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Externally Validated Prophecy

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When a character makes a prediction about the future which is not fulfilled in the work, yet an audience aware of history knows will be fulfilled. A Call-Forward, but to real life.

Contrast It Will Never Catch On and This Is Going to Be Huge, where the character makes predictions that the audience knows will be invalidated.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Cesare - Il Creatore che ha distrutto, Lorenzo de'Medici dies envisioning his son Giovanni, who has just become a cardinal, becoming pope. Giovanni does indeed become Pope Leo X some 20 years later.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix:
    • Asterix and the Britons has a joke about maybe digging some kind of tunnel between Gaul and Britain. What's funnier is that at the time the comic was written the Channel Tunnel project was barely more than a wild idea, and would spend a lot of time looking like it wouldn't go any further, turning the joke from It Will Never Catch On to And You Thought It Would Fail within a few decades.
    • The Chieftain's Shield has Vitalstatistix vocally deny that anyone even knows where Alesia (the Last Stand of the Gauls before Julius Ceasar defeated them) is. This actually was the case at the time of the album being written, but as it has been found since the joke is just Vitalstatistix being grumpy at being reminded of the defeat.
    • In Asterix and the Chariot Race, Obelix suggests that the traditional flatbreads of Neapolis might be improved with some kind of topping.
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: The “Shadowplay” storyline is set just before the cataclysmic Great Offscreen War that leads into the story’s “present day”. Various predictions are made in-story about a potential war breaking out and the heroes are investigate a conspiracy that’s trying to kickstart said conflict. The arc ends with the protagonists seemingly foiling that conspiracy and preventing the war... but the reader knows that all they’ve really done is postpone the inevitable.

    Fan Works 
  • The fanfic it feels more like a memory features a character who makes tons of these.
    • In the early 1800s, they predict mushroom clouds that rain death and the possibility of understanding the smallest parts of the universe through a cat that's alive and dead simultaneously. A modern reader knows these predictions came true in the 1900s with the detonation of nuclear bombs and the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment.
    • They predict the swivel chair will be widely used in the future without most people knowing who created it. The reader, who probably didn’t know who made the swivel chair, knows that the prophecy is right.
    • They die before they ever see the Civil War, but they have a very vivid dream of events the reader knows are historical events from the Civil War and the lead-up to it.
    • They, a non-scientist character, exasperatedly ask a scientist who’s been ranting about why light ought to be a wave and not a particle why it can’t be both wave and particle. Light being both is common knowledge in modern science, but nobody knew that in the late 1700s.

  • In the 1983 French-Polish historical film Danton, the title character predicts before being guillotined that the Reign of Terror (of The French Revolution) would collapse in three months. Technically, it took four, but close enough, right?

  • In The Cousins' War Series, Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry Tudor (Henry VII) and mother of Henry VIII, gives birth to a girl, also named Elizabeth. In this series (and the TV version, The White Queen), Elizabeth of York and other women of her family have some kind of vaguely-explained magic or psychic ability. Elizabeth says, "A girl named Elizabeth will be the greatest Tudor of them all." Her own daughter Elizabeth dies, but the prophecy did come true in the next generation. Several decades earlier, Elizabeth's grandmother Jacquetta foresees that Calais wouldn't be lost to France in their lifetime ("It won't be us that loses Calais"). Calais was lost to the French over a century later in 1558, during the reign of Mary I.
  • Throughout his journeys in 1304's The Divine Comedy, Dante is warned about how the people of Florence will betray him; this takes advantage of the fact that the epic takes place in 1300, two years before Dante was exiled from Florence by his political enemies.
  • Diogenes Club series:
    • In Seven Stars, during a discussion of morally-questionable occultists, Mycroft Holmes reminds Charles that "you've heard me remark that the mountaineer Aleister Crowley is a young man worth watching". In 1897, Aleister Crowley was just beginning his interest in the occult, but would go on to be an extremely notorious example of a morally-questionable occultist.
    • In Sorcerer Conjurer Wizard Witch, society hostess Margery Davis is known for spreading gossip about the intimate lives of her guests. Most of the gossip recounted in the story is about fictional characters, with the exception of an accurate prediction about the future career of the Prince of Wales's friend Wallis Simpson.
  • The Seven-Per-Cent Solution features Sherlock Holmes foiling a plot that would have resulted in a war all across 1891. Holmes predicts that the conflict has merely been postponed. He's right, of course, and would even go on to have some involvement in that conflict in his later years, as chronicled in His Last Bow.

    Live Action Television 
  • In Season 2 of HBO's Perry Mason, set in the early 1930s, Brooks is trying to attract a Major League Baseball team to Los Angeles. He points out correctly that Los Angeles is more than big enough to support a team—in 1930, LA was already the fifth biggest city in the country and was bigger than many eastern cities with teams—and that a baseball team in LA will do great. Everyone thinks he's an idiot and there is no interest from MLB. He's completely correct, although it would be a quarter-century from this time setting before the Dodgers relocated to Los Angeles.

  • "Cabinet Battle 3 (Demo)", as released on The Hamilton Mixtape, features a rant by Alexander Hamilton where he predicts slavery's population will increase the more and more legislators ignore the issue and that future generations will curse the names of the Founding Fathers for their negligence on the issue.

  • The Aeneid by Virgil is an Ur-Example. Since it was sponsored by an emperor, many many asides tell of the glorious emperor/empire that is in the future of the main character's progeny. (The work also serves as a retroactive validation for the empire and dynasty at the same time.)

  • In An Inspector Calls, the titular inspector's final monologue to the Birlings tells them of their social responsibilities and warns, "If mankind will not learn that lesson, then the time will come soon when he will be taught it, in fire, and blood, and anguish." The play is set in 1912 and, for bonus points, was first performed in 1945.
  • In Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the prophecies about Banquo's progeny inheriting the throne in the future. At the time Banquo was believed to be an ancestor of the Stuarts, the family of James I (James VI of Scotland) who ruled at the time the play was first performed.
    • Spoofed in Hark! A Vagrant:
      Witch: Banquo's sons will be kings, yes. Each one will get handsomer and handsomer until King James I.
  • Hamilton, as a musical based in history, has several pieces regarding the actions of the United States' founding fathers and the reverberations in the centuries that followed:
    • John Laurens, an avid abolitionist, wonders aloud whether the end of the Revolutionary War really means freedom. Rather tellingly, Commander-in-Chief and slaveholder George Washington tells him "Not yet", as it will take decades for slavery to be abolished in America.
    • The Cut Song "Cabinet Battle #3" takes this a step forward, when Jefferson and Washington concede that slavery is indeed bad, but banning it would never, ever get past the Southern states in Congress, and doing it by Executive Order would anger them beyond belief. They eventually hope that the next generation has a better solution - except they don't, and it's the main cause of the Civil War. See the above example under "Music".
    • And again in "Cabinet Battle #2": Hamilton mentions that if they get involved in the French Revolution, then they'll get involved in the revolution of every ally they have a defensive pact with, and asks where do they draw the line? Seems like rather potent commentary on present-day America's foreign policy.
    • The theme of the finale, "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story" is that Hamilton got none of what the title wonders - he is one of two of the founding fathers to die before 80 (the other being Washington, who was very well-known), and thanks to the other Federalists intentionally suppressing knowledge of Hamilton's works to disassociate themselves from him, not many know the great things he did. His sister-in-law, Angelica Schuyler, notes in the song that "every other founding father's story gets told". Of course, because of the overwhelming success of the musical, Hamilton is now one of the most popular and well-known founding fathers, firmly entrenched alongside Washington, Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin.
    • In "The World Was Wide Enough", Burr immediately and bitterly regrets shooting Hamilton, saying that "now he's the villain in your history". This is, of course, true - most people who know Aaron Burr know him as "that guy who shot Alexander Hamilton", not "former Vice President". Although later moving to the West and trying to secede from the US probably didn't help his case.
  • 1776: During the final vote on adopting the Declaration, the southern colonies led by Rutledge adamantly refuse to sign unless the clause condemning slavery was struck. Adams is furious and declares that if the pro-independence faction of Congress relents "posterity will never forgive us", but is eventually talked down by Franklin who notes that independence had to come first. Adams would eventually be proven right with the outbreak of the American Civil War some 85 years later. The original draft of that line had Adams outright declare that if slavery wasn't dealt with right there "there would be trouble a hundred years hence", coming directly from John Adams' actual letters; it was changed as the producers thought leaving it as is would make the audience think this was the writers taking artistic license in a ham-fisted way.
  • Doubling as a real-life example, the revolutionaries in Les Misérables believe that the people of Paris (and France as a whole) have to rise up against the new French king. They do, of course - in 1848, 16 years after the June Rebellion of 1832 (the failed rebellion depicted here).

    Video Games 
  • In Assassin's Creed III, Climax Boss Charles Lee rants about how the freedom sought by the Patriots during the American Revolution will eventually lead to a war between Americans themselves in a few short decades. Connor expresses his doubt over this, but anyone familiar with the timeline of the American Civil War knows that Lee was eventually proven right.
  • In Company of Heroes the German soldiers have the following to say when they get StG44s. The joke here is that the Sturmgewehr 44 is widely considered to be the first assault rifle, a weapon type now the mainstay of every army, guerilla and militia group in the world.
  • One of the weapons available to Zagreus in Hades is Exagryph, the Adamant Rail — essentially an assault rifle with a grenade launcher attachment. In the Codex, Achilles states that the Rail is unique among the weapons wielded by the gods in that it hasn't been adopted by mortals as a tool of war. Achilles expresses his doubts that such a destructive device can remain obscure forever, and he's right, though it takes a few thousand years after the time of the narrative.
  • In the backstory of Pillars of Eternity, the god Eothas seemingly manifested in the mortal world and started a war that only ended when he was destroyed by a Fantastic Nuke. Numerous characters speculate that he’s not really dead or could potentially revive, but nothing seems to come of it in-game. The sequel promptly starts with a decidedly not-dead Eothas possessing the stone titan under Caed Nua and blowing the place up, sending the Watcher on their new quest.

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