If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
LOURDES SPRINGS INFERNAL - BERNADETTE WAS NOT
TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT HER ALLEGED VISIONS
Peer Journal shows no evidence that anything unnatural was involved in Lourdes Miracles
Lourdes is in France. It nestles among the Pyrenees. In 1858, a destitute
asthmatic child of thirteen, Bernadette Soubirous, claimed she saw the Virgin
Mary in a cave at the dump of Massabielle eighteen times between the 11th of
February and July 18th. Today Lourdes is renowned for its claimed miraculous
There is incontestable proof that Bernadette saw nothing at all.
It is not that difficult to prove that Lourdes fails even the tests of the Catholic Church for a genuine heavenly visitation. Yet the Church gave it official approval.
The vision carried a rosary. Bernadette stated that the chain of the rosary was gold during the first vision. But she was too far away from the lady in the grotto to see that detail and would you have such an eye for detail during a seemingly magical experience? She stated she noticed the chain before she crossed the wide river to the grotto (page 35, The Appearances of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Grotto of Lourdes). Some try to make out she noticed that detail in a later vision when she was closer and did not mean to give her account in strict chronological accuracy. She spoke chronologically all the time so there is no need to say she was not doing it here. She was required by the Church to do so. Christians have always tried to solve errors and contradictions in magical tales they want to believe in by making out that the person was not speaking in strict time order. Genesis 1 says God made man after the animals and Genesis 2 says he made the animals before. They solve the contradiction by pretending that Genesis 2 only looks chronological but actually is not. It is a ruse to cover up and dismiss contradictions. Too many people would have been claiming apparitions and then speaking about them non-chronologically to make it sound more truthful. It is an excuse unless the speaker admits that she or he is not using strict chronology.
It is odd that the lady goes back into the rock instead of just vanishing (ibid. page 35). See also page 47 of Encountering Mary. She did not live in it and she was described as aquero by Bernadette which means that thing. It might be a word used of a ghost. There was no exit Bernadette would have known of. The real Virgin would either ascend or just vanish.
The frightening pallor of Bernadette of Lourdes during her visions does not match her claim that she saw a beautiful loving Virgin Mary.
Was the freethinker’s idea that the first vision was a trick by a girl posing as Mary correct? If you were not the Virgin you would have to vanish by hiding inside the cave. Perhaps the girl had a black blanket to hide under if it was hard to hide in the cave which would give the illusion of vanishing. This girl could have triggered Bernadette’s subsequent visions.
Bernadette said that she never saw anybody as beautiful as the lady (page 65, The Appearances of the Blessed Virgin etc). Surely, she can’t be that pretty? If she has a face then that face has to be matched by somebody’s in beauty. This attests for inauthenticity.
Bernadette said she had never seen anything like the material the vision’s dress was made of (Bernadette of Lourdes - Laurentin, page 14). Material is material so Bernadette certainly lied. If the dress was glowing then Bernadette must have seen many forms of clothing that glowed in the sunlight. Bernadette wanted to sound very mysterious.
Bernadette said that the girl in the grotto was no bigger than herself (page 87, Mother of Nations). Yet she stated that the girl’s age was 16 or 17. Owing to malnutrition and poverty Bernadette was far too small for her thirteen years so she is contradicting herself about the girl’s age for she would have been eleven or twelve had she been Bernadette’s size. Bernadette saw nothing.
There are pictures of Bernadette a year or two later and which show that she was in the business of acting even then like she was in a mystic visionary trance. In the first picture, she looks upwards and seems to be holding up her rosary to some apparition. The pose is bizarre and can only be explained by somebody who in the guise of humility seeks fame and attention. She looks like somebody making a remarkable effort at simulating ecstasy.
It is not just the one photo either. The one below also has her looking up as if in a trance.
Bernadette encountered an extreme devotion from the people to her starting from the early visions. People adored her and kissed her and literally kissed the dirt she walked on (Encountering Mary, page 50). Yet she made no effort despite her well-vaunted humility to avoid this. She did not disguise herself or make some arrangement to avoid the people. The young lady craved the adulation and the attention.
FALSE LOURDES MIRACLES
Lourdes was the start of many hoaxes.
According to the account by devout Catholic, Estrade, in his The Appearances of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Grotto of Lourdes, an atheist doctor, Dozous, converted to Catholicism over seeing the entranced Bernadette cupping a candle flame for fifteen minutes and not getting burnt even though the flame was licking her fingers.
Other sources say that Dozous' account of the candle does not match that of other people who observed the event and denied that the flame licked Bernadette's fingers (page 57, Encountering Mary.) The Church teaching that lying to promote a religion or faith is a sin is not taken seriously because the Church says that you are not obligated to confess the lie to those who have been tricked by you for it is not a malicious lie. It is worth remembering that when considering people who claim to have witnessed visions and miracles.
Estrade’s memory of the Lourdes happenings has been called into question (page 41,46, Evidence of Satan in the Modern World). But we must take him as reliable in all that is not contrary to the facts and which is plausible.
With the crowd around Bernadette, somebody would have moved the candle when they saw the way she was holding it. They knew she would not know if she was burning. It is no use objecting that they saw it was not burning her for if you see a person in danger it is like a reflex action for you immediately rush to that person’s aid without even thinking. Nobody would have let her hold a candle in the first place in case she would go into a trance and get burnt. Nobody had the right to let her do this because the apparitions had not been checked and authenticated by the Church yet.
The wind must have been strong when she cupped the flame so why did it not go out when it went below her hands?
She would have had the fingers closed to protect the flame so the doctor could not have seen the flame licking her fingers but maybe the little fingers. He made her open her hands to examine her fingers afterwards suggesting the palms and the insides of the fingers should have been burned so we detect more confusion in the dear old doctor.
Bernadette was thirteen and small for her age. Her hands were delicate. The flame would have been walled by the centre of her hands. Bernadette supposedly held her hands this way for ten to fifteen minutes. And that the end of her ecstasy she jumped for she was burned. So the candle would have burned down about two inches in that time. So it could not have been licking her fingers but the lower part of her hands including the little fingers facing the ground if anything. So what was the doctor doing examining her hands? Establishing a miracle where there was no miracle.
When she started to burn after the ecstasy she would have blistered and yet the doctor says she had no marks. He was lying.
And why did the doctor say that the flame licked her left hand and that he watched this for fifteen minutes? (page 127, The Appearances of the Blessed Virgin etc). He claimed that there were people there who could back up what he said. But he did not even give the date which indicates that he was lying for he was unwilling to have the witnesses tracked down. A surer indication is that it would not just have been the left hand when she was cupping.
You don’t mention witnesses and stop them from being tracked down unless you are hiding something.
The doctor for reasons of his own had turned against Atheism – perhaps he just gave up on it for the Church was stronger - and told a lie to promote the Catholic religion.
Even the Church would have been embarrassed to admit that such an inconsequential and unnecessary miracle happened. The Church usually rejects apparitions that do such things or claim to – outright. The Church teaches that God doesn’t do trivial miracles. If he does then it is like he is making mistakes and has to do miracles to correct them. Trivial miracles are too trivial to function as signs from God. To claim that a trivial miracles has happened is blasphemous.
Catholics claim that Bernadette dug a hole with her hands in the grotto and a spring burst from it. The apparition had told her to drink of the spring and to wash in it. Bernadette said, “I saw only a little dirty water; I put my hand in, but could not take any. I scratched, and the water came, but muddy. Three times I threw it away, but the fourth time I could drink it” (page 28, Bernadette of Lourdes - Laurentin). So Bernadette saw the spring. She didn’t cause the spring. It was already there. Page 59 says that one day Bernadette went and climbed over the area where the spring appeared and kissed the ground during an apparition. She did the same thing the following day. She went about as if she was looking for something. No sound came as her lips moved so nobody knew what she was looking for. She saw a muddy pool and rubbed the filthy water over her face. Then she ate a plant. This gives rise to the thought that Bernadette found the muddy pool by luck. Then it occurred to her to claim that the apparition told her about it. Then the crowd started to work at the muddy pool (page 61). No wonder it flowed afterwards as they had cleared the debris and dirt. There was no miracle there. A real miracle would have had the water shooting up of the ground pure and clean.
There are hundreds of Marian apparitions reported in the world. Many of them bless springs of water - typically springs that have always been there. It had to happen that at some point a spring would appear during at least one of them by coincidence. If this had happened at Lourdes it would be nothing spectacular but it didn't.
It is recorded that the grotto where Bernadette scraped was full of rubbish. This rubbish included rotten flesh and surgical bandages. The apparition must have been fake for the real Virgin Mary would not have instructed sickly asthmatic and malnourished Bernadette to risk her health. Bernadette had no guarantee that the Virgin Mary really was with her. She didn't even consider the entity to be the Virgin but aquero - the thing. The Church says that risks should not be taken over an apparition until it has verified it. And Church approval takes a long time to come to pass and when it comes the Church does not like anybody even then sacrificing too much for an apparition for the approval is no more than just permission to accept the vision than approval.
As for this spring at the Lourdes Grotto that Catholic mythmakers say Our Lady magically made to appear, it was already there when Bernadette discovered it while having a vision. Some fishermen and others said they had sheltered in the Grotto and observed there never had been a spring in it. Shepherds and farmers said that they had seen a spring that occasionally appeared (page 222, The Appearances of the Blessed Virgin etc). But when Bernadette scraped the ground for the spring only a thin trickle came out suggesting that the former just hadn’t noticed it. The shepherds and the farmers are the most reliable for everybody wanted to believe that the spring was not there previously. The digging could have moved whatever was obstructing the spring. Bernadette had visited the grotto before and could have known that there was a spring or trickle there. The farmers and the shepherds are the least incredible witnesses so we should believe them.
The real Mary would have promised a spring to Bernadette long before telling her to find it, giving Bernadette time to tell the people. Nobody could then say that Bernadette who did lots of wacky and dirty things in the grotto found the spring by pure luck and without looking for it and then decided to lie and say the lady told her there was spring seconds before she stumbled on it.
The Church knows and admits that the spring was not a physical miracle (page 87, The Appearances of the Blessed Virgin etc). Mother of Nations says that it is apparently generally accepted that there was a spring all along but that it was dried up (page 94).
The booklet, Bernadette of Lourdes, informs us that the source was there all the time and that it flowed better when the rubbish that was an obstacle to it was cleared away and it did not run from the spot where Bernadette scraped with her hands alone (page 31). Those who surmise that Bernadette miraculously knew the right spot are to be disappointed.
The spot was an infectious dump and this lady had Bernadette eating grass from it and her and the people drinking from a spring that was there all along according to shepherds at the time (page 87, 222, The Appearances of the Blessed Virgin etc; Mother of Nations, page 94). The Virgin asked them to do something dangerous over appearances that were not checked for authenticity yet! She was a devil.
If St Bernadette made up the whole story about the lady she had to hide in a convent to avoid being caught out in her lies. The body of St Bernadette is declared to be incorrupt and displayed in the convent she joined at Nevers. She was made a saint on the 8th December, 1933. But she was a fake saint. If incorruptibility is a miracle it is a warning that you pay no heed to the religious implications of miracles. We cannot be sure that she did not get injections of embalming fluid and she is made up with wax and was founded emaciated in her grave so we cannot work out how far the incorruptibility can be inexplicable. It is disturbing to have an incomplete miracle. That is what a devil would have to do if he had miracle powers for he might not be strong enough to do it properly. God is all-powerful and would not do half-miracles. The incorruptibility would not prove that the visions were from God but from another source - a darker one.
THE IMMACULATE DECEPTION
On March 25, 1858, the ghost in the grotto told Bernadette who she was. She said, “I am the Immaculate Conception”.
The Immaculate Conception is the doctrine that the Virgin was conceived in her mother’s womb without the sin of Adam staining her soul. You cannot say that you are the maculate conception or the Immaculate Conception any more than you can say, “I am birth”. Was the apparition not of the Virgin Mary but a symbol? A symbolic image sent by God could call itself the Immaculate Conception for it pictures that event. But the vision made Bernadette believe she was the Virgin Mary, a person not a symbol. So we see a contradiction. The apparition could have easily said, “I am the fruit of the immaculate conception”. Jesus said that he was the resurrection in the John Gospel but that was poetry for a poetic gospel. The lady of Lourdes would not have been poetic to an uneducated child and at such a solemn moment.
Jesus said that he was the resurrection meaning in the sense that he was the giver of life. It is a poetic way of saying what he is. But this would not allow Mary to say she was the Immaculate Conception for it is not saying what she is. It is identifying her with a past event. Being conceived immaculate does not mean one is immaculate now.
The nearly reliable sources tell us that Bernadette claimed that she did not know what the immaculate conception was. But they say she knew that it had a connection to Mary (page 125, The Appearances of the Blessed Virgin etc) suggesting she knew more than she was letting on and knew enough to make her pretend that the lady said she was the Immaculate Conception. Bernadette would have heard of the immaculate conception from the priest who stayed where she stayed in Bartres for the papal proclamation of the Immaculate Conception was big news in the Church and everywhere. She would have heard it in the chapel or heard prayers in its honour there. Prayers in its honour would have been and were said in her hearing at the grotto (page 124, ibid).
The miraculous medal devotion would have been popular among the people Bernadette talked to and prayed with. The prayer to Mary conceived without had to have been recited at the grotto by devotees to Mary when Bernadette was there. Bernadette said that when the lady told her her name she used the miraculous medal pose. Bernadette did know of the immaculate conception.
Bernadette would have asked what the Immaculate Conception was. She went to Mass on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. She certainly knew what lies to use to get people to believe her. The idea would have come to her from people who wanted the apparition to prove itself by revealing secrets that Bernadette would and could not know. She wanted the revelation of the lady’s identity to seem like supernatural knowledge.
The lady said, “Quy soi L’Immaculada Councepciou” as it is in the local dialect (page 40, Bernadette of Lourdes - Laurentin). Yet Bernadette called it coun-chet-sion only hours after the vision (page 125, The Appearances of the Blessed Virgin etc). So she knew the word but wasn’t able to pronounce it. Who could forget the pronunciation of such a great revelation of a great vision unless they never had a vision at all? Bernadette kept repeating what the lady said until she reached the priest (page 93, ibid). This makes it impossible for her to have forgotten the pronunciation later. Bernadette must have faked her ecstasy that took place during her vision for real ecstasy is so exciting that nothing can be forgotten. The Immaculate Conception came to her from her confused Bartres memories not from an apparition.
Did the lady say she was the immaculate something else and not the Immaculate Conception? Maybe she did and so she was not the Virgin.
The lady never promised cures but they are what Lourdes is famous for. Strange that there are no wooden legs lying about it. Why should we believe this lady that she is the Immaculate Conception even if she did say that?
The Church claimed to authenticate that Mary appeared to Bernadette at Lourdes in 1858. It did not. What it authenticated (leave aside the question about whether the authenticating is of any validity) was that Bernadette was having trances that couldn’t be explained by doctors and that a spring appeared and that healings took place. None of this proves that Bernadette really saw Mary. She might have lied or misunderstood. Or the vision might only have been pretending to be Mary. She may have went into a miraculous trance that affected her brain to make her imagine she saw the Virgin Mary. For the Church to say that it authenticated the apparitions of Mary at Lourdes is simply for it to lie. So here we have an extraordinary claim, that Mary appeared for which there is little evidence if you want to be generous. But the truth is there is NO evidence at all. So the miracles of Lourdes did nothing only support lies. We know that the stranger or more unlikely the claim, the evidence needs to be of a standard and strength to match the strangeness of the claim. The evidence needs to be in proportion to the level of unbelievableness of the claim. You don’t need the same evidence that Charlie met Annie at Loch Ness that you need to justify believing that Charlie saw the monster there. Lourdes and all the accepted Catholic apparitions deny this truth and so are evil and trying to drag us into superstition.
LAURENTIN AND BERNADETTE
The world famous mariologist, Fr Rene Laurentin, wrote an authorative book, Bernadette of Lourdes.
This book gives several proofs that despite Laurentin’s belief that the visions were real they were not supernatural.
The fame brought to Bernadette because of the apparitions brought attention to her father being remembered as a common thief (page 21). What right would she have to do that to her father over visions? There is no use in blaming her father and not her for had she kept her mouth shut her father would not have been remembered this way.
Page 29 admits that Bernadette managed to learn her catechism before her first communion. So she could have learned of the Immaculate Conception before she alleged that the virgin told her these words that was the first time she heard them.
Bernadette initially described the apparition as "something white" (page 36). This was after the first vision. This does not square with the detailed account she gave later of a beautiful girl in white who fingered her rosary. Bernadette got beaten at home for saying she saw something white. That evening she was questioned by her mother and another woman who concluded it was an illusion or dream she had experienced. Bernadette had been beaten for telling stupid vision stories. A parent would be more likely to be annoyed at a child going about speaking of strange visions of "something white" than a child saying, "I saw a beautiful lady who seems to be the Blessed Virgin Mary". Even in the confessional on the 13 February 1858 she told the priest Father Pomian that she saw, "Something white in the shape of a lady". It had become a lady by then but it was still something white.
The apparition glided towards Bernadette one time Bernadette asked her to write her name but nothing appeared on the paper Bernadette held towards her (page 43). This suggests Bernadette thought the vision was writing but the fact that nothing was on the paper indicating hallucination. Bernadette declared to some people that she never stated that she was seeing the Blessed Virgin (page 48). She was asked by Jacome if she was seeing anything at all and she said that she was seeing something. She said at the time, "I do not say that I have seen the Holy Virgin." He said, "Ah, good! You haven't seen anything!" She stated, "Yes, I did see something." "Well what did you see?" "Something white", she replied. Jacomet said to her, "Some thing or some one?" "That thing (Aquero) has the form of a little young girl." Bernadette never described the thing as male or female. She used neuter words (page 48).
Seeing something - that's not a very comforting answer for those who wanted it to be the Virgin. When pressed to declare what this something was she said, “Something white”. She called it that thing or Aquero and said it was in the shape of a little girl. But why use a neuter word like Aquero if it was really a girl? Was she not really sure? Later she began to describe the clothing of the vision indicating that she was embellishing her story. Even later she still said she was seeing something in the shape of a lady (page 68). Dean Peyramale asked her did she know of fairies and witches suggesting maybe that was what she was seeing but she denied it. He told her she was lying for everybody had heard of such beings (page 70). Anybody with a brain will agree with him.
The spring didn’t appear until after a hole was dug by Bernadette and then others who helped her later (page 60-61). There is no evidence except only Bernadette’s claim that the lady told her where the spring was before she found it. Did she see the muddy patch and get water from it and then imagine that the lady told her beforehand about it?
Page 78 says that the pharmacist Pailhasson declared the spring water dangerous.
Bernadette asked the apparition her name. She didn't reply and just smiled. The apparition "smiled all the while" as Bernadette asked the question a second and third time. "The fourth time Bernadette asked the question, Aquero stopped 'laughing'." Then she opened her hands and extended them towards the ground and then joined them again and looking up to the sky said that she was the Immaculate Conception (page 81, 82).
Incredibly, the apparition is described by Bernadette as laughing when she asked the vision her name (page 81). This indicates hallucination. As does the rest of the Virgin's strange behaviour.
Page 83 says Bernadette heard the words Immaculate Conception from the virgin for the first time ever. And then it says she was able to learn what the words meant that night. The book is honest enough to admit she would have heard the words at Church on the feast day of the Immaculate Conception December 8th. And there was devotion to the Immaculate Conception due to it being a recently declared dogma by the pope so she would have seen leaflets advertising it. The book tries to kid us that she heard the expression only in French a language she did not speak and we are told later that she did know some French at the time (page 92). Obviously she would have went to church with girls on the 8th of December and they would have been saying things like, “We must go to celebrate the Immaculate Conception”, in her dialect. Bernadette confessed years later that she knew of the prayer “O Mary conceived without sin pray for us”, so she knew the word conception and that this conception of Mary’s was sinless which takes you to the next step, the word the Church preferred for sinless in this case was immaculate. Mary was habitually referred to by many as the Immaculate. Bernadette was taught at school by nuns remember.
She said she would not tell the secrets the apparition told her to anyone and not even the pope if he asked her for the lady forbade anyone to be told (page 94). This indicates a spirit of disobedience and the Church has the right to know all an apparition has said to be sure it really was orthodox and therefore from God. The apparition can be understood as heretical - the pope as vicar of Christ has the right to be told, unless he is not really what he claims to be!
She also said that if her confessor asked her for the secrets and vowed to get her barred from communion if she didn't tell then she said she wouldn't (page 94). Clearly she was putting the apparition before the sacraments. The confessor should have been told the secrets. And she obviously had more regard for the vision than for communion believed to be the body of Christ.
Bernadette cultivated an image of being stupid but many people at the time found her intelligent (page 99) and even many years later (page 169). She used this alleged stupidity to impress people by her vision tales. Bernadette even rejected all the stories about miracles she had heard about as untrue (page 100). She could only do that if she was sure the vision had declared no miracles would take place though Bernadette never admitted this. She knew anything else would be insulting to the lady.
The fact that her parents went down in business just before the apparitions and business improved after them but they lost their gains by being too generous (page 102) may indicate that the motive for claiming apparitions was to bring visitors and customers to the town for her family’s benefit. I know she wouldn’t let her family benefit directly from the visions but that only means she may have wanted them to earn their living and be comfortable. No doubt the family thought they could afford to let people walk all over them for the lady would protect them when she appeared to their daughter and were proven wrong. The visions destroyed their lives.
Bernadette later threw her shoe into a strawberry garden to entice a friend to trespass on it and steal strawberries (page 107). This indicates a deviousness with regard to morality. She liked to make evil look good. She was not so stupid. She told her sister not to learn to read (page 107). Believers justify this cruelty by saying she only wanted to keep her away from improper books!
She wouldn’t let people pray for her cure (page 229). That was a sin because the nature of prayer is not to get favours from God but to be able to submit to him. She had a strange fear of men as a nun saying the door must always be open when a nun is with a man (page 176). She began to contradict herself on when the Virgin told her things imagining she was told things all on the one day (page 220).
She said that the statue of Mary was incorrect because the left foot was not far enough over which was strange for the vision did move according to her (page 118) and that she didn’t hold her head back as far as the statue did even though the bend is hardly noticeable (page 230).
When dying and to advertise herself as a saint she started claiming that the devil was appearing to her and scaring her and that by calling on Jesus she could get rid of him (page 223, 235). Some doctors thought that Bernadette was normal at the time of the apparitions. Dr Voisin was one who thought that she was suffering from hallucinations (page 170). The Church uses medical opinion to back itself up when it says a miracle has happened but it is selective in what medical opinion it wants to listen to. How dishonest!
The Church used subterfuge and deception to declare the apparitions of Lourdes authentic.
Believing in God, PJ McGrath, Millington Books and Wolfhound, Wolfhound, Dublin, 1995
Bernadette of Lourdes, Rev CC Martindale, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1970
Bernadette of Lourdes, Fr Rene Laurentin, Darton, Longman and Todd, London, 1980
Counterfeit Miracles, BB Warfield, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 1995
Eleven Lourdes Miracles, Dr D J West, Duckworth, London, 1957
Encountering Mary, Sandra L. Zimdars-Swartz, Princeton University Press, Princetown NJ, 1991 or Encountering Mary, Sandra Zimdars-Swartz, Avon, New York, 1991
Evidence for Satan in the Modern World, Leon Cristiani, TAN, Illinois, 1974
Looking For A Miracle, Joe Nickell, Prometheus Books, New York, 1993
Lourdes, Antonio Bernardo, A. Doucet Publications, Lourdes, 1987
Mother of Nations, Joan Ashton, Veritas, Dublin, 1988
Powers of Darkness Powers of Light, John Cornwell, Penguin, London, 1992
Spiritual Healing, Martin Daulby and Caroline Mathison, Geddes & Grosset, New Lanark, Scotland 1998
The Appearances of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Grotto of Lourdes, JB Estrade, Art & Book Company Westminster, 1912
The Crowds of Lourdes, Joris Karl Huysmans, Burns Oates & Washbourne, London, 1925
The Evidence for Visions of the Virgin Mary, Kevin McClure, Aquarian Press, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, 1985
The Jesus Relics, From the Holy Grail to the Turin Shroud, Joe Nickell, The History Press, Gloucestershire, 2008