Friday, November 26, 2010

Transcending the Shackles of Skepticism

"Impossible things are happening every day."
~ Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella

I realize updates to this fledgling blog have been far too few and far between, but now that my whirlwind Fall conference schedule has settled down, I intend to shift that in the weeks and months to come. And I will soon give everyone a glimpse into just what I have been presenting at recent conferences in Los Angeles, Portland and San Diego.

I have to say that it has been particularly gratifying that the attentive conference audiences so far claim to have heard very little about Mother Shipton prior to my seminars, if anything at all. This just motivates me to get more information out online as quickly as possible, and yes, I will continue my speaking schedule too.

I am particularly looking forward to presenting at the Los Angeles Conscious Life Expo in February, where many of the top prophecy researchers and spiritual authors in the world present keynotes and panels every year. No, I'm not doing a keynote or panel (not this year anyway ;-), but having the opportunity to speak (a good time slot too - 7 PM Friday, Feb. 11) is like being Cinderella at the Ball. I guess I'll just thank my "Fairy Godmother" Shipton as my inspirational muse. And I can only begin to imagine the "glass slippers" I may scatter about, ready to be discovered by the "royalty" in attendance.

Visit for a continually updated 2011 event schedule, including details on the Los Angeles event, scheduled appearances at Body Mind Spirit Expos in March in Seattle and April in Portland, upcoming magazine articles, and much more to come...

And now I would like to address the topic of this blog entry, a topic that has already come up at my presentations to date ~ Transcending the Shackles of Skepticism.

I think it could be quite successfully argued that few historical prophetic figures have been impacted more by skepticism than Mother Shipton, to the point of confident declarations that she never existed at all.

I must admit that I was quite surprised to pick up Sharan Newman's popular new book The Real History of the End of the World (2010) just to discover a preface in which the author states Mother Shipton was "invented by a journalist in the eighteenth century", calling the Mother Shipton phenomenon a "franchise" of concocted prophecies, then boldly stating "There never was a Mother Shipton", with no references cited or further exploration of the possibility.

If Mother Shipton was concocted in the eighteenth century, then one wonders why a nobleman named Viscount Scudamore had the following among letters written to him, this one dated Sept. 6, 1666, regarding the infamous Fire of London: "The city abandoned to the fire and thousands believing in Mother Shipton's prophecy" (as surfaced through the exhaustive research of British historian Dr. Arnold Kellett).

And when a prince watching the fire casually mentioned "Shipton’s prophecy was out" (as reported by Samual Pepsys - a historical reference cited in multiple sources, including Kellett's work), it’s clear this legendary seer’s words were common knowledge of the time, the Shipton name needing nary an introduction. Once again I must applaud Dr. Arnold Kellett for having the courage and tenacity to dig for information others have casually dismissed. And I intend to do much the same.

To be fair, however, it is true that quite a convincing case can be made for many prophecies being concocted in the name of Mother Shipton, something multiple writers have chosen to point out, including one author in particular with a very real motive to calm the populace in 1881 (the year people were panicking over a prophecy attributed to Mother Shipton regarding the end of the world). Many of the prophecies thought to be fraudulent are often dismissed so quickly that most researchers don't even bother to give them a second glance. I'm not so easily diverted.

And it is also true that unless we can travel back in time, what this likely illiterate commonwoman actually did say may never be known with certainty. Indeed it is almost impossible to prove definitively the existence of any number of historical figures or what they actually said. Mother Shipton was not a noblewoman, nor was she a scholar or prolific writer like Nostradamus. One must look at just how strong a case for her existence can be put together from the historical evidence we do have (and it is not lacking in strength).

Yet how does one actually go about proving beyond a doubt that someone of such influential impact (impact which can indeed be proven) did NOT exist at all? Where is THAT evidence? People have been dismissing Mother Shipton for centuries. Part of the problem is that it is true one particularly controversial writer, Richard Head, someone who might be considered a tabloid journalist in the 1600's, made up fantastic stories about Mother Shipton to accentuate her witch-like attributes. Many things written about Mother Shipton can certainly be cast in significant doubt, nor is it likely she said all the things many have attributed to her. But that doesn't mean one must be obliged to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Indeed it is within the mysterious landscape surrounding Mother Shipton that the true prize is to be found, and I admire Dr. Arnold Kellett for dedicating ten years of his life to search for substantial information instead of quickly succumbing to the skepticism of so many of his colleagues. There must have been some merit to his work, as he was awarded the Bramley History Prize for his efforts, as well as other formal recognitions. I don't necessarily find every one of his assumptions or conclusions to be open and shut cases, but some of them are quite compelling. His work has motivated me to dig even further in certain areas, and I actually wanted to ask him some questions, just to sadly discover he passed away last year. You can learn more about Dr. Kellett's in-depth research in his book Mother Shipton: Witch and Prophetess (2002).

Why can unhindered skepticism shackle the truth? Because it often slams the door shut on honest inquiry before inquiry even begins. How many timid discoverers have been hindered by the unabashed mockery of colleagues? Science is filled with examples of those bold enough to persevere through that skeptical smokescreen to paradigm altering truths. It really is unfortunate that the process of academic and scientific discovery (far beyond anything having to do with Mother Shipton) has so often been hampered by the outright hostility of skeptics, who don't even want certain doors to be opened. One wonders just what they are so very afraid to discover beyond those doors?

As a person who chooses to balance spirituality with science (as I actually believe they will some day be definitively proven to converge), I choose not to be shackled by the chains of skepticism. Even so, I aim to present a balanced case, one that will unflinchingly explore and discuss what many skeptics have had to say and also ask the questions perhaps they never dared to contemplate. At times, I'll play "skeptic's advocate" myself, coming up with every possible way of looking at what is in the historical record, including the skeptical point of view.

The reality of my own spirituality frees me to look at Mother Shipton in some ways historians (and so-called "rationalists") might not choose to pursue at all, just because they presume certain things about the nature of reality, presumptions that are not necessarily a given. But my firmly grounded scientific background also allows me to explore the logic of each and every conclusion skeptics have made, what references and evidence they cite, and yes, also acknowledge when they have a good point.

Stay tuned for much more to come in 2011, including audio and video excerpts from recent conference appearances, as well as a substantial boost in the content of The detail to be provided online regarding Mother Shipton will be at a depth far beyond what will appear in my upcoming book on prophetesses in general (due out later in 2011) - The Prophetess Legacy ~ Feminine Voices of the Divine. Although books have their merits, "electric avenue" is where the real game of information exchange is heading, and nothing can compete with its progressive, interactive immediacy.

The last few months have taught me that no matter how busy I become, I must not allow myself to become distracted from "electric avenue" again. Mother Shipton's mysterious voice clamors for expression here. It will not wait much longer.

~ Susan Larison Danz

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Intuitive Discovery, the "End of the World" & the Remarkable Events of 1881

"Intuition blazes the trail for reason to follow."
~ Susan Larison Danz

The path to discovery has always involved the guidance of intuition. In a previous entry, I mentioned that I choose to call myself "an intuitive researcher". I am not the first person to use that term, and I truly do believe intuition plays a part in ALL research.

But I would like to suggest that intuition has not often been acknowledged in its proper place ~ hand in hand with the "rationalism" so many researchers choose to elevate alone. In truth, reason and intuition work in concert together, and when we surrender to the intuitive process, it is then that we make the quantum leaps of discovery for reason to validate.

Indeed it is then when we progress the state of reason itself, by redefining what is truly "reasonable" and "rational", a standard that evolves over time with each new discovery about the nature of the reality around us. Those of us courageous enough to venture outside the box, choosing to research and analyze evidence of spiritual phenomena, know that reality is far richer than many choose to consider.

In this blog entry, I will summarize and discuss the process of discovery related to my research into the 1881 "world-ending" prophecy associated with legendary 16th century prophetess Mother Shipton.

The alleged prophecy is a very simple one on the surface, yet perhaps one of the most complex in its analysis:

"The world to an end shall come
In eighteen hundred and eighty one."

When I first began to read about the "failed" and "forged" prophecy of 1881 associated with Mother Shipton, I decided to take a novel approach. Instead of viewing this prophecy as an open and shut case of fraud or failure, as almost everyone does, I found myself almost immediately exploring what actually DID occur in 1881.

My own spiritual foundation has taught me that visionary experiences are not quite as well-defined as many people like to assume. I am quite aware that it is possible for someone to remotely view a likely event across time without having the faintest idea of what is actually being observed.

Rather than repeat all that has already been written up in a very detailed analysis, I will refer you to the Prophecies section of my web site ~ the August 11, 2010 entry entitled "A Star Falls, Winds Rage & Fear Rules: The World-Ending 1881 Prophecy Examined Anew".

To clarify the high level of detail on the web site, I will summarize all the events that occurred in or around 1881 that could be interpreted as "the end of the world" by a remote observer, whether it was Mother Shipton herself or ANYONE who may have first uttered the words of the prophecy.

On the web site, I also address in detail whether or not this prophecy could be forged by the 19th century writer Charles Hindley. He is said to have later admitted to fabricating the prophecy he recorded in a book he published in 1862, where this prophecy first appeared in print. He originally claimed to have found the prophecies in the British Museum, then was said to have retracted that claim in 1873, as the prophecy began to gain more notareity.

There is no way of knowing with 100% certainty if this prophecy was indeed forged. All we CAN know is what actually did occur in 1881, based on the verifiable historical record. Many in Yorkshire were indeed looking for "the end of the world" in 1881 due to the prophecy, resulting in considerable dismay and unrest, but of course the end never did arrive. Because of the prophecy's "failure", long forgotten appear to be the actual events of that year...until now.

The "Mother Shipton Meteorite" of March 1881 ~ A rare meteorite fell to Earth in Yorkshire on March 14, 1881, with "thunder-like" and "roaring" sounds announcing its arrival, heard far from its final resting place in Middlesbrough, with one report within 30 miles of Knaresborough. Its landing was witnessed by railway workers, who then recovered the stone.

There is an unusual mystery associated with this stone, which still resides in the Yorkshire Museum. Etched into the rock appears to some observers to be an eerie image reminiscent of a classic Mother Shipton drawing from long ago, something we will examine more later.

To my knowledge, the March 1881 Yorkshire meteorite has never before been associated with Mother Shipton or the prophecy of 1881. I believe I am the first to suggest that relationship.

But we will leave the intriguing mystery of the meteorite aside for now and briefly discuss what ELSE of significance occurred in 1881, not only in the United Kingdom, but throughout the Earth. Again, I refer you to the web site for more detail, as well as many links to resources providing historical validation.

The Violent Windstorm of October 1881 ~ One of the worst windstorms in the history of the U.K. struck the region, associated with significant waves on the Thames (sinking at least one tugboat), the downing of 30,000 trees, as well as the deadly Eyemouth Disaster in Scotland.

The Haiphong Taiphoon of September 1881 ~ The #3 deadliest storm EVER in the recorded history of the Earth killed 300,000 in Vietnam.

The Georgia/South Carolina Hurricane of August 1881 ~ The #6 deadliest hurricane and #9 deadliest natural disaster ever to strike the U.S. killed 700 people and inflicted severe damage on coastal communities.

The Khios earthquake of April 1881 ~ This 7.3 magnitude earthquake killed almost 8000 people near Turkey.

The Indian earthquake of December 1881 ~ This 7.9 magnitude earthquake was a precursor to the great Indonesian/Indian earthquake and tsunami of 2005.

The "Great Comet" of May 1881 ~ A very visible comet appeared in the Southern Hemisphere.

As I justify on the web site, just for good measure, I am listing a few events occurring in the vicinity of 1881, given the inexact nature of remote visionary experiences and the extreme severity of these events.

The Great Bombay Cyclone of June 1882 ~ The huge waves associated with this storm killed 100,000 people.

The "Great Comet" of September 1882 ~ This comet is still considered "perhaps the brightest comet that has ever been seen", bright enough to be seen in the daytime sky next to the sun.

The Eruption of Krakatau (aka Krakatoa) in May 1883 ~ Though a year and a half beyond 1881, this eruption is considered one of the most cataclysmic events ever to strike the Earth in recorded human history, resulting in huge tsunamis, disastrous pyroclastic flows and ash clouds, impacting the weather world-wide for a significant period afterwards.

I believe that all of these events present a case at the very least strong enough to convey that the period starting with 1881 was a time of significant Earth events, events powerful enough to attract the attention of a remote visionary, who might indeed interpret their appearance as "the end of the world". We may never know if it was Mother Shipton or Charles Hindley (or even someone else lost in history) who first surfaced this date. Some may insist it was no more than a "lucky guess" or a big "coincidence".

I personally was astounded to find as many disastrous events as I did, far more than I expected and of much greater severity, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if a few more surface over time. I did ignore a couple here and there near to 1881 which I may mention in the future - events such as a particularly severe tornado and huge hail stones reported by some to be 17 inches in diameter in Iowa in June 1882 (but that report is also disputed by others). Hail is actually significant in relation to another alleged Mother Shipton prophecy, something I will discuss in the future.

And now we will return to the mystery of what I have decided to call "The Mother Shipton Meteorite". It just so happens this was the very first unusual event of 1881 I discovered, despite it being arguably the most difficult one to find. I do believe intuition played a role in this process. As a person who has always had some interest in astronomy (and having reported a meteorite I observed falling in Oregon myself a couple years ago), I was for some reason initially very curious if any meteorites fell to the Earth in England in 1881. It also just so happens that this particular meteorite was in the news recently due to its rare composition, so it showed up quite readily when I began searching for meteorites in 1881 (quite a "coincidence" too).

Then of course I went searching for a non-copyrighted image I could use on my web site, and I was fortunate to find one on Wikimedia Commons, contributed by Dr. Svend Buhl with the note "Meteorite Recon" (available for distribution under a GNU Free Documentation License).
Something I noticed almost immediately due to my own familiarity with famous Mother Shipton drawings from history was the eerie etching on the stone resembling depictions of Mother Shipton herself. It just so happened this particular Mother Shipton drawing was one of the first I had obtained due to it ALSO being freely available on Wikimedia Commons. Indeed it has been on this blog and the web site for a while, long before I ever discovered the meteorite.

What an odd coincidence that the image would be oriented PRECISELY the same way as the natural groove marks on the meteorite? Did some cosmic forger have its way with the grooves on the stone? I'm sure it could be determined if an Earthly forger could have done so, but that seems highly unlikely given its natural appearance.

Yet still I underplay the significance of this observation since I know the "rationalists" among us will say it is simply a "coincidence", no different than the Mother Shipton moth, not to mention we will no doubt hear a discussion of how people see what they want to see, etc. Richard Crookes, the artist working with me on this project, saw other images in this view of the meteorite, including a horse and another rather difficult-to-see portrayal of a woman. Other photographs of the meteorite are under copyright, but even a view of a different side contains some rather unsual images, reminiscent of a game I played as a child (and repeated as a parent), in which you must make an image out of a random drawing.

For this reason, I personally have no problem with leaving this mystery in the eyes of the beholder. If you see nothing, that is your own personal perception. But others do indeed see something in this meteorite, and it is highly "coincidental" one such image would resemble a very famous depiction of Mother Shipton so precisely. And I would ask what the statistical likelihood might be that such a meteorite with such an image might fall in Yorkshire in 1881? Of all places and of all times? Very odd indeed...

And so the mystery begins...or perhaps we should say it continues, as mystery has always been a part of the Mother Shipton story, from the very beginning...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Journey to "Electric Avenue"

"We're gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we'll take it higher"
~ Eddy Grant

The above song randomly came on the radio the other day, as I contemplated publishing online some of the most interesting information I'm discovering about Mother Shipton, revered by some as one of the greatest prophetesses who ever lived, rejected by others as a myth.

Conventional wisdom might say I should wait to publish my book due out in 2011, The Prophetess Legacy ~ Feminine Voices of the Divine, a book about many prophetesses, including Mother Shipton.  But I'm not a conventional writer, nor do dollar signs dictate my every move.  I have been writing online for a very long time, and clearly that will continue (visit my other blog Building Bridges to the Dawn for a glimpse).

Anyone who chooses to study Mother Shipton in any serious way will soon discover it's not a straightforward task.  The internet is filled with inaccurate information, site after site after site, including Wikipedia.  And if you go to the effort to find books on Mother Shipton, including those written centuries ago, you will soon realize why.  People have been making up stories and/or misconstruing information about Mother Shipton for centuries, from the very first book known to be written about her, more than 100 years after what is thought to be the time of her death. 

Some authors have clearly had an agenda to discredit her; others have viewed her as a marketing opportunity, and still others have simply been misled. Like some age-old game of telephone, the stories keep repeating themselves in old and new ways, growing and growing and growing, to the point that many skeptics and serious scholars question whether this legendary Englishwoman ever existed at all.

It is the intent of my new web site (still under construction) to set the record straight, revealing some rather startling discoveries in the process, discoveries I feel can no longer wait.  This blog (also referenced from will discuss my research (still very much ongoing) and will welcome the questions, comments and insights of others. 

I have decided to call myself an "intuitive researcher".  With a background in both science and spirituality, I appreciate the art of consciously combining intuitive guidance with solid, logical detective work.  Indeed such historical detective work has ALWAYS involved some degree of intuition, whether the researchers have been aware of this or not, but I choose to document the process openly.  I listen very closely to intuitive clues and then logically follow where they lead.

I'm also not afraid to discuss the spiritual aspects of my life and my research openly, no matter how many times skeptics no doubt will choose to scoff.  If they can disprove my theories in a logical, methodical, statistically sound way, I welcome the input.  It is precisely such skeptics who wrote Mother Shipton off long ago, just because they didn't bother to separate the wheat from the chaff, the truth from the fraud.  They saw fraud, and many immediately wrote everything off as fraud. Yes, there is fraud in the historical record, no doubt about that, but there is also a fascinating trail of truth, if one chooses to take the time to follow it.

Many in the spiritual community already familiar with Mother Shipton will at first be disappointed (or reluctant to accept) that a number of historically-justifiable facts do indeed strongly suggest that Mother Shipton didn't actually say a great deal of what has been attributed to her, nor is everything written about her story likely to be true.  Even what has been said to be her name (often reported as Ursula Soothtell, Ursula Southeil, and many variations thereof) can be called into question, as can popular reports of her birthplace and heritage.  What we hope to discover is the REAL Mother Shipton, a Yorkshire woman of the 16th century whose voice yearns to be heard once and for all, in as accurate a fashion as realistically possible. 

And yet there is more...there is the mystery surrounding the words attributed to this woman, the mystery of their eerie prescience to the present day, and it is primarily because of the mystery I am here right now, writing spontaneously in this blog, not dutifully working on my book instead.  The mystery simply cannot wait, including how I have already managed to intuitively decipher some prophecies in entirely new, historically verifiable ways. Soon we will explore the mystery together...