• Beyond the “end times”
• “All you see is houses”
• Ashevilleans refuse “the chip”
What does the future hold? Many in Asheville ask that question—and some say they have the answer.
Look 20 years into the future, and there might not be anything to see—at least nothing we’re accustomed to. So says Asheville’s Swami Nostradamus Virato, the globe-trotting, future-casting voice of Virato Live, a Saturday-morning talk show on WWNC-AM.
“If I were to go along with my constituency, I would say 20 years [from now] is after the end times, and things will be radically different,” he ventures.
How different, it’s hard to say—but Asheville, he predicts, will be as good a place as any to spend some time after the “end times.”
“For one, Asheville has been predicted to be a safe city by the likes of Gordon Michael Scallion, Jose Arguelles and author James Redfield,” he notes—and by “safe city,” he means one that will withstand the global meltdown some say will result from climate change. Catastrophe may come, but Asheville’s in a sweet spot to ride it out, Virato suggests. “We will not be under the water or succumb to earthquakes,” he prophesies.
“So while I surely do not predict the end of the world, I do see this as the area to be.”
The street preacher
“I’ll tell you exactly how it’s going to be,” Chris Chiaromonte says at first, though he qualifies that a bit later.
A self-described “street minister,” Chiaromonte has called Asheville home for the last six years. Downtowners know him as the bearded dude in the purple robe; City Council members know him as one of the most colorfully outspoken Ashevilleans ever to grace the Council chamber.
“I’ve been looking at the history,” Chiaromonte says to preface his predictions. “Mountain land used to be land that was dirt-poor,” he notes—but my, how times have changed. “If Asheville keeps focusing on being for the rich, I see this as another L.A.—where every time you look from the mountains, all you see is houses.
“They’re going to kill the tourist industry, because they’re going to kill the views,” he warns.
Earthly matters aside, Chiaromonte, too, says he sees life as we know it ending fairly soon—probably even before 2027. “As a Christian, I look at the times—the world events in Iraq and elsewhere—and I compare it to the scriptures predicting Christ’s return.” Of all the signs presaging that event, he says, only the appearance of the Antichrist is lacking, and Chiaromonte believes conditions are almost ripe for that development.
“To be honest, the way the situation is, I hope it’s sooner than 20 years,” he says about the demise of the present order. What then? Chiaromonte refers us to the final book in the Bible, Revelation, which predicts Christ’s advent, followed by 1,000 years of peace on earth and then a final showdown with Satan, who will be vanquished.
The Wiccan priestess
“To be forewarned is to be forearmed,” observes Dixie Deerman, aka Lady Passion—the Wiccan high priestess of Coven Oldenwilde in West Asheville.
Divining the future is something she’s done for years, and she responded to Xpress’ request for predictions about 2027 with detailed and fairly dire forecasts on a range of topics, while still leaving room for hope.
On the political front, Deerman predicts that the years 2020-26 will “see unbridled corruption in officials [and] systems, and virtual nullification of many time-honored human rights and liberties.” (Expect “rampant prison riots” in 2022, she advises, with City Council responding by passing a resolution “encouraging local law enforcement to focus solely on major crimes.”)
What’s more, by 2027, Big Brother will have made some high-tech strides, says Deerman. “Designers of ‘the chip,’ a new form of debit card, [will] hype it as ‘enviro-cool’—the best way to replace checks, paper money and plastic swipe cards,” she says. But not to worry (at least not around here): “Ashevilleans [will] take a wait-and-see attitude and largely refuse to get it implanted in their forearms.”
By 2027, Deerman warns, “creeping sprawl from nearby towns and cities will have blurred the borders of Asheville, making it seem larger than it really is, with less of its previous small-town charm. Self-funded citizen groups [will] plant trees, but many [will] eventually die from lack of maintenance.”
Of course, the future may not be set in stone, notes Deerman. “If you find my vision bleak, work to prevent it.”