Warehouse E

Forboding Visions

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Strange Sixteenth Century Prophet Mother Shipton

By James Donahue

Mother Shipton was a mysterious and possibly mythological figure who reportedly lived in England from 1488 to 1561, at about the same time that the famed French prophet Nostradamus was alive. Like Nostradamus, Mother Shipton had visions of future events that were recorded in verse.

Unlike Nostradamus, however, Mother Shipton's verses are not camouflaged in vague reference. Anyone who reads her verse gets a clear understanding of her visions.

For example, the following verse is an accurate depiction of the world as we currently see it:

For then shall mighty wars be planned

And fire and sword shall sweep the land.

When pictures seem alive with movements free (television)

When boats like fishes swim beneath the sea (submarines),

When men like birds shall scour the sky (aircraft)

then half the world, deep drenched in blood shall die.

Another verse:

Carriages without horses shall go (cars),

And accidents fill the world with woe.

Around the world thoughts shall fly (telecommunications)

In the twinkling of an eye . . .

Under water men shall walk (divers)

Shall ride, shall sleep and talk; (submersible technology)

In the air men shall be seen (aircraft)

In white, in black and in green (airline color schemes)

Iron in the water shall float (iron steamships)

As easy as a wooden boat.

Who was Mother Shipton? According to the legend, she was born Ursula Sonthiel, the result of an illicit union between a 15-year-old girl and the devil, at Yorkshire, England, in 1488. She was described as an extremely ugly baby with a very large head, large nose, great goggling but sharp and fiery eyes.

Other accounts say that Mother Shipton was a real woman who married a carpenter, Toby Shipton, and they lived in Knaresborough. Because she used her psychic abilities to help many people, she became affectionately known as Mother Shipton. She never had any children of her own.

It was said she wrote her prophetic verses on paper, but they were not published until after her death. By that time, many of her visions of the future had already occurred, thus it was believed that her story and her prophecies was all a hoax

For example she lived at the time of King Henry VIII and predicted his victory over France in 1513 in what became known as the Battle of the Spurs. She also predicted the Dissolution of the Monasteries which led to the redistribution of the wealth and the land to the emerging middle class.

Another famous prediction was that Cardinal Wolsey would see York, but never go to it. In 1530 Cardinal Wolsey was traveling to York, and before arriving he climbed a tower and saw the town in the distance. At that moment he received a message from the king, ordering his return to London. He died on the way, thus fulfilling the Shipton prophecy.

Some believe the story of Mother Shipton and all of the prophetic verses were created by Charles Hindley, the editor of the first edition of her published verses, which appeared in print in 1862. They say the existence of Mother Shipton also is unclear since her biographer, Richard Head, was said to have invented most of the details of her life.

Nevertheless, as shown above, there are some uncannily accurate visions in those verses about our contemporary world, which neither Shipton nor Hindley could have foreseen in the time they lived. And if these are accurate images of future events, what can we say about the verses that look beyond our present existence?

What is frightening about the Shipton verses is that they appear to predict terrible events that nearly cause the complete extinction of the human race. She sees but a remnant of humanity surviving and beginning everything all over. The following lines speak of a dragon's tail that passes through the sky, causing mass destruction of mankind through floods, earthquakes and extreme changes on the planet.

This does not appear to be a reference to a devil or a Christian God who brings judgment, but rather an image of something natural, possibly sent by “angry gods” who choose to wipe out humanity because of the way people are living. It is almost as if she is seeing a close encounter with a large object like another planet or perhaps a large asteroid that enters our solar system and makes several passes, each time getting closer to Earth and creating more and more havoc until at the end, the planet as we know it is destroyed.

She wrote:

Man flees in terror from the floods

And kills, and rapes and lies in blood

And spilling blood by mankind's hands

Will stain and bitter many lands

And when the dragon's tail is gone,

Man forgets, and smiles, and carries on

to apply himself – too late, too late

For mankind has earned deserved fate.

His masked smile – his false grandeur,

Will serve the Gods their anger stir

And they will send the Dragon back

To light the sky – his tail will crack

Upon the earth and rend the earth

And man shall flee, King, Lord, and serf.

But slowly they are routed out

To seek diminishing water spout

And men will die of thirst before

The oceans rise to mount the shore.

And lands will crack and rend anew

You think it strange. It will come true.

And in some far off distant land

Some men – oh such a tiny band

Will have to leave their solid mount

And spant the earth, those few to count,

Who survives this (unreadable) and then

Begin the human race again.

But not on land already there

But on ocean beds, stark, dry and bare

Not every soul on Earth will die

As the Dragon's tail goes sweeping by.

Not every land on earth will sink

But these will wallow in stench and stink

Of rotting bodies of beast and man

Of vegetation crisped on land.

But the land that rises from the sea

Will be dry and clean and soft and free

Of mankind's dirt and therefore be

The source of man's new dynasty.