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Supposed clairvoyant and healer
31 January 1911|
Strumica, Ottoman Empire (present-day Republic of Macedonia)
|Died||11 August 1996
married 10 May 1942
Baba Vanga (Bulgarian: баба Ванга) (31 January 1911 – 11 August 1996), born Vangelia Pandeva Dimitrova (Вангелия Пандева Димитрова), known after her marriage as Vangelia Gushterova (Вангелия Гущерова), was a blind Bulgarian mystic, clairvoyant, and herbalist who spent most of her life in the Rupite area in the Kozhuh mountains, Bulgaria. Millions of people around the world were convinced that she possessed paranormal abilities.
Vanga was born in Strumica, then in the Ottoman Empire (present-day Republic of Macedonia). She was a premature baby who suffered from health complications. In accordance with local tradition, the baby was not given a name until it was deemed likely to survive. When the baby first cried out, a midwife went into the street and asked a stranger for a name. The stranger proposed Andromaha (Andromache), but this was rejected as "too Greek". So the second stranger's proposal was also a Greek name, but popular with the Bulgarians in the region: Vangelia (from Evangelos), and it was accepted.
In her childhood, Vangelia was an ordinary girl with blue eyes and blond hair. Her father was an IMARO activist, conscripted into the Bulgarian Army during World War I, and her mother died when Vanga was quite young, which meant the girl depended on the neighbors for a long time. Vanga was intelligent. Her inclinations started to show up when she herself thought out games and loved playing "healing" – she prescribed some herbs to her friends, who pretended to be ill. Her father, being a widower, eventually married a good woman, thus providing a stepmother to his daughter.
A turning point in her life was a tornado which lifted Vanga up and threw her in the field (this claim has not been verified with meteorological records or other accounts from that time). She was found after a long search–very frightened, and her eyes were covered with sand and dust, so she couldn't open them because of the pain. No healing gave results. There was money only for a partial operation, so her eyesight was failing.
In 1925 Vanga was brought to a school for the blind in the city of Zemun (Kingdom SHS), where she spent three years, and was taught to read Braille, play the piano, as well as do knitting, cooking, and cleaning. After the death of her stepmother she had to go back home to take care of her younger siblings. Her family was very poor, and she had to work all day.
In 1939 Vanga caught pleurisy, although she had been quite healthy in the previous years. The doctor's opinion was that she would soon die, but according to her current age, between the time that certain doctor assumed to her and up-till now, it is appropriate to have a verbilization that the doctor had a false opinion regarding her dying at a very young age, and had healed at a really quick, acceptable degree.
During World War II, Vanga attracted more believers–a number of people visited her, hoping to get a hint about whether their relatives were alive, or seeking for the place where they died. On 8 April 1942 the Bulgarian tzar Boris III visited her.
On 10 May 1942, Vanga married Dimitar Gushterov, Bulgarian soldier from the village of Krandzhilitsa near Petrich, who had come asking for the killers of his brother, but had to promise her not to seek revenge. Shortly before marriage, Dimitar and Vanga moved to Petrich, where she soon became well-known. Dimitar was then conscripted in the Bulgarian Army and had to spend some time in Northern Greece, which was annexed by Bulgaria at the time. He got another illness in 1947, fell into alcoholism, and eventually died on 1 April 1962.
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Vanga was illiterate or semi-literate. She did not write any books herself. What she said or allegedly said had been captured by staff members. Later numerous esoteric books on Vanga's life and predictions were written.
Vanga claimed that her extraordinary abilities had something to do with the presence of invisible creatures, but she could not clearly explain their origin. She said that those creatures gave her information about people, which she could not transmit to them, because distance and time didn't matter. According to Vanga, the life of everyone standing in front of her was like a film to her from birth until death. But changing "what was written on the generation" was beyond her power.
Sources such as "Wiesler Field Guide to the Paranormal" claim that she foretold the break-up of the Soviet Union, the Chernobyl disaster, the date of Stalin's death, the sinking of the Russian submarine Kursk, the September 11 attacks and Topalov's victory in the world chess tournament. However, the people who were close to her claim that she never made prophecies about Kursk and other circulating the internet, and that many of the myths around Vanga are simply not true, which ultimately hurts and crudely misrepresents her and her work.
Vanga incorrectly predicted that the 1994 World Cup soccer final would be played between "two teams beginning with B". Some say that she foretold it that way because of the penalty that Bulgaria wasn't given. One finalist was Brazil, but Bulgaria was eliminated by Italy in the semifinals. Vanga predicted that a World War III will start in November 2010 and last until October 2014. However, according to close friends, Vanga was not the type to voice predictions she saw if they were catastrophic because she knew that chaos that would ensue around those she told. Witnesses and close friends also claim that she never made such prophecies, and in fact when asked claimed that there will be no World War III. Nevertheless, after North Korea — a nuclear nation — attacked South Korea on 23 November 2010, there was a spike in internet interest about Vanga concerning this alleged prophecy.
Vanga attempted to prophesy about newborn or unborn children. She said that she was "seeing" and "talking" to people, who had died hundreds of years ago. Vanga talked about the future, although she did not like to. In her words, in 200 years man will make contact with brothers in mind from other worlds. She said that many aliens have been living on the earth for years. They came from the planet, which in their language is called Vamfim, and is the third planet from the Earth.
Followers of Vanga believe that she predicted the precise date of her own death, dreaming that she would die on 11 August, and be buried on 13 August. Shortly before that she had said that a ten-year-old blind girl living in France was to inherit her gift, and that people would soon hear about her.
Apart from prophesying, Vanga was believed to be a healer, but only through herbal medicines. According to her, people had to heal themselves only with herbs from the country they live in. She prescribed washing with an infusion of herbs and spices, claiming some beneficial effect on the skin. Vanga did not oppose mainstream medicine, although she thought that taking too much medicines is bad, because "they close the doors, through which nature restores the balance in the body with herbs.".
Accounts on the predictions of Vanga are often controversial and distorted by the media. One recent attempt to systematically summarize the existing knowledge about Vanga was made in the documentary "Vanga. The visible and invisible world". The movie includes interviews with some of the people who met Vanga in person, including Sergey Medvedev (press secretary to President of Russia Boris Yeltsin in 1995–96; Sergey Medvedev visited Vanga as Yeltsin's envoy following Vanga's request to meet her), Neshka Robeva (Bulgarian rhythmic gymnast and coach), Sergey Mikhalkov (Soviet and Russian writer, author of the Soviet Union anthem), Nevena Tosheva (director of the first documentary about Vanga), Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (Kalmyk multi-millionaire businessman and politician). According to the documentary, Baba Vanga predicted Yeltsin's second electoral victory in 1995, and warned him about his heart condition.
Several researchers have studied the phenomenon of Vanga in the attempt to establish whether she has any extraordinary capabilities. One of the first studies was initiated by the Bulgarian government and is described in the 1977 movie Fenomen directed by Nevena Tosheva. Prominent Bulgarian psychiatrists Nicola Shipkovensky and Georgi Lozanov also studied the capabilities of Vanga. Reportedly, some of the studies concluded that about 80% of predictions of Vanga turned out to be accurate.
Vanga was widely known to be close to the government of Todor Zhivkov and, on several occasions, she appeared on public TV with him and other high officials of the Bulgarian Communist Party. The daughter of Todor Zhivkov befriended Baba Vanga in the late 60s or early 70s and she was protected by the communist state thereafter, which apparently used the situation to its own advantage, with or without knowledge of Baba Vanga. It has been alleged that Vanga used data gathered by the secret services to win the trust of her visitors, who came to her by state-orchestrated appointments made well in advance. Baba Vanga was very popular and the Bulgarian state decided to organize her services and charge for them, giving Baba Vanga a state salary which was a tiny fraction of the earnings. Lists of people who were coming to see Vanga were formed by appointment, organized by the state, from the early 70s; as her fame rose, many foreign and domestic politicians were also visiting Vanga, and the house in which she worked was reportedly bugged. Members of the secret service worked in her environment, and she may have been manipulated to give suggestions to visiting politicians.
Vanga in Russian popular culture
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Vanga is well known in the Russian-speaking world. Some Russian nationalists[who?] consider her a true prophet of God and use her alleged prophecies of an upcoming nuclear war and Russian victory to argue for more robust defense policy and, more generally, for a more optimistic view of Russia's future. On the other hand, many Christians[who?] reject her as a spiritist and a false prophet who acted on behalf of the Devil. Thus there is a widely propagated story of Vanga becoming enraged at a visiting cleric (Nathanael, metropolitan of Nevrokop) carrying a holy relic, saying that this presence prevented her from prophesying.
- NOTES FROM HISTORY: Baba Vanga
- The Weiser Field Guide to the Paranormal: Abductions, Apparitions, ESP, Synchronicity, and More Unexplained Phenomena from Other Realms, Judith Joyce, Weiser Books, 2011, ISBN 1609252985, pp. 21-25.
- The History of Bulgaria, The Greenwood histories of the modern nations, Frederick B. Chary, ABC-CLIO, 2011, ISBN 0313384460, pp. 145-146.
- In Search of Destiny: The Universe and Man, Robert A. Welcome, AuthorHouse, 2012, ISBN 147723747X, pp. 35-36.
- Прoрoчeствaтa нa Вaнгa. Жeни Кoстaдинoвa, Издателство Труд, ISBN 954-528-074-3,Страници 696.
- According to Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, at the beginning of the 20th century the Bulgarians constituted the majority of the population in the whole region of Macedonia. They are described in the encyclopaedia as "Slavs, the bulk of which is regarded by almost all independent sources as Bulgarians": 1,150,000, whereof, 1,000,000 Orthodox and 150,000 Muslims (the so-called Pomaks); Turks: ca. 500,000 (Muslims); Greeks: ca. 250,000, whereof ca. 240,000 Orthodox and 14,000 Muslims; Albanians: ca. 120,000, whereof 10,000 Orthodox and 110,000 Muslims; Vlachs: ca. 90,000 Orthodox and 3,000 Muslims; Jews: ca. 75,000; Roma: ca. 50,000, whereof 35,000 Orthodox and 15,000 Muslims; In total 1,300,000 Christians (almost exclusively Orthodox), 800,000 Muslims, 75,000 Jews, a total population of ca. 2,200,000 for the whole of Macedonia.
- Честотно-тълковен речник на личните имена у българите, Николай П. Ковачев, Държавно издателство "Д-р Петър Берон", 1987 г. стр. 58. Dictionary of Personal Names of the Bulgarians, Nikolai P. Kovatchev State Publishing House "Dr Petar Beron", 1987, p 58. (Bg.)
- The truth about Vanga, p. 42
- The truth about Vanga, pp. 43-44
- Joyce, Judith (2010). The Weiser Field Guide to the Paranormal: Abductions, Apparitions. Weiser Books.
- The truth about Vanga, pp. 61-65, 69-70, 80-81
- Prophetess Baba Vanga's Petrich house becomes museum, The Sofia Echo,
- Press Review, Notes from History: Baba Vanga, by Lucy Cooper Mon 19 Dec 2005 
- Joyce, Judith (2010). "Baba Vanga". The Weiser Field Guide to the Paranormal. San Francisco, CA: Red Wheel/Weiser. pp. 21–25. ISBN 978-1-57863-488-0. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
- Ванга. Мир видимый и невидимый first aired 31 January 2011 on RTV on YouTube
- Баба Ванга не е предсказвала края на света
- Stephen Kinzer: Rupite Journal; For a Revered Mystic, a Shrine Now of Her Own in The New York Times, April 5, 1995.
- McLain, Sean (January 1, 2011). "The year that wasn't: failed predictions of 2010". The National.
- Baba Vagna, The Astral World
- "Korea Attack: Yeonpyeong Island Shelled By North Korea (PHOTOS, VIDEO)". Huffington Post. 23 November 2010.
- Google Trends
- "Зачем Ванга звала к себе Бориса Ельцина?". Комсомольская правда. 27 Jan 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
- "Fenomenat". IMDB. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
- Mishlove, Jeffrey (1975). "Psionics". The Roots of Consciousness. Random House. ISBN 0-394-73115-8. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
- Стоянова [Stoyanova], Красимира [Krasimira] (1996). Истината за Ванга [The truth about Vanga] (in Bulgarian). Sofia: Balgarski Pisatel. ISBN 954-443-170-5.
- Ostrander, Sheila; Schroeder, Lynn (1970). "Vanga Dimitrova: The Bulgarian Oracle". Psychic discoveries behind the Iron Curtain. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. pp. 259–281. ISBN 978-0-13-732230-5.
- Valtchinova, Galia (2005). "Vanga, la "Pythie bulgare": idées et usages de l'Antiquité en Bulgarie socialiste". Dialogues d'histoire ancienne (in French) 31 (1): 93–127. doi:10.3406/dha.2005.2487. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
- Ivanov, Petko; Izmirlieva, Valentina (2003). "Betwixt and Between: The Cult of Living Saints in Contemporary Bulgaria". Folklorica, Journal of the Slavic and East European 8 (1): 33–53. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
- Stephen Kinzer: Rupite Journal; For a Revered Mystic, a Shrine Now of Her Own in The New York Times, April 5, 1995
- Baba Vanga - Prophecies of the Bulgarian Prophet[dead link]
- Ideological Drive Against Paraperception Radio Free Europe Research, March 24, 1983, in Open Society Archives
- (in Russian) An article by Natalia Baltzun, translated by Kristina Hristova (Bulgaria)
- (in Russian) Vanga's Prophecies: Product of the Bulgarian Secret Services
- (in French) An article in french about Vanga's propheties, by K8 Transmission
- NOTES FROM HISTORY: Baba Vanga[dead link], The Sofia Echo, December 19, 2005
- Baba Vanga say about 2012[dead link]