The following are a series of questions and answers between one of our editors (referred to as BTS) and an anonymous Branham minister (referred to as ABM). This series of Q&A relates to William Branham's prophetic ministry. The full text of this question and its answer is below.
Click on the links to go to a specific question or a different subject area. You are currently on the topic below that is in bold:
Complete list of questions
Q&A relating to William Branham's Credibility
Q&A relating to William Branham's Doctrine
Q&A on the current status of the "message"
Question 1 - The Municipal Bridge vision
Question 2 - The Billy Graham Prophecy
Question 3 - The Brown Bear Vision
Question 4 - The Roosevelt prophecy
Question 5 - The coming of the Lord
Question 16 - The Vision of the Plum and Apple Trees
Question 17 - The Mystery of the Empty Cornerstone
Question 19 - The Marilyn Monroe vision/prophecy
Question 20 - The Vision of the Meetings in South Africa
Question 22 - Are there any true prophecies that were clearly fulfilled?
Question 23 - Can we ignore the plain reading of Deuteronomy 18:20-22?
Question 19 (ABM) - The Marilyn Monroe vision/prophecy
William Branham stated that he had a prophetic vision of Marilyn Monroe’s death some time before she died. He stated that she had died of a heart attack, notwithstanding that it would be reported as a suicide. He also stated that the time of her death was 4 o’clock, although he did not specify AM or PM (we assume he meant PM).
- Marilyn Monroe died August 5, 1962 and we know the following facts from police and medical reports:
- An empty bottle of sleeping pills was found by her bed.
- There has been some speculation over the years that she may have been murdered, but the cause of her death was officially ruled as a drug overdose.
- Peter Lawford telephoned Monroe between 7:30–7:45 p.m. to invite her to dinner at his house. According to Lawford, Monroe's speech was slurred and was becoming increasingly indecipherable. This is the last known conversation with Monroe while she was alive.
- Dr. Ralph Greenson, Monroe's psychiatrist, was eventually contacted. He went to her place and, seeing her lying on the bed holding the telephone and apparently dead, he broke the glass to open the locked door. This occurred sometime between 12 midnight and 1 a.m. on August 6, 1962.
- The autopsy was performed by Dr. Thomas Noguchi.
- The toxicology report shows high levels of Nembutal (38–66 capsules) and chloral hydrate (14–23 tablets) in Monroe's blood. The level found was enough to kill more than 10 people.
- The cause of death was listed as "acute barbiturate poisoning, ingestion of overdose, probable suicide".
We have a number of problems with William Branham’s vision:
- William Branham stated that he saw the vision before Marilyn Monroe died but there is no public evidence that this happened beforehand. He first mentions the vision on October 12, 1962, months after Monroe's death.
- William Branham stated that she died at 4 o'clock, while Peter Lawford had a conversation with her at 7:30 PM that day. It is estimated that she actually died sometime between 7:45 p.m. and 1 a.m. (most likely around 8 p.m.).
- Why did his vision state that the cause of death was a heart attack when it was clearly caused by an overdose of barbiturates? I appreciate that any time a person dies their heart stops but it was clear from William Branham’s statement that he was told by God that she did not die from a self-inflicted drug overdose (i.e. suicide).
Here are a number of quotes of William Branham regarding this “prophecy”:
THE.INFLUENCE.OF.ANOTHER_ JEFF.IN V-4 N-11 SATURDAY_ 62-1013
- 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.
- 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.
- And I read of her life's story in the magazine of how that her... She was a illegitimate child; and how that she'd washed so many dishes; and her mother in a insane institution; and she had longed (But she was the most perfect bodied woman, I guess, in the world.)--but she'd longed for something that money wouldn't buy. I thought, "Oh, I wished I could've got to her. I know what she needed." There you are.
- ...Oh, if we could've only got to the young lady before she left the world.
ALL.THINGS_ SHREVEPORT.LA SATURDAY_ 62-1124E
- Setting up in Colorado a few months ago in a--a little cabin, I went and said to my son, my wife, my daughter-in-law, and them: "Last couple of hours something happened. I saw a young lady, a beautiful woman, and she had kind of thick lips, looked like I'd saw her somewhere. And she's--she was trying to get to a doctor, and she died."
- And the Spirit that was speaking to me, said, "Now, they will say that she committed suicide, but she died with a heart attack." And said, "It's just a little before four, but you can say it was four o'clock," and the vision left me. I told them, "What did that mean?" I didn't know. "Somebody's fixing to die."
- When we come out of the mountains two days later, that movie star (What's that woman's name?), Marilyn Monroe, she was kind of a striptease or... Or you read her story. She was an illegitimate child. Her mother's in the insane institution. Poor little girl probably had a hard way. And she always hungered for something. I wish I could've got to her. I know what she needed. I knew what she needed. Yet she'd joined churches and everything. But see, it was just a ritualistic form. She needed the application of the Blood. See?
COME.FOLLOW.ME_ TUCSON.AZ SATURDAY_ 63-0601
- When I seen that girl that I... other night in the vision, young pretty girl, Hollywood actress, and I seen her dying, reaching, trying to get to help. She died in a heart attack, Miss Monroe. And then that's been two years ago, and I seen her dying. And two days later she did die.
SHOW.US.THE.FATHER TUCSON.AZ 63-0606
- Here not long ago I saw the vision of this young woman dying, that they said that committed suicide. It's been about a year ago. I forget... She was some kind of a girl that was a very popular woman. And I was up in the mountains. I saw her die. And they told me, said... He told me, said, "Now, she... You can say it's four o'clock. It's just a few seconds before four." And said, "They'll say she committed suicide, but she died with a heart attack." What is that woman's name? She just... A young blond-headed woman, Marilyn Monroe. That was it. She, she died, and--and she did not commit suicide.
STANDING.IN.THE.GAP JEFF.IN 63-0623M
- And then I remember this Marilyn Monroe, the girl that I saw die about a week before she died, and how that they said she committed suicide, when she didn't. I told them about it, before, what would happen, and it did.
THE.FLASHING.RED.LIGHT.OF.THE.SIGN.OF.HIS.COMING JEFF.IN 63-0623E
- When I seen this woman not long ago, in a vision the Lord showed me, see her die. That, I can't never think of that woman's name, she, Marilyn Monroe. And I had never seen her. I don't go to movies. But I--I--I had seen the girl, and she was attractive. And she was trying to get to something; she was dying, had a heart attack. And the Lord said, "Now you say that, 'She died just at four o'clock. She did not commit suicide.'" Said, "But you can say she died at four o'clock, 'cause it's just a few seconds before four." And there I seen where they found her. And I told Billy, I told the family, the ones that was with me, about it. And a few days afterwards, it was Marilyn Monroe that died.
JEHOVAH.JIREH.2 LOUISVILLE.MS 64-0403
- Like Marilyn Monroe, way before she was died. They said that she committed suicide. She did not do it. She died with a heart attack. Absolutely.
THEN.JESUS.CAME.AND.CALLED TAMPA.FL 64-0417
- About this Marilyn Monroe when she died, they'll never believe but what that girl committed suicide. But she did not commit suicide. She died in a heart attack. I seen it, days before it happened, and told them about it. But they wouldn't listen to me.
Question: Based on the evidence, It is clear that Marilyn Monroe committed suicide. How can you say William Branham was a prophet when his prophecy (if you can call it that since it was delivered after the fact) stated that she did not commit suicide?
Thank you for your continued dialogue.
Before delving into the prophesy itself, I think it is important to note that like the Municipal Bridge vision, Bro. Branham never states that the interpretation came from God. I think this is important to note. Because the interpretation to his visions and experiences are often his own and he does not always claim the interpretations to be divinely inspired. As we see in the scripture, this is not a new thing. The example that I find that fits this well is that of Peter. In Acts 10:17, upon having a vision, he doubts what the interpretation 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. (Dan 12:28) Zechariah did not know what he was looking at in his vision. (Zech 4:3-4). Examples abound. I believe 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.
So did a woman somewhere die of a heart attack around four am but it was reported as a suicide? Probably somewhere. Was it Maryln Monroe? What made Bro. Branham think it was her? He never explained that. It seems like a plausible fit though.
As far as getting it on the record: He claimed to have had the vision two days before she died. That did not allow much time to get it recorded on wonderful medium of magnetic tape.
You state: "Based on the evidence, It is clear that Marilyn Monroe committed suicide." This is where this gets a little ambiguous. The prophecy itself indicates there was going to be some type of a cover up or hiding of facts. So, if it be applicable to Marilyn Monroe, the prophecy itself is a basis to question the "facts" and "evidence". I can accept that evidence says she died of another cause. The prophecy indicates the evidence would indeed say it was a suicide. And it indicates that the true cause (heart attack) 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." Well, how do you prove that wrong? The inability to prove it was a heart attack is itself proof of the prophecy, in a sense.
As for "four o'clock", I think you might be mistaken on some of the times. According to Spoto, Donald (2001). Marilyn Monroe: The Biography. Cooper Square Press. ISBN 978-0-8154-1183-3.pp. 574–577 and Banner, Lois (2012). Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox. Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1-4088-3133-5. pp. 410–411, it was after 3am when she was discovered dead. Her personal doctor was called before the police and he pronounced her dead at 3:50am. Police were not notified until about 4:25 am. So I think Bro. Branham actually meant 4am, not 4pm. In either case, she likely did not die in a close proximity to four o'clock. But did the angel say she died close to four o'clock? No. He is misinterpreting things. 4 o'clock is when they found her, not when she died.
You ask: How can you say William Branham was a prophet when his prophecy (if you can call it that since it was delivered after the fact) stated that she did not commit suicide? Answer: I think I have given an explanation as to why I think it is impossible to ever prove this was a false prophecy.
I would like to end with a rhetorical question: if Bro. Branham was making up after the fact prophesies, then why didn't he do a better job at making them? Seems they would be a little better than this. Ultimately, what is the value of a prophecy like this? Nothing really. So this is why I would also file this issue under the heading of "petty silliness".
I hope you have a happy holiday season. I have enjoyed our communications this year. I thank you for being true to your word in our communications, and I hope you are finding some value in them.