Dead seer’s predictions promoted in News online has published an item extolling the predictions of Bulgarian ‘seer’ Evangelia ‘Vanga’ Dimitrova.

The story, written by Marnie O’Neill, describes the blind mystic “who reportedly foretold 9/11, the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, the Fukushima nuclear spill and the birth of ISIS also made dire predictions for 2016 and beyond”. Why the story has been published now is unclear – there is no anniversary of her birth (January 1911) or death (August 1996), though the supposed predictions about ISIS may give it some currency. However, fake ‘predictions’ attributed to her have made it into tabloid media before; because written records of what she said are hard to get by, we can’t tell if any of the current reports are even legit.

“Bulgaria-born Prophetess Baba Vanga,” the story continues, “who died in 1996 aged 85, was known as ‘the Nostradamus of the Balkans’ thanks to a purported 85 per cent success rate and has long been revered in Russia and Europe as a kind of supernatural saint.”

That success rate goes against the results Australian Skeptics have tallied of the New Year predictions by local ‘psychics’ published in their own industry publications.

“Over the last eight years or so, our local ones have only achieved about five per cent accuracy, and even that is for pretty obvious or general predictions,” says Richard Saunders, former president of Australian Skeptics Inc, who has made a study of assessing the predictions as published in the Australian Psychics Directory and elsewhere.

If the description of Vanga as a Balkan Nostradamus is valid, then like her 16th century French counterpart, her predictions would be subject to cherry picking and variable translations and interpretations depending on the times. Vanga was illiterate or semi-literate, and she apparently did not write any books herself, with staff members financed by the Bulgarian government capturing what she allegedly said.

Those of Vanga’s predictions quoted seem to all be apocalyptic visions of the future of the world – particularly Europe – and even Mars, where a war will break out in 3005 and change the trajectory of the planet.

On a more positive note, she predicted that in 2028 mankind will fly to Venus to search for new sources of energy (she must not have seen the toxic and corrosive atmosphere of the planet) and that by 2130 civilisations will live underwater with the help of aliens. Finally, though, in 3797 everything on Earth will have died and civilisation will move to a new star system.

Update 8/12/15: Channel TEN’s The Project took a nice stab at debunking this story on their 8 December program – skip to about 17:45 to watch the segment which features Richard Saunders, and a psychic who describes Vanga as ‘phenomenal’.

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