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Observations placeholder

MacLaine, Shirley - The Gifts and Prophecies of Maria



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Out on a Limb – Shirley MacLaine

David drove to a house on the edge of town nestled into the side of the mountains. It was modest and white stucco. There were wild flowers growing against the walls.

A young girl answered the door and welcomed David as though she knew him. He explained that we'd like to see her mother. She nodded and said her mother had been working on her Sanskrit texts all morning.

"Sanskrit?" I asked. "What is a Peruvian woman in the Andes doing with Sanskrit?"

"She doesn't understand either" said David. “She’s never had any education in Sanskrit, doesn't consciously know how to read it or write it, but she goes into a trance and the automatic writing starts to flow through her fingers. Something like the way Mohammed wrote the Koran, except that he was illiterate."

"You mean," I asked, "that some kind of inner voice inspires her to write down stuff she doesn't know anything about?"

"Yes," said David. "She says she has no control over it. It commands her at all sorts of odd hours. So she finds herself, even in the dark, writing long passages of spiritual teachings in a language that she doesn’t recognize."

"Have these passages been verified?" I asked

"Oh sure," he said, "she's known to be one of the world's renowned experts on Sanskrit, but nobody understands how. Historians and language scholars on Sanskrit from all over the world have verified that what she is writing is real. She says she doesn’t want to understand it as long as it helps people."

We waited in a clean and Spartan hallway for Maria. When she appeared, I was struck by how plain and middle-class Peruvian she looked. A print dress clung to her broad hips and she waddled as she walked in scuffed shoes with thick heels run down on the outside. Her face was open and friendly and her hair bore the remnants of an old permanent. She greeted David with an embrace and, holding my arm, ushered us into her well-kept living room with a glass-topped coffee table and furniture from Sears and Roebuck, Lima branch. She spoke only Spanish which David translated.

"How can I be of help?" she asked. David looked at me.

"Do you want to ask her about Bella?"

“Sure.” I ran through the background on Bella once more and he translated to Maria. She reached out her hand and said,

"Could I please hold something that you wear all the time?"

"Why?" I asked.

"Because," she said, "I need to touch your energy vibrations."

I reached up and took off my diamond heart neck lace that I wore during the filming of The Turning Point and had worn ever since. Maria fondled the necklace in her right hand and closed her eyes and seemed to "feel" its vibrations.

"You are a good friend of the woman in question," she said. I nodded. “And she is in a competition to win a position of leadership in your New York City."

She was making statements rather than asking me. I nodded again. Maria's eyes opened.

"No," she said, "I don't see her winning this competition. I see instead a man with a bald head and long fingers."

I looked over at David in confusion. I didn't know who she could be talking about. She clearly knew nothing about New York politics and was operating on some other kind of imagery.

“Are you sure?" I asked. "There must be some mistake. I don’t know who you are describing, and I know the people who have declared their candidacy. So, something doesn't fit."

"This person has not declared himself yet," she responded. I felt a drop of perspiration trickle down my midriff and changed the subject. I asked her about the movies I might make. She answered by saying I had already made a good one which would win awards and was beautiful because it revolved around the world of the ballet (The Turning Point had not yet been released). I sat quietly for a moment.

"I also see a man standing by a window," she said. "He gazes into white snow and understands that it is impossible for you to be together."

I blinked and coughed softly to myself.

"He has thought a great deal about it, but cannot see his way clear to be with you. I hope you understand what I refer to." I didn't want to talk anymore about myself.

"What about Bella?" I asked. Maria looked over at me with sad, round eyes.

"Your woman will not win," she said. "She won’t even be in the running. A bald man with long fingers whom no one has yet considered will be victorious.''

I stood up with Maria. She obviously had other things to do. I thanked her. She was warm and sad. She hooked my necklace around my neck for me and said she would be happy to see me again if I wanted. She embraced us and we left.


When I arrived in New York I met with Bella immediately. It was her birthday and her campaign staff threw a fundraising party at Studio 54. Bella knew I had- been in Peru, and I told her I had been meditating in a hut in the Andes.

She had read my books and believed I was capable of any kind of weird adventure. In any case, it was not the time for a talk together. I told her I had a good rest in my mud hut and she laughed, rolling her eyes, and then plunged into her campaign strategy just to return to a familiar kind of insanity.

I watched intently, waiting for something that would confirm or deny what Maria in the Andes had said.

Bella's losing campaign for the mayoralty of New York is now history. She never even made it to the runoffs. Ed Koch, that tall, balding fellow with the long fingers, won, hands down. I wished I had asked Maria more questions.

The source of the experience

MacLaine, Shirley

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Automatic writing