The Seeress of Prevorst was a young German woman, Frederika Hauffe, who had notable powers of healing. She lived only 28 years (1801-1829), and it was in the latter years of her life that she was discovered and examined by one of the renowned scientists of her day, Dr. Justinus Kerner. The Seeress was subject to seizures and often went into trance states in which she appeared to receive messages from a spiritual realm and to be in communication with the dead. She languished in a sort of dream-like state for some seven years while Dr. Kerner observed her. He was determined to subject her to medical and scientific scrutiny, to dispel any whiff of paranormal phenomena rumored to pertain to her unusual state.
Kerner found her in a near-skeletal condition and was unable to get her to take nourishment or respond to conventional medicines of the day. He finally allowed her to prescribe her own medication, which she would speak about while in a trance state. To his embarrassment, her unconventional remedies (mesmerism and magnetism among them) seemed to produce far better results than anything he had prescribed. One such curative was a bizarre chair she designed and which was produced according to her precise instructions; known as a "nerve adjuster," it incorporated various elements such as metal chains, glass jars and "leather from a deer, a coffin nail and river water."
DeSalvo visited the home of Dr. Kerner in Prevorst, and the book includes photographs of that building, now a museum, the grave and monument of the Seeress, and the aforementioned "nerve adjuster."
Because of her debilitated yet possibly beatified state, and partly because she was a curiosity, her fame spread and people wanted to visit her and try her cures. However, her lifespan was brief
- shortly after learning of her own father's death, the young clairvoyant
herself died. The author, an expert on paranormal phenomena (Decoding the Pyramids and
Andrew Jackson Davis: The First American Prophet), believes that many such people come among us and are unrecognized, perhaps because they are seen as merely odd or disabled.
In his day, Dr. Kerner authored a book about the Seeress in which he detailed some of the weird calligraphic writings and drawings she produced, often while in a trance and sometimes in total darkness. DeSalvo has speculated about possible interpretations of this "language of the spirits" based on his own knowledge of other mystical pictographs. DeSalvo sincerely believes that the Seeress was capable of communing with spiritual beings on a higher plane of consciousness and that someone will, upon seeing her work in this book, come forward with a true translation.
DeSalvo's book ranges widely in speculations and explanations regarding spiritualism, mesmerism, and magical scripts. It will be of great interest to people whose minds do not accept physical reality as the only truth and who are seeking answers to universal questions. They will join DeSalvo on his quest for more perfect understanding of the meaning of the life of the Seeress of Prevorst.