The Balkan Nostradamus
Our pale blue dot has orbited its sun once again and people around the world are once again curious about what events the new year will bring. It would be nice, if we could satisfy our desire to know what the future will bring. But can we know what happens in the future, before it happens?
According to people who believe in prophets and prophecies, we can.
In this blogpost, I’m going to put my attention on one prophet. You may already have stumbled upon her on social media or the tabloid press, especially around New Year’s Eve, when some newspapers bring articles about her.
Her name is “Baba Vanga”, which is Bulgarian and translates to “Grandmother Vanga”.
Vanga was an old blind woman who died almost 22 years ago. She is said to have had healing powers and the ability to see into the future. She allegedly lost her sight and got her powers after she was hit by a storm as a child.
It is often claimed that her predictions either are 80% or 85% accurate, according to research. The “research” is of course nowhere to be found, but I think that it is safe to say that, if it exists, it isn’t the best research, since it comes from the Institute of Suggestology and Parapsychology, and not from peer-reviewed scientific journals.
The research is mentioned on this website/blog that claims to pass on information given by Baba Vanga. The information primarily comes from newspapers, books and websites. The blog mentions that the research consists of feedback from 7000 people, who visited Baba Vanga and were asked if the predictions they got from her came true later. In other words, the research is based on anecdotes about psychic readings, which leaves it open to all kinds of biases, like confirmation bias.
I wanted to find a complete list of all of Vanga’s predictions, so I could examine (1) how they are articulated and (2) how many hits and misses there are. But it appears that she never wrote anything down herself. All she said, or allegedly said, originates from other people. So there is a lot of room for people to just make up their own prophecies and attribute them to Vanga. This also means that it is impossible to examine the prophecies thoroughly. Although I wasn’t able to find a complete list of her prophecies, I found a list with a few of her predictions (or at least predictions attributed to her), so I have some material to examine.
“All of the gold will appear on the surface of the planet, but water will hide. Water will become more expensive than the black gold, and one day it will disappear. Those that are alive will eat and drink in golden utensils, but there won´t be water.”
This is one of the predictions listed on the blog. As you can see, it is a very vague prediction and makes little sense, so you can easily make it fit different events.
What about interpreting it as water becoming scarce, so that only wealthy people can afford it?
Or that water is going to disappear in some areas, which will leave metal on the surface?
Those are both things that are happening at the moment. Water is scarce in some regions and therefore valuable, and areas like the Aral Sea has lost a lot of its water, leaving a lot of metal on the surface.
I will recommend that you try to make the mentioned prediction or another prediction from the list fit some of the things that are happening in the world, to see how easy it is to let confirmation bias kick in. You could even make a game out of it with a friend. Who can make a Vanga prediction fit most current and/or historic events?
But what about the predictions that have allegedly come true?
As I mentioned above, there is no way to verify that predictions actually came from Baba Vanga, so it is possible that some of them are made up by people after the event occurred. But let us look at them anyway.
“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.”
People often say that this is a prediction about 9/11. The “American brethren” are the towers, the “steel birds” are the planes, the “bush” is literally President Bush, and the “innocent blood” are the victims.
But when you think about it, this is actually a vague prediction. The American brethren can mean anything American. The steel birds can be interpreted as anything that is made of metal or that can fly (if, of course, we look besides the fact that most planes are made of aluminum and not steel). And the “Bush” is just grasping at straws.
“A huge wave will cover a big coast covered with people and towns, and everything will disappear beneath the water.”
This is often interpreted as the tsunami that struck South-East Asia on December 26, 2004. This prediction is even more vague than the 9/11 prediction. It fits all the flood-related disasters that can happen near a coast. You don’t have to be psychic to tell people that a flood disaster will come somewhere on the planet in the future, because they happen all the time.
ISIS and Brexit
Some of the predictions that people don’t often mention are about World War 3 and its consequences, which should have started in 2010. The war should have resulted in the depopulation of Europe by nuclear and chemical warfare by 2016. Muslims should have joined the war and invaded Europe by 2016.
I can’t find the original text of the prediction, but people often refer to “Europe will cease to exist” and “wasteland” when talking about the prophecies about Europe and WW3. The prophecies about a Muslim invasion of Europe were popular in 2015, when ISIS still had a lot of territory. The theory was that ISIS would invade Europe. This theory has lost popularity, probably due to the decline of ISIS’s power, but people haven’t forgotten about the prophecy. Now they instead claim that the quote “Europe will cease to exist” was a prediction about Brexit.
The predictions for 2018 are very specific. China will become a superpower and a new form of energy will be discovered on Venus. I can’t find the original text of the 2018 predictions, but I would say that based on the data and previous predictions, that the predictions for 2018 are either made up by other people or vague enough to fit all kinds of events.