In an October 12, 1962 sermon, William Branham reported an experience he had, which he interpreted to be foretelling the death of Marilyn Monroe. He reported having the vision two days before her August 5 death.
Critics allege that that the vision was incorrect and is proof that Bro. Branham’s prophetic gift was faulty, and therefore proved he was a false prophet. They also claim the prophesy is suspect because it was not recorded until after Monroe had already died.
In this article we will examine what Bro. Branham said and the facts of the case to see what the truth really is.
What did Bro. Branham say?
I was in the mountains a few weeks ago. And way back when I was coming home, we went back (the family and I) to rest a little, where we’re going again, the Lord willing, next week. And then, back there one night, I saw a vision. And it was a–a lovely, pretty woman, looked young woman running; she had her hand here, and she was perishing with a heart attack, a beautiful woman. And she dropped and was gone. And the Angel of the Lord said, “Now, when you hear of this, remember, they’re going to say that she committed suicide, but she died in a heart attack. And it’s almost 4:00, so you just say 4 o’clock,” and then He left me.
And I didn’t wake the family up in the little cow camp (or where the cowboys stay, where we’d go back there to round up the cattle), I–I just let them sleep until morning. And then, the next day I mentioned it, and I said, “Some young woman, very attractive, is going to die in a heart attack.” And on the road out two days later, there it come in on the radio that this Miss (I can’t think of her name.) Monroe, Mrs. Monroe. I think that was her stage name, or whatever it was; her name was something else. And she had died, and they said she committed suicide.
–ALL.THINGS SHREVEPORT.LA 62-1124E
Now, it don’t make any difference how much I’d say it; they’re still going to say she committed suicide. But the child did not; she died in a heart attack. And if you’d watch, she had her hand, trying to get to the phone–the phone in her hand. She’d had a heart attack. They said sleeping pills was there; she’d been taking them for a month (See?) or more, out of that bottle. She died in a heart attack, and she died about four or five seconds before 4 o’clock, exactly.
Visions and Interpretations
It is important to note that like the Municipal Bridge vision, Bro. Branham never states that the interpretation of the vision came from God. This is an important distinction. Because the interpretation of his visions and experiences are often his own and he does not always claim the interpretations to be divinely inspired. We can see this same thing in the scripture. In Acts 10:17, upon having a vision, Peter doubts what the interpretation of it is. It is only with the passage of time and events that the meaning becomes clear. This is true with most of prophecy. Daniel said he did not understand his vision. (Dan 12:28) Zechariah did not know what he was looking at in his vision. (Zech 4:3-4). Examples abound. It is important to separate the prophetic element from the non-prophetic element when judging these things. A faulty interpretation is different than a failed prophecy.
The facts of Monroe’s death
- Monroe had made a phone call about 7:45 pm on August 5, and was still alive at that time
- After 3 am on August 6, Monroe’s psychiatrist came to her room to check on her. Getting no response he broke in and found her dead and called her personal doctor
- Her personal doctor soon arrive and pronounced her dead at 3:50 am.
- At 4:25 they called the police to report her death
- The toxicology report conducted on Monroe revealed that the cause of death was acute barbiturate poisoning, and that she had died about 10:45 pm
- Coroner Thomas Noguchi classified her death as a probable suicide
How can this vision be proven wrong?
The vision itself indicates there the true cause of death was going to remain unknown or covered up by the authorities. So, if it be applicable to Marilyn Monroe, the prophecy itself is a basis to question the “facts” and “evidence”. The vision indicates that the evidence would indeed say she committed suicide. And it indicates that the true cause (heart attack, according to the vision) would be hidden, covered up, not reported, or not discovered. So it puts this prophecy into a category in which is impossible to be wrong… Its kind of like prophesying, “there is something hidden and no one will ever find it.” How do you prove that wrong? The inability to prove it was a heart attack is itself proof of the prophecy, in a sense.
It was after 3 am when Monroe was discovered dead. Her personal doctor was called before the police and he pronounced her dead at 3:50 am. Police were not notified until about 4:25 am. This fits the 4 o’clock time frame the angel spoke of. Monroe did not die in a close proximity to four o’clock. The toxigcology report suggests she died about 10:45 pm. However, Bro. Branham said:
she died about four or five seconds before 4 o’clock, exactly.ALL.THINGS SHREVEPORT.LA 62-1124E
But did the angel say she died close to four o’clock? No. Here is what the angel told him:
Now, when you hear of this, remember, they’re going to say that she committed suicide, but she died in a heart attack. And it’s almost 4:00, so you just say 4 o’clockALL.THINGS SHREVEPORT.LA 62-1124E
The angel did not explain what the 4 o’lock meant. Bro. Branham misinterpreted what the angel told him to mean the time she died. Actually, 4 o’clock is about when they pronounced her dead, not when she died.
There is no way to prove that this vision was false, and as such it is not possible to use it to prove Bro. Branham was a false prophet or that his prophetic gift was faulty. We believe he did partially misinterpret the vision, but that is not the same thing as a giving a false prophecy.