By Diego Arandojo
In 1932, while in Germany the Nazi Party led by Adolf Hitler was gaining space and influence, in Argentina General Agustín P. Justo had won the presidential elections, which were marred by irregularities and fraud; these were the times that would later become known as “The Infamous Decade” (1930-1943). There was a climate of a pressing economic crisis and the rise and consolidation of the right wing, linked to the Church.
Meanwhile, Benjamín Solari Parravicini, 34 years old, dedicated himself satisfactorily to painting, exhibiting in various galleries such as the prestigious “Asociación Amigos del Arte”. In that period he dedicated himself to painting rural, gaucho themes and also those related to the world of circus, such as clowns. He came from an aristocratic and Catholic family. His father, Benjamín Tomás Solari was a renowned psychiatrist who had participated in local politics as a congressman, while his mother, Dolores Parravicini, was in charge of raising her eight children. The first had been, precisely, Benjamin, affectionately nicknamed “Pelón”, due to his incipient baldness.
Since he was a child he showed his proximity to the supernatural. Benjamín said he saw fairies, goblins and even angelic entities swarming among the vegetation of the leafy family estate located in the Palermo neighbourhood. He spoke to the flowers, to the plants, he felt that nature was absolutely alive. When summer arrived, the family would settle in a large house located on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. At that residence, at night, inexplicable events occurred; movements of objects, noises and, as Solari Parravicini himself says, ghosts: “Appearances and their noisy manifestations never frightened me; I maintained that they were spiritual beings not elevated, souls without light that were eagerly seeking understanding and religious education, knowledge that they did not learn and disdained in life. They were wandering, blind, without friendly hands; they were wretched without God”.
His link with the paranormal increased as he became an adult, crystallizing in 1932 when he started receiving his first premonitory drawings, or “psicografías” (graphic clairvoyance). The detonating element was a fact that Solari Parravicini himself narrated in great detail in a tale entitled “Leo’s Child” (Leo for his astrological sign). In this story he describes the incident that triggered his future visions: one night, when he returned home, entering his bedroom and not being able to turn on the light, “I was prevented by the oppression of a strong hand that apparently took me energetically by the neck, under the neck, making me turn and walk to the middle of the bedroom. There I stood for seconds that seemed like centuries. Later, the hand, renewing its empire, forced me to fall on my knees on the floor and also to place his forehead on the same place”. This presence would be the one that, soon after, would urge him to write and draw, as a guide. Solari Parravicini explained that it was his Tutelary Angel, an entity called Fray José de Aragón. His eyes to see beyond and into the mysteries of the future.
The production of “psicografías” that he wrote in his own hand and accompanied with a drawing was enormous: more than 500. A large part of the work was spread by a personal friend of the painter, the engineer Sigurd von Wurmb, who published it in a series of volumes entitled “Prophetic Drawings of Benjamin Solari Parravicini”. Others close to the painter, such as the case of ufologist Fabio Zerpa, were in charge of disseminating another part of the production of this singular seer, related to UFO visits and contacts with extraterrestrial beings. In fact, it was Zerpa who baptized Solari Parravicini as the “Nostradamus of America”.
But it is necessary to study which are the “psicografías” of Benjamin that allowed him to win that prophetic nickname, and which in the light of day continue to captivate:
Year 1934: “The atom will come to dominate the world. The world will be atomized and will remain blind. Storms will fall caused by raids of man on the atmosphere. New diseases, sex disruption, collective madness, and total madness. The world will become dark”. In a clear allusion, not only to the use of atomic power, but also to different social and economic events that would happen decades later.
Year 1934: “The dog will be the first flyer”. On November 3, 1957, the dog Laika was the first terrestrial living being to orbit the Earth on board the Soviet ship Sputnik 2.
Year 1938: “The man of tomorrow will emerge from the spermatic laboratory cultivation. The woman will look for the child by selecting the sperm offered by the doctor. Preference will be given to athletic men (in reserve) and to intellectuals. The ‘vulgus’ man will be disregarded and allowed to disappear. In the year 2000, after the Cataclysm, this new norm will be known and the animal man will have fallen asleep forever and procreation will thus give the human being ‘without original sin’”. Referring to artificial insemination.
Year 1939: “The freedom of North America will lose its light. Its torch will not shine as it did yesterday and the monument will be attacked twice”. By studying the drawing that accompanies this text, some researchers have identified the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001.
Year 1939: “The atom will thunder in 45”. Probably related to the nuclear detonations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9 of that year.
Year 1938: “The heart will be artificial in 66”. The artificial heart (circulatory assistance device) was developed by Domingo Liotta, the Argentine researcher who on April 21, 1966 performed the first human heart implant in the United States.
This is a rather arbitrary selection from the lush prophetic production of Solari Parravicini, where he also deals with social changes, such as criticism of the construction of gender, the feminist struggle and even renewal within the Catholic Church.
The Nostradamus of America closed his eyes on December 13, 1974, leaving as a legacy a chest full of drawings, which the same day of his death was stolen by unknown people and, only years later, was recovered thanks to the researcher Pedro Romaniuk.