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Identification of themes in anagrams contained in Nostradamus' Prophecies

Allan Webber 2004

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This series of papers shows my efforts to establish a set of measures for gauging the reality of anagrammatic coding. Hopefully it will prove useful to all those interested in coding.

In Analysis Stage 1  I examined the statistical evidence from a variety of ancient texts.  

This second stage examines patterns between the larger anagrams found in the texts.

This exercise was designed with the aim of  definitively testing Nostradamus' text for coding.


In order to investigate the anagrams further I have concentrated on the longer words where their coding could be expected to give a higher ratio of deliberate words to accidental words.

I have concentrated on those found in the English word list for the following reasons:

  • It includes many French words
  • Many technical words are included in this list whereas they are absent from the shorter French list.
  • Technical words tend to be identical or near identical to those in French.

In order to avoid contaminating the output I have had a third person place all the words of 14 letters or more into categories. In doing this they were unaware of which text was the source of the word. I have also generated a random sample of same size from all the words of 14 or more letters contained in the data base and the same person has placed these into their categories.

Many of the words have been placed into more than one category and the analyst was able to create her own categories where she thought it useful.

This same person researched the meaning of difficult words that were included in the output. A comment made by the researcher was that many of these large words in the data-base are of dubious merit, being unnecessary extensions of words where better ones already exist. It is unlikely that any coding would be built on a large proportion of dubious words and should offer scope for narrowing the analysis.

The analyst was my wife Lynn and I am extremely grateful for her help in this aspect and her many useful perspectives on the results I have uncovered. Lynn is a long-time sceptic of  my research into Nostradamus and therefore brings no biases that would favour my findings.

Of the 340,000 words in the data-base over 36,000 of them are greater than 13 letters in length. And of these 36,000 there are 332 of them found in all the texts (there are also 16 repetitions). This high number came as a surprise to me and highlights how great is the need for a guiding discipline for any person seeking to claim that a text contains anagrams. Difficult and meaningful anagrams can be expected to be found in any lengthy text without their difficulty implying anything about the probability of them being deliberate.

I am interested in the distribution of the words between the different texts and whether they show any indications of being thematic. If so I am interested what the numbers can tell me about the texts in which they are found. In pursuing this I also have to know whether it is an aberration coming from bias in the word-base or through the selection process.


A word group is considered to be an anagram of another word group when it consists of exactly the same letters.

The following is an example of a complete set of anagrams:

  • act, cat

Although having the same letters the following are NOT ANAGRAMS

  •  atc, cta, tca, tac

It can be seen that only a limited number of the possible letter permutations are words in their own right.

(NOTE: The number of possible permutations grows quite dramatically as the number of letters  increases)

Further examples of anagrams:

  • withdraw, "draw with"
  • Disaster, "ass tried"
  • attention, "into a tent"


Stage 1 of this analysis indicated that there was a higher ratio of long words to be found in Nostradamus' text than in that of all the others analysed. This is set out in the following table which also shows the ratio of words in each text that were able to be classified. The expected ratio is 2 to 1 because there are twice as many letters in my Nostradamus source than there are in total in the others). The actual ratio for long words is over 3.5 to 1 which is nearly twice that expected.


Long word Anagram Comparison.

  Number able to classify %
Nostradamus 310 61
Other Sources 92 18
Total 508 100

Note: Not all anagram-words are able to be classified because the word lists are as compiled by third parties on the internet and don't comprise a 100% of words found in dictionaries (106 of the 508 total are unable to be found in standard dictionaries).

There are two tables given below showing the theme and the count for Nostradamus and the Other sources.

Long word Anagram Comparison by Topic- Table 1

  Emotions Medical Politics Language Religion Military Plants
Nostradamus 46 37 35 27 21 18 16
Other Sources 9 13 11 6 6 5 4
Total  55 50 46 33 27 23 20
RATIO Nost / Others 5.1 3.2 3.1 4.5 3.5 3.6 4.0


Long word Anagram Comparison by Topic- Table 2

  Prophecy Machines Disaster Classify Maths Commerce History Geology
Nostradamus 10 9 8 9 7 7 6 6
Other Sources 2 3 1 0 2 0 0 0
Total  12 12 9 9 9 7 6 6
RATIO Nost / Others 5.0 3.0 8.0 >10 3.5 >10 >10 >10

The above topics are those  in which anagrams in Nostradamus show the largest deviation from expectation. The majority of the other categories examined also show a bias towards Nostradamus text. Some of the topics that don't show any strong leanings are SEX 7:3, BIOLOGY 13:8 CHEMISTRY 13:10, PHYSICS 3:6, EDUCATION 3:6. 

There are many topics that don't appear at all. These include MUSIC/ POETRY/ ARTS, ASTRONOMY, CLIMATOLOGY, TIME / CALENDARS and LEADERSHIP / KINGSHIP.

It is possible to draw the following conclusions from these tables:

  • the data is not evenly distributed but clustered around several themes
  • the anagrams from Nostradamus' text form stronger clusters than the other texts

Clustering of words is only a starting point and I am interested in whether they seem associative, i.e. related to each other. I am also interested in whether they are strong or weak words i.e meaningful or nebulous. I therefore present some of the clusters of words found under several of the themes.

The first cluster is that for PROPHECY. This list turns out to have a high degree of association. The words for Nostradamus also have another distinctive character- they actually relate to topics mentioned by Nostradamus. 'Quincentenaries' , an anniversary after 500 years found at VIII.84 L.3 relates to a line in his prophecies "III.94 line 1 De cinq cens ans plus compte l'on tiendra "   (Five hundred years years more they will keep count of the one)

And the same applies to Tercentenaries since X.100 L.2 says "Le pempotam des ans plus de trois cens" (The all-powerful one for more than three hundred years) and the whole anagram of 'Tercentenaries' is found in 2 places in Nostradamus' text , one is IX.96 Line 1 and the other is IX.38 L.4.

NOSTRADAMUS-Prophecy Meaning
CONSIDERATIONS deliberations, payments
EXTRASENSORIAL pertaining to extrasensory
PREASCERTAINED ascertained beforehand
PREDECLARATION declaration made beforehand
PREINFORMATION information given earlier
PROPHETICALNESS being prophetical
QUINCENTENARIES five hundredth anniversaries
TERCENTENARIES three hundredth anniversaries
PENETRABLENESS capable of being penetrated
PREINSINUATIVE insinuated beforehand

The second cluster I present is that of religion. This too shows some highly specific words such as Archdeaconries, Pentacostalism, and Evangelistries, Reincarnations. It also includes a most distinctive reference that of Tetragrammaton, an aspect of religious naming-code that applies to many religions. Some terms such as unalterableness and marvellousness are much vaguer and clumsy. However to me they seem to form a reasonably powerful set of words for an author to talk about the presence of a God and the spreading of a sacred message.

NOSTRADAMUS-Religion Meaning    
PNEUMATOLOGIES studies of spiritual beings REDEMPTIONLESS without redemption
SUPERSACERDOTAL super priestly NONDESECRATION not desecration
SUPERCELESTIAL higher than celestial, superangelic ADULTERATENESS tainted with adultery
EVANGELISTARIES passages from gospels ANTIMODERNNESS against modernity
TETRAGRAMMATON/S anagram names of god from JHVH INTERCESSORIAL intercessory
SUPERESSENTIAL essential above others MARVELLOUSNESS wondrousness
REINCARNATIONS rebirths PRESENTIALNESS implication of actual presence
ANTICEREMONIALIST against ceremony VOLUNTARINESSES acts done willingly
ARCHDEACONRIES offices of archdeacon SUPERREGENERATION extra regeneration
OTHER TEXTS Meaning    
COUNTERTHOUGHT opposing thought PROCONDEMNATION in favour of condemnation
DEMATERIALIZES disappears PROCEREMONIALIST in favour of ceremony
INTERPELLATORS authoritative questioners UNCHANGEABLENESS non-changeableness

The other oddity of these two sets of clusters are they emphasise topics that anyone could readily believe might be the themes of any code in Nostradamus' text since they focus on the art of prophecy and the foundation of religious ideas.

One other cluster that caught my attention was the one on plants for I had not been expecting this theme to be prominent. It seems to be drawing on a description of the growth of a plant or set of plants. In reality I shouldn't have been surprised since herb-craft and plant-craft were essential parts of the armoury of all physicians of the 16th C.

NOSTRADAMUS-Plants Meaning
CHLORELLACEOUS pertaining to unicellular green algae
DIVERSIFLORATE having a variety of flowers
FERTILISATIONAL pertaining to fertilization
GRAMINEOUSNESS characteristic of grasses
HAPLOCAULESCENT single aboveground stem
INTRASEGMENTAL within segments
QUINQUEPETALOID having five petals
LUTEOVIRESCENT yellowy green
MONGRELISATION making mongrel in race nature or character
OVERMATURENESS usually over-maturity /over-ripeness
SINUATOSERRATED coiled and serrated
SUPERSEMINATOR sower of seed over previous seed
UNDERSPREADING spreading under
CERATOSPONGIAN pertaining to order of sponges
HETEROMORPHOUS differing from normal type
PONTEDERIACEOUS related to bog plants
UNDERVINEDRESSER specialist vine dresser

Within those classified as Medical terms there seems to a wide group of illnesses relating to sexuality, digestion, nervous disorders plus muscle and bone tissue. 


NOSTRADAMUS-Medical Meaning    
ANELECTROTONUS decreased irritabilty of a nerve PREDETRIMENTAL causing harm beforehand
ARTIFICIALNESS artificiality PREMATURENESSES unexpected earlinesses
CAPILLICULTURE treatment for baldness PREQUARANTINED quarantined beforehand
CARDIOPUNCTURE heart puncture PSEUDONARCOTIC non narcotic sedative
CATHARTICALNESS function of purgative medicine REINNERVATIONS restorations of paralysed muscles
CONTRACEPTIONS preventions of conception REINOCULATIONS further injections
COUNTEROPENING second opening made to drain an abcess RESPONSIVENESS reactiveness
DETRIMENTALNESS injuriousness SCLERATOGENOUS producing sclerotic tissue
ENTEROHELCOSIS enterelcosis is ulceration of intestine SEMICONTRACTION part contraction
ENTEROMESENTERIC pertaining to intestines SEMITENDINOSUS a muscle in the thigh
FERTILISATIONAL pertaining to fertilization SPINOCEREBELLAR rel to spinal cord and cerebellum
INTERTRANSVERSE pertaining to vertebrae SPLENOPARECTASIS extreme distension of spleen (obsolete term)
MICROMANIPULATOR device for microsurgery STERNOFACIALIS muscular slip (sternofascialis)
NEUROENDOCRINE related to nervous and endocrine systems SUPERVITALNESS super vitality
NONDELETERIOUSNESS noninjuriousness TERETISCAPULAR cylindrical shouldered
PERNICIOUSNESS harmfulness TUBERCULODERMA tubercular process of the skin
PERSEVERATIONS uncontrollable repetition of response- brain injury VALETUDINARIAN sickly or weak person
PLACENTIFEROUS having a placenta    
OTHER TEXTS Meaning    
DISTEMPERATURE intemperatenes, bad temperature RECONSULTATION further consultation
ELECTROTONUSES alterations in conductivity of a nerve RESTORATIVENESS quality of restoring
GASTROENTERALGIA gastroenterology relates to stomach disorders SEMIANESTHETIC part anaesthetic
GRIEVOUSNESSES painfulnesses, seriousnesses SERRATOGLANDULOUS no meaning found
HETEROMORPHOUS differing from normal type SLENDERIZATION slimming
HYPERMEDICATION over medication TUBERCULINATION tuberculation
PRESTIMULATION stimulation beforehand    

In each topic the contributions from the non-Nostradamus  texts tend to be less specific and less correlated as would be expected when anagrams are chance formations. I have presented enough of the lists in full to show that whether it is meaningful or not Nostradamus' text produces clusters that hold central themes and that these in general are related to those that we might have anticipated from a 16th Century medical man, interested in herbs, religion and the occult.

From internal analysis it can be seen that Nostradamus' text has a much higher degree of pertinent classification than the other texts, but I also need to see how this relates to the frequencies in the Word-base. The data needed for this is presented in the table below. It comes from categorising a randomly selected set of words of about the same quantity as in the foregoing. My generator chose 393 words from the base of 36,000. These generated over 470 categorizations.

I have shown the count in the column of the table below labelled RCt and alongside of it I have shown the count for Nostradamus text (NCt), adjusted by a conservative factor of 1.5 to allow for the difference in size of the total words each represents.

Table of frequency for Random words from Word Base compared to Nostradamus' Text

  % RCt NCt   % RCt NCt
Plants 3.5 14 24 Religion 7.4 22 24
Biol-Zoo 7.4 29 22 Disaster 1.5 6 12
Medical 19.0 74 55 Time / Calendar 4.4 17 5
Prophecy 1.5 6 15 Arts 1.5 6 6
Chemical 13.0 51 19 Education 3.4 13 5
Geol 3.4 13 9 Language 7.4 29 40
Maths 3.4 13 10 Emotions 7.9 31 10
Mech/ Physics 10.5 41 18 Sexuality 1.8 7 10
Military 2.8 11 27 Classifiers 9.5 37 14
Hist 1.5 6 9 Attitude / State 8.1 32 30
Politics 12.8 50 53 Commerce 2.3 9 10

Although this can only be a rough evaluation it shows that there is once more a peculiarity in the result. Those areas where Nostradamus' text is over-represented are PROPHECY, WARS, DISASTER, HISTORY, LANGUAGE and PLANTS. Most of these are exactly the topics which might have expected to find in any coding of Nostradamus. I believe that the factor of 1.5 used to produce Nostradamus' count should in fact be closer to 2.5  (by using the Other Source texts as a guide to normal expectation). This factor would add RELIGION, BIOLOGY, MEDICINE, MATHEMATICS and POLITICS to the themes of special interest.

This method cannot tell us which words are right and which are accidental but it seems to allow the trend to be followed. It implies those themes that might be most valuable for further research.

End of Paper




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