He is thought to have used a stone with a hole in the middle to see his visions. The Brahan Seer worked for the third Earl of Seaforth, Kenneth MacKenzie (died 1678).
As with Nostradamus, who wrote in Provençal, most of his prophecies are best known in translation, which can in itself be deceptive. However, there are no contemporary manuscripts or accounts of his predictions, so it is impossible to verify them.
"One day ships will sail round the back of Tomnahurich Hill"
This is a remarkable prediction - firstly, there was already a passage for shipping - the River Ness, on the opposite south side of Tomnahurich Hill from today's canal - and the only choice for boats in the Brahan Seer's day. To say that ships would sail round the opposite side of the hill from the river seemed highly illogical to those who first heard the prediction.
But the prediction came true. Today the 19th century Caledonian Canal forks off from the River Ness at the eastern head of Loch Ness - which continues its route through Inverness town centre - and heads north-east "round the back of Tomnahurich", exiting into the Moray Firth at Clachnacudden.
According to this prophecy, "The day will come when the MacKenzies of Fairburn shall lose their entire possessions; their castle will become uninhabited and a cow shall give birth to a calf in the uppermost chamber of the tower." This apparently heralded the demise of the MacKenzies of Kintail and Seaforth.
In 1851, the now-ruined tower was being used by a farmer to store hay, and a cow gave birth in the garret. It is believed that the animal, following a trail of hay, entered the tower, climbed to the top, and got stuck. Both the cow and the calf were taken down five days later, allowing enough time for people to come and see the prophecy fulfilled. This was one of four prophecies by the Seer regarding Fairburn, at least three of which are reputed to have been fulfilled.
He predicted that when there should be a deaf Caberfae the gift land of the estate would be sold and the male line become extinct and that this would occur while there were four great contemporary lords distinguished by physical defects which he described. The four were Sir Hector Mackenzie, Bt of Gairloch (who was buck-toothed), Chisholm of Chisholm (squint-eyed/crooked eyed and hare-lipped), Grant of Grant (half-witted) and MacLeod of Raasay (a stammerer). Lord Seaforth's last surviving son died 1814 at about the time that he sold certain gift lands.
He predicted that when there were five bridges over the River Ness in Inverness that there would be worldwide chaos. In August 1939 there were five bridges over the Ness and on September 1st the same year Hitler invaded Poland.
He said that when there were nine bridges that there would be fire, flood and calamity. The ninth bridge was built in 1987 and in 1988 the Piper Alpha disaster happened.
A popular urban legend on the oil rigs of Scotland is that the Seer predicted the appearance of a "one-legged, fire-breathing giant from Nigg". And in due course the mono-pod (one-legged) oil platform the Ninian Central was built on the west coast at Kishorn and installed in the North Sea, where it has produced oil and flared (burned) gas for many years since. Nigg is the site of another Scottish oil rig manufacturing facility across the Cromarty Firth and The Sutors from Cromarty on the Black Isle, 10 miles from Chanonry Point.