Ah, you gotta love the combination of the internet and the tendency for people in large numbers to suddenly lose all capacity for coherent thought. The Guardian reports today that, probably due at least in part to a Facebook group called 11 Maggio Terremoto a Roma, thousands of people in Rome believe that the city is destined to be destroyed by an earthquake tomorrow, May 11.

And it is, supposedly, all because of the predictions of a self-styled ‘geophysicist’ by the name of Raffaele Bendandi.

It will not surprise you to learn that Bendandi, who died in 1979, was not any kind of proper scientist. Despite being awarded a knighthood by Mussolini, he had no formal scientific training and none of his research was ever supported by independent corroboration. The many ‘theories’ that he advanced in his lifetime were not inhibited by actual factual content. Among other things, Bendandi advanced an hypothesis for the flooding of Atlantis and believed that he had discovered a planet in an orbit between the sun and Mercury.

But here’s the best part – the rising panic in Rome appears to be the result of some idiot somewhere getting his wires crossed. Bendandi didn’t actually ever predict an earthquake for May 11, 2011. According to Paola Lagorio, the president of an organization who looks after Bendandi’s legacy, there is no such indication in any of the the writings attributed to him. Someone just pulled that right out of their ass (Paola Lagorio didn’t say that, you understand, but I bet she was thinking it).

But hey – Rome is the where the Pope lives, right? Why don’t the people who think there’s going to be an earthquake just pray to God that it won’t happen?(i) Oh, yeah, right. I guess they will, and that’s why it won’t happen. Silly me.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow Faithful Acowlytes, in order that we might comprehensively ridicule all those Romans who took their kids out of school and fled to the countryside. You know you want to.

___________________________________________________________________________

Thanks once more to Atlas for bringing this to the attention of the Cow.

_________________________________________________________________________
Footnotes:

  1. I’m betting that the Venn diagram of People Who Are Very Religious in Rome and People Who are Very Gullible in Rome has a pretty big area of intersection… []

_________________________________________________________________________