Vanga's Mysterious Life Story - Part 2: Unhappy and Blind Youth
Vanga in her youth
At the age of 12, the young girl known as Vangelia was lifted up by a wind storm and thrown to the ground. People found her with her eyes filled with sand and dirt and she soon became blind. Soon after this, she began to exhibit an ability at foresight, at seeing into the future. She would eventually be called Baba Vanga. While “Baba” is often translated as “grandmother” or “old woman,” there are many who feel that it really means “wise woman.”

Read More: Vanga's Mysterious Life Story - Part 1: Childhood and Family

A sudden hurricane

It was in 1923, when Vanga was 12, that a horrific incident occurred which would change her life forever.

12-year-old Vanga also has to do housework. She rode a donkey into the village carrying milk in two leather sacks.

Once in the summer, on the way back to the village, Vanga and her two sisters turned into a spring in the field, not far from the main road. No one knows what happened there.

Vanga's cousin, Krasimira Stoyanova, recounted the incident as follows:

“Suddenly a hurricane struck. The sky darkened, the wind blew madly, tore the branches of the trees, the young trees uprooted and the sand and dirt were thrown far into the fields by the wind. A huge pillar of dust rose to the sky. Dust, soil, twigs and leaves mixed together to form a terrible whirlwind that knocked the two sisters, who were dumbfounded in terror, to fall not far from the water source, and Vanga was swept towards the field. Not sure how long the hurricane lasts? No one remembers that. Moments later, Vanga was found unconscious, buried in the field by dust, rocks and branches. She seemed to have lost her mind from fear, her eyes were in terrible pain because they were filled with dust and could not be opened.

When Vanga was brought home, everyone tried everything to care and treat her, but to no avail. The father was desperate. He blamed himself for moving his family back to Novo-Selo. He said that if in the old hometown, there might not have been such a disaster. Life at the brother's home not only became uncomfortable for the daughter and family, but also created new difficulties. Mr. Pande decided to return to Strumitsa, and find a way to cure his son's illness.

News of the accident quickly spread throughout the region. Both acquaintances and strangers sought to help as much as they could: they introduced Mr. Pande to the effective herbs and ointments he had encountered in his life. But the case is similar to what happened to Vanga, neither they nor the elderly have ever witnessed it, let alone helping...

Vanga is permanently blind due to lack of money for surgery

Mr. Pande went to see the doctor. He said that the situation was very serious, Vanga's eye was severely inflamed and needed urgent surgery to restore vision.

The father has raised a lot of money to treat his son. In Skopla, Vanga was operated on, but to no avail. Taking care of the girl's illness and the family's difficult economic situation, Vanga was given one more free surgery. But also invalid.

Doctors advised Mr. Pande to take his daughter for surgery again in Belgrade.

There was a glimmer of hope again, and the father agreed. The date for the operation was set, but Mr. Pande had only borrowed a meager amount, 5000 dinars.

Mr. Pande fell into despair because he did not know how to make enough money. He himself was almost a beggar. It is not possible to borrow such a large amount of money, nor are the neighbors.

The situation became very dire. Suddenly, Mr. Pande suddenly remembered that Vanga's grandmother, his first mother-in-law, had promised her grandson a piece of land. And although after Vanga's mother died, the relationship between mother-in-law and son-in-law became strained, he still went to her for help. Mr. Pande asked her to immediately sell the land to pay for the surgery. But even misfortune did not shake the wall of estrangement that had grown between them, and the mother-in-law categorically refused to help.

Meanwhile, the time for surgery is approaching. Mr. Pande sold all that was left: the sewing machine - a memento of his first wife, and the only sheep. There's nothing else in the house. Plus a little borrowed money. But all that he picked up with such difficulty could only cover half of the money needed.

Vanga's Mysterious Life Story - Part 2: Unhappy and Blind Youth
Vanga's house built by her father (1928)

Knowing that a wealthy neighbor was going to Belgrade to visit his son, Pande decided to ask him to take Vanga for surgery, because he could not afford to take his daughter away on his own. The neighbor agreed to help poor Mr. Pande. They went to the hospital the day before Vanga did the surgery.

The neighbor saw the doctor and transferred the money Pande had raised. The doctor was angry that such a dignified, well-dressed gentleman had paid him such a meager salary. He thinks that this rich relative has eaten away from the poor girl's money. Without saying a word to the neighbor, that afternoon the doctor called Vanga into his office and said:

“Hey little girl, I'm going to do surgery on you tomorrow morning, but since your dad only brought half the money, so I'm going to do 'half' of the surgery. When your father pays enough money, I will operate on the other eye!"

Apparently, he said that in anger.

After that surgery, Vanga was able to see a little. The doctor said that to continue to improve her health, she needs to eat well, be quiet and clean. But the family is still as poor as before. Of course, they didn't have the necessary conditions to restore Vanga's health.

In 1924, the family added another person, and now they have 5 members. The newborn boy is named Toms. To support his family, the father had to work hard. He was forced to plow hoes for hire in the villages. His wife worked in the fields, and Vanga was the eldest sister who had to do housework and take care of the children.

School of the Blind

It was a difficult situation even for a healthy person, and for a weak girl who was almost blind, it was extremely difficult. The situation got worse and worse - Vanga's eyes blurred again, and she was completely blind. Now is forever.

For Vanga and all her blood relatives this is a real tragedy. As a little girl who had courageously endured many sufferings in the hope of recovering her health, Vanga began to feel despair. How many nights in a row she cried and prayed to God for help, hoping for a miracle. But all still nothing changed.

There are so many days that can't bear to pass each other. Vanga was completely helpless and even more miserable because not only could not help her parents but also became a burden. And they are completely exhausted.

There seemed to be no way out of the predicament. But once, neighbors told them that in the city of Zemun (Serbia) there was a School for the Blind, where students were well cared for. If Vanga is accepted there, it will be very good. Mr. Pande began to find a way around.

In 1925, the School of the Blind agreed to accept Vanga. A turning point in her life took place for her. Vanga turned 15 years old. What awaits her in a strange city among strangers? How long will she have to live away from her family and loved ones? Every time she thought about that and about parting with her family, tears naturally flowed out of her eyes.

The farewell took place on a beautiful spring morning. Small, thin Vanga became very confused. She tried to picture in her memory all the familiar images. Now she perceives the world with her hearing. Previously, she did not expect that the world of sound was so rich.

A gentle breeze blew through the hedge, gently shaking the clumps of elm bamboo and lilac. The cats run on the young grass, the sun shines down on the top of the plum tree, a ray of sunshine plays on Vanga's cheek. Those feelings were imprinted in Vanga's consciousness, and she remembered them for the rest of her life.

The first that Vanga was able to see the dead in her visions

In 1925, Vanga was taken to Zemun, Yugoslavia, to live in a special school for the blind. In her 3 years there, she learned to read Bulgarian in Braille, to play piano, and to knit, cook, and clean. It was also during this time that Vanga began to realize her gift for “second sight”.

Per her own testimony, her time at the school was the first that she was able to see the dead in her visions. In 1928, her stepmother, Tanka, passed away, and her father came to bring her back to Strumica to help care for her siblings.

To be continued: Vanga's Mysterious Life Story - Part 3: Student at School of the Blind