Close Reading of Nostradamus Reveals Freshman Will ‘Probably Be Shitty at Partying for about Another 2 Months’

Kyle Seasly

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Illustration by Lya Hernandez.

I was casually going through Nostradamus’ 1555 work “Prophecies,” when I stumbled upon this interesting tidbit: “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.”

Nostradamus, a legend who deserves everyone’s respect for predicting 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, can be interpreted in several ways. But, after Skyping with a few experts who prefer to remain anonymous (they work for the History Channel), I’ve discovered that the “two cities” part had multiple meanings.

One way to interpret it was not two cities, but rather a city with two names: Walla Walla. One look closer shows that the two cities could be relevant to a campus itself, as a couple of theorists have pitched. Nostradamus, according to some Nostrdamus theorists on campus, made several predictions about Whitman College specifically. Talk about breaking news. Accordingly, they were to come to fruition when the “hollow mountains” of a “new great city” at “latitude 45” (roughly Walla Walla’s, I mean give the guy a break!) will be attacked by a “fire in the sky.” Clearly, this was a reference to how stinkin’ hot it was this summer. And what mountains are hollower than the Wallowas? I mean jeez! This guy is practically spelling out September 2014!

The Whitman founders Marcus and Narcissa themselves were avid readers of Nostradamus. In fact, Marcus’ quote, “My plans require time and distance,” was a shortened version of the original quote cut to make Whitman more appealing to bougie west-coast city dwellers, a conspiracy in its own right.

The original quote is: “My plans to read Nostradamus require a lot of time because he wrote a lot, and I believe every word. I’m going on a long distance run later.” (This was uncovered by scholars sponsored by SAFER, a pro-marijuana legalization group, a few years back and still has to be approved by the college. Personally, I don’t see how they could make that shit up. Some even speculate that Nostradamus predicted the Whitman Massacre, but before Marcus could read that part, he decided to go for his legendary run, which was about 2.4 miles.)

But back to modern times. I met with a group of scholars and academics that all happened to be Whitman College dropouts still living in Walla Walla and we agreed to paraphrase Nostradamus’ prediction, the first one I listed above: “Freshmen will probably be shitty at partying for at least another month or two –– make sure you don’t step in vomit on Isaacs.”

It’s all there! It’s amazing how no one realized he was talking about Whitman! “Near the gates and within two cities,” the two cities being Jewett and Anderson! The freshman dorms. That one took about 6 hours and a lot of doobage to figure out, but we got it.

“There will be scourges the like of which was never seen.” Freshmen, obviously. Did you see them after the ’80s dance? “Famine within plague, people put out by steel.” Famine within plague is obviously a reference to them only getting a little bit of alcohol but still vomiting every chance they can, and put out by steel clearly can be interpreted as all the RAs dressed as knights who forced the freshmen out of their dorms the other day. Yup, that about wraps it up. Pulitzer, here I come.