Fact check: 1981 Old Farmer’s Almanac didn’t predict coronavirus pandemic
The claim: The 1981 Farmer’s Almanac includes a prediction of the coronavirus pandemic
The claim refers to an image of a paragraph in a book — circled in red ink — that describes a severe, treatment-resistant “pneumonia-like” illness that would spread throughout the globe around 2020. The image made the rounds around Facebook in late April and continues to be spread.
“This was in the 1981 farmer’s allminack. Scary!!” read a caption posted by user Jim Gibson.
“I am reporting this from of friend of mine because I found it fascinating,” user Leslie Anne Menichini posted.
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Did Farmer’s Almanac predict the coronavirus pandemic?
The Old Farmer’s Almanac is an annual periodical dating back to 1792. It supplies readers with weather forecasts, recipes, planting charts and an astronomical guide, according to its website. However, the almanac does not predict events.
The prediction of a forthcoming pandemic was instead pulled from a 2008 book called “End of Days: Predictions and Prophecies About the End of the World” by Sylvia Browne. Browne, an American author, claimed to be a psychic. The New York Times reported on her death in 2013.
A scan of the page with the claim is available on Google Books.
Some versions of a conspiracy theory that author Dean Koontz predicted the pandemic in 1981 were tied to the same source, Reuters reported.
Fact-check site Snopes and The Hearst Television National Desk also debunked the image and any association with The Farmer’s Almanac in March.
Fact check:What’s true and what’s false about coronavirus?
Our Rating: False
We rate this claim FALSE because it was not supported by our research. The Farmer’s Almanac is not the source of the prediction, at all. Instead, author and self-proclaimed psychic Sylvia Browne wrote of a “pneumonia-like” illness that would reach pandemic-levels back in 2008. Alternate versions of the claim were debunked earlier this year.
Our fact-check sources:
The Farmer’s Almanac websiteThe New York TimesGoogle BooksReutersSnopesThe Hour.com/Hearst Television
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