Tuesday, December 27, 2011

December 27: Joanna Southcott

Joanna Southcott
1814 Death of Joanna Southcott (b. April, 1750), failed English prophetess.
Southcott, originally an English Methodist, represented herself as a spiritual leader and prophetess, gathering a côterie of followers. She said she was the "woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars" (Revelation xii, 1). There was no religious leader more discussed in 19th-Century Britain than Southcott. Her political views appear to have been quite reactionary, and she opposed Tom Paine, penning a tract called An Answer to Thomas Paine’s Third Part of the Age of Reason.
When she was 64 she declared she would give birth to a child who would become a great spiritual leader on October 19, 1814. The appointed day came and went, Joanna Southcott fell into a trance, died soon after, and was buried in St John's Wood Chapel.

She left a mysterious locked wooden box which was not to be opened until England was in a crisis, and then only in the presence of all 24 bishops of the Church of England (there were only 24 at the time), who were to spend a fixed period of time beforehand studying Southcott’s prophecies.

Her followers unsuccessfully tried to get the bishops to do so in both the Crimean War and World War I. When 'Joanna Southcott's Box' was finally opened in the presence of a solitary, reluctant prelate (the Bishop of Grantham) in 1927, it was found to contain a few inconsequential items and papers, a lottery ticket and a horse-pistol ...


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