To make sure I'm credited with being the first who had this prophecy,
I note that the following story was written in 1903.
~ Gustav Meyrink
It was Friday - noon - that Dr. Kunibald Jessegrim poured the strychnine slowly into the stream. A fish appeared on the surface - dead - with the belly up.
"That's how dead you would be," said Jessegrim to himself and stretched himself, - glad that he had thrown the thoughts of suicide away with the poison.
Three times in his life he had already seen death in the eye this way, and each time he was held back by a feeling that he was still going to be called on to do great things - a great, all-encompassing vengeance - which chained him to life again.
The first time he wanted to end his life was when they stole his invention - then years later, when they chased him from his job because he did not stop pursuing and exposing the thief of his invention, - and now, because - - because - -
Kunibald Jessegrim groaned as the thought of his great sorrow came to live again.
- Everything was gone - all he cared for - everything he once treasured and held dear. - And only the blind, narrow-minded, baseless hatred, of a crowd, fired up by slogans, which was against everything that was different had done this to him.
- All the things he had done, invented and proposed. Hardly had he started, he had to stop - before him the "Chinese Wall": the love of people the average and the catchword "but".
- - - "Scourge of God" - yes, that is the name of salvation. - Good Lord, Almighty. Let me be a destroyer - a Attila! - The anger flared in Jessegrim's heart.
- Timur Lenk, the Genghis Khan, as he limps through Asia and devastated Europe's farmlands with his Mongol reign - the Vandal leaders who can only find peace on the ruins of Roman works of art - they were all his kind - strong, untamed brothers, born in an eagle's nest.
- An immense, boundless love for these creatures of the God Shiva awoke in him. - The ghosts of these dead will be with me, he felt - and a different entity entered his body - like lightning.
If at that moment he had been able to see himself in a mirror the wonders of the transformation would have remained no longer a puzzle. - - Thus, the dark forces of nature fall into the blood of man - deeply and quickly.
Dr. Jessegrim had a profound knowledge - he was a chemist, and he had stamina. - In America, people like that are successful, - No wonder he soon had money - wealth even.
He had settled in Tampico in Mexico, and through trade in mezcal, a new drug used in the narcotics and medical trade, which he knew how to prepare chemically, he made millions. He owned many square miles of land around Tampico, and the enormous amount of oil wells promised to increase his fortune immeasurably.
But that was not what his heart longed for.
New Year's moved into the land.
- 'Tomorrow will be the first of January 1951, and the Creoles will again have a reason to get drunk and dance the Fandango for three days," thought Dr. Jessegrim and looked down at the silent sea from his balcony.
And in Europe it won't be much better. At this time already the newspapers appear in Austria - twice as big and four times as stupid as normal. The new year depicted as a naked boy, fresh calendar with women with wings and horns of plenty, statistical oddities: that on Tuesday 11 clock 35 minutes 16 seconds afternoon exactly 9 billion seconds had elapsed, since the inventor of double entry bookkeeping closed his eyes for a well-deserved eternal rest - and so on."
Dr. Jessegrim sat for a long time, gazing at the motionless sea, which shone so particular in the starlight.
Until the clock struck twelve. - Midnight! -
He took out his watch and wound it up slowly, until his fingertips felt the resistance of the remontoire. - Softly, he pressed against it and and then harder and harder... there - - a faint crackling, the spring broke, the clock stood still.
- - - Dr. Jessegrim laughed sarcastically: "Like this I also want to break your springs, you precious -"
A terrible explosion shook up the city. The sound came from far away, from the south, skippers thought origin of the phenomenon located around the vicinity of the great peninsula - between Tampico and Vera Cruz. - No one has seen a fire - the light towers also gave no signals. - - Thunder? - Now? - With a clear sky! - - Impossible. - Must have been an earthquake.
- Everybody crossed himself, - only the barkeepers cursed, as all the guests ran out of the bars and had gone to the hills of the city where they told each other scary stories.
Dr. Jessegrim took no notice of this, he had gone into his study and hummed something like: "Farewell, my country Tirol -"
He was in a good mood and took a map out of the drawer, created a circle with a compass on it, - comparing it with his notebook and was pleased that everything was correct: the oil region stretched until Omaha, perhaps even further north, there was no longer doubt about that, and he knew that the oil fields formed underground lakes as big as the Hudson Bay.
He knew it, he had calculated it - he had worked on it for twelve years.
All of Mexico in his opinion sat on caves in the earth's interior, which for the most part, at least the ones filled with oil, were connected to each other.
Removing the remaining walls between the caves underground one after another had become his life's work. - For years he had employed large groups of workers to do this - and at what cost of money!
The many millions he had earned with the trade in mezcal, had been spent on it.
Had he ever hit an oil well - it would have been over. - The government of course would've immediately impounded the explosives, who were always uncooperative anyway.
- Tonight the last walls between the caves will have fallen - to the sea, - at the peninsula - and the ones further north at San Luis Potosi.
- Automatic devices taking care of the explosions.
Dr. Kunibald Jessegrim put the last few remaining thousand dollar bills in his pocket, and went to the train station. - At four of the clock in the morning an express train would go to New York. - What should keep him in Mexico?
Right, there it was already in all the newspapers - the original telegram from the coastal towns of the Mexican Gulf in the abbreviations of the International Cable-Code: "Ephraim Kalbsniere Beerenschleim", which translates roughly: "sea completely covered with petroleum, cause unknown, everything stinks far and wide. The state governor."
The Yankees were very interested, because the event should without a doubt make a big impact on the stock market and oil prices, - transferring wealth is half of life! - - the bankers on Wall Street, questioned by the government whether the event would cause a rise or fall in share prices, shrugged their shoulders and refused to comment, not before the cause of the event was known, - then OK- - if one would do the opposite of the people invested in the stock market, which the brain commands, one could make a lot of money.
- The message had no big impact on the minds of people in Europe - first of all they were protected by tariffs, and secondly, new laws were in the making, which by introducing a so-called three-year voluntary limit on the number of conscripts, combined with the abolition of the family names of male individuals would fuel patriotism and should make military duty better suited to the soul.
- - - Meanwhile, the oil flowed, exactly as Dr. Jessegrim had calculated, without a problem from the underground caves in Mexico into the sea and formed a shining layer, which became bigger and bigger and, driven by the gulf stream, soon seemed to cover the entire gulf.
- - - The shores were barren, and the population withdrew into the interior of the country. - Pity for the blooming towns!
Also the sight of the lake was awfully more beautiful, - a boundless space, gleaming and shimmering in all colors: red, green and violet, - - as deep, deep black, as fantasies out of fairy tale stars.
- The oil was thicker than petroleum usually seemed to be, and showed by its contact with the salty sea water no change other than that it gradually lost its smell.
- - - Scholars said that a precise study of the causes of this phenomenon would be of high scientific value, and as Dr. Jessegrim's reputation in the country - at least as a professional and an expert on Mexican oil reserves - was known, they didn't forget to ask his opinion too. - It was short and sweet, even though it did not cover the subject in the the way they expected: "If the oil continues flowing at the same rate as before, according to my calculations in 27-29 weeks all oceans on Earth will be covered with it and rainfall will never occur in the future, as water can not evaporate anymore - in the best case scenario, when it rains it will only rain oil. "-
- - -This frivolous prophecy caused a storm of disapproval, but gained credibility by the day, and as the invisible flows didn't seem to slow down, - on the contrary, seemed to increase quite extraordinarily, a panic fell over all mankind.
Every hour new reports from the observatories of America and Europe could be read, - yes, even the observatory in Prague, which until then had only photographed the moon had started gradually to turn to the strange new phenomena.
In the Old World soon, no one spoke of the new Army Bill, and the father of the bill, employed in a European army, Major Dressel Knight von Glubinger ab Zinkski auf Trottelgrün, was quite forgotten.
As always in times of confusion, when signs of disaster threaten in the sky, the voices of restless spirits presented themselves, never satisfied with what exists, dare to touch venerable institutions: "Away with the military, which eats, eats, eats our money!
- Better build machines, invent means to save the despairing humanity from the oil" - - - But we can't do that, - warned the military, one can not deprive all at once so many millions of people of their livelihood!
- - - "Why without livelihood? The troops only need to be dismissed - after all, each of them has learned something, even if only menial work," was the reply.
- - - "Well, - OK - the troops! - But what do we do with the many officers?"
- - - That was a weighty reason.
For a long time the opposing opinions went back and forth, and no party could gain the upper hand until the coded cable message from New York arrived: "Stachelschwein pfundweise Bauchfellentzündung Amerika," - translated that is, - "Oil wells are constantly increasing, situation extremely dangerous. Telegraph immediately whether the odor there is also unbearable. Warm regards! America."
- - That was the last straw!
- A popular speaker - a wild fanatic - rose up, - as powerful as a tower of strength - fascinating - drove by the power of his speech the people ill thought out deeds.
"Free the soldiers - stop with this gimmick, - let the officers make themselves useful for once. - Let's give them new uniforms, it it makes them happy - for all I care frog green with red spots. - And to the sea-shore with them, there they should gather the oil with blotting paper, while mankind contemplates how to control the terrible calamity"
- - The crowd cheered in approval.
- - The ideas that such measures could have no effect whatsoever, that it could be better resolved with chemicals, found no supporters.
- "We know - we know everything," - they said. "But then what to do with the many unnecessary officers, - eh?