Baba Vanga

Baba Vanga

I have no idea if Baba Vanga had a special talent. It appears that some of her predictions were accurate and others were not. I am convinced that she believed in the revelations that came to her. The following are excerpts taken from Wikipedia. The paragraph in Bold toward the end of this post is particularly interesting:

In her childhood, Vangelia was an ordinary child with brown eyes and blonde hair. Her father was an Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization activist, conscripted into the Bulgarian Army during World War I, and her 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 annexed by Serbia. The Serbian authorities arrested the father, because of his pro-Bulgarian activity. They confiscated all his property and the family fell into poverty for many years. Vanga was considered intelligent for her age. Her inclinations started to show up when she herself thought out games and loved playing “healing” – she prescribed some herbs to her friends, who pretended to be ill. Her father, being a widower, eventually remarried, thus providing a stepmother to his daughter.

According to her own testimony, a turning point in her life occurred when a ‘tornado’ allegedly lifted her into the air and threw her in 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. This resulted in a gradual loss of sight.

In 1925 Vanga was brought to a school for the blind in the city of Zemun, in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, where she spent three years, and was taught to read Braille, play the piano, as well as do knitting, cooking, and cleaning. After the death of her stepmother she had to go back home to take care of her younger siblings. Her family was very poor, and she had to work all day.

In 1939 Vanga contracted pleurisy, although it remained largely inactive for some years. The doctor’s opinion was that she would die soon, but she quickly recovered.

During World War II, Strumica was ceded to Bulgaria. At that time Vanga attracted believers in her ability to heal and soothsay – a number of people visited her, hoping to get a hint about whether their relatives were alive, or seeking for the place where they died. On 8 April 1942 the Bulgarian tzar Boris III visited her.

On 10 May 1942, Vanga married Dimitar Gushterov, a Bulgarian soldier from the village of Krandzhilitsa near Petrich, who had come asking for the killers of his brother, but had to promise her not to seek revenge.

She continued to be visited by dignitaries and commoners. After the Second World War, Bulgarian politicians and leaders from different Soviet Republics, including Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev, sought her counsel; in the 1990s, a church was built in Rupite by Bogdan Tomalevski with money left by her visitors. Vanga died on 11 August 1996 from breast cancer. Her funeral attracted large crowds, including many dignitaries.

Vanga was semi-literate in Bulgarian; she could read some Braille in Serbian, as she learned in Zemun. She did not write any books herself. What she said or allegedly said had been captured by staff members. Later, numerous esoteric books on Vanga’s life and predictions were written.

Sources such as The Weiser Field Guide to the Paranormal claim that she foretold the break-up of the Soviet Union, the Chernobyl disaster, the date of Stalin’s death, the sinking of the Russian submarine Kursk, the September 11 attacksTopalov‘s victory in the world chess tournament, the tensions with North Korea. On the other hand, Bulgarian sources say that the people who were close to herclaim that she never prophesied about Kursk or other subjectscirculating the Internet, and that many of the myths about Vanga are simply not true, which ultimately hurts and crudely misrepresents her and her work.

In early August 1976, Yugoslav actress and singer Silvana Armenulić was on tour in Bulgaria and decided to meet with Baba Vanga. The meeting was unpleasant. Vanga only sat and stared out a window with her back to Silvana. She did not speak. After a long time, Vanga finally spoke: “Nothing. You do not have to pay. I do not want to speak with you. Not now. Go and come back in three months.” As Silvana turned around and walked towards the door, Vanga said: “Wait. In fact, you will not be able to come. Go, go. If you can come back in three months, do so.” Silvana took this as confirmation that she would die and left Vanga’s home in tears. Armenulić died two months later, 10 October 1976, in a car crash with her sister Mirjana.

Vanga incorrectly predicted that the 1994 FIFA World Cup Final would be played between “two teams beginning with B”. One finalist was Brazil, but Bulgaria was eliminated by Italy in the semifinals. However, the name of the Italian team in the Italian language is known as gli Azzurri (the Blues), which starts with a “B” in English. According to The National, Vanga predicted that World War III would start in November 2010 and last until October 2014. Witnesses and close friends also claim that she never made such prophecies, and in fact when asked, claimed that there will be no World War III.

Vanga purportedly predicted another “realm of being”, claiming that entire cultures would begin to spread through a “false world”. She claimed that in 2003, any person would be able to think in synchronicity with others, allowing for a form of secondary existence.

Followers of Vangabelieve that she predicted the precise date of her own death, dreaming that she would die on 11 August, and be buried on 13 August. Shortly before that she had said that a ten-year-old blind girl living in France was to inherit her gift, and that people would soon hear about her.

In 1989, she predicted an attack on the United States:

Horror, horror! The American brothers will fall after being attacked by the steel birds. The wolves will be howling in a bush, and innocent blood will be gushing.

— Predicted in 1989 by Baba Vanga

Another prediction attributed to her is that the 44th President of the United States would be the country’s last Commander-in-chief. While Donald Trump‘s inauguration in 2017 has seemingly debunked this prediction, although Trump is technically the 44th person to occupy the office – due to the fact that both the 22nd and 24th presidency were occupied by Grover Cleveland. Vanga’s supporters also claimed that she predicted the 45th president will be with a “messianic personality”, who will be faced with a crisis that eventually “brings the country down”.

Baba Vanga also predicted shadow people to E.T’s or in more accurate terms Dijnns. Some evidence has also been presented that Baba Vanga did not make many of the predictions now attributed to her, but rather people frequently attribute new fake “prophecies” to her since her death, and the lack of a written record of her prophecies, makes any prediction attributed to her difficult to disprove.”

The Problem with Labels

The Problem with Labels

I have a problem with political labels. One common question I often get is: “Are you a “Conservative” or are you a “Liberal”?”. I have a real problem with the question. I know folks that consider themselves a “Conservative”, but who are very pro the environment (usually considered a more Liberal leaning). I know folks who others consider themselves to be a “Liberal”, but who are more fiscally conservative than many of my “Conservative” friends.

My experience is that most folks have opinions that vary regardless of their political affiliation. A Republican can recognize that climate change is a reality and a Democrat can espouse capitalism as a valuable approach to a stable and efficient economy. My point is that just because a person identifies with a label like Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Liberal or Progressive it is a fallacy to believe that you know where they stand on a specific issue. Unlike our elected representatives, individuals have the freedom to call it like they see it and do not feel compelled to tow a “party line”.

I find it interesting that there is quite a difference in the number of registered voters by party when compared to the opinion polls. Altogether, there are 31 states (plus the District of Columbia) with party registration; in the others, such as Virginia, voters register without reference to party. In 19 states and the District, there are more registered Democrats than Republicans. In 12 states, there are more registered Republicans than Democrats. In aggregate, 40% of all voters in party registration states are Democrats, 29% are Republicans, and 28% are independents. Nationally, the Democratic advantage in the party registration states approaches 12 million.

Otherwise, an opinion poll indicates different results. As of December 2019, Gallup polling found that 28% of Americans identified as Democrat, 28% identified as Republican, and 41% as Independent. 

My opinion is that labels are dangerous and not helpful to our country. They tend to promote dissension and polarization. At a time when we need to come together to resolve important issues like Healthcare, the Budget, Infrastructure, and Climate Change we need to put aside labels and focus on Resurrecting Respect for our country.

Free at Last

Free at Last

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ governor says he will commute the sentence of a woman convicted more than three decades ago of fatally shooting her husband, who had physically abused her. Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday announced his intent to make Willie Mae Harris immediately eligible for parole. Harris was convicted in 1985 of first-degree murder in the shooting death of her husband. Harris admitted to shooting her husband, but has said it was an accident related to self-defense.

Harris is legally blind, and the state Parole Board has recommended she receive clemency several times over the years. Charged with first-degree murder of her husband and offered a plea deal – 20 years – out in 13 for good behavior, Willie refused to admit to a crime she did not commit – a position she maintains today even after serving 34 years behind bars.

Mike Masterson, an award-winning journalist and friend has been a vocal activist for the release of Willie Mae Harris and his efforts have finally been rewarded. Portions of a recent Masterson column follow:

Undrea “Gem” Jones, a Dance To Be Free program instructor and returning citizen from the women’s McPherson/Hawkins incarceration units, recently wrote on social media that inmate Willie Mae Harris deserves clemency.

Here’s Jones’ poignant message: “I know the beautiful woman personally and I watched her go blind, heard her cries for help from medical officials when she still had sight in both her eyes. This went on for at least 12 years.

“Then it was myself and other inmates who took care of her necessities such as feeding her and guiding her to the bathroom and shower. It was a constant struggle with the Department of Corrections to get her anything to assist her. Yet this woman never lost her hope and she kept pressing on.

“What justice will be gained by letting Miss Willie Harris die in prison?”

The personable Jones asks a valid question. I’ve raised a voice on Miss Willie’s behalf, for one reason: It is clearly the merciful, decent and compassionate thing to do for a 72-year-old grandmother whose conviction (much like that of former inmate Belynda Goff of Green Forest) was riddled with inadequacies and uncalled witnesses. Plus, she has served more than enough time while suffering terrible personal agony behind bars.

This gentle lady insists, even all these years later, that she sincerely loved her late husband despite the enormous abuses he continually inflicted on her, and never intended to kill him during a heated argument in bed at their home in Bradley in 1985.

I can’t imagine life behind bars for years, losing sight, then having to rely on the compassion of other inmates simply to work through every day. I also can’t believe a man with the demonstrated integrity and empathy of our governor would continue to insist she remain in such a place until she dies.

While on the subject, I also wanted to share a copy of a letter to our governor dated Jan. 29. It was written on Willie’s behalf by financier John Logan of Blytheville. His sentiments likely express those of many Arkansas citizens.

“I read the article by Mike Masterson and was compelled to write you. I am appealing to you to grant her mercy and grant her clemency. She is one of the ones that’s fallen through the cracks of our system and needs help.

“The Parole Board has recommended five times that she be released from prison, and five times she was denied by Governor Huckabee and Governor Beebe. After hearing everything about her and the good she has done for others in prison, I feel that it is our duty to help this poor woman.

“Shakespeare wrote:

The quality of mercy is not strain’d

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

“Please have mercy on Willie Mae Harris and grant her clemency. You will be blessed and the people of Arkansas will be too.”

Well said, John Logan, and thanks for reminding us that the Bard realized the divine nature of mercy.

This particular quote was enough to send me on a bit of research to see what other thoughtful folks over time have had to say about the nature of mercy. Here’s a bit of what I discovered that applies to all our lives together.

Abraham Lincoln, during a conversation with former colleague Joseph Gillespie in 1864, is reported to have said: “I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.”

This is not the only cause that Mike has taken on that has yielded positive results. Kudos go out to him, keep on fighting the good fight.

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Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist, was editor of three Arkansas dailies and headed the master’s journalism program at Ohio State University. Email him at mmasterson@arkansasonline.com.

Editorial on 02/11/2020