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Florence Nightingale

John Collins5/15/2012 1:49:00 PMThis question came up in the forum, regarding Florence Nightingale: Has anybody researched it?

The best research can be found in the book "Legend of the Fall" on I highly recommend that everyone read it.

Here is the result of the writer's research:

The Healing of Florence Nightingale Shirlaw
WMB got a lot of mileage out of the "miraculous" healing of a woman he referred to as Florence Nightingale. The woman's actual name was Florence Nightingale Shirlaw. The healing occurred during WMB's sight-seeing trip in London, England, en-route to his Scandinavian healing tour. Gordon Lindsay wrote, "For nearly three years invitations had been coming to Brother Branham to conduct a series of healing meetings in the Scandinavian countries...Early in April, the party (which included besides Brother Branham, Rev. J. Ern Baxter, Rev. Jack Moore, Howard Branham and the writer) ...prepared to leave for Europe. On April 6, 1950, at three o'clock in the afternoon, the party....took off for London, England...the party landed on the following mid-morning at the Northolt Airport near London. Several days were spent in visiting historic buildings and shrines of the world's largest city. The climax of the party's stay in that great metropolis was the visit to Wesley's chapel. While there we also saw the Wesley residence...After two days in Paris, which were spent visiting the historic landmarks, we continued our journey to Finland via a Scandinavian airliner."25 This account was written in collaboration with WMB. Lindsay says the CLIMAX was the visit to Wesley's Chapel. Nothing is said about Ms. Shirlaw. WMB said he had simply prayed the Lord's Prayer.26 Lindsay was not even in the room with WMB, according to Rev. Gwilam Francis.27
WMB was met at a London Airport on Good Friday, April 7, 1950, by Rev. Francis.28 Arrangements were evidently made for the Sunday following, or Easter Sunday, April 9, 1950, for the WMB party to meet with Miss Shirlaw. Francis relates, "Brother Branham and myself visited Miss Florence Nightingale Shirlaw at her mother's home at 11, Clarendon Road, London W II...We were only four persons in the room that Sunday afternoon, Miss Shirlaw, her mother, Brother Branham and myself, and you [Gordon Lindsay] will probably recall that we were probably there for over an hour. When the atmosphere seemed to be charged with the presence and power of God, Brother Branham took Miss Shirlaw's hand, and offered a very short prayer, after which he requested her to eat. That is all that happened in that room...Miss Shirlaw's recovery took a few weeks, I was in constant touch with her during this period."29
Gwilam Francis wrote the above account (Published in TVH in 1954) because there were discrepancies in Julius Stadsklev's
book, William Branham, A Prophet Visits South Africa, regarding what happened in London.30 Stadsklev was not in the party, so he only related what someone had told him. Stadsklev called Miss Shirlaw, Florence Nightingale, as did WMB. This identifies WMB as the source for Stadsklev's 1952 account. This whole story was a rather large, after the fact, embellishment by WMB. The basic facts, according to Rev. Francis, were that Miss Florence Nightingale Shirlaw resided in London with her mother. Francis did not make mention of her coming by plane from Durban, South Africa. WMB alluded to her being "in the field," 31 which could possibly have meant she was a missionary. However, WMB also mentioned Wm. Upshaw being in the field,32 so it might just be an expression he used. Nothing was said by Rev. Francis about the famed Florence Nightingale being her grandmother. Francis stated that the discrepancies, "[D]o not in any way affect the miraculous healing of our sister, Miss Shirlaw." Either Miss Shirlaw, or Rev. Francis, found out that WMB would be at the London airport and Rev. Francis paged WMB. WMB made arrangements with Francis to meet with Miss Shirlaw on the coming Sunday at her mother's home in London.
Due to space and time restraints, the following is only a partial recount of WMB's story regarding Miss "Nightingale." WMB stated he received a request on, or about, Jan. 22, 1950,33 from a Miss Florence Nightingale. WMB said it included a skeleton picture of her and she asked him to come and pray for her.34 She supposedly even sent him airplane tickets35 to fly to Durban, ZA.36 WMB said she weighed anywhere from 27 pounds;37 30 Lbs;38 30 or 40 Lbs;39 less than 35 lbs;40 35 lbs;41 37 Lbs;42 40 lbs;43 less than 60 Lbs;44 60 Lbs; 64 Lbs;45pounds.46 If anything, the latter numbers of 60Lbs or so are probably still too low to be realistic.47 WMB just prayed for her, he said.48 Nothing else was done, even though she apparently begged for help.49 The reader must understand that there is no record of WMB mentioning a Miss Florence Nightingale [Shirlaw] in his messages until April 13, 1951; one whole year after her alleged request. WMB and his party landed and he was "paged" by a minister [G. Francis- PMD] asking him to come and pray for Miss Florence Nightingale. How she knew that he was there, he didn't know, he said.50 WMB told him he would come and pray for her in a couple of days, because he wanted to go sight-seeing first.51 Sightseeing he did,52 even though Rev. Francis told WMB she was dying and might not last that long.53 Lindsay never mentioned WMB praying for her. WMB said they were picked up by the minister on Sunday, to visit Miss Nightingale at the minister's house, by his church.54 Many welcomed them, he
said,55 including two nurses and several ministers and four of his managers.56 This contradicts what Francis stated regarding that Sunday, "Brother Branham and myself visited Miss Florence Nightingale Shirlaw at her mother's home ...We were only four persons in the room that Sunday afternoon."57 WMB, in direct contradiction to Rev. Francis' account of only four people being in the room, said there were thirteen, a doctor, two nurses, two or three ministers, the [4] campaign managers and himself,58 were in the room. G. Francis and Miss Shirlaw were there too. WMB even had Ern Baxter turn his head at the sight of Miss Shirlaw59 and calls on him as a witness to what he said.60 In contradiction to Rev. Francis,' WMB prayed the Lord's Prayer, and his favorite bird, a white dove, showed up. The windows were open and it was a foggy day,61 was that realistic for a dying person? When the dove flew onto the window sill, it hopped around and flew away, WMB said, "THUS SAITH THE LORD, you'll live and not die."62 WMB affirmed this with the nearest thing to an oath, "My Bible is open before me. And our heavenly Father is near to listen to what I have to say."63 Eight months after the event, WMB received a photo of a recovered Miss Shirlaw. And that is where the story started to gather momentum, or rather, embellishment.
WMB spent time in and around London until flying to Paris for a couple of days of seeing the sights there.64 No word of seeing King George VI. These sights included a visit to Place Pigalle, the Paris Red Light District. It was called Pig Alley by US soldiers visiting this prostitution district during WW II. WMB said he had heard about its immorality and just had to go there and see it for himself. His verdict, "It's true!"65
To what extent is William Branham's Case of the healing of Miss Shirlaw supported by Scripture and by reality? Apart from the contradictory accounts, there is no evidence of any miraculous healing. WMB never touched or laid hands on her. After he prayed the Lord's Prayer, Florence did not immediately rise up. It would appear that a natural healing process took place, which took awhile.