November 25, 2015.