Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

The Amazing Criswell Once Predicted the Destruction of Denver -- Wrong Again!

At this time of year, everyone gets in the prediction game -- but it can be a risky business.

New plans for the VC Hotel reminded us of an infamous chapter in the history of the building that started out as a Holiday Inn: It was once the hangout of Concerned Christians, a cult started by Coloradan Monte Kim Miller, who predicted that Denver would disappear in an earthquake in 1998. It didn't, of course. Then Boulder native Harold Camping predicted the entire world would end on May 21, 2011 -- and when it didn't, he moved the date back to October, 2011. Still wrong. And that isn't the end of the gloomy predictions with Colorado connections: Earlier, a celebrity seer had predicted a very gloomy fate for the Mile High City: See also: Coloradans Keep Predicting the End of the World, But We're Still Here

Here's the prediction from the Amazing Criswell, a flamboyant fellow in the '60s, in 1968'sCriswell Predicts From Now to the Year 2000:
I predict that a large city in Colorado will be the victim of a strange and terrible pressure from outer space, which will cause all solids to turn into a jelly-like mass. I predict that this pressure will not affect any other part of the world but will be pinpointed at one particular city. I predict that without warning buildings will collapse to the ground in near silence trapping thousands in the rubble. The entire population will live in terror and fear. I predict that a state emergency will be declared and federal aid will be granted but as rescue units approach the city they will lose all semblance of solidity and will be rendered helpless. The people who attempt to escape in wild panic will be unable to move through the gummy streets....

I predict that this catastrophe will take place during the tourist season and the fun-loving people in the amusement zone will suddenly find their day of pleasure turned into one of horror. A roller coaster will rise and sway, throwing cars and occupants to the ground below. A Ferris wheel will collapse and carry many children to untimely deaths. A penny arcade will become a dungeon of doom, a canopy of a merry-go-round will plunge down upon its most innocent riders. I predict only silence will reign where there was once laughter and gaiety....

The citizenry of this Colorado city will find themselves enveloped in a jelly-like substance. They will be unable to escape for it will be impossible to cut through or tear this substance. Although soft and pliable it will still retain the strength and weight formerly possessed. I predict in the outskirts the conditions will not be as serious but fleeing people will find themselves mired in roadways and hardly able to move.

I predict that scientists from all over the world will be called upon to help but no one will be able to offer relief for they will not be able to conquer this terrible force, this mysterious force from outer space. Gradually, as conditions ease, survivors will be evacuated but this will become a dead city and will never again be reborn. I predict this unfortunate community will be a victim of elements beyond our control and will always be remembered until the end of time. I predict the name of the city will be Denver, Colorado. The date: June 9, 1989.

Wrong again.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun

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