Vangeliya Pandeva Gushterova, more commonly known as Baba Vanga (1911-1996), was a blind Bulgarian mystic and clairvoyant who gained worldwide recognition for her so-called predictions about future events, which included the Chernobyl tragedy, the death of Princess Diana, the September 11 terrorist attacks and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Despite being blind and spending most of her life in the remote Kozhuh mountains of Bulgaria, her clairvoyant powers brought her global fame, with politicians and leaders, including Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev, regularly seeking her counsel. As a result, Vanga became a legendary prophet during the 20th century and was often referred to as the ‘Balkan Nostradamus’.
Some of her predictions have been interpreted as having been accurate; however, the reliability of her predictions is still a matter of debate, and many of her claims have not been proven. Nevertheless, she continues to be a popular subject of interest and speculation, with her life and predictions having been the subject of numerous books, articles, and documentaries.
Here are 10 facts about the life of the mystic Baba Vanga.
1. She was blind since childhood
Baba Vanga was born in Strumica, a small town in modern-day North Macedonia. She lost her sight aged 12 after, in her words, a ‘tornado’ lifted her into the air and threw her into a nearby field. After a long search, she was found, here eyes covered with sand and dust that left her with a gradual loss of sight. Rumours also circulated that Vanga was blinded and received her prophetic powers after she was struck by lightning.
2. She made her first prediction aged 16
In 1925, Vanga was taken to school for the blind in the city of Zemun in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, where she spent three years learning to read Braille, playing the piano, knitting, cooking and cleaning. After her stepmother died, she returned home to take care of her younger siblings, and the family lived in poverty. Aged 16, she correctly predicted the outcome of a local political election, which marked the beginning of her journey as a clairvoyant.
3. She was visited by various famous political leaders
As Vanga’s reputation grew, she attracted believers who desired her ability to heal and soothsay. For instance, during World War Two, Yugoslavia was invaded and dismembered by the Axis powers and Strumica was annexed by Bulgaria, with the ensuing political turmoil meaning that people visited Vanga to find out whether their relatives were alive, and so on.
After the war, Bulgarian politicians and leaders from different Soviet Republics visited her, including, reportedly, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev.
4. Her predictions were often politically motivated
Vanga used her predictions to support various political causes. For instance, she reportedly predicted the end of communism in Bulgaria and the reunification of Germany, as well as the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The latter prediction particularly helped to cement her reputation as a gifted seer.
5. She was put on the state payroll
In 1966, Vanga’s popularity had reached fever pitch. As a result, the Bulgarian government put her on the state payroll. She was given two secretaries and a panel to interview potential patients. In addition, at this time the Institutes of Suggestology and Parapsychology in Sofia and Petrich began to study Vanga’s reported psychic abilities.
6. She predicted the 9/11 attacks and Brexit
It is claimed that Vanga predicted the 9/11 attacks, warning of a large-scale disaster in the US which would be caused by terrorists, using the terminology ‘the two steel birds’. She also reportedly predicted Brexit, which she referred to as the ‘fall of the European Union’. Furthermore, Vanga also warned of a wider political and economic crisis in Europe that would eventually lead to the break up of the EU.
7. Some have claimed that her accuracy stands at 80%
Several researchers have studied the phenomenon of Vanga in an attempt to more formally establish whether she possesses any extraordinary abilities. Bulgarian psychiatrists Nicola Shipkovensky and Georgi Lozanov have claimed that Vanga’s predictive abilities, particularly in terms of finding lost relatives and friends, are about 80% accurate. This claim is still open to debate.
8. It is thought many of her predictions are fabricated by others
Though many have claimed that Vanga’s predictions are accurate, it has been claimed by various people who were close to her that she never prophesied the sinking of the Russian submarine Kursk or the beginning of World War Three, as has been claimed. Some evidence has also been presented that Baba Vanga did not make many of the predictions now attributed to her; instead, people frequently fake prophecies that she supposedly had. The lack of a written record of her prophecies makes any prediction attributed to Vanga further difficult to prove.
9. Her house was turned into a museum
In the 1990s, a church was built in Rupite with the money given to her by her visitors. Vanga died in 1996 from breast cancer, and her funeral attracted large crowds. In her last will and testament, she requested that her house in Petrich be turned into a museum. It opened its doors in 2008 and is a popular attraction.
10. She made many significant predictions about 2023
Vanga made some significant predictions about 2023. She stated that it would be the year that capitalism ended, a new world order would rise and a new source of energy would be discovered.