She was feted as the 20th century’s answer to Nostradamus, a blind seer with the apparent gift of predicting world-historical events. But just how accurate were the proclamations of Bulgarian prophetess Baba Vanga?
There was certainly no shortage of believers while she was alive. Many people, from ordinary folk to dignitaries like Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, sought her counsel. However, making a precise assessment of her talents is tricky, since many of the predictions attributed to her are based on second-hand accounts that are difficult to verify. That said, there are some aspects of Baba Vanga lore that are particularly widely reported, and which still hold an eerie appeal today.
Some of Baba Vanga’s more apocalyptic visions – such as World War Three commencing in 2010 – have fortunately not come true. However, one of the most widely cited predictions relates to the terrorist attacks of September 11 (which Nostradamus it is claimed also predicted).
'Horror, horror!' she reportedly said in 1989. '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.'
According to true believers, the 'steel birds' refer to the hijacked planes, while the 'American brethren are the Twin Towers. It’s also striking that she uses the word 'bush'. This may be interpreted as a reference to then-President George W. Bush, who would lead the 'wolves' of American military might in the retaliatory War on Terror.
2. The Kurk disaster
In August 2000, the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk sank in the Barents Sea. It was a devastating accident which killed all 118 crew members on board and made headlines around the globe. But did Baba Vanga predict the calamity?
It seems so, if one of her most widely-reported statements is true. Way back in 1980, she allegedly predicted that, in August 1999, Kursk would be 'covered with water and the whole world will weep over it'. While she was referring here to the Russian city of Kursk, and was one year out, the parallels are undeniably uncanny.
3. The rise of Barack Obama and Donald Trump
Many of Baba Vanga’s predictions involved politics, and she reportedly prophesied that the 44th US president would be a Black man. Sure enough, Barack Obama would take over from George W. Bush as the 44th leader of the free world.
What’s more, she appears to have foreseen the evolution of the so-called culture war, and the emergence of Donald Trump as Obama’s successor in a time of cultural tumult. According to an undated statement, 'Everyone will put their hopes in him [Trump?] to end it, but the opposite will happen. He will bring the country down and conflicts between north and south states will escalate.'
This has a sinister resonance, given that many commentators are now warning the incendiary differences between US conservatives and progressives over hot-button issues like race, abortion and guns may lead the nation to a new civil war.
4. The assassination of Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi, who served as prime minister of India in the early 1980s, was one of the most significant and controversial political figures of her time. In 1984, she ordered a military attack on the Golden Temple, the holiest site in Sikhism. In October of that year, she was shot dead by two of her Sikh bodyguards, in an apparent act of revenge.
Many years before, in 1969, Baba Vanga had a vision of Gandhi, saying 'The dress will destroy her. I see an orange-yellow dress in the smoke and fire.' On the fateful day the bodyguards opened fire, Indira Gandhi was indeed wearing a saffron-hued saree.
5 Her own death
One popular story circulated about Baba Vanga is that she accurately predicted the date of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s death. This has been debunked by some commentators, but it seems she did predict her own death date.
That’s according to an interview from 1990, when she reportedly pointed to August 11, 1996, as the day she would shuffle off this mortal coil. That was indeed the case. But, as with all aspects of Baba Vanga lore, the precise facts about what this mysterious and fascinating woman did or didn’t say are likely to remain lost in a fog of folklore, forevermore.