Convinced by childhood hallucinations and astrologers (seriously) that he was meant to do the work of God on earth, Branham eventually set up a faith healing ministry where he did pretty much the same things as every other faith healer in the country. He also claimed to have received visions of the future from God Himself, though the ones that actually had any detail to them (for example, "Franklin D. Roosevelt will run four terms and take America into a second world war.") were only revealed to his followers after the fact. His vaguer prophecies, which were basically along the lines of "America will fall" and "Jesus will come back", were naturally proclaimed loudly and constantly.
Branham's ministry consisted primarily of a religious philosophy that he made up as he went along - Both astrology and the Great Pyramid (for whatever reason) were also the divine word of God (though the KJV Bible had supplanted them), the Bible is the infallible word of God but is subject to amendment by the angels with whom he regularly conversed, he might be "the seventh angel of the Lord", Cain was the result of Eve having sex with "a devil-possessed serpent" and thus women shouldn't get the vote, etc. Branham was also an ardent believer in UFOs, though it is unclear whether he thought them to be the result of aliens or demons. In any event, he preached that they had something to do with the Rapture and whatnot.
As part of his "prophetic gifts" Branham also claimed to have predicted the death of Marilyn Monroe, a claim his followers repeat to this day. Just for fun, let's have a look at that particular prophecy:
"...And then, back there one night, I saw a vision. And it was of a lovely, pretty 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 four, so you just say four o'clock," and then he left me."
Okay, so let's make a list of the details:
1.) Beautiful young woman.
2.) Drops dead while running.
3.) Died of a heart attack.
Now, Marylin Monroe died of an overdose of barbiturates while in bed, so let's tick off the correct details of this prophecy:
1.) There was beautiful young woman.
Wow! Branham successfully predicted that there was a beautiful young woman somewhere in the world. Everything else was flat out wrong. The best part of course, is that Branham's followers rationalize all this by saying that the claims that Monroe died of a drug overdose are hoaxes. Absolutely delicious.
Well, one way or another, Branham died in a car accident in 1964 (according to his followers he died shortly after using his magical powers to resurrect his wife from the dead). Some of his higher ranking followers tried their hand at resurrecting him from the dead, but apparently they just didn't cut the mustard. Thus, William Branham, who foretold himself to be the one who would preside over the entire "last age of the church" before the end of the world, is planted in the ground up in Jeffersonville, inexplicably followed by a set of peculiar folks who still believe in him.
Oh, and one last thing: Branham predicted that the world would end in 1977. 31 years later, here I sit making fun of him. Now, just like with Marylin Monroe, Branham's followers have an explanation. You see, Branham said he "predicted" the end of the world in 1977, he didn't say he "prophesied" it, meaning that he wasn't quite sure. This is doubly delicious because Branham himself had to jump through some theological hoops shortly after making the claim, noting the while Jesus said no one would know the "day or the hour" when the end of the world would come, he didn't say anything about knowing the year. (That, by the way, is exactly the same explanation given by Edgar Whisenant, another loon, as to why he knew that the world would end in 1988...and then again in 1989 after it didn't end in 1988.) Branham's followers also claim that he's somehow correct in his prediction because Jesus actually returned in 1963(?!) in "Word form".
If you ever want to blow your mind on stupid, check out the main William Branham wesbite here. Wait, or was Branham a dangerous heretic?