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The Seeress of Prevorst was this author’s unintentional work; it began as a book investigating former President Abraham Lincoln and his interest in the practices of séances and spiritualism. His research led him to a theoretical connection with Andrew Jackson Davis, the founder of modern spiritualism in the United States, and to the publication of Andrew Jackson Davis: The First American Prophet and Clairvoyant (, June 2006, $11.82). While researching the life and work of Davis, he found a piece the spiritualist wrote about the Seeress of Prevorst, who was born in Germany circa 1801. Davis wrote:

“I find also many important discoveries and revelations among the Germans – owing very much to their peculiar habits of thinking, and of investigating all seen and unseen laws and operations of nature; and among them have been persons whose interior perceptions were so unfolded as to enable them to recognize the reality of the spirit world, and its close connection with this rudimental sphere. One should be noticed particularly, because her mind was in a condition occupied by all at the period of death or transformation. She is known as the Seeress of Prevorst and has revealed many truths concerning the connection between the natural and spiritual world and between the soul and the body; and concerning the powers of spiritual perception, and the medium by which the spirit is united with the form. These things are too important to escape the attention off any inquiring mind; for they manifestly involve evidences such as mankind at present need to satisfy them of the powers of the soul, and of other physiological truths.”

Mysterious writings by other physicians, metaphysicians, and theosophists of that time period led DeSalvo to investigate the life and work of the Seeress of Prevorst, born September 23, 1801, as Frederika Wanner in Prevorst, Germany. Drawing upon rare research material from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, the Edgar Cayce Foundation, Hennepin County Library, The National Archives, the National Spiritualist Association of Churches, Ouachita Baptist University Library, and the libraries of the University of California and the University of Pennsylvania, DeSalvo traces and recreates the humble life of a woman who could well be the most important influence of the modern Spiritualist movement. The results of his research became this volume: The Seeress of Prevorst.

According to DeSalvo’s research, even before the age of 5 Frederika was regarded as a powerful clairvoyant in Germany, skilled at finding both metals and water. Not understanding her perceived powers and wanting the best for her, the family sent her to live with her maternal grandfather, Johann Schmidgall, himself regarded as a powerful clairvoyant in the German town of Lowenstein. At the age of 12, Frederika returned to her parent’s home to care for them; and in 1821, she married Gottlieb Hauffe and moved to the town of Kurnbach, where she fell ill with a mysterious, untreatable illness. While an invalid her powers grew, and in short time Germany regarded her as a powerful seeress with unrivaled skills.

The book is written as both a biography and an investigation into the beginnings of the spiritualist movement in Germany, which, for history buffs, predated the movement begun by the Fox sisters. He examines the history of spiritualism in the White House during the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln (he was a big proponent of spiritualism and séances), and the writings and alleged powers of the seeress herself. He draws upon her own journal entries and photographs of her handwritten manuscripts when describing her beliefs and theories about the spiritual world. Two vital appendices are included in the book: One a series of plates that photo-document important places in her life, and one a transcription of her journal entries with accompanying writings and notes by her treating physician, Dr. Justinus Kerner.

Of this little known historical figure, German author Margaret Fuller once wrote, “He would be dull who could see no meaning or beauty in the forester’s daughter of Prevorst. She lived but nine and twenty years, yet in that time had traversed a larger portion of the field of thought than all her race before in their many and long lives.” After reading this book by Dr. John DeSalvo, I understand Fuller’s sentiments. There is both beauty and tragedy in Frederika’s life, and as a spiritual seeker myself, I am enriched by my knowledge of her short, tragic history.

John DeSalvo, Pd. D., holds a Ph.D. in biophysics and, for more than 20 years, scientifically studied the Shroud of Turin. A former college professor and current director of the Great Pyramid of Giza Research Association, he is the author of four books, including Andrew Jackson Davis: The First American Prophet and Clairvoyant. He lives in Minnesota with his wife and children.

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The following comments are for "The Seeress of Prevorst, by John DeSalvo, Ph.D."
by OchaniLele

@ everyone!
Over the past month, I've had several opportunities to speak with this author by email. He's wonderful!

I'll be interviewing him soon for "Majestic."

Hopefully, it should be in the February issue!


( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: December 29, 2008 )

I have read something of this woman and find it facinating. It would be difficult and nearsighted to disaffirm the influence of spiritualiam as the foundation for the Nazi movement and even for the impetus for the developement of our own government. We humans all want to know whats coming. The interesting thing for me is this, are the results of these seerer's words and predictions the truth or is it more important to look at the human ability to make perception the truth? I don't deny some have a gift. At times even I have some forward sight - but if HItler's belief in what he heard from his seerers was more a function of his will and ability to convince others of the inevitability of what the seerer saw ,through that supposed veil, or was the inevitability already set down in some etheral book on the mechanations of human activity? Is the future set and our actions irrelevant or is what the seerer sees just a pontentiality based on those that hear the predictions. Just as in Quantum physics it noted that the observer has a profound affect on the observed. Perhaps it is the Creators way of giving us a little hint now and then. Thanks for the review I will have a look.

( Posted by: jonpenny [Member] On: December 29, 2008 )

@ jonpenny
Thanks for the comment! It gives me a few ideas for the upcoming interview!


( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: December 29, 2008 )

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