The man in the myth
Michel de Nostradame was born into a family of scholars in 1503. His early education included languages, Jewish rituals and traditions, and astrology. After he attended University he latinized his name and called himself Nostradamus.
Nostradamus was the most notable and successful plague doctor of the Middle ages. His practices were far more modern than other doctors of the time. He encouraged treatment of those stricken by plague with diets of boiled water, sleeping only in clean beds, and "rose pills" made from rose hips which were high in vitamin C and boosted the immune system.
Nostradamus left France after his young family died of the plague and he lost credibility. He traveled through Southern Europe for several years where he believed he had a psychic awakening. He spent the remainder of his life writing almanacs and prophecies in quartains. It is believed that his prophecies have carried into the future and predicted events such as 9/11 and the rise of Hitler.