Coronavirus: Did this book by self-proclaimed psychic predict outbreak?

Experts have debunked self-proclaimed psychic's predictions

Jacob Stolworthy
Sunday 15 March 2020 15:01 GMT
Coronavirus: What events have been cancelled?

A book by a self-proclaimed psychic has seen a surge in sales after claiming a global pandemic akin to coronavirus would occur “around 2020”.

Controversial figure Sylvia Browne published End of Days: Predictions and Prophecies About the End of the World in 2008, writing: “In around 2020, a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and bronchial tubes and resisting all known treatments."

Kim Kardashian West tweeted the excerpt, stating her sister Kourtney had sent her the image. The tweet racked up thousands of retweets, which in turn saw the book make headlines.

According to Newsweek, the book has seen its sale surge on Amazon and it has entered the top 10 E-book charts for Kindle in the UK and US.

After the excerpt went viral, many dismissed the prediction as too vague, with Centre for Inquiry‘s Benjamin Radford debunking Browne’s comments.

“So what did Browne predict would happen sometime during those years?” Radford writes. “Covid-19 is not ‘a severe pneumonia-like illness,’ though it can in some cases lead to pneumonia. Most of those infected (about 80 per cent) have mild symptoms and recover just fine, and the disease has a mortality rate of between 2 per cent and 4 per cent."

Radford added: “[The second sentence] is false, at least as of now. Covid-19 has not ‘suddenly vanished as quickly as it arrived,’ and even if it eventually does, its emergence pattern would have to be compared with other typical epidemiology data to know whether it’s ‘baffling’.”

An investigator has debunked Sylvia Browne’s ‘prediction’ after it went viral

Browne, who had a cult following right up to her death in 2013, was known for making many predictions that went on to be proven false.

Some of these related to cases of missing people, and in 2004, Browne told the mother of kidnapping victim Amanda Berry that her child was not alive despite Berry being found alive in 2013. Her mother died believing she had been killed.

Another book that recently made headlines for seemingly predicting the coronavirus outbreak is Dean Koontz’s Eyes of Darkness.

The Simpsons has also been highlighted for its accurate depiction of a global pandemic, while a clip from British sitcom Yes Minister went viral for mirroring the response of the British government.

Meanwhile, 2011 virus thriller Contagion has become one of the most-watched films online.

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