If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone

 

KNOCK DEPOSITIONS - ANALYSED

 

KNOCK AND THE CHURCH

 

The Catholic has a duty to believe in the teaching Jesus Christ gave to the Church in the scriptures and the teaching he gives through the Church. 

 

A duty is something you are obligated to do simply because it is right - you will be punished if you don't do it.  To do it out of the fear of punishment means you are not committed to duty.  It is only avoiding punishment you care about.  A duty stands whether you agree with it or not.  It is a form of compulsion. 

 

It is Catholic teaching that the teachings we are bound to believe in order to have a real Catholic faith ceased with the death of the last apostle and that novelties are contrary to that faith.  This is called public revelation.  The Church says it is possible that God may however send private revelations.

 

"The Church occasionally approves of private revelations to this extent, that she declares that the alleged revelation contains nothing contrary to Christian faith or morals, and that it can be accepted on human faith without danger of superstition.  But the Church never commands the faithful to assent to such revelations on the authority of God" (page 7, Faith - What We Must Believe, What is Christianity? by the Very Rev William Moran DD, St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Catholic Truth Society of Ireland, Lower Abbey Street, Dublin).

 

The apparition at Knock would be considered to be private revelation.

 

ANALYSIS OF THE EVIDENCE

 

About 15 people said they saw the Blessed Virgin Mary appear in a great light flanked by St Joseph and St John at the gable wall of the Roman Catholic Church in Knock on the 21st August 1879.  A lamb standing on an altar was also reported. 

 

None of them said they were sure at the time that the sight they saw was supernatural.  Only Trench mentions giving them some veneration as holy things.  And its a Catholic thing to do that with an image not just an apparition.  None of them mentions experiencing God as they saw the images.  None of them mentions checking out if the images were not a trick.  If the projector was sitting there in full view it was simply not mentioned.l

 

Given that vague images are sometimes taken seriously as images of Jesus or Mary or some saint we wonder how clear the actual vision was.  It was clear enough for the witnesses to make identifications but we must remember that they already had it in their heads about what shape Joseph, Mary and John had.  John was identified because some witnesses saw a statue similar to the image in Leckanvey.  A person who had never seen holy statues or been influenced by the witnesses could have reported seeing nothing more than vague shapes.  People swear that there is an image of Mother Teresa or the Virgin Mary on slices of toast while others say they see nothing. 

 

If an experiment were performed on Catholics where they were tricked with images that broadly resembled at least the outline of Mary, the results could be very interesting.  They could end up reporting a very clear and lucid apparition and maybe even say it was moving.  Their imagination would take over.

 

The Knock witnesses did not see the apparition coming or going. 

 

THEORY 1: Detailed parts of the images such as the face and hands and feet were stuck to the wall.  The bodies were made up of light from a magic lantern positioned on the window sill which shone the image onto a mirror which reflected it on the gable   There may have been a box attached to the wall containing another magic lantern to illuminate or compose the altar figure.

 

THEORY 2: Statues were placed at the gable and a light shone on them.  Some of the UNALTERED testimonies say as much.    If some good witnesses say something is a miracle and others give evidence that the miracle interpretation is unwarranted then we should agree with the latter.  The Church may say that we are biased.  But we are not.  The pro-miracle testifiers and those who see no need for a miracle explanation are cancelling each other out.  If we still say we side with the pro people, then we are as bad as those who say that if your bread that you bake looks like the face of Jesus then its a miracle!  In this scenario and their scenario, a miracle is assumed with no evidence in its favour.

 

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APPENDIX: 1879 TESTIMONIES OF THE WITNESSES

 

The following depositions were supposedly produced by the priests forming the

Commission of Investigation set up by the Church in 1879.  In fact they are only based on the originals.  A lot of rewriting and changing has been done by devout Catholic publishers.

 

One of the priests was the Parish Priest of Knock, the wily Father Bartholomew Cavanagh.

 

The priests and the witnesses accepted the published depositions.  But none of them had the integrity to admit that alterations had been made to make the case for the apparition being supernatural and not a hoax seem stronger.  Cavanagh approved of the paraphrased and altered depositions (page 182, Knock: The Virgin's Apparition in 19th Century Ireland).  Honest wasn't he?

 


 

THE ORIGINALS OF THE DEPOSITIONS HAVE BEEN LOST EXCEPT IN THE CASE OF MARY BEIRNE, HER SISTER MAGGIE BEIRNE, DOMINICK BEIRNE SEN, DOMINICK BEIRNE JUN, JUDITH CAMPBELL AND BRIDGET TRENCH.

 

MARY BEIRNE, DOMINICK BEIRNE JUN AND BRIDGET TRENCH'S TESTIMONIES ARE ALL IN THE SAME HAND.  IT IS BELIEVED THAT THEY WERE NOT TAKEN ON 8 OCT 1879 LIKE THE OTHERS WERE BUT ON 1 JULY 1880.

 

MEMORY IS ALWAYS EASILY CONTAMINATED.  PSYCHOLOGISTS KNOW THAT EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY BECOMES EASILY POLLUTED OVER TIME.  MARY BEIRNE AND DOMINICK JUN AND BRIDGET TRENCH (ESPECIALLY HER ON ACCOUNT OF HER ADVANCED AGE) WOULD HAVE GIVEN TESTIMONIES WHOSE ACCURACY CAN BE DOUBTED AS THEY WERE MADE ON 1 JULY 1880 MONTHS AFTER THE REPUTED EVENTS.  IF BEIRNE SAW ONLY A DULL GLOW RATHER THAN A BRIGHT LIGHT SHE MIGHT HAVE "REMEMBERED" SEEING A BRIGHT LIGHT UPON HEARING ABOUT THE BRIGHT LIGHT FROM OTHERS.  HAD SHE NOT OBSERVED HOW HIGH THE IMAGES WERE ABOVE THE GROUND SHE MIGHT HAVE THOUGHT SHE REMEMBERED THEY WERE ABOUT A COUPLE OF FEET ABOVE THE GROUND LIKE SOME OTHERS HAD SAID.  PREFERENCE SHOULD BE AFFORDED TO THE TESTIMONIES OF 8 OCT 1879 FOR THEY WERE CLOSER TO THE EVENT.  BUT IF ANY TESTIMONIES SAY THINGS THAT SEEM TO UNDERMINE THE VISION THEY MUST BE BELIEVED AS IT SHOWS THEY WERE UNLIKELY TO HAVE BEEN MADE UP.  IT SHOWS THE ABSENCE OF BIAS.

 

THE PIOUS FRAUDSTERS PARAPHRASED THE TESTIMONIES AND

ALTERED THEM.  THE TEXT HIGHLIGHTED IN GREEN HAS BEEN ADDED TO THE ORIGINAL.

 

First Witness

Testimony of Patrick Hill

I am Patrick Hill; I live in Claremorris ; my aunt lives at Knock; I remember the 21st of August last; on that day I was drawing home turf, or peat, from the bog, on an ass. While at my aunt's, at about 8 o'clock in the evening, Dominick Beirne came into the house ; he cried out : Come up to the chapel and see the miraculous lights, and the beautiful visions that are to be seen there. I followed him ; another man, by name Dominick Beirne, and John Durkan, and a small boy named John Curry, came with me ; we were all together ; we ran over towards the chapel. When we, running southwest, came so far from the village that on our turning the gable came in view, we immediately beheld the lights, a clear, white light, covering most of the gable, from the ground up to the window and higher. It was a kind of changing bright light, going sometimes up high and again not so high. We saw the figures — the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, and St. John, and an altar, with the Lamb on the altar, and a cross behind the Lamb. At this time we reached as far as the wall fronting the gable ; there were other people there before me ; some of them were praying, some not ; all were looking at the vision ; they were leaning over the wall or ditch, with their arms resting on the top. I saw the figures and brightness ; the boy, John Curry, from behind the wall, could not see them ; but I did ; and he asked me to lift him up till he could see the grand babies, as he called the figures ; it was raining; some — amongst them Mary M'Loughlin — who beheld what I now saw, had gone away ; others were coming. After we prayed awhile I thought it right to go across the wall and into the chapel yard. I brought little Curry with me ; I went then up closer ; I saw everything distinctly. The figures were full and round, as if they had a body and life ; they said nothing, but as we approached they seemed to go back a little towards the gable. I distinctly beheld the Blessed Virgin Mary, lifesize, standing about two feet or so above the ground, clothed in white robes, which were fastened at the neck ; her hands were raised to the height of the shoulders, as if in prayer, with the palms facing one another, but slanting inwards towards the face ; the palms were not turned towards the people, but facing each other as I have described ; she appeared to be praying ; her eyes were turned, as I saw, towards heaven ; she wore a brilliant crown on her head, and over the forehead, where the crown fitted the brow, a beautiful rose ; the crown appeared brilliant, and of a golden brightness, of a deeper hue, inclined to a mellow yellow, than the striking whiteness of the robes she wore ; the upper parts of the crown appeared to be a series of sparkles, or glittering crosses, I saw her eyes, the balls, the pupils, and the iris of each — [the boy did not know those special names of those parts of the eye, but he pointed to them, and described them in his own way] — I noticed her hands especially, and face ; her appearance ; the robes came only as far as the ankles ; I saw the feet and the ankles; one foot, the right, was slightly in advance of the other ; at times she appeared, and all the figures appeared to move out and again to go backwards ; I saw them move ; she did not speak; I went up very near; one old woman went up and embraced the Virgin's feet, and she found nothing in her arms or hands ; they receded, she said, from her; I saw St. Joseph to the Blessed Virgin's right hand; his head was bent, from the shoulders, forward ; he appeared to be paying his respects ; I noticed his whiskers ; they appeared slightly gray ; there was a line or dark mearing between the figure of the Blessed Virgin and that of St. Joseph, so that one could know St. Joseph, and the place where his figure appeared distinctly from that of the Blessed Virgin and the spot where she stood. I saw the feet of St. Joseph, too; his hands were joined like a person at prayer. The third figure that stood before me was that of St. John the Evangelist ; he stood erect to the Gospel side of the altar, and at an angle with the figure of the Blessed Virgin, so that his back was not turned to the altar, nor to the Mother of God ; his right arm was at an angle with a line drawn across from St. Joseph to where our Blessed Lady appeared to be standing ; St. John was dressed like a bishop preaching ; he wore a small mitre on his head ; he held a Mass Book, or a Book of the Gospels, in the left hand ; the right hand was raised to the elevation of the head ; while he kept the index finger and the middle finger of the right hand raised, the other three fingers of the same hand were shut ; he appeared as if he were preaching, but I heard no voice ; I came so near, that I looked into the book ; I saw the lines and the letters. St. John wore no sandals ; his left hand was turned towards the altar that was behind him ; the altar was a plain one, like any ordinary altar, without any ornaments. On the altar stood a Lamb — the size of a lamb eight weeks old ; the face of the Lamb was fronting the west, and looking in the direction of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph ; behind the Lamb a large cross was placed erect or perpendicular on the altar ; around the Lamb I saw angels hovering during the whole time, for the space of one hour and a half or longer; I saw their wings fluttering, but I did not perceive their heads or faces, which were not turned to me. For the space of one hour and a half we were under the pouring rain ; at this time I was very wet ; I noticed that the rain did not wet the figures which appeared before me, although I was wet myself; I went away then.

(Signed) Patrick Hill.

Witness present — U. J. Canon Bourke.

October 8th, 1879.

 

OBSERVATIONS: How much of the above is his authentic testimony?  The original document has never been found.   White discovered in the archives of the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace, a box containing the 1879 statements made by Margaret Beirne (the thirteenth witness below), Judith Campbell and Dominick Beirne, the Senior.  Hill's was missing.  The testimonies were all condensed into two pages and had no concern for fancy descriptions or great literary style.  Hill's as it stands currently could fill several pages  and reads like a short story with fanciness and an attempt at good writing.  If the others are anything to go by, we can be sure that Hill's REAL document is very different and a lot less impressive than the one below. 

 

The testimony has been interfered with.  It is the writer's version of the testimony - not the testimony.  And the alleged clarity is contradicted by "I noticed her hands especially, and face ; her appearance."  He speaks as if the hands were clearer and then he adds that he noticed her face - like an afterthought.  Why is there no mention of what eye colour the Virgin had?

 

Campbell and Dominick Beirne Sen and Margaret Beirne's accounts have been preserved for us by the books - near verbatim.  Hill's may have got extensive editing and rewriting and if so, no wonder the original is no longer with us.

 

"I saw her eyes, the balls, the pupils, and the iris of each — [the boy did not know those special names of those parts of the eye, but he pointed to them, and described them in his own way] — I noticed her hands especially, and face ; her appearance".

 

The mellow yellow of the crown cannot be a golden brightness.  The following is contradictory: "and of a golden brightness, of a deeper hue, inclined to a mellow yellow".  The crown being a poor imitation of a gold colour is believable.  It indicates a projected picture rather than a real miracle.

 

"I went then up closer ; I saw everything distinctly. The figures were full and round, as if they had a body and life ; they said nothing, but as we approached they seemed to go back a little towards the gable".  The as if and the seemed indicate that he was uncertain that the images stood out from the wall.

 

He says that John's "right arm was at an angle with a line drawn across from St. Joseph to where our Blessed Lady appeared to be standing".  A horizontal line went across the images.  This indicates that the projector was not giving out a clear image.  A line had appeared across the images.  And he sounds unsure of the spot where Mary was.  It speaks of the place where she appeared to be standing as if he were not convinced she was really standing there.

 

He says John did not stand with his back to Mary but if he stood at an angle to her  he must have done!

 

Catholic tradition always associated true apparitions with messages.  The vision always has something to communicate.  Patrick says, " I came so near, that I looked into the book; I saw the lines and the letters" in John's book.  Given that no spoken message was given at Knock, surely it would have been assumed that God may have chosen to convey the message in the pages of the book.  Nobody even thought of transcribing what was in the book.  The assertion about the lines and letters being so clear does not ring true.  The entity holding the book was acting like a preacher and that would surely have been taken to be saying, "Hey pay attention to my book.  Its my message."

 

T.D. Sullivan printed the depositions of the witnesses.  Eugene Hynes discovered that this material was given for publication to Thomas Sexton by Archdeacon Cavanagh (ibid, page 112, The Apparition at Knock, The Ecumenical Dimension).  For such a gullible man, Cavanagh left out the testimony of Patrick Hill as if even he found it worthy of scorn.  He did not regard what seemed to be the best and most detailed testimony as valuable.   This is odd for Cavanagh’s colleague, Bourke, regarded it as the best and most reliable and he trusted Hill for he lived beside him in Claremorris.  It is the most vivid account.  It is not true that Cavanagh distrusted Hill just because of his youth for he accepted the testimonies of younger people.  And it is interesting that Cavanagh was so against Hill that even the fact that Bourke was a respected author on religious and historical matter meant nothing.

 

When Cavanagh dismissed the most miraculous testimony perhaps we should too?

 

Hill was not an objective witness for he was visiting the Beirne household which provided many of the witnesses for the vision. Consider the following from a record written in 1880 by Daniel Campbell (MEMORIES OF KNOCK IN THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY, Memoir of Daniel Campbell, Eden and Smethwick, written c. 1880).

 

PATRICK HILL, WITNESS
The first witness given in the Universe was Patrick Hill of Claremorris, a boy
who said he was at his aunt’s house at Knock, Mrs Byrne, at the time the first
Apparition appeared. Mrs Byrne was sister to Mrs Hill and mother to Mary
and Dominic Byrne, who was interrogated by the correspondent of the Dublin
Weekly News.

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Second Witness.

Testimony of Mary M'Loughlin,

 

I live in Knock; l am housekeeper to the Rev. Archdeacon Cavanagh ; I remember the evening of the 21st of August ; at the hour of seven or so, or a little later, while it was yet bright day, I passed from the Rev. the Archdeacon's house on by the chapel, towards the house of a Mrs. Beirne, widow. On passing by the chapel, and at a little distance from it, I saw a wonderful number of strange figures or appearances at the gable, one like the B. V. Mary, and one like St. Joseph, another a bishop [this suggests that it was hard to tell if it were images or just shapes or figures and she says they were like Mary and Joseph and a bishop - this suggests that the images were not as clear as the Church and the likes of witnesses Patrick Hill and Brigid Trench, if you trust the version of their testimonies that is accepted as official, would like to think.  Worse the Nun of Kenmare categorically stated in THREE VISITS TO KNOCK that Mc Loughlin only saw a light at that point.  The nun wrote that her very close friend Mary Beirne was the first to see the figures not Mc Loughlin.  ]; I saw an altar; I was wondering to see there such an extraordinary group ; yet I passed on and said nothing, thinking that possibly the Archdeacon had been supplied with these beautiful figures from Dublin or somewhere else, and that he said nothing about them, but had left them in the open air ; I saw a white light about them ; I thought the whole thing strange; after looking at them I passed on to the house of Mrs. Beirne's in the village ; after reaching Widow Beirne's house I stayed there half an hour at least ; I returned then homewards to the Archdeacon's house, accompanied by Miss Mary Beirne, and as we approached the chapel, she cried out, "Look at the beautiful figures."  We gazed on them for a little, and then I told her to go for her mother, Widow Beirne, and her brother, and her sister, and her niece, who were still in the house which she and I had left. I remained looking at the sight before me until the mother, sister, and brother of Miss Mary Beirne came ; at the time I was outside the ditch and to the south-west of the schoolhouse near the road, about thirty yards or so from the church ; I leaned across the wall in order to see, as well as I could, the whole scene [She makes it plain that she had to stand thirty yards away to see it best - clearly the vision looked better and clearer at a distance.  If the vision was made from a projector then it would have looked better from that distance.  She is clear that she was standing there to see it as best she could.   Had the vision been a real miracle you could see it well face on but everybody had to stand at an angle to it to see it correctly.]. I remained now for the space of at least a quarter of an hour, perhaps longer; Told Miss Beirne then to go for her uncle, Bryan Beirne, and her aunt, Mrs. Bryan Beirne, or any of the neighbours whom she should see, in order that they might witness the sight that they were then enjoying. It was now about a quarter past eight o'clock, and beginning to be quite dark. The sun had set ; it was raining at the time. I beheld, on this occasion, not only the three figures, but an altar further on to the left of the figure of the B.V.M., [why does she talk as if she never mentioned the altar before!  How much altering has this testimony experienced?] and to the left of the bishop and above the altar a Lamb about the size of that which is five weeks old. Behind the Lamb appeared the cross [She protested when newspapers said she saw the cross.  She claimed that was not true - see page 191, Knock: The Virgin's Apparition in Nineteenth Century Ireland.  This is evidence that she was tricked into putting her x on the deposition without knowing all its contents]; it was away a bit from the Lamb, while the latter stood in front from it, and not resting on the wood of the cross. Around the Lamb a number of gold-like stars appeared in the form of a halo [she sees stars and Hill reported angels.  Hill was either carried away by imagination or was exaggerating]. This altar was placed right under the window of the gable and more to the east of the figures, all, of course, outside the church at Knock. I parted from the company or gathering at eight and a half o'clock. I went to the priest's house and told what I had beheld, and spoke of the beautiful things that were to be seen at the gable of the chapel ; I asked him, or said, rather, it would be worth his while to go to witness them. He appeared to make nothing of what I said, and consequently he did not [he acted as if he was not even interested! 

Interesting that a priest would not take his close friend and housekeeper seriously!  Was it because she had been drinking?].  Although it was pouring rain the wall had a bright, dry appearance, while the rest of the building appeared to be dark. I did not return to behold the visions again after that, remaining at my house. I saw the sight for fully an hour. Very Rev. B. Cavanagh heard the next day all about the Apparition from the others who had beheld it ; and then it came to his recollection that I had told him the previous evening about it, and asked him to see it. [His forgetting was obviously feigned.  What was he up to?  No wonder he is a suspect in a hoax.]

 

Note by the publisher of this account. — Mary M'Loughlin had gone away before Patrick Hill came. Their testimony relates to two distinct and separate times while the Apparition was present. She saw it, like one who did not care to see it, and in a transverse direction, not straight ; he saw it directly and fully, and like confiding child, went up calmly to where the Blessed Virgin stood.

 

This note is just there to hide the fact that Patrick Hill exaggerated.  It had been noticed that the vision he reportedly saw was very impressive while hers made little impression on her.  He indicates that it was very distinct whereas she indicates that it was not that clear.  The publisher was trying to make out that the vision changed between the departure of McLoughlin and the arrival of Hill to reconcile the contradictions.  There is no evidence that she had left before he came.  The publisher was trying to make out that it changed despite the testimonies that it did not change.  The alternative was to make out that her perception was not as clear as Hill's.  The publisher did not wish to do that as it could suggest she was drunk or inept.  Hill said that he arrived at the vision and later he remarked that some who saw the vision "who beheld what I now saw" had left.  He does not say that she left before his arrival.

 

[She said when she first saw that figures that she thought "possibly the Archdeacon had been supplied with these beautiful figures from Dublin or somewhere else, and that he said nothing about them, but had left them in the open air."  We know a consignment of statues to Knock had been broken.  Why would she assume it was the Archdeacon responsible for the statues being outside?  Its more natural to think the delivery people messed up.  Would she have ignored the statues when previous ones had been damaged?  She was only a few minutes away from the Archdeacon's house so why didn't she go back there and say, "Your Reverence I see statues outside the Church.  Will they be okay?"]

 

[Her claim, "Very Rev. B. Cavanagh heard the next day all about the Apparition from the others who had beheld it ; and then it came to his recollection that I had told him the previous evening about it, and asked him to see it" is interesting.  It is impossible to imagine him forgetting what she said until others told him about the apparition.  She speaks as if he had talked to a few people who reported the vision before he "remembered".  If that wasn't playacting then nothing is]

[Mary McLoughlin lied that she saw the images on the way to visit the Beirnes.  She didn't see anything until after her visit.  Mary Beirne was walking her home when they both saw the images first.  "When we saw them first (that was from the wall of the schoolhouse), we thought they were a couple of feet out from the gable".  The We is her and Mc Loughlin and she specifies that they saw nothing until they got to the schoolhouse.]

 

Mary McLoughlin could not read or write.  She signed her deposition with an x (page 191, Knock: The Virgin's Apparition in Nineteenth Century Ireland).  We don't even know if it was read out to her properly.  Her deposition is very weak as evidence.  We can only trust it when it says things the Church didn't want to hear.

 

THE MAP BELOW SHOWS HOW THE GABLE COULD BE SEEN FROM THE SIDE FROM BEIRNE'S HOUSE WHICH YOU SEE IN THE EAST SIDE.  YOU SEE THE SCHOOLHOUSE WHERE THE WITNESSES STOOD.  WHY STAND SO FAR UNLESS THE VISION WAS UNCLEAR IF ONE GOT TOO CLOSE.  YOU SEE ALSO HOW IF THERE REALLY HAD BEEN A BRIGHT LIGHT AT THE GABLE IT WOULD HAVE SHONE IN THE BACK WINDOWS OF THE PAROCHIAL HOUSE AND DISTURBED THE ARCHDEACON. 

 

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Third Witness.

Testimony of Mary Beirne, aged about 26 years.

I live in the village of Knock, to the east side of the chapel Mary M'Loughlin came on the evening of the 21st of August to my house at about half-past seven o'clock ; she remained some little time ; I came back with her as she was returning homewards ; it was either eight o'clock or a quarter to eight at the time. It was still bright ; I had never heard from Miss  [THE ORIGINAL SAYS; "IT WAS ABOUT 8 O CLOCK AND DUSK." The text in green is a complete fabrication.  The Church wanted people to think the vision was visible in broad daylight.  It wanted to stop people suspecting that somebody was using a projector that would be needed in the dark.  The Sullivan version of her testimony gives the time as 8.15 - see page 117, The Apparition at Knock, The Ecumenical Dimension]  M'Loughlin about the vision which she had seen just before that. The first I learned of it was on coming at the time just named from my mother's house in company with Miss Mary M'Loughlin, and at the distance of three hundred yards or so from the church, I beheld, all at once, standing out from the gable, and rather to the west of it, three figures which, on more attentive inspection, appeared to be that of the Blessed Virgin, of St. Joseph, and St. John. [ORIGINAL: I SAW 3 FIGURES ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE GABLE".  THE ON IS SIGNIFICANT.  SEE HOW THE PUBLISHED VERSION HAS THEN FIGURES STANDING OUT FROM THE WALL.  THE ON WOULD SUGGEST A PROJECTOR WAS BEING USED TO MAKE PICTURES ON THE WALL].  That of the Blessed Virgin was life-size, the others apparently either not so big or not so high as her figure ; they stood a little distance out from the gable wall, and, as well as I could judge, a foot and a half or two feet from the ground. The [THE ORIGINAL SAYS "THE STATUE OF THE BVM - SEE LINE 7 OF THE FIRST PART OF THE IMAGE OF HER DEPOSITION] Virgin stood erect, with eyes raised to heaven, her hands elevated to the shoulders or a little higher, the palms inclined slightly towards the shoulders or bosom ; she wore a large cloak of a white colour, hanging in full folds and somewhat loosely around her shoulders and fastened to the neck ; she wore a crown on the head- rather a large crown — and it appeared to me somewhat yellower than the dress or robes worn by Our Blessed Lady.  In the figure of St. Joseph the head was slightly bent, and inclined towards the Blessed Virgin, as if paying her respect;  it represented the saint as somewhat aged, with gray whiskers and grayish hair. The third figure appeared to be that of St, John the Evangelist ; I do not know, only thought so, except the fact that at one time I saw a statue at the chapel of Lekanvey, near Westport, County Mayo, very much resembling the figure which stood now before me in group with St, Joseph and Our Blessed Lady, which I beheld on this occasion. He held the Book of Gospels, or the Mass Book, open in his left hand, white he stood slightly turned on the left side towards the altar that was over a little from him. [ORIGINAL SAYS, "I NEVER SAW FIGURES OR STATUES LIKE THEM" - THIS WAS OMITTED AS IT OBVIOUSLY CONTRADICTS HER CLAIM THAT SHE SAW A STATUE OF JOHN LIKE THE ONE IN THE VISION - READ ON TO SEE WHAT SHE CLAIMED] I must remark that the statue which I had formerly seen at Lekanvey chapel had no mitre on its head, while the figure which I now beheld had one — not a high mitre, but a short-set kind of one. The statue at Lekanvey had a book in the left hand, and the fingers of the right hand raised. The figure before me on this present occasion of which I am speaking had a book in the left hand, as I have stated, and the index finger and the middle finger of the right hand raised, as if he were speaking, and impressing some point forcibly on an audience. It was this coincidence of figure and pose that made me surmise, for it is only an opinion, that the third figure was that of St. John, the beloved disciple of our Lord. But I am not in any way sure what saint or character the figure represented, I said, as I now expressed, that it was St. John the Evangelist, and then all the others present said the same — said what I stated. The altar was under the window, which is the gable, and a little to the west near the centre, or a little beyond it. Towards this altar St. John — as I shall call the figure — was looking, while he stood at the Gospel side of the said altar, with his right arm inclined at an angle outwardly, towards the Blessed Virgin [Some witnesses thought John was in preaching mode. So John was preaching to the Lamb on the altar about Mary!  No wonder she has central place in the arrangement!  If John was blessing then he was blessing the Lamb!  A mistake was made then by whoever rigged this vision.  It is too much of a coincidence that the vision matches the Mariolatry of the Archdeacon who can be suspected of having arranged the hoax vision], The altar appeared to me to be like the altars in use in the Catholic Church — large and full-sized. It had no linens, no candles, nor any special ornamentations ; it was only a plain altar. [ORIGINAL MERELY SAYS, "I SAW A PLAIN ALTAR"]  Above the altar, and resting on it, was a Lamb, standing with the face towards St. John, thus fronting the western sky. I saw no cross nor crucifix. On the body of the Lamb, and around it, I saw golden stars, or small brilliant lights, glittering like jets or glass balls, reflecting the light of some luminous body [ORIGINAL: SAYS OF THE STATUES, "THERE WAS A BRILLIANT LIGHT AROUND THEM"  AND "I DID NOT REMARK ANY VIOLET LIGHT."  "THE LIGHT WAS A BRIGHT KIND OF LIGHT" - she was not sure how bright it was!  She was exaggerating about the light being brilliant.  Somebody must have seen a violet light so she has to challenge that].

 

I remained from a quarter past eight to half-past nine o'clock. At the time it was raining.  [STRANGELY OMITTED FROM PUBLISHED ACCOUNTS: "THERE WAS NO RAIN ON THE GRASS OR WALL."  NOTE: Mary told The Weekly News the following year that she had tried to touch the apparition and felt nothing. ]  I think the statement about the rain must have been left out as the locals all knew it was a lie.  I think the mention of the rain in Trench's fabricated account is down to bad editing.

 

She never had to sign this testimony.  Is it valid then?  The testimony shows signs that it was a conversation more than a testimony.  She mentions that the figures were all white.   Then she says they had fleshly white faces.  Then it was yellowy white faces.  Why all that repetition and variation?

"On the body of the Lamb, and around it, I saw golden stars, or small brilliant lights, glittering like jets or glass balls, reflecting the light of some luminous body".  She states that the lamb looked like light was been shone on it.  Now if you shine light on something, people cannot really tell if the light is coming from it or shone on it.  She says there was something at the gable, a luminous thing, that was shining the light.  There we have it.  Those who found that a mirror might have been attached to the gable and used to reflect the images from a magic lantern have their evidence here!

 

BELOW IS TO VERIFY THAT SHE CALLED THE IMAGES STATUES.  "I SAW AN ALTAR.  ST JOHN WAS TURNED TO THE ALTAR.   THE COLOUR OF THE STATUES AND THE ALTAR WAS WHITE.  I SAW ONLY A PLAIN ALTAR".

The incredible picture below on her testimony is supposed to be a doodle.  It is in fact an incomplete picture of the rain coming down straight.  No wonder the gable was quite dry.  The grass is the grass at the gable which is pressed down as if somebody had been tampering with the place at the gable where the images appeared. 

 

 

THERE IS NO MENTION OF THE FACT THAT SHE FIRST THOUGHT THE IMAGES WERE CARVINGS

THE NUN OF KENMARE WROTE

The two Marys remained for sometime lost in awe and

wonder, for they soon perceived that what they

beheld was not, as they at first supposed, mere

earthly carvings, but that it was, indeed, a heavenly vision.

 

The first apparition was seen on the night or evening of

the 21st August, 1879, the eve of the octave of the Assumption.

The apparition was first seen by two women, both" Marys,"

and so little were they prepared to see anything supernatural,

and so "real" did the vision appear, that both thought at.

first they were looking at some statues which they supposed

had been brought down from Dublin by the good priest for

his Church. It was no statue fashioned by human hands

they saw, but a vision from Heaven itself.

Mary McLoughlin is an elderly woman, and housekeeper to

Archdeacon Cavanagh, the parish priest. On this evening,

Thursday, August 21st, she passed from the priest's house to

the house of a Mrs. Byrne, a widow, who lives in the little village

of Knock. As Mary McLoughlin passed the gable of

the chapel, she observed some figures and a white light about

them. She thought this strange, but appears to have had so

little idea of anything extraordinary that she went on at once

to Mrs. Byrne's house, and concluded that these figures were

statues which the priest had got for his church. Mary Byrne

returned with Mary McLoughlin, and as they passed the gable

of the chapel the two women saw the apparition. It was still

bright daylight, but a light brighter than that of any earthly

light shone on the wall of that humble sanctuary.

At first, Mary Byrne also thought she was looking at statues

which had been got for the church. But in a few moments

both women were undeceived, and they knew that. God had

granted them the amazing favour' of being the first to behold

heavenly vision. Both of these women saw the same vision,

and both gave the same description of what they saw.

 


Fourth Witness,

Testimony of Patrick Walsh, aged Sixty-five years.

My name is Patrick Walsh ; I live at Ballinderrig, an English mile from the chapel of Knock. I remember well the 21st of August, 1879. It was a very dark night. It was raining heavily. About nine o'clock on that night I was going on some business through my land, and standing a distance of about half a mile from the chapel, I saw a very bright light on the southern gable-end of the chapel ; it appeared to be a large globe of golden light ; I never saw, I thought, so brilliant a light before; it appeared high up in the air above and around the chapel gable, and it was circular in its appearance ; it was quite stationary, and it seemed to retain the same brilliancy all through. The following day I made inquiries in order to learn if there were any lights seen in place that night; it was only then I heard of the Vision or Apparition that the people had seen.


Fifth Witness.

Testimony of Patrick Beirne.

Patrick Beirne was the son of the elder Patrick Beirne of Knock, I am sixteen years of age ; I live quite near the chapel ; I remember well the evening of the 21st of August ; it was Thursday, the evening before the Octave day. Dominick Beirne, Jun., a namesake of mine, came to my house, and said that he had seen the biggest sight that ever he witnessed in his life. It was then after eight o'clock. I came by the road on the west side of the church. I saw the figures clearly, fully, and distinctly — the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, and that of a bishop, said to be St. John the Evangelist. Young Beirne then told what he saw regarding the Vision, just as it has been described already by several persons who were present. The young fellow showed by his hands and position how the image or apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary and that of St. Joseph and St. John stood. I remained only ten minutes, and then I went away. All this happened between a quarter or so past eight o'clock and half-past nine.

 

Why was there something glossed over? He claims he saw the "Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, and that of a bishop, said to be St. John the Evangelist".  The commission then stops recording what he said and inserts, "Young Beirne then told what he saw regarding the Vision, just as it has been described already by several persons who were present.  The young fellow showed by his hands and position how the image or apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary and that of St. Joseph and St. John stood."  Then his speech is recorded again.   "I remained only ten minutes, and then I went away."  Something is being hidden here.  Patrick in later years said the images he saw on the gable were faint ones - like shapes cast by the light of the moon.  That explains it!  But he said, " I saw the figures clearly, fully, and distinctly."  How do we know that he did?  He had little or no control over the testimony.   And, "I came by the road on the west side of the church. I saw the figures clearly, fully, and distinctly" could mean that he saw them so clearly when he was at a distance.  Close up they could have been less impressive.

It must be noted that not one thing in this testimony indicates a miracle.  He doesn't even mention the alleged bright light.  And though he said later that he stayed longer than ten minutes, it seems that he really did stay only ten minutes.  Impressed wasn't he?  Catherine Murray stayed only a half an hour or less so it was possible he was even less interested than she was.

His, "I came by the road on the west side of the church. I saw the figures clearly, fully, and distinctly — the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, and that of a bishop, said to be St. John the Evangelist" is too close for comfort to his grandmother Margaret Beirne's testimony, "I came with others to the wall opposite the gable ; I saw then and there distinctly the three images — one of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one of St. Joseph, and the third, as I learned, that of St. John the Evangelist".  Plagiarism - by the commission!  Or were the witnesses colluding to get their stories to match?


Sixth Witness.

Testimony of Margaret Beirne, widow of Dominick Beirne, of Knock.

I, Margaret Beirne, nee Bourke, widow of Dominick Beirne, deceased, live near the chapel at Knock. I remember the evening of the 21st of August. I was called out at about a quarter past eight o'clock by my daughter Margaret to see the Vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the saints who appeared at the end of the little church ; it was getting dark ; it was raining. I came with others to the wall opposite the gable ; I saw then and there distinctly the three images — one of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one of St. Joseph, and the third, as I learned, that of St. John the Evangelist. I saw an altar, too, and a Lamb on it, somewhat whiter than the altar; I did not see the cross on the altar, The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in the attitude of prayer, with her eyes turned up towards heaven, a crown on her head, and an outer garment thrown round her shoulders. I saw her feet. St. Joseph appeared turned towards the Blessed Virgin, with head inclined. I remained looking on for fully fifteen or twenty minutes, then I left, and returned to my own house.

 

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Seventh Witness.

The Testimony of Dominick Beirne.

I am brother of Mary Beirne, who has given her evidence already ; I live near the chapel of Knock ; my age is twenty years. On the occasion when my sister came at about eight o'clock on the evening of the 21st of August into our house, she exclaimed : " Come, Dominick, and see the image of the Blessed Virgin, as she has appeared to us down at the chapel." I said, " What image?" and then she told me, as she has already described it for your reverence in her testimony: she told me all she was after seeing ; I then went with her, and by this time some ten or twelve people had been collected around the place, namely, around the ditch or wall fronting the gable, where the vision was being seen, and to the south of the schoolhouse; [ORIGINAL: "I SAW THE STATUE OF THE BVM, OF ST JOSEPH AND ST JOHN" - its good that he tells us everybody gathered to the south of the schoolhouse, that surely indicates that they assembled there for the vision seemed to look clearer from that spot] then I beheld the three likenesses or figures that have been already described — the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, St. John, as my sister called the bishop, who was like one preaching, with his hands raised towards the shoulder, and the forefinger and middle finger pointedly set; the other two fingers compressed by the thumb ; in his left he held a book ; he was so turned that he looked half towards the altar and half towards the people; [Mary Beirne said he was looking at the altar.  It would be strange if he looked in the direction of the schoolhouse where they were all standing!  It would mean he was preaching at it when there was nobody around!] the eyes of the images could be seen : they were like figures, inasmuch as they did not speak. I was filled with wonder at the sight I saw ; I was so affected that I shed tears ; I continued looking on for fully an hour, and then I went away to visit Mrs. Campbell, who was in a dying state ; when we returned the Vision had disappeared.

WHY IS THE PRIEST'S HANDWRITING SO HURRIED?  THE TALE IS TOO STRUCTURED AND PRACTICED.  DOMINICK JUST LEARNED IT OFF AND RECITED IT FOR THE PRIEST TO WRITE IT DOWN.

Dominick never had to sign this testimony.  Is it valid then?

In the original handwritten copy he says, "I saw the image of an altar".  That was left out of the books.  Why?  An image of an altar cannot mean a statue of an altar.  It would be strange to describe an altar as a statue.  What he meant was he saw a picture of the altar.  It had to be left out for the Church wished to portray the vision as being more than a picture!  A picture would mean it was probably a trick or hoax.

 


Eighth Witness.

Testimony of Mrs. Hugh Flatley, widow of Hugh Flatley, states : —

I was passing by the chapel of Knock on the evening of the 21st of August, about eight o'clock, and I beheld most clearly and distinctly the figures of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, and that of St. John the Evangelist, standing erect at the gable-end of the chapel, towards the south side ; I thought that the parish priest had been ornamenting the church, and got some beautiful likenesses removed outside.

THIS TESTIMONY MAY BE A TOTAL FABRICATION.  THE MCPHILPIN BOOK,   (THE APPARITIONS AND MIRACLES AT KNOCK ALSO, The Official Depositions of the Eye-Witnesses, PREPARED AND EDITED BY JOHN McPHILPIN NEPHEW OF THE ARCHBISHOP OF TUAM) SAYS THAT THE FIRST THING THAT WAS SEEN WAS GLITTERS LIKE FROST ON THE GABLE.

Here it is:

As some persons were hurriedly going

along the road which leads to the chapel, at about

half-past seven P. M., they perceived the wall beautifully

illuminated by a soft, white, flickering light,

through which could be perceived brilliant stars

twinkling as on a fine frosty night. The first

person who saw it passed on".

 

Also, "The time at which the apparition appeared was some twenty minutes after sunset".

This slip is very important.  It refutes those who say, "The images were not made by a projector for projector images would not have been so plain in daylight."  It is claimed Flatley saw them before it got too dark!

 

THE NUN OF KENMARE KNEW THE BEIRNES VERY WELL.  SHE CATEGORICALLY STATED THAT MARY BEIRNE WAS THE FIRST TO SEE THE APPARITION.   SEE HER BOOK  THREE VISITS TO KNOCK

Mary Byrne was the first person who saw the

actual apparition. On the evening of the 21st,

of August, 1879, the eve of the Octave of

the Assumption, Mary undertook the duty of

locking up the church for her brother Dominick.

Archdeacon Cavanagh's housekeeper, Mary

M'Laughlin had come down to the Byrnes' house

for the purpose of seeing Maggie Byrne, who had

been on a visit with some friends at the sea. In

passing the gable, she had noticed some light or

luminous appearance, but the matter made so

little impression on her that she did not even

speak of it when she came down to the Byrnes'

house.

 

 


Ninth Witness,

The Testimony of Bridget Trench aged 75

(three score and fifteen years)

The testimony of this witness was given in the Irish language. Her words were translated by Father Corbett into English while she spoke. The following is the version of what she said : — My name is Bridget Trench ; I live near the chapel of Knock. About half-past seven o'clock on the night of the 21st of August I was in the house of Mrs. Campbell, which is quite near to the chapel ; while I was there Mary Beirne came in and said there was a sight to be seen at the chapel such as we never before beheld, and she told us all to come and see it ; I asked her what it was, and she said that the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, and St. John were to be seen there. I went out immediately and came to the spot indicated. When I arrived there I saw distinctly the three figures. I threw myself on my knees and exclaimed : "A hundred thousand thanks to God and to the glorious Virgin that has given us this manifestation." I went in immediately to kiss, as I thought, the feet of the Blessed Virgin ; but I felt nothing in the embrace but the wall, and I wondered why I could not feel with my hands the figures which I had so plainly and so distinctly seen. The three figures appeared motionless, statue-like ; they were standing by the gable the church in the background, and seemed raised about two feet above the ground. The Blessed Virgin was in the centre; she was clothed in white, and covered with what appeared one white garment; her hands were raised to the same position as that in which a priest holds his hands when praying at holy Mass. I remarked distinctly the lower portions of her feet, and kissed them three times ; she had on her head something resembling a crown, and her eyes were turned up heavenwards. I was so taken with the Blessed Virgin, that I did not pay much attention to any other ; yet I saw also the two other figures — St. Joseph standing to the right of the Blessed Virgin, or to the left, as I looked at him, his head bent towards her and his hands joined ; and the other figure, which I took to be St. John the Evangelist, was standing at her left. I heard those around me say that the image was St. John. It was raining very heavily at the time, but no rain fell where the figures were, I felt the ground carefully with my hands, and it was perfectly dry. The wind was blowing from the south, right against the gable of the chapel, but no rain fell on that portion of the gable or chapel in which the figures were. There was no movement or active sign of life about the figures, and I could not say whether they were what living beings would in their place appear to be or not; but they appeared to me so full and so lifelike and so life-size that I could not understand why I could not feel them with my hands such as I beheld them with my eyes. There was an extraordinary brightness about the whole gable of the chapel, and it was observed by several who were passing along the road at the time. I remained there altogether about an hour, and when I came there first I thought I would never leave it. I would not have gone so soon as I did, but that I considered that the figures and that brightness would continue there always, and that on coming back I would again behold them .   I continued to repeat the rosary on my beads while there, and I felt great delight and pleasure in looking at the Blessed Virgin. I could think of nothing else while there but giving thanks to God and repeating my prayers.

ALMOST THE WHOLE TESTIMONY IS A FABRICATION.  TO AVOID A POSSIBLE DAY IN COURT, THE FABRICATOR HAD TO PREFIX THE TESTIMONY WITH A DISCLAIMER "THE FOLLOWING IS THE VERSION OF WHAT SHE SAID."  THIS WAS SO THAT IF THE AUTHOR WAS CAUGHT OUT LYING HE COULD USE THE FOLLOWING AS AN EXCUSE - "SHE DIDN'T GIVE ME TIME TO WRITE DOWN WHAT SHE SAID EXACTLY.  I JUST TOOK QUICK NOTES."

HE COULD SAY HE ADMITTED HE MADE HIS VERSION AND EMBELLISHMENT OF WHAT SHE SAID FOR NOBODY COULD EXPECT COMPLETE ACCURACY UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

"I went in immediately to kiss, as I thought, the feet of the Blessed Virgin ; but I felt nothing in the embrace but the wall, and I wondered why I could not feel with my hands the figures which I had so plainly and so distinctly seen."  Notice how she reaches for the feet and finds only the wall.  We have flat images here. It doesn't agree with , "they appeared to me so full and so lifelike".  Why is the testimony not, " I wondered why I could not feel with my hands the feet of the Virgin who I had so plainly and so distinctly seen"?  It was the Virgin who grabbed her interest.  Was she really trying to touch more than the Virgin's feet?  If the image was really so clear then why did she, unlike the others, get so doubtful that Mary had a crown -"had on her head something resembling a crown?"

"There was an extraordinary brightness about the whole gable of the chapel, and it was observed by several who were passing along the road at the time."  These are passer-bys.  Why didn't they see the images?  That they went on about their business shows they saw nothing startling only a light.  This indicates that the image was vague from the road.  As it was clear from the schoolhouse, it would suggest some kind of trickery.

She says she saw the three figures and never mentions the lamb or the altar. The way she speaks excludes their presence.

The assertion attributed to Bridget Trench, "The wind was blowing from the south" meaning against the gable from her fabricated testimony contradicts the assertion of Mary Beirne to The Weekly News of 1880 that there was no wind.

 

IT IS BELIEVED TRENCH TOLD HER STORY AND THE PRIEST WROTE IT DOWN IN ENGLISH.  THE ORIGINAL TESTIMONY REALLY DOES LOOK LIKE A TRANSLATION.  IT IS AWKWARD.  IT SHOWS THE LADY WAS NOT GOOD AT EXPRESSING HERSELF.

THE ORIGINAL TESTIMONY IS AS FOLLOWS:

 

LIVES IN THIS PLACE.  ON THE EVE OF 21 AUGUST A PERSON SICK SENT FOR HER THAT SHE MIGHT SEE HER.  SHE CAME THAT EVENING TO THE CHURCH [SOMETHING ERASED].  SHE WAS IN THE HOUSE OF THE SICK WOMAN.  SHE CAME BY THE ROAD AND SAW GREAT LIGHT.  SHE ENTERED AT HER RIGHT HAND.  SHE LEFT HER HAND ON THEM.  SHE SAW ST JOSEPH AND THE BVM AND ST JOHN AND THE ALTAR AND THE LAMB.  THEY WERE NOT STANDING ON THE GROUND BUT PROBABLY TWO FEET ABOVE THE GROUND.

 

THERE IS NO MENTION OF THE MIRACLE OF THE RAIN NOT WETTING THE GABLE.  EVEN THE ALTERED TESTIMONY MAKES US WONDER IF THE MIRACLE HAPPENED.  IT HAS BEIRNE ALLEGEDLY TELLING TRENCH AND OTHERS TO GO TO THE GABLE TO SEE THE VISION.  BUT WOULD SHE REALLY HAVE ASKED AN OLD WOMAN TO RISK GETTING WET?  THE IRISH UNIVERSALLY BELIEVED BACK THEN THAT GETTING WET GAVE YOU THE COLD OR FLU AND COULD THEREFORE KILL AN OLD PERSON.

 

THE CHURCH DID NOT GET THE WITNESSES TO SIGN AND MARK EACH PAGE.  THAT CAUSES PROBLEMS FOR THOSE WHO SUSPECT THE PRIEST WAS AT LIBERTY TO WRITE DOWN A TESTIMONY OF SAY TWO PAGES AND GET THE SECOND SIGNED AND THEN CHANGE THE FIRST PAGE.  THE TESTIMONY IS AUTHENTIC THOUGH AS IT IS NOT THE KIND OF TESTIMONY THAT WOULD PLEASE THE CHURCH.  ITS TOO GENERAL. 

 

ITS REALLY A TESTIMONY ABOUT WHAT SHE REPORTED.  ITS NOT REALLY HER TESTIMONY AT ALL.   ITS HEARSAY.


Tenth Witness.

 

Testimony of Catherine Murray

 

- a girl of about eight years and six months, grand-daughter of Mrs. Beirne.

 

I am living at Knock ; I was staying at my grandmother's. I followed my aunt and uncle to the chapel ; I then saw the likeness of the Blessed Virgin Mary and that of St Joseph and St. John, as I learned from those that were around about where I was ; I saw them all for fully twenty minutes or thirty minutes.

 

SHE DIDN'T SEE IT UNTIL SHE WENT TO THE CHAPEL WITH THEM.

 

ALSO, SHE WOULD HAVE KNOWN WHAT MARY AND JOSEPH LOOKED LIKE AND YET SHE HAD TO BE TOLD THAT TWO OF THE IMAGES WERE MARY AND JOSEPH.

SHE SAYS HERE SHE WAS NOT SENT TO ALERT THE OTHERS ABOUT THE VISION.  MARGARET BEIRNE SAID SHE CAME IN AND TOLD HER ABOUT THE VISION AND TO TO AND SEE IT.  HOWEVER, MARGARET ORIGINALLY SAID IT WAS HER SISTER MARY AND THIS WAS SCRIBBLED OUT.

 

IN THE WEEKLY NEWS, 1880, CATHERINE TOLD THE INTERVIEWER THAT SHE WENT TO THE SCHOOL HOUSE WALL AND WAS SENT FROM THERE TO FETCH OTHERS TO COME AND SEE.  A LIE?

 

THE WAY EVERYBODY STOOD AT THE SCHOOLHOUSE IMPLIES THAT THE VISION WAS NOT THAT CLEAR AND THAT WAS THE BEST VIEW.  ITS AN INSULT TO GOD TO SAY HE WOULD BE THAT SLAPDASH WITH HIS MIRACLES.


Eleventh Witness.

Testimony of John Curry,

- a young boy, about six years old.

The child says he saw the images — beautiful images — the Blessed Virgin and St Joseph.  He could state no more than that he saw the fine images and the light,

and heard the people talk of them, and went upon the wall to see the nice things and the lights.

 

NOTE: Even a child could notice the images were only things not people.   What is astounding is that the lad said they were images several weeks after the event.  Despite everybody saying three people appeared at the gable or three statues he stated that they were images.  He didn't let them pressure him to say what they said.  He said what he saw was a picture!   Worse for Catholics, the testimony tells us, "He could state no more than that he saw the fine images and the light".  Thus the priest writing the testimony was making it clear that Curry did not actually say he saw the "the Blessed Virgin and St Joseph".  This was the priest's note.  The priest was introducing his own interpretation.   Curry was allegedly put on the wall to see the images by Patrick Hill.  He does not talk about the items being statues or people but speaks of them as pictures.  Curry's sober testimony does not fit the detailed and obviously exaggerated account given by Hill.

 

And why did he just go up on the wall?  Why not closer?  It is as if the vision had to be looked at from a particular spot to be clear. 


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Twelfth Witness.

Testimony of Judith Campbell of Knock,

Here is her testimony as published by the pro-Knock conmen:

I live at Knock ; I remember the evening and night of the 21st of August last. Mary Beirne called at my house about eight o'clock on that evening, and asked me to come to see the great sight at the chapel ; I ran up with her to the place, and I saw outside the chapel, at the gable of the sacristy facing the south, three figures representing St. Joseph, St. John, and the Blessed Virgin Mary also an [ORIGINAL SAYS "I SAW THREE FIGURES OF THE REPRESENTING ST JOSEPH, ST JOHN AND THE BLESSED VIRGIN" - its interesting that whoever wrote that was palpably going to write I saw three figures of the Virgin Mary, St Joseph and St John the Evangelist.  Then this had to be changed from figures of them to figures representing them.  This is an indication that the images were approximate - they were not that terribly like the people they represented] altar, and the likeness of a Lamb on it, with a cross at the back of the Lamb [This is an alteration that the Church made to make her testimony fit that of the dubious Patrick Hill far better.  He said the cross was behind the lamb.  Judith's original says "with the cross reclining on his back".  She went up close  ]. I saw a most beautiful crown on the brow or head of the Blessed Virgin. Our Lady was in the centre of the group, a small height above- the other two; St. Joseph to her right, and bent towards the Virgin ; St. John, as we were led to call the third figure [original says he was a statue implying the others were statues too], was to the left of the Virgin, and in his left hand he held a book ; his right was raised with the first and second fingers closed, and the forefinger and middle finger extended as if he were teaching. The night came on, and it was very wet and dark ; there was a beautiful light shining around the figures or likenesses [ORIGINAL: "THERE WAS A BEAUTIFUL LIGHT SHINING AROUND THE STATUES".  So its statues in the handwritten original - the light was around them giving the impression that these were real statues but some light source was shone on them.  She indicates that the light didn't come from the images] that we saw. I went within a foot of them ; none of us spoke to them; we believed they were St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist, because some years ago statues of St, Joseph and of the Evangelist were in the chapel at Knock [If nobody touched them then maybe they really were statues carted out of the church store! We read that attempts were made to touch the Mary figure but maybe it was the only figure made of light from a projector?]. All the figures [statues in the original - "All the statues appeared dressed in white"] were in white, or in a robe of silver-like whiteness [reminds us of Patrick Beirne who stated in the 1930's that the images were like something that were cast by the moonlight but interestingly this is not in the original]; St. John wore a small mitre. Though it was raining, the place in which the figures [ORIGINAL SAYS statues] appeared was quite [this quite is significant - it indicates that merely that the area should have been wetter than what it appeared or than what she expected.  It undermines the claim that the area was completely and miraculously dry] dry.

Judith Campbell

[The reference to the mitre was written as an afterthought in the original.  It was squeezed in around the signature. The priests seem to have rushed the witnesses - a good trick if you want to manipulate,  The publisher put the reference to the mitre elsewhere in his edition].

NOTE BY PUBLISHER: There was no statue of St John the Evangelist in Knock before the apparition.  The witness was mistaken in this.

[THIS WAS INTENDED BY THE PUBLISHER TO OFFSET ANY SUSPICION THAT STATUES WERE USED TO TRICK THE WITNESSES.  NO EVIDENCE IS GIVEN THAT SHE WAS MISTAKEN.  IF WE HAD SOMETHING FROM THE ARCHDEACON OR THE BEIRNES OR A PARISHIONER  WE WOULD HAVE EVIDENCE.  A PUBLISHER JUST ASSERTING SHE WAS MISTAKEN IS TO BE TAKEN AS MERE SPECULATION NOT EVIDENCE.  HE WANTED TO SELL HIS BOOK BASED ON THE NOTION THAT SUPERNATURAL VISIONS HAD HAPPENED AT KNOCK.  HE WOULD NOT WANT PEOPLE TO THINK SOME HOAX TOOK PLACE.  HIS LIES AND DISTORTIONS WERE THE ULTIMATE REASON THE APPARITIONS ENDED UP ACCEPTED BY THE IRISH PEOPLE AS REAL AND ACCEPTED BY THE CHURCH AS A POSSIBLE MIRACLE. HE LIED BECAUSE THIS TESTIMONY IN ITS ORIGINAL FORM SAYS NOTHING MORE THAN THAT SHE SAW STATUES AT THE GABLE. ]

SHE WENT WITHIN A FOOT OF THE STATUES.  SHE DOESN'T MENTION TOUCHING THEM.  SHE WOULD HAVE.  IT WAS AN IRISH THING.  HER MOTHER WAS DYING IN BED.  THE IRISH LIKE TO TOUCH HOLY THINGS AND THEN TOUCH THE DYING OR SICK PERSON TO GIVE THEM THE BLESSING FROM THE HOLY THING.  IF SHE HAD TOUCHED THEM AND THEY WERE SOLID THAT HAD TO BE LEFT OUT AS THE CHURCH WANTED PEOPLE TO THINK THEY WERE INTANGIBLE VISIONS.  AND IT HAD TRIED TO MAKE OUT THAT OTHERS TOUCHED THE VISION AND FOUND NOTHING BUT THE AIR.

Lines 4 and 5 below say that "THERE WAS A BEAUTIFUL LIGHT SHINING AROUND THE STATUES"

line 12 says "All the statues appeared dressed in white".

A book in his left hand and his right hand raised the the first and second figures closed as if he were teaching.  There was a beautiful light shining around the statues.  I went within a foot of them.  None of us spoke to them.  The reason why we believed that it was St Joseph and St John was that there were some years ago statues in the chapel respecting St Joseph and St John.  I beheld of a half an hour.  There was about twelve persons present who saw it.  All the statues appeared dressed in white.  St John wore a mitre.  The night was raining but where the statues were was quite dry.  Judy Campbell.

 

Mary Beirne called at my house at [the about has been added in by another hand and it is squeezed in and out of place] 8 pm and asked me to come to see the great sight at the chapel.  I ran up and saw there three figures representing St Joseph, St John and the Blessed Virgin and also an altar and the figure of a lamb with a cross reclining on his back . I saw the most beautiful crown on the Virgin.  The Blessed Virgin was in the centre.  St Joseph on her right hand towards the Virgin.  St - what I thought was the statue [altered to figure by a different hand - by Archdeacon Cavanagh? - if he did that he was a fraudster!] of St John to the right, a book in his left hand"

 

NOTICE HOW THIS DIFFERS FROM THE CHURCH'S PUBLISHED VERSION.  "What I thought was the statue of St John to the right" has been changed to figure by somebody using different handwriting.  The reference to her thinking it was John has been changed as well.  Here we read, "What I thought was the figure of St John to the right a book in his left hand" becomes, "St. John, as we were led to call the third figure, was to the left of the Virgin, and in his left hand he held a book."

 

She was the witness who thought she saw a statue of St John and St Joseph in the chapel some years before.  There is a note at the foot of her deposition in published accounts to the effect that this was a mistake.  This was to prevent anybody thinking that the images were real statues that had been in the Church and put at the gable to fool people with a light being shone on them.  The clergy went as far as to change the text so that it no longer said she thought it was John but the others led her to believe it was John.  Her thinking it was John might imply she really had seen a statue in the chapel like John.

 

Also the claim of some that Judy wrote this testimony herself is a blatant lie.  If you compare it to the handwriting on Maggie Beirne's testimony you will see that both were written by the same hand - no doubt a clerical hand.

 

The people viewing the vision left the scene upon hearing that Judy's mother had collapsed at her front door.  It is claimed that she was dying but she died some time after.  Were the witnesses told she was dying at the door to get them away from the scene so that the vision might be dismantled if it were a hoax?  Had she merely been ill it would not have been the case that they would all have left.

DEATH OF MRS JUDY CAMPBELL
Now the writer of these pages feels a great interest in Knock for many reasons.
The above witnesses left the chapel-yard while the Apparition was visible
there. They went to see an old woman that was dying. The old woman was my
aunt, Mrs Campbell, and I did not hear of her death until I saw it in the
Universe. Many other reasons I have to be interested in every word I hear about
Knock, for it brings many things before my mind forgotten many years ago.

 

See MEMORIES OF KNOCK IN THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY, Memoir of Daniel Campbell, Eden and Smethwick, written c. 1880

 


Thirteenth Witness.

 

Testimony of Margaret Beirne.

I, Margaret Beirne, live near Knock chapel ; I am sister to Mary Beirne, who has seen the vision ; I remember the night of the 21st of August ; I left my own house at half-past seven o'clock, and went to the chapel and locked it ; I came out to return home ; I saw something luminous or bright at the south gable, but it never entered my head that it was [ORIGINAL: "I SAW SOMETHING WHITE AT THE SOUTH GABLE"] necessary to see or inquire what it was; [had it really been luminous she was more likely to have looked.  We tend to look at light sources in strange places but seeing something white is a daily occurrence] I passed by and went home. Shortly after, about eight o'clock, my niece,

Catherine Murray [original has my sister Mary - with a line through it! - anybody making a mistake like that would be assumed to be unreliable - liars after all need good memories - was she one?] [Most of the text so far is not Margaret Beirne's work.  The original handwritten manuscript merely says "Deposition of Maggie Beirne witness to the vision at Knock Chapel Co Mayo.  I went to close the chapel door about 7 1/2 pm.  On my return I saw something white at the south gable, but passed no notice of it at the time.  My sister Mary at about 8 called me"- see above image of the original.  The fraudulent Church went as far as to replace "something white" with "something luminous or bright".  The reason was that the Church wanted people to think the images were bright in daylight.  If the images only seemed to be lit as darkness fell that would imply a projector or light source was being used by a hoaxer] called me out to see the Blessed Virgin and the other saints that were standing at the south gable of the chapel. I went out then, and ran up to see what was to   [ORIGINAL: "I WENT UP AND BEHELD THEN THE BLESSED VIRGIN"] be seen. I there beheld the Blessed Virgin with a bright crown on her head, and St. Joseph to her right, his head inclined a little towards Our Blessed Lady, and St. John the Evangelist to her left, eastward, holding in his left hand a book of the Gospels, and his right hand raised the while, as if in the attitude of preaching to the people who stood before [ORIGINAL: "PREACHING OUT OF THE BOOK"] him at the ditch. The Virgin appeared with hands uplifted as if in prayer, with eyes turned towards heaven, and wearing a lustrous crown. I saw an altar there ; it was surrounded [ORIGINAL: I SAW THERE AN ALTAR.  I DID NOT SEE A LAMB AND A CROSS] with a bright light, nay, with a light at times sparkling, [THIS HIGHLIGHTED PART IS NOT IN THE ORIGINAL BUT PERHAPS SHE STILL SAID IT] and so too were the other figures [statues in the original manuscript - ORIGINAL "AS WELL AS ALL THE STATUES"], which were similarly surrounded.  

[omitted "I did not see a lamb or a cross" - priest taking testimony drew line through this on the original manuscript in order to make it fit testimonies about the apparition of the lamb and the cross far better.] 

[She also said that the bishop figure resembled a statue seen at Lekanvey.  This was put in as an afterthought and squeezed in around the signature.  The priest writing down the testimony didn't want it in.]

[She said about the raining in the original. Somebody added in heavily to make it raining heavily as if it had been left out]. 

OMITTED FROM PUBLISHED TESTIMONY:

IT WAS PITCH DARK AND RAINING HEAVILY AND STILL THERE WAS NOT ONE DROP OF RAIN NEAR THE IMAGES.  THERE WAS A MITRE ON ST JOHN LIKE THE BISHOP WEARS.  I WAS ONLY THERE A QUARTER OF AN HOUR OR SO.  THERE WERE FIVE OTHERS THERE AT THE TIME I SAW IT.  I REMARKED WHISKERS OF A GREY COLOUR ON ST JOSEPH.  ALL THE FIGURES SEEMED DRESSED IN WHITE.  THE BLESSED VIRGIN HAD A WHITE CLOAK ON. 

SQUEEZED IN IN ONE AT THE BOTTOM AROUND THE SIGNATURE LIKE AN AFTERTHOUGHT WAS, "THE REASON I KNEW IT WAS ST JOHN WAS BECAUSE I SAW A STATUE OF HIM AT LECANVEY CHAPEL". 

Why had that to be put in after the testimony was made?  Why did she insist?  It was like she was told not to have it in and she dug her heels in.  It seems that the Church was upset at another testimony appearing to the existence of a statue like John in Lecanvey. 

The Church wanted this removed possibly because it looked bad to say that there were only five at the apparition then.  Also she wasn't too impressed when she only stayed fifteen minutes.  There is no mention of how impressed she was by the vision if at all.  All the figures are said to have seemed to be dressed in white.  Seemed to be dressed is what you might say if the images looked like pictures or statues.  You wouldn't say it of people. 

John was facing away from Mary and Joseph in the direction of the schoolhouse.  The people stood at the ditch which was along the schoolhouse wall.  Again they must have done that because the image went out of focus or was like crap if you stood too close or too far away.


Fourteenth Witness.

Testimony of Dominick Beirne (senior),

 

 

I live at Knock; I remember the evening of the 21st of August ; my cousin, Dominick Beirne, came to see us at about eight o'clock, p.m., and called me to see the vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary and other saints at the south gable of the chapel. I went with him. When I reached the south side of the chapel, we saw the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, having her hands uplifted, and her eyes turned up towards heaven, as if in prayer, and she was dressed in a white cloak [Nobody mentions the robes moving in the breeze - the images were immobile].   To her right I saw St. Joseph, and on her left St. John, just as the other persons had told me before I came. I saw an altar there, and figures representing saints and angels traced or carved on the lower part of it. The night was dark and raining, and yet these images, in the dark night  [ORIGINAL: "THE NIGHT WAS DARK AND RAINING VERY HARD AND YET THOSE IMAGES APPEARED AS PLAIN AS THE NOONDAY SUN"  SCEPTICS WOULD ASK WHY ITS SURPRISING TO DOMINICK THAT THE IMAGES WERE SO BRIGHT DURING THIS DARKNESS AND THE RAIN? ] appeared with bright lights as plain as under the noon-day sun. At the time it was pitch dark and raining heavily, and yet there was not one drop of rain near the images. 

[THIS HIGHLIGHTED PART IS NOT IN THE ORIGINAL AT ALL.  THE FRAUDSTERS WHO REWORKED AND MISREPRESENTED THE TESTIMONY INVENTED A TESTIMONY OF A MIRACLE AT THIS POINT]  There was a mitre on St. John's head, nearly like to that which a bishop wears. I was there only for one quarter of an hour ; at the time I was there, five other persons were in it with me, looking on at the Apparition. All the figures appeared clothed in white ; the whiskers on St. Joseph were an iron gray ; the Blessed Virgin had on a white cloak. The reason I had for calling the third figure St. John is because some saw his statue or his likeness at Lekanvey parish chapel.

[Interesting that the witnesses are considered by the Church to be reliable when they spoke of what they saw at the gable and not reliable when they spoke of this statue at Lekanvey!  Was the Church worried that the statue might have been borrowed from it to fabricate the vision?]


Fifteenth witness

The fifteenth witness is John Durkan, one of the three who accompanied young Hill. His testimony is the same as that given by each of the Beirnes.

[The purpose of the commission was to get evidence.  This is not a testimony never mind evidence.  So what is it doing among the records?  It looks like the priests were determined to make it appear that an apparition from Heaven really had taken place even if it meant twisting the truth.  As a miracle is considered to be an event that cannot be explained naturally, we at least need those who take down the testimonies and who do the questioning to do a reasonable job to justify possibly believing in the miracle.  God if all powerful would make sure the right people would be doing the investigating.  The believers say, "But you wouldn't believe even if he had!".  That is not the point.  It is a cheap unfair nasty shot.   Why though does Durkan appear to be influenced by the Beirnes and not his good friend Patrick Hill?  Hill claimed that Durkan was in  his company.]

What age was John Durkan?  According to Knock The Virgin's Apparition in Nineteenth Century Ireland, he was about 24.  Why was a mature man's testimony treated so abruptly and the immature Hill's preferred?


 

THE CELLS COLOURED IN RED AT FACE VALUE INDICATE THE SUPERNATURAL OR INEXPLICABLE

THE CELLS IN BLUE ARE CLEAR EVIDENCE OF THE MAGIC LANTERN THEORY

THE UNCOLOURED CELLS DON'T INDICATE ONE WAY OR THE OTHER

THERE ARE FAR MORE BLUE CELLS INDICATING THAT THE EVIDENCE FAVOURS A NATURAL INTERPRETATION

 

 

1879 Depositions

WITNESS

AGE

 JOSEPH, MARY AND A BISHOP (allegedly APOSTLE JOHN)

FIGURES FLAT AGAINST WALL?

CLEAR AND DISTINCT**

 

MOVEMENT?

SEEN IN DAY-LIGHT?

ALTAR

LAMB

CROSS

1

Patrick Hill

Allegedly 13 or 14.  In fact, believers lie about his age.  As he was baptised in 1868 we may presume that he was born that year.  People in those days did not delay baptism.  Hill was 10 or 11 - far too immature to be taken seriously.  He lied about his age for that reason. 

Yes - standing a couple of feet from the ground

"full and round, as if they had a body and life".

Note the "as if" - he was not sure.

When "approached they seemed to go back a little towards the gable."

Indicates that the roundness was an illusion and the images were not standing out from the wall.

 

Yes -  very detailed.

Mary's feet visible.

 

But contradicted by, "There was a line or dark mearing between the figure of the Blessed Virgin and that of St. Joseph, so that one could know St. Joseph, and the place where his figure appeared distinctly from that of the Blessed Virgin and the spot where she stood."

This indicates that the vision was not that plain.  The dark bit was needed to be able to see that it was two figures and he states that it was there for that purpose.  This makes them sound like blurs.

Yes he vaguely said he saw them move but this was in the context of the images seemingly coming out from the wall and going back into it rather than the figures showing any sign of life. 

No - said he was told at at 8 about the vision and ran to the church and said it was very dark.  The darkness probably fell early that night.

Yes

Yes

WEEKLY NEWS 1880

SAME

The little wall was blocking the Currie child's view.  Says he lifted Currie to see the images on the gable, not at it.

Says it was visible from the wall.

NO IT WAS DARK

DAILY TELEGRAPH 1880

Stated that he was told the images were on the gable wall.  "Oh, come up to the chapel, and see the Blessed Virgin against the wall".

Says he heard about the apparition and ran to the chapel and didn't see it from the wall where he stood.  He didn't see it until he went over and got closer to the gable.  Indicates that he lied when he said that the vision was very clear.

WITNESS

AGE

 JOSEPH, MARY AND A BISHOP (allegedly APOSTLE JOHN)

FIGURES FLAT AGAINST WALL?

CLEAR AND DISTINCT**

 

MOVEMENT?

SEEN IN DAY-LIGHT?

ALTAR

LAMB

CROSS

2

Mary McLoughlin

Says she saw three appearances like the above entities.

Didn't say what she meant by saying the images were moving.  The images could have moved as a block slightly or an entity might have seemed to be breathing.

Yes

Yes

Yes

WITNESS

AGE

 JOSEPH, MARY AND A BISHOP (allegedly APOSTLE JOHN)

FIGURES FLAT AGAINST WALL?

CLEAR AND DISTINCT**

 

MOVEMENT?

SEEN IN DAY-LIGHT?

ALTAR

LAMB

CROSS

3

Mary Beirne

26

Says she saw three appearances like the above entities standing a couple of feet above the ground.

Is definite that the Mary figure was lifesize.  She says she is not sure about the other two.  She says they may have stood lower than her.  But this is a mistake for she said the three stood a foot and a half or two feet from the ground.

Not a single one of the other testimonies say the images were lifesize.

They would have been asked by the Commission if they were.  The Commission would have avoided the question if they were not lifesize as that would be a sign that the apparition was a joke played on them.

"they stood a little distance out from the gable wall"

- this is not that reliable for she never went up close enough.

She said that during Father Lennon's investigation, she was shown images from a magic lantern.  She said they were trying to make pictures like what she saw but they could not make them like the apparition.  She admitted later in life that the images were like they were painted on the wall - sounds like a possible magic lantern to me!

 

Clear and distinct and she could make out details of the Virgin's clothes

Sort of. 

According to the published account - which was not authorised by her, it was still bright.  Her declaration that she went away from the scene and saw the altar when she got back may imply that the vision was clearer the darker it got. 

Her original account says that it was a darker night than usual because of the rain.  She says too that it was dusk when she first saw the images.  You would expect the dark to have fallen earlier too if it was such a wet evening.

Yes

WEEKLY NEWS 1880

Calls them three white statues

"When you saw them first, did they seem to be up against the gable?

"When we saw them first (that was from the wall of the schoolhouse), we thought they were a couple of feet out from the gable, and then, when we went on, they seemed to go back into the gable, and when we came close they looked as if they were standing against the wall.  I put out my hand to touch them as they looked so solid and I found nothing."

"An old woman came up to kiss the Blessed Virgin's feet" - no mention of the name of the woman or if she touched the feet.

 

"Heavy rain fell from the south against the gable but no rain fell on the ground within two or three feet."

 

"Was there a wind?  No".

 

"Was there any change in the appearance while you were looking at it?  It was just the same all the time".

 

"Why did you leave?  We heard that a woman in the village Mrs Campbell was dying and we all made off to see her!".  A lie - she would have already known the old lady was ill!

In reply to the question as to how many people were there, she said, "I think there were about twelve".

 

She stated that they were gone ten minutes and came back and the sight was gone.

Didn't see feet of Mary

Says there was good light, when asked if it was daylight.  Sounds like the light was okay but not the best.

1932 Testimony - not under oath

Appeared to be statues and Mary has a white crown and before she said it was gold

Seemed to stand out from wall but receded when approached

1935 testimony to Liam Ua Cadhain

1936 deathbed sworn statement for Commission

Knew they were not statues.  They stood on top of grass.  Starts to think Mary did not have her hands raised in prayer but down by her side. 

"When we went near the wall, the figures seemed to go back to the wall, as if painted on it.  Then when we came back from the wall, they seemed to stand out and come forward".

Doesn't remember a lamb or stars

WITNESS

AGE

 JOSEPH, MARY AND A BISHOP (allegedly APOSTLE JOHN)

FIGURES FLAT AGAINST WALL?

CLEAR AND DISTINCT**

 

MOVEMENT?

SEEN IN DAY-LIGHT?

ALTAR

LAMB

CROSS

4

Patrick Walsh

65

Too far away to see the shapes. 

Too far away

No

WITNESS

AGE

 JOSEPH, MARY AND A BISHOP (allegedly APOSTLE JOHN)

FIGURES FLAT AGAINST WALL?

CLEAR AND DISTINCT**

 

MOVEMENT?

SEEN IN DAY-LIGHT?

ALTAR

LAMB

CROSS

5

Patrick Beirne

16

Yes.

Clearly, fully and distinctly

No

1932 Testimony

Yes

"Appeared to be something like shadows or reflections cast on a wall on a moon-lit night.  I approached nearer the gable and passed my hand along the wall to find there was no material substance there."  Contradicted his 1879 deposition.

Lamb

1936 Sworn statement

Yes

Yes

WITNESS

AGE

 JOSEPH, MARY AND A BISHOP (allegedly APOSTLE JOHN)

FIGURES FLAT AGAINST WALL?

CLEAR AND DISTINCT**

 

MOVEMENT?

SEEN IN DAY-LIGHT?

ALTAR

LAMB

CROSS

6

Maggie Beirne

YES

Yes.

Mary's feet visible.

No

Yes

Said she saw no cross

WITNESS

AGE

 JOSEPH, MARY AND A BISHOP (allegedly APOSTLE JOHN)

FIGURES FLAT AGAINST WALL?

CLEAR AND DISTINCT**

 

MOVEMENT?

SEEN IN DAY-LIGHT?

ALTAR

LAMB

CROSS

7

Dominick Beirne

Yes - but described as three likenesses of those entities

Clear and distinct and could see the eyes.

At the time he arrived there was "some ten or twelve people had been collected around the place, namely, around the ditch or wall fronting the gable, where the vision was being seen, and to the south of the schoolhouse"

What were they all doing standing there?  Why not stand closer?  The distance implies that they could not see it as well if they went any closer.  So it was not that clear and distinct.

It is as if his memory elaborated on what he had seen and he thought he had seen more than what he did.

 

No

WITNESS

AGE

 JOSEPH, MARY AND A BISHOP (allegedly APOSTLE JOHN)

FIGURES FLAT AGAINST WALL?

CLEAR AND DISTINCT**

 

MOVEMENT?

SEEN IN DAY-LIGHT?

ALTAR

LAMB

CROSS

8

Mrs Flatley

Yes, we don't know if the statues were on the ground because it has been known to put statues high up.

Doesn't say but says she thought they were statues but admitted she didn't pay too much attention

Yes

Not known - she says it was 8.  It seems that as she thought they were statues and nothing unusual that she saw them in daylight.

WITNESS

AGE

 JOSEPH, MARY AND A BISHOP (allegedly APOSTLE JOHN)

FIGURES FLAT AGAINST WALL?

CLEAR AND DISTINCT**

 

MOVEMENT?

SEEN IN DAY-LIGHT?

ALTAR

LAMB

CROSS

9

Bridget Trench

75

Yes - standing a couple of feet from the ground.

 "I went in immediately to kiss, as I thought, the feet of the Blessed Virgin ; but I felt nothing in the embrace but the wall". The image must have been on the wall.

Contradicts:

"they appeared to me so full and so lifelike...that I could not understand why I could not feel them with my hands such as I beheld them with my eyes".

Patrick Hill declared that she said the image went on the wall when she got too close  "they receded, she said, from her".

 

 

Yes - but undermined by her claim that the Virgin wore something on her head resembling a crown.  She was therefore not sure what it was.  Was her eyesight tricky?  If it was then her claim that the figures were 3-d is suspect.

Mary's feet visible.

No

No

WITNESS

AGE

 JOSEPH, MARY AND A BISHOP (allegedly APOSTLE JOHN)

FIGURES FLAT AGAINST WALL?

CLEAR AND DISTINCT**

 

MOVEMENT?

SEEN IN DAY-LIGHT?

ALTAR

LAMB

CROSS

10

Catherine Murray

8

Yes - but described as three likenesses of those entities

 

Doesn't say. 

"likeness of the Blessed Virgin Mary and that of St Joseph and St. John, as I learned from those that were around about where I was" implies that the images were so unclear that she needed to be told what they were.  She should have known from religious statues what the images were - unless they were indistinct.

No

WEEKLY NEWS 1880

 

"I gathered from her that she had also seen the three figures on the gable."

She said they were as big as Mary Beirne.

WITNESS

AGE

 JOSEPH, MARY AND A BISHOP (allegedly APOSTLE JOHN)

FIGURES FLAT AGAINST WALL?

CLEAR AND DISTINCT**

 

MOVEMENT?

SEEN IN DAY-LIGHT?

ALTAR

LAMB

CROSS

11

John Curry

6

"He saw the images — beautiful images — the Blessed Virgin and St Joseph."

The reference to the Virgin and Joseph is just a note by the priest writing down the testimony.  That is virtually admitted in the following,

"He could state no more that he saw the fine images and the light, ... nice things and the lights."

He only reported seeing images.  He did not know what they were.  He can be considered an exception - unlike him, the others all agreed that Mary and Joseph and a bishop appeared.

No

1937 New York Tribunal

Yes

Says Trench touched the picture.  The images were then flat on the wall.

Appeared to be alive.  But this contradicts his claim that Mary had a face like a statue.  He also says that Bridget Trench touched nothing but the picture when she tried to touch the figures.  Said he did not see the figures move.

Lamb may have been under Joseph's arm and not on the altar like the others said

WITNESS

AGE

 JOSEPH, MARY AND A BISHOP (allegedly APOSTLE JOHN)

FIGURES FLAT AGAINST WALL?

CLEAR AND DISTINCT**

 

MOVEMENT?

SEEN IN DAY-LIGHT?

ALTAR

LAMB

CROSS

12

Judith Campbell

Yes - but described as three likenesses of those entities

- stood a foot from them implying they were near the ground

 

Clear and distinct

Says she was there when night came on but could have meant she arrived at twilight not daylight.

Yes

WITNESS

AGE

 JOSEPH, MARY AND A BISHOP (allegedly APOSTLE JOHN)

FIGURES FLAT AGAINST WALL?

CLEAR AND DISTINCT**

 

MOVEMENT?

SEEN IN DAY-LIGHT?

ALTAR

LAMB

CROSS

13

Margaret Beirne 2

Yes

No

Just mentions altar

WITNESS

AGE

 JOSEPH, MARY AND A BISHOP (allegedly APOSTLE JOHN)

FIGURES FLAT AGAINST WALL?

CLEAR AND DISTINCT**

 

MOVEMENT?

SEEN IN DAY-LIGHT?

ALTAR

LAMB

CROSS

14

Dominick Beirne Sen

Yes - but described as three likenesses of those entities

Yes

No

Just mentions altar

Yes

WITNESS

AGE

 JOSEPH, MARY AND A BISHOP (allegedly APOSTLE JOHN)

FIGURES FLAT AGAINST WALL?

CLEAR AND DISTINCT**

 

MOVEMENT?

SEEN IN DAY-LIGHT?

ALTAR

LAMB

CROSS

15

John Durkan

It is merely stated that he gave the same testimony as the Beirnes.  Thus we have no testimony from him at all.  The priests who were investigating hadn't a clue how to check the story.  What would you think of a courtcase where a lawyer saying witness 2 said the same thing as witness 1 so witness 2 doesn't need to testify?

** - Note: A magic lantern on a rough gable wall would make transparent images. 

Nobody was apparently asked if the images were transparent or not or if they were no record was kept.

This may suggest that references to transparency might have been left out or avoided thanks to leading questions as the priests didn't want people to think a magic lantern was used to make the vision.

 

 

 

 

WITNESS

DULL LIGHT

BRIGHT LIGHT

RAINING

ANGELS

SPARKLE

MIRACLE

DRY

GABLE

CLOSE UP VIEW

1

Patrick Hill

Indicated that it was dull - he didn't see the light though he was running in the direction of the gable.  He only saw it when he got closer: "When we, running southwest, came so far from the village that on our turning the gable came in view, we immediately beheld the lights, a clear, white light".  Why does he talk as if the light was the most striking thing?  What about the images he claimed were very distinct and clear?  What about first impressions?

Bright light Covering the Gable.  Believers say that no Magic Lantern could make a light that bright.  But we must remember the witnesses only said there was light all over the gable.  A lantern would manage to do that . The light would be brighter around where the lens was trained on and duller elsewhere.

All the time

Yes

Not mentioned

For the space of one hour and a half we were under the pouring rain ... I noticed that the rain did not wet the figures.  The figures staying dry would be expected if they were projections from a magic lantern.

YES

WEEKLY NEWS 1880

LIGHT DID NOT COVER THE WHOLE GABLE AND WAS SOFT AND BRIGHT

When asked if he could touch he strangely does not answer but says instead that an old woman tried to touch the Virgin's feet.  Says he was at a distance.

DAILY TELEGRAPH 1880

LIGHT DID COVER THE WHOLE GABLE.  Not necessarily miraculous.

YES

WITNESS

DULL LIGHT

BRIGHT LIGHT

RAINING

ANGELS

SPARKLE

MIRACLE

DRY

GABLE

CLOSE UP VIEW

2

Mary McLoughlin

Does not say if the light was that bright, but she did say she could see the figures better after dark and said the light was white.

Yes - but does not say it rained all the time

Yes - like little stars.  Was the rain interfering with the light source?

Not clear.  She says the gable had a dry appearance.  A wall can look dry at night when it is lit up.  She was only saying it looked dry not that it was dry.  Even if it was dry, that may not have been a miracle in her view for she didn't say it rained all the time.

"I was outside the ditch and to the south-west of the schoolhouse near the road."

NO - she stayed at the ditch

WITNESS

DULL LIGHT

BRIGHT LIGHT

RAINING

ANGELS

SPARKLE

MIRACLE

DRY

GABLE

CLOSE UP VIEW

3

Mary Beirne

She says only that the body of the lamb seemed to be reflecting light - suits the view that pictures were used and light shone on them

Probably not.  The light, if remarkably bright, should have been seen from her house if one looks at the ordinance survey map.  Even her and McLoughlin didn't see the light until they got closer to the gable despite having a partial view of the gable from the Beirne house.  This indicates the light was dull. 

All the time

Yes - like little stars

WEEKLY NEWS 1880

1932 Testimony - not under oath

Yes

Yes

1935 testimony to Liam Ua Cadhain

Soft silvery light like the moon

1936 deathbed sworn statement for Commission

WITNESS

DULL LIGHT

BRIGHT LIGHT

RAINING

ANGELS

SPARKLE

MIRACLE

DRY

GABLE

CLOSE UP VIEW

4

Patrick Walsh

Very bright light - but says it was "high up in the air above and around the chapel gable" which contradicts what some of the other witnesses said - the rest were silent.  He says it was "a large globe of golden light".  This contradicts the witnesses who said the light was soft and white.

Yes - but does not say it rained all the time

NO

WITNESS

DULL LIGHT

BRIGHT LIGHT

RAINING

ANGELS

SPARKLE

MIRACLE

DRY

GABLE

CLOSE UP VIEW

5

Patrick Beirne

1932 Testimony

1936 Sworn statement

Whole gable bright with white light

Heavy drizzle

WITNESS

DULL LIGHT

BRIGHT LIGHT

RAINING

ANGELS

SPARKLE

MIRACLE

DRY

GABLE

CLOSE UP VIEW

6

Maggie Beirne

Yes - but does not say it rained all the time but only at the time she went to see the vision

WITNESS

DULL LIGHT

BRIGHT LIGHT

RAINING

ANGELS

SPARKLE

MIRACLE

DRY

GABLE

CLOSE UP VIEW

7

Dominick Beirne

Says the eyes of the images could be seen so YES

WITNESS

DULL LIGHT

BRIGHT LIGHT

RAINING

ANGELS

SPARKLE

MIRACLE

DRY

GABLE

CLOSE UP VIEW

8

Mrs Flatley

NO

WITNESS

DULL LIGHT

BRIGHT LIGHT

RAINING

ANGELS

SPARKLE

MIRACLE

DRY

GABLE

CLOSE UP VIEW

9

Bridget Trench

Extraordinary brightness

Yes

Yes - the wind blew the rain in the direction of the gable but the gable remained dry as did the ground underneath the vision.  Another miracle is how if the gable and the ground were really dry, why some visionaries didn't stand against it to get shelter from the rain!  Also why did people stand at the south gable of the school house to get all the rain and wind? 

YES

WITNESS

DULL LIGHT

BRIGHT LIGHT

RAINING

ANGELS

SPARKLE

MIRACLE

DRY

GABLE

CLOSE UP VIEW

10

Catherine Murray

WEEKLY NEWS 1880

 

WITNESS

DULL LIGHT

BRIGHT LIGHT

RAINING

ANGELS

SPARKLE

MIRACLE

DRY

GABLE

CLOSE UP VIEW

11

John Curry

NO - he said he went on the wall near the Church to see them.  No mention of Hill's claim that he took him up closer.  The priest wrote down the testimony and so it is really hearsay about what the child said.  It does not suffice as evidence.  Nevertheless, when the priest didn't write that Curry had a close up view, its probable that he didn't have.  A child could not resist saying he saw the vision close if he really did.

1937 New York Tribunal

WITNESS

DULL LIGHT

BRIGHT LIGHT

RAINING

ANGELS

SPARKLE

MIRACLE

DRY

GABLE

CLOSE UP VIEW

12

Judith Campbell

 She says first that night came on and then she mentions she saw a beautiful light shining around the figures.  This seems to imply the images got clearer the darker it got.

Yes - but does not say it rained all the time

Says the place where the images appeared was "quite dry".  So she must have thought it was just damp.

YES

WITNESS

DULL LIGHT

BRIGHT LIGHT

RAINING

ANGELS

SPARKLE

MIRACLE

DRY

GABLE

CLOSE UP VIEW

13

Margaret Beirne 2

Bright light that sparkled at times - the sparkling could have been caused by the rain getting in the way of the light source. 

Yes

WITNESS

DULL LIGHT

BRIGHT LIGHT

RAINING

ANGELS

SPARKLE

MIRACLE

DRY

GABLE

CLOSE UP VIEW

14

Dominick Beirne Sen

The falsifier of his testimony has it that he said, "Bright light like the sun" but he actually merely said it was plain like the noonday sun.

Says it rained at the time he arrived at the scene but does not say it rained all the time

Gable not mentioned and only says the images were dry, if the images were made of light this would be what you would expect

WITNESS

DULL LIGHT

BRIGHT LIGHT

RAINING

ANGELS

SPARKLE

MIRACLE

DRY

GABLE

CLOSE UP VIEW

15

John Durkan

 

 

Top of the Document

 

 

WHAT THE SILENCE SAYS

 

Why do so few of the seers say the vision was clear and distinct?  Surely the priests would have asked, "Was the apparition clearly seen?"  The silence indicates either that the investigation was slack and careless or that the apparition was vague and the priests didn't want to record that. Either case means that there is insufficient grounds for holding that a miracle happened.  You can only say a miracle possibly happened if the evidence is clear enough and good enough.  But we can't say that of the Knock depositions.

 

Why did so few go up close?  There is no independent evidence that any of them did apart from Trench.  Hill said she went up close.  They stood a distance away as if they had to be far away to see the vision right.  No wonder the priests probably didn't encourage anybody to consider saying how clear the images were!

 

Why do so few of the seers claim that the apparition was not flat against the wall?  Even some of those that say the figures were rounded indicate that they might have been mistaken.

 

Why were the seers not asked why some of them disagreed about there being a cross?  If they were, we need the record.  Where is it?  A proper investigation would have kept the explanation for us.

 

Many of the witnesses stayed for a little while and left at different times.  This is odd behaviour if you are seeing a convincing vision.  We have no deposition stating why they all left and when they had all gone.  Hearsay says the remaining witnesses left the vision unattended to go to help Mrs Campbell and when they returned the gable was all in darkness.  If there were props, this was the ideal time for the hoaxer to take them away.  We don't know who returned exactly - we can be sure that it was probably at least two unnamed witnesses who returned.   It was odd if all the witnesses would need to leave the vision to help Mrs Campbell.  And what if statues or the props for the hoax were still there?  We don't know if anybody noticed anything odd.  It could be that the props could not been seen in the darkness.  The departure and end of the vision is a hugely important part of deciding if it was authentic or not but we have nothing but gossip and hearsay to go on.

 

It makes no sense to have depositions done that just care about the vision and not about what happened when it departed.  It just looks like the priests were worried about those details and wanted to ignore them.  They were more concerned about descriptions than anything else.

 

WHICH OF THE 15 1879 TESTIMONIES AT FACE VALUE IS UNSATISFACTORY

1, Patrick Hill - ORIGINAL LOST, CONTRADICTS THE OTHERS.  FOR EXAMPLE, THE EXTREMELY DETAILED ACCOUNT DOES NOT MATCH THE INDICATIONS IN OTHER ACCOUNTS THAT THE VISION MAY HAVE BEEN DISTINCT BUT NOT EXTREMELY CLEAR - UNSATISFACTORY.  SHOWS SIGNS OF BEING TAMPERED WITH.

2, Mary McLoughlin - EVIDENCE THAT SHE PUT HER X ON HER DEPOSITION WITHOUT KNOWING ITS CONTENTS. We don't know if she is any good as we have no evidence that she was sober.  - UNSATISFACTORY

3, Mary Beirne - OK

4, Patrick Walsh - HE SAW A LIGHT FROM A HALF A MILE AWAY THAT COULD HAVE BEEN A FIRE ON HIS OWN ADMISSION.  ORIGINAL LOST. - UNSATISFACTORY EXCEPT FOR THE CLAIM THAT THE LIGHT WAS HIGHER UP THAN WHAT WE HAVE BEEN LED TO BELIEVE.  THIS SEEMS AUTHENTIC. - PARTLY SATISFACTORY.

5, Patrick Beirne - APART FROM HIS SAYING MARY JOSEPH AND JOHN APPEARED ITS NO GOOD AS THE PRIESTS GLOSSED IT OVER.  - UNSATISFACTORY

6, Maggie Beirne - The Mother - ORIGINAL LOST.  - UNSATISFACTORY

7, Dominick Beirne - OK

8, Mrs Flatley - ORIGINAL LOST. - UNSATISFACTORY

9, Bridget Trench - THE PUBLISHED VERSION IS A FABRICATION.  HER REAL TESTIMONY IS VERY SHORT AND UNIMPRESSIVE.  NO EVIDENCE THAT SHE REALLY APPROVED IT OR KNEW WHAT WAS IN IT.  SHE SPOKE IN IRISH AND WHAT SHE SAID WAS TRANSLATED.  - UNSATISFACTORY

10, Catherine Murray - ORIGINAL LOST.  - UNSATISFACTORY

11, John Curry - ONLY A CHILD AND DIDN'T SAY MUCH AND THE TESTIMONY IS NOT HIS TESTIMONY BUT WHAT A PRIEST THOUGHT ABOUT HIS TESTIMONY - ITS HEARSAY.  ORIGINAL LOST.  - UNSATISFACTORY

12, Judith Campbell - The original testimony shows that she did not sign it.  Whoever wrote the testimony signed it in her name.  - UNSATISFACTORY

13, Margaret Beirne 2 - OK

14, Dominick Beirne Sen - NO GOOD FOR PLAGIARISED FROM OTHER DEPOSITIONS. - UNSATISFACTORY

15, John Durkan - NO GOOD FOR ITS MERELY SAID HE SAW WHAT THE BEIRNES' SAW.  ORIGINAL LOST. - UNSATISFACTORY

There are really only 3 Testimonies.  The rest are in the same mode as hearsay.  We can't base apparition claims on gossip.  The originals being lost and our knowledge that the transcripts of their testimony is not to be trusted is the biggest factor urging us to consider the unsatisfactory testimonies as hearsay.

A testimony cannot stand in court and will be seen as mere hearsay when it is taken too long after the event.  When the witnesses may be under pressure to say things.  When the witnesses may have unwittingly or deliberately influenced each other.  When the testimony shows no sign of really caring about the truth.  Not a single witness did anything to ensure that what was seen really was inexplicable.  For example, if it happened that if the vision disappeared if somebody stood at a certain point nobody said.

 

WHICH OF THE 1879 TESTIMONIES AT FACE VALUE SEEMS TO EXCLUDE A POSSIBLE NATURAL EXPLANATION

1, Patrick Hill because he says the vision was very detailed and the light was very bright and big and that he saw the figures move. 

The problem with the miracle light is that he described it as a moving bright and white light. God would have no reason to move the light but man would!  It is like a projector was being focused.  If there was nobody there to focus it, then the wind may have been causing the movement.  The whiteness of the light contradicts Patrick Walsh who spoke of a light like a fire and contradicts Dominick Beirne Sen who said the light was like the sun.  Only the detail he mentioned indicates that the vision may have been supernatural but it can be accounted for by images of faces and a book being fastened to the gable to make detail.  We are left with nothing to indicate a miracle.  Its odd that few of the other seers focused on the detail.  They should have been fascinated by it.

He didn't say what he meant by move.  It is unlikely he saw the images blinking or breathing for he would have said that.

2, Mary McLoughlin

3, Mary Beirne

4, Patrick Walsh - Only if he really saw the light at the gable from a distance.  If it was as bright as he said then it was not of earthly origin.  "I never saw, I thought, so brilliant a light before".  He said he only thought it.  He was not sure.  Maybe he just saw somebody's bonfire.  You might think nobody would burn a fire on such a wet night.  Does rain stop Guy Fawkes bonfires?

5, Patrick Beirne

6, Maggie Beirne,

7, Dominick Beirne - the detail may indicate the supernatural or that images were fastened to the wall.

8, Mrs Flatley

9, Bridget Trench - solid looking images that were impossible to touch and the rain blown against the gable which stayed dry.

10, Catherine Murray

11, John Curry

12, Judith Campbell

13, Margaret Beirne 2

14, Dominick Beirne Sen

15, John Durkan

Only Trench and Hill definitely indicate the supernatural at face value.  Two others just may indicate it.

The evidence for a miracle or even something that cannot be naturally explained is weak.  Everything else is compatible with the magic lantern hypothesis.  Human nature being what it is, there has to be some lies and mistakes in some of the testimonies.  This deepens the problem.  Is it the miracle bits that are the mistakes?  We have to assume that they are.  This is not unfair as they are so few.  Also the Hill and Trench cannot be taken at face value.  The evidence for a miracle is appalling. 

Annie was murdered. Three witnesses are cross-examined by the police.   A deposition is produced for each of them.  One deposition says a man was seen fleeing the scene in a car but the witness would not recognise the man again.  Another says the man rushed past him with the weapon.  The third says the man was there with a weapon but never touched the victim but a ghost appeared and did it.  You give preference to the depositions that contain nothing supernatural.  Even if the entity is put down as an alien - a natural entity - you still ignore the deposition because the alien is so unlikely though possible.  You pay no attention to that evidence. 

Religion is being completely irrational in saying, "Yes miracles are improbable.  But if the evidence is good enough for them then we can believe they happened.  Improbable things do happen."  The point is that it is rational practice to pay no attention to evidence relating to a miracle being authentic if there is evidence that the event is not a true miracle.  The stronger the case for an event's non-supernaturality, the less right you have to assume or believe that its supernatural even if there is evidence for it being miraculous or paranormal.

The main reason Catholics accept the Knock vision is that they think the witnesses did not seek the vision.  But that would only apply to Mary Beirne and Mrs Flatley and Mary McLoughlin who seem to have been surprised by it.  The others did seek it.  Perhaps the argument that the vision is real for it was not sought is invalid because more people did seek it than didn't.

COMMISSION OF INVESTIGATION MEMBER BOURKE'S LETTER

 

The following letter gives us an insight into Canon Bourke who investigated the apparition and took some depositions.  He took Patrick Hill's testimony.  Bourke's role in the investigation casts a lot of doubt on its professionalism and integrity.

 

Kilcolman

Claremorris

14th January, 1880

 

The ‘chapel’ or Catholic Church at which in August 21st 1879 near the gable [why near the gable rather than at the gable?]  fronting the South East – the vision of our “B. Lady” and “St Joseph” with a mitred personage, supposed by pious people who saw the sight to be St. “John the Evangelist”, [he puts the names in quotation marks as if he doubts that the witnesses really knew who they were.  But when he mentions another vision later he does not use quotation marks around the names of the entities that appeared.  Did he find the latter more impressive?] with an altar and a lamb thereon and angels flitting around – is not in this parish, it is just a half a mile beyond the mearing [his use of the word mearing makes us think he got Patrick Hill to use the word in his testimony.  The letter indicates that Bourke was prompting Patrick Hill or using leading questions when he was taking down Hill’s testimony – this would pour suspicion on the accuracy of the deposition]  line of Kilcolman, the ancient name of this district of which Claremorris is the rising town.

 

Visions were seen again on New Year’s eve: and on New year’s day: on twelfth day (Epiphany) eve: on Epiphany – and that night too.  Hundreds of miracles are narrated by the country people regarding themselves and their friends.  In this town there are some 20 or 30 people who, on Thursday last witnessed what they believe to be miracles, and on last Monday evening of all (12th January) I have just heard from one of my curates, a dumb girl received the use of speech.  I visited the place a second time on this day week, Wednesday, in company of 3 priests, strangers; and they and I interrogated those who had beheld the vision on New Year’s day, between 12 & 3 o.c.  They all, who saw it, say that our Lady appeared to them about 1 o.c. clothed in white with the child Jesus as a grown boy, and St. Joseph.  The holy child was between St Joseph and the B.V.M..  His hair rolled in golden ringlets on his shoulders.  His divine face beamed full and open.  He bore a lamb in his arms.  The B.V.M. was clothed in a white tunic, or robe usually worn by women, with an outer one not tight but flowing, of a sky blue, and outside and over a mantle of a brown colour – wearing a crown on her head, with eyes raised to Heaven.  The child Jesus was as I have just described.  St Joseph was to her right on the west side so to speak clothed as is usually seen in pictures and of an age say 55 to 60 with hands joined and head bent in token of respect [wording similar to the testimony of Patrick Hill].  Angels or bright flitting spirits like balls of flame [similar wording in the Hill testimony] appeared bounding about the holy family – all this was seen by many from 1 to 3 o.c. mid-day time.  The figures were raised 3 to 4 feet above the earth or sod.[Here we have people been checked out soon after a vision  This vision is even more believable than the 21st August vision.  It makes no sense to hold that this investigation fails to prove anything other than imitation or imagination was at work while holding that the investigation of the 1879 visions is credible!  And the Church does not take the January 1880 vision seriously at all!  Also, the Holy Spirit was not too impressed for if the latter had been a real vision he could have prevented it being forgotten!]

 

I examined 1 of two policemen [why not give their names?] who say that on that night at 11 o.c. P.M. they beheld supernatural light, like balls of fire or electrical flashes chasing one after the other, on and about the gable of the ChurchThey saw no images or angels.  One of these was a Protestant, but I did not examine the Protestant, and I only heard he was one.

 

[The vision was supposed by many to be a hoax engineered by a Protestant policeman using a magic lantern.  Could it be that one of these policemen was the culprit and that this vision was a lie in order to cover up the fact that a hoax had taken place?  Was the hoaxer trying to lay the magic lantern hypothesis to rest by claiming he saw lights when there was no lantern involved?  Did he really not know that the other policeman was a Protestant?]

 

I was commissioned some two months ago by the Archbishop to take down the Depositions of the first apparition which occurred on the 21st August last.  Fifteen aver solemnly to all the facts – differing only in trifling points.  [A blatant lie.  Some said the apparition was dull like moonlight and others said it was brilliant like the sun.  Some did not see a cross or a lamb.  Some said it was a vision and others said it was statues.  Trench alleged said the Virgin's robe was all one garment while another witness, Mary Beirne's mother, said she wore a mantle.  Dominick Beirne said she wore a white cloak.  One talked as if there was nothing there but lights.  Patrick Hill told Warren in 1880 that he saw angels wings around the angels while his companion at the time John Curry said he only saw twinkling lights.]  Several clergymen and myself examined them separately and the testing of all goes to confirm the facts attested – 3 others at a distance saw the supernatural lights.  [Who are these people?  We only have one testimony by Patrick Walsh.]

 

Like the blind man ordered to go and wash his eyes and he went and saw, I suppose all you need to do is to apply this small relic taken from the place.  St Paul’s handkerchief cured those that were sick – so anything of this kind applied with faith in Jesus Christ and in His Blessed Mother conceived without sin, will with God’s blessing effect a cure.  However, as in the times of the Prophet all were not cured; so now all may not be cured.

 

Say 3 Hail Mary’s in honour of her Immaculate Conception.

 

Yours,

Canon Bourke P.P.

THE BEST TESTIMONY THAT SHOWS THAT SOMETHING NATURAL HAD HAPPENED

Patrick Beirne made the following declaration before a priestly board of investigators of the apparition in 1932.

"I saw three figures on the gable surrounded by wonderful light.   They appeared to be something like shadows or reflections cast on a wall on a moon-lit night.  I approached nearer the gable and passed my hand along the wall to find there was no material substance there.  The figures were towards the left hand side of the gable.  The figures were those of the Blessed Virgin in the central position; to the right of the Blessed Virgin was St Joseph, and to the left was a figure suggested by a bystander to represent St John the Evangelist.  To the right of the group, and at a higher level was a figure of a lamb in a reclining position and facing the figures.  I spent between twenty minutes and a half an hour there when I returned home."

This is actually of extreme importance.  He confesses the images were dull enough.  He says the light was wonderful but he seems to mean by this that it was like the light of the moon and was wonderful in the sense that it was a dark night with the moon invisible and yet the light was there.  He touches the wall and finds there is nothing there but the stones.  He suggests the lamb was not standing but was reclining.  This contradicts the testimony of some of the others.

As he was related to the main witness, Mary Beirne, and he was her neighbour all his life he would not have said this unless it were true. And you don't contradict the witnesses who are the blue eyed boys and girls.   His report was different from the clear vision she reported.  She said the vision was out from the wall though she exhibited some confusion about that matter.  He says it was on it.  In 1936, she stated that the vision looked like a painting when close enough, "When we went near the wall, the figures seemed to go back to the wall, as if painted on it.  Then when we came back from the wall, they seemed to stand out and come forward".

Whatever Patrick Beirne testified to in 1879, the Church refused to record it and used the following bluff: "Young Beirne then told what he saw regarding the Vision, just as it has been described already by several persons who were present. The young fellow showed by his hands and position how the image or apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary and that of St. Joseph and St. John stood. "  This trick would have been used had Beirne been saying something damning.

He made the following statement under oath on January 27 1936.  "I, Patrick Beirne, of Knock in the County of Mayo, aged seventy-one years and upwards make oath and say, I remember the evening of the 21st of August 1879.  My attention was called by another man named Dominick Beirne to a vision consisting of three figures, the Blessed Virgin, St Joseph and St John.  It was then about nine o' clock.  I was informed when I came on the scene that the vision was there since about a quarter to eight o' clock.  The figure of the Blessed Virgin was in the centre; St Joseph was on the right; he was turned sideways and facing the Blessed Virgin.  St John was on the Blessed Virgin's left.  He had a book in his hand.  The Blessed Virgin had a very brilliant crown on her head.  She wore a brilliant white cloak.  To the left of St John was a lamb lying on his side on the altar.  The whole gable was lit up with a brilliant light.  There was a heavy drizzle of rain.  The rain did not appear to fall on the figures or the light.  There were about fourteen or fifteen people there watching the vision with me; amongst them was Mrs Mary O Connell who is still living in Knock; she was then Mary Beirne.  I remained there about an hour and then I went home."

In this one he exaggerates the brightness of the light.  He does not say if the images were on the gable or at the gable.  The priests obviously did not want him to testify that they were on it so they avoided asking him if they were on the gable or not.  His claiming to have stayed for an hour is an outright lie.  He says the rain was more drizzle than proper rain.  That refutes the popular belief that the rain was torrential that night.  The belief was started by the forged testimony of Bridget Trench.  He only says it did not look as if it fell on the images or the light.  Notice that it might still have done so.  He is careful not to say, "The rain did not fall on the figures or the light."  That would be too definite.  Nothing he says indicates a true miracle or vision.

CONCLUSION

The evidence for a miracle at Knock is weak.  It has been tampered with.  And the tampered evidence itself is full of inconsistencies or indications of natural causes.


BOOKS CONSULTED  

 

Margaret Anna Cusack, The Nun of Kenmare, by Catherine Ferguson CSJP, Gaelbooks, Co Down, 2008

 

Knock The Virgin's Apparition in Nineteenth Century Ireland, Eugene Hynes, Cork University Press, Cork, 2008

 

Knock: Some New Evidence. The British and Irish Skeptic, Berman, David. Vol 1, no. 6, November/December 1987

 

Knock 1879-1979, Rynne, Catherine.  Dublin: Veritas Publications, 1979

 

Looking for a Miracle, Joe Nickell, Prometheus Books, New York, 1993 

 

Our Lady of Knock, John MacPhilpin, Tom Neary, London: Catholic Truth Society, 1976

 

Our Lady of Knock. William D Coyne, New York: Catholic Book Publishing, 1948

 

"Papal Visit Resurrects Ireland's Knock Legend." The Freethinker (October 1979). Reprinted in The British and Irish Skeptic 1, no. 1 January/February 1987

 

The Apparition at Knock, A Survey of Facts and Evidence, Fr Michael Walsh, St Jarlath’s College, Tuam, Co Galway, 1959

 

The Apparition at Knock, The Ecumenical Dimension, Eoin de Bháldriathe, Data Print, Athy, 2013

 

The Apparitions and Miracles at Knock, also Official Depositions of the Eye-Witnesses. Tuam, Ireland, 1880. 2d ed. Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son, 1894.

 

Mother of Nations, Joan Ashton, Veritas, Dublin, 1988

 

The Book of Miracles, Stuart Gordon, Headline, London, 1996

 

The Cult of the Virgin Mary, Michael P Carroll, Princeton University Press, 1986  

 

The Evidence for Visions of the Virgin Mary, Kevin McClure Aquarian Press, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, 1985  

 

The Thunder of Justice, Ted and Maureen Flynn, MAXCOL, Vancouver, 1993  

 

The Wonder of Guadalupe, Francis Johnson, Augustine, Devon, 1981  

 

Why Statues Weep, Editors Wendy M Grossman and Christopher C French, The Philosophy Press, London, 2010

 

Venerable Archdeacon Cavanagh, Liam Úa Cadhain, Knock Shrine Society, Roscommon Herald, Boyle, Roscommon, Ireland, 2004

 

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