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Baba Vanga

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Baba Vanga
Баба Ванга
Vangeliya Pandeva Surcheva

(1911-01-31)31 January 1911[1]
Died11 August 1996(1996-08-11) (aged 85)
CitizenshipOttoman, Bulgarian, Yugoslav
Dimitar Gushterov
(m. 1942; died 1962)

Vangeliya Pandeva Gushterova (née Surcheva; Bulgarian: Вангелия Пандева Гущерова, née Сурчева, [vɐnˈɡɛlijɐ ˈpɑndevɐ ɡuˈʃtɛrovɐ (ˈsurt͡ʃevɐ)]; 31 January 1911 – 11 August 1996), commonly known as Baba Vanga (Bulgarian: Баба Ванга, lit.'Grandmother Vanga'),[2] was a Bulgarian attributed mystic and healer who claimed to have foreseen the future.[3][4][5] Blind since her early childhood, she spent most of her life in the Rupite area of the Belasica mountains in Bulgaria.[6]

In the late 1970s and 1980s, she was widely known in Eastern Europe for her alleged abilities of clairvoyance and precognition. After the fall of communism, and even after her death in 1996, her persona has remained popular.[7]


Vanga was born on 31 January 1911 to Pando Surchev and Paraskeva Surcheva in Strumica in the Salonica vilayet of the Ottoman Empire (now North Macedonia). She was a premature baby who suffered from health complications. In accordance with local tradition, the baby was not given a name until she 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 Macedonian Bulgarian society. Another stranger's proposal was a Greek name, which was adapted to the Bulgarian version: Vangeliya.[8] According to the Bucharest treaty (1913), Strumica was ceded to Bulgaria.

During her childhood, her father was an Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization activist in the pro-Bulgarian branch, who seemed to have a strong sense of local Macedonian identity.[9] He was conscripted into the Bulgarian Army during World War I, while Vanga's 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 was ceded to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (i.e., Yugoslavia). Yugoslav authorities arrested her father because of his pro-Bulgarian activity. They confiscated all of his property and the family fell into poverty for many years.[10] Her father, being a widower, eventually remarried, thus providing a stepmother to his daughter.

In 1923, she and her father moved to Novo Selo.[2] According to her own testimony, a turning point in her life occurred when a "tornado" allegedly lifted her into the air and threw her into 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.[11] This resulted in a gradual loss of sight.

In 1925, Vanga was taken to a school for the blind in the city of Zemun, in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (now Serbia), where she spent three years and was taught to read Braille, play the piano, knit, cook, and clean.[12] After the death of her stepmother, she returned home to take care of her younger siblings. The family lived in poverty.

In 1939, Vanga contracted pleurisy. The doctor's opinion was that she would die soon, but she quickly recovered.

Vanga's house in Petrich
Vanga's last house (built in 1970) in Rupite, Petrich

During World War II, Yugoslavia was invaded and dismembered by the Axis powers and Strumica was annexed by Bulgaria. At that time Vanga attracted believers in her alleged ability to heal and soothsay—a number of people visited her, hoping to get a hint about whether their relatives were alive, or seeking the place where they died.[13] Bulgarian tzar Boris III had visited her too.[9][14]

On 10 May 1942, Vanga married Dimitar Gushterov. Gushterov, a Bulgarian soldier from the village of Krandzhilitsa near Petrich, had come to town seeking revenge for his brother's killing. Shortly before marriage, Dimitar and Vanga moved to Petrich, where she soon became well-known. Dimitar was then conscripted in the Bulgarian Army and was stationed in Northern Greece, which was annexed by Bulgaria at the time. Gushterov became ill, fell into alcoholism, and eventually died on 1 April 1962.[15]

After World War II, the Bulgarian police and communist party tried to suppress Vanga's activities, but she continued to be visited by people.[9] After police control and social pressure reduced in the 1960s, she was employed by the Petrich municipality and Institute of Suggestology (part of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences). The former supported Vanga materially and took part of her income, while the latter tried to scientifically justify her activities.[9] Members of the Politburo of the Bulgarian Communist Party and leading intellectuals also consulted her,[16] including, reportedly, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev.[17] In the 1990s, a church was built in Rupite with money left by her visitors,[17] which was consecrated on 14 October 1994.[9] Vanga died on 11 August 1996 from breast cancer.[18][19][20]

Baba Vanga's grave in Rupite, Bulgaria


St Petka of Bulgaria, Baba Vanga's church and grave.

Vanga was semi-literate in Bulgarian; she could read some Braille in Serbian. Numerous esoteric books on Vanga's life and alleged predictions were written. In the 1960s, the main task of the newly established Institute of Suggestology employing her was to study her alleged abilities.[9] According to former Journal Metro columnist Jeff Yates, there is no written record of her alleged predictions, but her followers frequently attribute predictions to her.[21] Many of the people who were close to her have stated that she never made some of the predictions attributed to her.[22][23]

Some predictions attributed to her by her followers include:[24][25]


Fulfilling Vanga's last will and testament, her Petrich house was turned into a museum, which opened its doors for visitors on 5 May 2008.[19][29] Her Rupite house was also opened for visitors on 25 March 2014.[30] In 2012, she was posthumously awarded the title "Honorary Citizen" by the Municipal Council of Petrich.[31]

Vangelia, a Russian-language 24-episode TV series with elements of mysticism, was commissioned in 2013 by Channel One Russia.[32][33]

Her alleged predictions and persona remain popular in parts of Southeast Europe, primarily Bulgaria and North Macedonia,[34][35] as well as parts of Eastern Europe, especially Russia.[14][36] Russian publications about her persona are numerous. "The Great Encyclopedia of Vanga" is a Russian online project dedicated to her.[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Raymond Detrez, 2014 Historical Dictionary of Bulgaria, Edition 3, Rowman & Littlefield, p. 57, ISBN 1442241802.
  2. ^ a b Roth, Klaus; Kartari, Asker, eds. (2016). Cultures of Crisis in Southeast Europe: Part 1: Crises Related to Migration, Transformation, Politics, Religion, and Labour. LIT Verlag Münster. pp. 308–309. ISBN 9783643907639.
  3. ^ "The blind mystic who 'predicted the rise of Isis'". The Independent. 2015-12-08. Archived from the original on 2020-11-10. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  4. ^ Morrow, Daniel (2020-10-03). "Blind mystic Baba Vanga 'predicted Donald Trump's coronavirus plight'". Daily Record. Archived from the original on 2020-11-10. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  5. ^ Kettley, Sebastian (2020-10-11). "Baba Vanga 2020: Did the blind mystic predict coronavirus? COVID-19 will be 'all over us'". Express.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2020-11-13. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  6. ^ The History of Bulgaria, The Greenwood histories of the modern nations Archived 2020-08-07 at the Wayback Machine, Frederick B. Chary, ABC-CLIO, 2011, ISBN 0313384460, pp. 145-146.
  7. ^ Maeva, Mila; Erolova, Yelis; Stoyanova, Plamena; Ivanova, Vanya, eds. (2020). "Between the Worlds: Magic, Miracles, and Mysticism". IEFSEM – BAS & Paradigma. 2. Sofia: Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies: 261–263. ISSN 2683-0213.
  8. ^ 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.)
  9. ^ a b c d e f Berglund, Bruce; Porter-Szűcs, Brian, eds. Christianity and Modernity in Eastern Europe, Central European University Press, 2010, ISBN 9786155211829, pp. 252–256.
  10. ^ Стоянова, Красимира. Ванга ясновидящая. София, "Вариант", "Два слона", 1991. ISBN 5808600316. с. 30.
  11. ^ Stoyanova 1996, p. 42.
  12. ^ Stoyanova 1996, pp. 43–44.
  13. ^ Valtchinova 2005, p. 96.
  14. ^ a b "Dead Bulgarian's Prophecies Intrigue UK Media". Balkan Insight (BIRN). December 25, 2017. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  15. ^ Stoyanova 1996, pp. 61–81.
  16. ^ Kaser, Karl; Katschnig-Fasch, Elisabeth, eds. (2005). Gender and Nation in South Eastern Europe. LIT Verlag Münster. p. 90. ISBN 9783825888022.
  17. ^ a b Stephen Kinzer, "Rupite Journal; For a Revered Mystic, a Shrine Now of Her Own" Archived 2019-08-07 at the Wayback Machine, "The New York Times", April 5, 1995. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  18. ^ The Greenwood encyclopedia of women's issues worldwide, Volume 3, Author Lynn Walter, Publisher Greenwood Press, 2003, p. 110.
  19. ^ a b The History of Bulgaria, The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations, Author Frederick B. Chary, Publisher ABC-CLIO, 2011, ISBN 0313384479, p. 145–146.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ "Non, la «voyante» bulgare Baba Vanga n’a pas prédit une guerre mondiale en 2016" Archived 2019-11-12 at the Wayback Machine. Metro, November 15, 2016.
  22. ^ a b "Баба Ванга не е предсказвала края на света". www.24chasa.bg. Archived from the original on 2022-01-29. Retrieved 2022-01-29.
  23. ^ "Baba Vanga: Who is the blind mystic who 'predicted the rise of Isis'?". The Independent. 8 December 2015. Archived from the original on 29 February 2020. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  24. ^ Baba Vanga's Predictions of "Natural Disasters", Vice News. June 29, 2012.
  25. ^ Ryan Barrell (January 1, 2016). "Blind Bulgarian Mystic Baba Vanga, Who 'Predicted' The Rise Of Isis, Says They'll Invade Europe In 2016". The Huffington Post UK. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  26. ^ Stephen Kinzer: "Rupite Journal; For a Revered Mystic, a Shrine Now of Her Own Archived 2019-08-07 at the Wayback Machine", The New York Times, April 5, 1995.
  27. ^ "The blind mystic who 'predicted the rise of Isis'". The Independent. December 10, 2015. Archived from the original on February 29, 2020. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  28. ^ "Fair warning: Bulgarian prophet predicted Obama would be last U.S. president". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2021-01-07. Retrieved 2020-04-15.
  29. ^ "Навършват се 12 години от смъртта на Ванга (видео)". bTV Новините (in Bulgarian). 8 August 2008.
  30. ^ "House of Bulgaria's Baba Vanga opens to visitors". The Sofia Globe. March 26, 2014. Retrieved May 31, 2023.
  31. ^ "На Ванга днес посмъртно бе присъдено званието "Почетен гражданин" на град Петрич". BGNES (in Bulgarian). October 25, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  32. ^ Vangelia Archived 2021-01-08 at the Wayback Machine on the official site of Favorite Film. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  33. ^ "Vanga, aka "Nostradamus of the Balkans": A Mysterious Personality Respected or Ridiculed". BTA. October 3, 2023. Retrieved October 15, 2023.
  34. ^ Зорница Стоилова, "Защо се върна Ванга" Archived 2021-01-09 at the Wayback Machine, Bulgarian weekly business newspaper "Capital", April 4, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  35. ^ Documentary "Baba Vangja, the last Macedonian prophet" Archived 2017-12-25 at the Wayback Machine, shot by the Macedonian "Kanal 5", August 23, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  36. ^ Max Fisher (November 8, 2012). "Fair warning: Bulgarian prophet predicted Obama would be last U.S. president". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  37. ^ "The Great Encyclopedia of Vanga". The Great Encyclopedia of Vanga (in Russian). Archived from the original on 10 July 2020. Retrieved 11 December 2015.

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