Frequently Asked Questions, Mysteries & Misconceptions

Is Mother Shipton a myth?

Though some skeptics rapidly dismiss Mother Shipton as a mythical figure, award-winning historian Arnold Kellett, a professor and author in the area where she lived, exhaustively searched for evidence of her existence and made an excellent, logical case indicating she was real.

When and where did Mother Shipton live?

Though it is impossible to verify such specific details about Mother Shipton, as there is no official record or verifiable tombstone confirming these dates, the dates 1488-1561 have been propagated for many years as Mother Shipton's lifespan. She is thought to have lived in Yorkshire, England. It is possible, though not verifiable, that she lived in the general area of a popular and beloved cave in Knaresborough due to the healing waters nearby - though an early painting (surfaced by expert Yorkshire historian Arnold Kellett) suggests there was not always a cave in that area, which is a bit of a mystery.

Ultimately all we can really know about Mother Shipton is that she may have lived in the vicinity of Yorkshire in the first half of the 16th century due to prophecies attributed to her related to that area. The exact years and location may never be known with certainty, or if she ever existed at all. There is evidence, however, suggesting she may indeed have existed, though much of what has been said about her for centuries is a series of fanciful stories that are easily called into question when we examine the original sources.

Was Mother Shipton's maiden name Ursula Sonthiel?

There is no definitive evidence Mother Shipton's name was Ursula Sonthiel, Ursula Southeil or any variation thereof. If any of those variations prove real, it is actually more likely her maiden name was Ursula Soothtell, as that name appeared just as early as the others in references, and there is some logic to the idea that if she was a soothteller, she may be named after her work (like "miller" or "smith"). There is indeed evidence in the historical record indicating her last name may have become Shipton when she married into the Shipton family in the Yorkshire area.

Were fanciful, mythical stories told about Mother Shipton over the years to entertain the public?

Yes, there is a great deal of evidence of early writers creating stories to accentuate Mother Shipton's "witch-like" attributes. This is one reason it is difficult to know if anyone ever knew her maiden name. Ursula was a name often given to "witches", and though it could be considered logical her last name could have been "Soothtell", it's really more likely all of these names were concocted, as other fanciful stories were being told about her at this time. This is why it is so important for us all to discover the REAL Mother Shipton, the actual intuitive woman who walked upon this Earth. That is the intent of this web site, to honor her memory.

Were some popularly repeated prophecies forged and attributed to Mother Shipton? Did any of the alleged forgers possibly exhibit uncanny prescience, forging in her name?

Yes, there are multiple alleged forgeries, and an intriguing aspect of this web site is to explore how some alleged forgeries exhibit uncanny intuition - this is a reason why some of the forgeries have had such staying power, even if there is doubt they originated from Mother Shipton. In any study of Mother Shipton, it is important to honestly look at when various prophecies first appeared in print and the history surrounding why they are thought to be forgeries.

Was Mother Shipton proven to be a "fraud" because she supposedly said the world would end in 1881?

We cannot know if Mother Shipton ever said that the world would end in 1881, as this is an alleged forgery of Charles Hindley of Brighton, England. It first appeared in print in 1862 and was not seen or talked about before that. However, there is an eerie mystery regarding just how accurate that prophecy was due to many unusual things that happened in 1881.

Did a meteorite fall to Earth in 1881 near where Mother Shipton is thought to have lived that contains an image in the rock eerily resembling a historic drawing of Mother Shipton?

Yes, in an astonishing synchronicity first observed when creating this web site, this did indeed occur. (See the Prophecies page for the evidence.)

Did Mother Shipton predict ETs from UFOs would interact with "Indigo-like" children of a future Earth, after a climate disaster, pole shift and/or solar flare?

"And before the race is built anew A silver serpent comes to view And spew out men of like unknown To mingle with the earth now grown Cold from its heat and these men can Enlighten the minds of future man. To intermingle and show them how to live and love and thus endow The children with the second sight. A natural thing so that they might Grow graceful, humble and when they do The Golden Age will start anew."

This prophecy first appeared in the 1920's and not before that, so it is likely a forgery. The origin of these words has driven quite an investigation to find the tract historian Arnold Kellett had from the 1920's religious sect which included this and several other passages about disasters upon the Earth. Was this sect talking about things in the 1920's people typically didn't discuss back then?

Did Mother Shipton accurately predict the death of Archbishop of York, Cardinal Wolsey (the same archbishop that failed to get dispensation from the pope to annul Henry VIII's marriage) - and was she threatened after doing so?

Yes, there are many indications in the historical record that Mother Shipton accurately predicted the death of the Archbishop. She also accurately predicted the fates of those who came to warn her that she shouldn't be suggesting something bad would happen to the Archbishop. The Archbishop did indeed die, as predicted, soon after this prediction.

Was Mother Shipton burned at the stake?

Though there is excellent evidence she was threatened with burning at the stake due to the prediction above (predicting the death of the Archbishop), there is no evidence she was ever burned at the stake. We cannot know for sure, based on the historical evidence, one way or another, as "witches" certainly were burned in her lifetime. Another oft-repeated prophecy that suggested she was going to be burned was another forgery, created by an American religious sect in the 1920s. It is very possible Mother Shipton lived to the age of 73 and died naturally (1488-1561).

Did Mother Shipton accurately predict the Great Fire of London of 1666?

Yes, there is very strong evidence in the historical record Mother Shipton did accurately predict the Great Fire of London, and that evidence also bolsters her being a real person and not a myth. During the fire itself, there are historical records of it being considered a confirmation of Mother Shipton's prophecy.

Did Mother Shipton accurately predict the Plague of 1665 which impacted London?

Yes, there is evidence that she likely did predict the plague, which killed thousands of people.

Did Mother Shipton accurately predict the Seige of York in 1644?

Yes, there is excellent evidence she predicted the Seige of York.

Did Mother Shipton predict the existence of cars or trains?

"Carriages without horses shall go And accidents fill the world with woe."

"Through hills men shall ride, And no horse be at his side."

These prophecies are alleged forgeries by Charles Hindley, which first appeared when he published them in 1862. However, there is controversy surrounding whether or not Hindley stood by his alleged admission that he forged them, and later his son republished this prophecy and several others. There is an eerie mystery regarding the prescience of several alleged forgeries, though in this case, trains appeared in 1804, though the first automobile appeared around 1885.

Did Mother Shipton predict the internet, world wide web or telegraph?

"Around the earth thoughts shall fly In the twinkling of an eye."

This prophecy is another alleged forgery by Charles Hindley in the 1800's. However, there is controversy surrounding whether or not Hindley stood by his alleged admission that he forged it, and later his son republished this prophecy and several others. It never appeared anywhere before Hindley published it, however, in any earlier source. It could also apply to the telegraph, which was invented before Hindley published it in 1862.

Did Mother Shipton predict the Gold Rush in the American West?

"Gold be found at the root of a tree")

This prophecy also first appeared when published by Charles Hindley in 1862. In this case, the California Gold Rush began in 1848, so if he forged it, he would have known about the Gold Rush.

Did Mother Shipton predict a pole shift?

"The world upside down shall be")?

This eerie prophecy also first appeared when Charles Hindley published it in 1862, so it an alleged forgery, but if Hindley wrote it, did he predict a pole shift in our future?

Did Mother Shipton predict submarines or an underwater city of the future?

"Under water men shall walk, Shall ride, shall sleep, shall talk."

This prophecy also was first published by Charles Hindley. This may have been an accurate prophecy by Hindley if it was indeed forged. Very primitive submarines existed in 1862, but not as elaborate as he describes. As to underwater cities, they may yet come to be . . .

Did Mother Shipton predict airships, airplanes or hot air balloons?

"In the air men shall be seen, In white, in black, in green"

This is yet another Charles Hindley alleged forgery, but these words are rather eerily prescient regarding airplanes or even airships like the Hindenberg - the colors in particular suggest aircraft. Hot air balloons did already exist at the time Hindley wrote this.

Did Mother Shipton predict iron hulled ships?

"Iron in the water shall float, As easy as a wooden boat"

This prophecy also first originated when Charles Hindley published it in 1862. Iron hulled ships existed before that time, though be reminded there is a dispute over whether Hindley stood by his admission he forged any of the prophecies he published.

Did Mother Shipton predict the use of steam?

"Fire and water shall wonders do."

This is another Charles Hindley alleged forgery, first published after steam power and steamboats existed.

Did Mother Shipton predict movies or television?

"When pictures seem alive with movements free"

This is also said to be forged, as this prophecy first appeared long after Mother Shipton's time, said to be in the 1920's tract from the religious sect Arnold Kellett discovered.

Did Mother Shipton predict women would no longer wear dresses, cut their hair short and ride horses without a side saddle?

"For in those wondrous far off days The women shall adopt a craze To dress like men, and trousers wear And to cut off their locks of hair They'll ride astride with brazen brow As witches do on broomstick now")?

This prophecy was first seen in a 1920's religious tract and no earlier than that, and likely a forgery.

Did Mother Shipton predict tractors, combines or modern farming equipment?

"And roaring monsters with man atop Does seem to eat the verdant crop...And give away the horse and plough"

There is no historical record of these words before the religious tract from the 1920's found by Arnold Kellett. That tract also presented modified versions of some of Charles Hindley's forgeries, but nothing thought earlier to be from Mother Shipton herself, even prophecies that were attributed to her in her time.

Did Mother Shipton predict in intricate detail disasters for the world?

"For storms will rage and oceans roar When Gabriel stands on sea and shore And as he blows his wondrous horn Old worlds die and new be born." - and many other world-ending prophecies)?

This prophecy did not appear before the 1920's tract from the American religious sect and is very likely forged.

Did Mother Shipton predict solar flares similar to a Carrington event?

"A fiery dragon will cross the sky Six times before this earth shall die....For seven days and seven nights Man will watch this awesome sight"

This also is first said to have appeared in the 1920's religious sect tract and is likely a forgery. There was also an event that pre-dated these words - the 1859 solar flare from August 28 to September 4, completely consistent with this passage.

Did Mother Shipton predict climate change and the rise in sea levels, as well as earth instability?

"The tides shall rise beyond their ken To bite away the shores and then The mountains will begin to roar And earthquakes split the plain to shore And flooding waters, rushing in Will flood the lands with such a din That mankind cowers in muddy fen and snarls about his fellow men."

This once again is said to have originated from the 1920's religious tract, but not before then, so it is likely a forgery.

Did Mother Shipton predict a number of events related to the nobility of England?

Except for the prophecies related to the noblemen who came to warn her about her prediction of Cardinal Wolsey's death, Mother Shipton likely did not predict various political events in the mid to late 1500's/early 1600's. A notorious early tabloid creator Richard Head is thought to have forged many of these prophecies, attributing them to Mother Shipton after the fact. He also concocted a number of fanciful stories about Mother Shipton that obscure what is thought to be the real person.

Are there other prophecies said to be from Mother Shipton being shared on the internet or in other ways?

Of course there are. However, this web site will only explore those which are known to originate from either an alleged fraudulent source or a historic source confirming the likelihood of truth. This web site cannot possibly explore all of the prophecies that have been conveyed on the internet, or in other ways over the years. Mother Shipton is beloved by many, and we are invited to meet her in the realm of both truth and mysterious possibility. is part of the The Prophetess Legacy ~ Feminine Voices of the Divine research project created by Susan Larison Danz.

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