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clairvoyant and healer
31 January 1911|
Strumica, Ottoman Empire, present day Republic of Macedonia
|Died||11 August 1996
(m. 1942-1962; his death)
Grandmother Vanga (Bulgarian: баба Ванга) (31 January 1911 – 11 August 1996), born Vangeliya 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 believed 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 for being "too Greek" during a period of anti-Hellenic sentiment within Bulgarian society. Another stranger's proposal was a Greek name, but popular with Bulgarians in the region: Vangelia (from Evangelos).
In her childhood, Vangelia was an ordinary child with brown eyes and blonde hair. Her father was an IMRO activist, conscripted into the Bulgarian Army during World War I, and her mother died soon after. This left Vanga dependent on the care and charity of neighbours and close family friends for much of her youth. After the war, Strumica emigrated from Bulgaria to Serbia. The Serbian authorities arrested the father, because of his pro-Bulgarian activity. They confiscated all his property and the family fell into poverty for many years. Vanga was considered intelligent for her age. 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 remarried, thus providing a stepmother to his daughter.
According to her own testimony, a turning point in her life occurred when a 'tornado' allegedly lifted her into the air and threw her in a nearby field. She was found after a long search. Witnesses described her as very frightened, and her eyes were covered with sand and dust, she was unable to open them because of the pain. There was money only for a partial operation to heal the injuries she had sustained, This resulted in a gradual loss of sight.
In 1925 Vanga was brought to a school for the blind in the city of Zemun, in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, 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 contracted pleurisy, although it remained largely inactive for some years. The doctor's opinion was that she would die soon, but she quickly recovered.
During World War II, Vanga attracted believers in her ability to heal and soothsay – 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.
She continued to be visited by dignitaries and commoners. After the Second World War, Bulgarian politicians and leaders from different Soviet Republics, even Leonid Brezhnev, sought her counsel; in the 1990s, a church was built in Rupite by Bogdan Tomalevski with money left by her visitors. Vanga died on 11 August 1996 from breast cancer. Her funeral attracted large crowds, including many dignitaries.
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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 did not 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 well beyond her power.
Sources such as The Weiser 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. On the other hand, Bulgarian sources say that the people who were close to her claim that she never prophesied about Kursk or other subjects circulating the Internet, and that many of the myths about Vanga are simply not true, which ultimately hurts and crudely misrepresents her and her work.
In early August 1976, just two months before her death, Bosnian actress and singer Silvana Armenulić was on tour in Bulgaria and decided to seize the opportunity to meet with Baba Vanga. The meeting was unpleasant. Vanga only sat and stared out a window with her back to Silvana. She did not speak. After a long time, Vanga finally spoke: "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 Silvana turned around and walked towards the door, Vanga said: "Wait. In fact, you will not be able to come. Go, go. If you can come back in three months, do so." Silvana took this as confirmation that she would die and left Vanga's home in tears. Armenulić died two months later, 10 October 1976, in a car crash with her sister Mirjana.
Vanga incorrectly predicted that the 1994 FIFA World Cup Final would be played between "two teams beginning with B". Some say that she foretold it that way because of the penalty that Bulgaria was not given. One finalist was Brazil, but Bulgaria was eliminated by Italy in the semifinals. Vanga predicted that a World War III would 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 purportedly predicted another 'realm of being,' claiming that entire cultures would begin to spread through a 'false world.' She claimed that in 2003, any person would be able to think in synchronicity with others, allowing for a form of secondary existence. 2003 marked the year of release of the game Second Life, in which an account holder can make an avatar and engage in social interaction with others. Many believe this to be the secondary 'realm of being' that Vanga spoke of.
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 men 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.
Vanga reached news headlines after predicting, in 1989, what many interpret to be the 9/11 terror attacks.
Horror, horror! 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.
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.
Baba Vanga in popular culture
Clairvoyant's supposed predictions, political speculations with them and their criticism continue to appear in the mass media in different countries and in different languages.
Her image is particularly popular in the Balkans and in Russia. Russian publications related to the mysterious prophetess are numerous. "The Great Encyclopedia of Vanga" is a Russian online project, dedicated to her.
- NOTES FROM HISTORY: Baba Vanga
- Christianity and Modernity in Eastern Europe, Bruce R. Berglund, Brian A. Porter, Central European University Press, 2010, ISBN 9639776653, pp. 252-253; 265.
- Gender and Nation in South Eastern Europe, Anthropological yearbook of European cultures, Karl Kaser, Elisabeth Katschnig-Fasch, LIT Verlag Münster, 2005, ISBN 3825888029, p. 90.
- Historical Dictionary of Bulgaria, Нistorical Dictionaries of Europe, Raymond Detrez, Rowman & Littlefield, 2014, ISBN 1442241802, p. 57.
- 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 EditionAt the beginning of the 20th century Bulgarians constituted the majority of the population in the 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.)
- Стоянова, Красимира. Ванга ясновидящая. София, "Вариант", "Два слона", 1991. ISBN 5808600316. с. 30.
- 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
- Stephen Kinzer, "Rupite Journal; For a Revered Mystic, a Shrine Now of Her Own", "The New York Times", April 5, 1995. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
- The Greenwood encyclopedia of women's issues worldwide, Volume 3, Author Lynn Walter, Publisher Greenwood Press, 2003, p. 110.
- The History of Bulgaria, The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations, Author Frederick B. Chary, Publisher ABC-CLIO, 2011, ISBN 0313384479, p. 145.
- Pilgrimage and Sacred Places in Southeast Europe: History, Religious Tourism and Contemporary Trends, Editors Mario Katic, Tomislav Klarin, Mike McDonald, Publisher LIT Verlag Münster, 2014, ISBN 3643905041, p. 85.
- Prophetess Baba Vanga's Petrich house becomes museum, The Sofia Echo
- Press Review, "Notes from History: Baba Vanga", by Lucy Cooper, in the Sofia Echo 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.
- on YouTube
- Баба Ванга не е предсказвала края на света
- "Srpski Nišvil". Vreme. 26 December 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
- "Silvana Armenulic - Biografija". dobojcaffe. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
- 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
- Valtchinova, G., 2009. Between Ordinary Pain and Extraordinary Knowledge: The Seer Vanga in the Everyday Life of Bulgarians during Socialism (1960s–1970s). Aspasia, 3(1), pp.106-130.
- "Blind mystic whose followers claim she predicted 9/11 attack, ISIS and 2004 tsunami has chilling vision for 2016". Mirror Online. 1 January 2016. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
- Blind mystic who predicted 9/11 attacks said 2016 is going to be horrible
- Did a blind Bulgarian clairvoyant predict the rise of ISIS? ‘Nostradamus of the Balkans’ who died 20 years ago said there would be a ‘great Muslim war’ in 2016
- "Baba Vanga: 'Bulgarian Nostradamus' predicted ISIS, 9/11, Fukushima?". News Limited. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
- "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.
- Vangelia on the official site of Favorite Film. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
- Зорница Стоилова, "Защо се върна Ванга", Bulgarian weekly business newspaper "Capital", April 4, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
- "Regarding Vanga and "Vangelia", talk show of the Bulgarian National Television about the Russian TV series, March 19, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
- Documentary "Baba Vangja, the last Macedonian prophet", shot by the Macedonian "Kanal 5", August 23, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
- "The secrets of Baba Vanga's predictions", Croatian daily newspaper "24sata", November 11, 2015. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
- "You'll marry a man in white", prediction about Lepa Brena's marriage, Serbian online media "Telegraf", December 8, 2015. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
- "Global media on Baba Vanga. Bulgarian prophetess predicted the emergence of the Islamic State?", Serbian tabloid newspaper "Blic", December 8, 2015. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
- "The Great Encyclopedia of Vanga". Retrieved December 11, 2015.
- 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
- 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, The Sofia Echo, December 19, 2005
- Baba Vanga say about 2012
- (in Urdu) An article in Urdu about Baba Vanga predictions