October 3rd, 1911 in what is now Strumica, North Macedonia, a baby was born prematurely. As is customary, she was not given a name until she was deemed likely to survive. It is said that when she first cried out, the midwife rushed into the street to ask a stranger for a name for the little one.
So are the circumstances of birth of the extraordinary Vangeliya Pandeva Gushterova, known today as Baba Vanga.
An Extraordinary Life
Little Vangeliya was a rather ordinary child. Her father was a soldier and her mother died shortly after Vanga’s birth, and she was reliant on the care of friends and neighbours, until her father remarried.
In her youth, she was considered a bright and intelligent girl, playing ‘healing games’ and prescribing imaginary potions to her friends and their imaginary illnesses.
At the age of 12, an inexplicable event occurred that would change the trajectory of Vanga’s life forever. According to her own testimony, and that of her family, a small but devastating tornado took Vanga on a Wizard of Oz style trip, depositing her in a nearby field, where she was found days later, understandably traumatised, with her eyes filled with debris, and unable to open them.
As her family were poor, they could not afford the operation that may have saved her sight, and as a result, Vanga slowly became blind.
Vanga tackled this new obstacle valiantly, and spent three years in a school for the blind, learning how to read Braille, play the piano, knit, cook, clean and all manner of other life skills that increased her independence. Unfortunately, after the death of her stepmother, Vanga was forced to return home and help care for her younger siblings.
Vanga flirted with death once more in 1939, when she developed pleurisy which doctors expected would end her life. Despite this, she rejected the reaper’s advances and recovered quickly.
During WW II, Vanga attracted a following who believed she possessed incredible healing abilities, as well as a knack for fortunetelling. She took visitors who searched for information regarding their missing relatives, or the location of their fallen soldier’s body. During this time, the Bulgarian tzar, Boris III even sought her council.
At some point, Vanga was visited by a man named Dimitar Gushterov, who came to her in search of the men who killed his brother. Vanga told him their names under the condition that he did not seek revenge on the men. Whether or not the names were correct has been lost to time, but Dimitar was clearly stuck by Vanga, and the two married in May 1942. Unfortunately, her new husband was conscripted into the Bulgarian Army, became ill in 1947 and thus fell into alcoholism and died in April 1962.
Even after World War II, Vanga’s popularity grew, and she attracted visitors from all walks of life. This is even said to include leaders of various Soviet Republics.
In August of 1996, the reaper finally caught up with Vanga and she passed away from breast cancer, age 84. As per her wishes, her house in Petrich, which she shared with her husband, became a museum, opening in 2008. Upon her death, she predicted her powers would be inherited by a blind girl, born in France.
It appears that Baba Vanga’s always possessed the inclination to heal, but her prophetic abilities were said to have emerged after her inexplicable tornado survival. It is even said that she received her first visions in the days she waited for rescue, stating later that her gift of clairvoyance had replaced her gift of sight.
Being semi-literate, she never wrote any of her own predictions and relied on staff members to transcribe her visions. Before her death – the date of which she correctly foretold – Vanga made predictions for every year up until 5079, after which she believed the world would end.
Famous predictions attributed to Baba Vanga include:
- Yugoslav actress, Silvana Armenulić visited Vanga in 1976. Armenulić was allegedly obsessed with predicting her own fate, terrified of the thought that she would die young. During this visit, Vanga sat with her back to Armenulić and refused to speak to her, eventually saying, “Nothing. You do not have to pay. I do not want to speak with you. Not now. Go and come back in three months”. As Armenulić went to leave, Vanga continued, “Wait. In fact, you will not be able to come. Go, go. If you can come back in three months, do so.” She left in tears, convinced that she would die within three months. Two months later, Armenulić, her younger sister and a friend were killed in a car accident.
- In 1980, Vanga predicted that the city of Kursk, Russia would “be covered with water and the whole world will weep over it.” Many believe this came to be in 2000, when a submarine in Kursk sank and tragically killed 118 military personnel.
- In 1989, she reported: ”The American brethren will fall after being attacked by the steel birds. The wolves will be howling in a bush, and innocent blood will be gushing.” Many believe this was a reference to the 9/11 Twin Towers attacks.
- She predicted that Europe would “cease to exist”. In 2016, the UK voted to leave the EU in the Brexit referendum.
- She predicted that the 44th US president would be the last. Obviously, this did not come to pass, but bear in mind the 45th president was Donald Trump, so make of that what you will. Some also believe that she predicted the 44th president would be African American. The 44th president was Barack Obama.
As is the case with other supposed prophets such as Nostradamus, many dispute the accuracy of Vanga’s predictions, which were often worded rather cryptically, leaving them open for interpretation.
There are also many predictions which – thankfully – have remained unfulfilled, such as:
- A third world war beginning in November 2010, and end in October 2014. This, she claimed, would result in nuclear and chemical warfare.
- In 2011, the radioactive fallout from the war mentioned above, would leave the Northern Hemisphere uninhabitable. A religious war would follow.
Many of Baba Vanga’s predictions for next year and onwards are similarly dire for humanity, however, they also include contact with intelligent extraterrestrial life, nature reviving and a universal cure for all diseases.
Fortunately, we’ll all be long dead by the time a returning spaceship brings an intergalactic virus to earth in 2256.
So, what do you make of Baba Vanga’s mysterious predictions?
Many will say that the problem with prophesy is one of confirmation biased – it’s easy to stretch meanings and jump to conclusions in order to shoehorn an event into a prediction made years before.
Although she was internationally renowned and was said to include political leaders and celebrities among her visitors, some believed she would gather information from taxi drivers and hotel staff, who supplied her with the background of each visitor.
As for her grander claims, we can only speak of these predictions up to the present day, and as of today – Monday 25th July, 2022.
Baba Vanga’s predictions for this year include bouts of floods in Asia and Australia, water shortages in Europe – both of which have occurred.
Apparently, we have another pandemic – this time resulting from a defrosted Siberian virus – and an alien invasion to come.
Over the past few years, a handful of Russian language news sources have reported predictions for the years ahead include, “forgotten diseases and viruses”- an apparent reference to the Covid 19 pandemic. However, humanity will “be able to cope” and “solve the problem together,” at least, that is, according to a young girl named Kaede Uber, from Southern France who is slowly loosing her sight.