Hauffe, Frederica (18011829)
The Seeress of Prevorst, as described in Die Seherin von
Prevorst (1829) by Justinus Kerner. Hauffe was born in the village
of Prevorst near Löwenstein, Wüttemburg, Germany, in
1801. She married in 1819, and from that time until her death
ten years later she was bedridden, subject to various ailments.
She had convulsive fits and became rigid like a corpse; in this
state she was possessed by spirits. She saw clairvoyantly, made
predictions, and exhibited a wide range of psychic phenomena.
At one time she spoke only in verse for three days. Occasionally
she reportedly saw her own double, clad in white and seated on
a chair, while she was lying in bed.
She drew with tremendous speed perfect geometrical designs
in the dark, used the divining rod with great skill, exhibited
disturbances of a poltergeist character, and communicated
extraordinary revelations from the spirit world. The spirits of
the dead were said to be in constant attendance on her and allegedly
were occasionally seen by others. Kerner himself once
observed in her bedroom a grey pillar of cloud that seemed to
have a head. Kerner also recorded an instance of Hauffes seeing
with the stomach, which is related to eyeless sight.
Troubled spirits of the dead came to Hauffe for help and
disclosed secrets of the doings on Earth that had made them
restless. They made various noises, rapped, threw things about,
pulled off Hauffes boots with violence (in Kerners presence),
extinguished the nightlight, and made the candle glow.
Hauffe taught while in a trance state, primarily emphasizing
the triune doctrine of body, soul, and spirit. She taught that the
soul is clothed by an ethereal body (Nervengeist) that carries
on the vital processes when the body is in trance and the soul
wanders about. After death it withdraws with the soul but later
decays and leaves the soul free.
The unique part of the spiritual revelations of the Seeress
of Prevorst consisted of her description of systems of circles
Hauffe, Frederica Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology 5th Ed.
sun circles and life circlescorresponding to spiritual conditions
and the passage of time. They were illustrated by amazing
diagrams. The interpretation was furnished partly by ciphers,
partly by words of a primeval language written in primitive
ideographs. On the basis of these revelations, a mystic circle
was founded and members claimed that the teachings disclose
analogies with the philosophical ideas of Pythagoras, Plato, and
others. They issued a journal, Blätter aus Prevorst, 12 volumes
of which were published from 1832 to 1839.
The universal language described by the Seeress of Prevorst
compares, as in the case of John Dee, with Hebrew. A philologist
also discovered in it a resemblance to Coptic and Arabic.
Hauffe claimed that it was the language of the inner life.
The written characters, preserved by Kerner, were always connected
with numbers. Some of them are as complicated as an
Egyptian hieroglyph. Hauffe said that the words with numbers
had a much deeper significance than those without numbers.
In this respect the language had affinity with Hebrew gematria,
a forerunner of modern numerology. The names of things in
this language expressed the properties and qualities of the
things. Hauffe spoke it quite fluently and in time her listeners
vaguely understood her. Kerner quoted a few words of the language
in his book.
In 1823 Hauffe gave birth to a child who was also seized with
spasms and convulsions and died within a few months. In January
1829 Hauffe, in trance state, announced that she had only
four months to live, but in spite of severe illness she was still living
in May. She stated, It is hard to know the moment of ones
death and continued to see visions of specters and a coffin.
Three days before her death she stated that she could not endure
another three days. She died August 5, 1829.
Kerner, Justinus. Die Seherin von Prevorst. 1829. Abridged
and translated as The Seeress of Prevorst. London, 1845. Reprint,
Stuttgart J. F. Steinkopf, 1963.
Smith, Eleanor Touhey. Psychic People. New York William
Hauffe, Frederica (18011829)