Mother Shipton was a famous English soothsayer in the 1400s who predicted many historical events. There remains to be a tremendous lack of evidence surrounding her life, and many people wonder if Mother Shipton ever existed at all.
According to legend, Ursula Southeil was born in a cave in Norfolk, England in 1488 near an ancient well that had mystical powers. She was described as a very ugly creature, and she was said to be the result of a union between her mother and the Devil. Early on, Ursula exhibited psychic abilities, which she used to help people in need. At the age of 24, she married carpenter Toby Shipton and settled in Knaresborough. People came from all over seeking her guidance, and she came to be known as Mother Shipton. Although many people feared her powers, she only used them with good intentions.
Mother Shipton is credited with predicting the dissolution of the Catholic Church under Henry VIII, the defeat of the Spanish Armada, the invention of technology, the Great Fire of London, and even her own death. She would record her prophecies in the form of poems, many of which were passed down orally and not recorded until long after her death in 1561. For this reason, many people believe that her prophecies have been altered over time and released after events had already occurred.
A famous failed prediction aligned with Mother Shipton was the end of the world prophecy in 1881. As the poem goes, “The world to an end shall come/In eighteen hundred eighty one.” Bookseller Charles Hindley published this prophecy in 1862, which caused widespread panic throughout Britain, even though he later confessed that he had fabricated the prophecy himself. Given the fact that there are more than 50 different books with varying information about Mother Shipton and her prophecies, many people believe that she never even existed at all.