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

 

Solar Miracle of Fatima


The Flop of the Century


THE WEB

An Agnostic Looks at Fatima,
http://www.portcult.com/index.fat.htm
 
The apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima in Portugal in 1917 are the number one weapon believers in the supernatural use to counter those who disbelieve in miracles and religion because they allegedly climaxed in the world’s greatest miracle, the spinning sun which reportedly 70,000 people saw. But this work shows that this weapon is a bugbear and has been allowed to threaten because sceptical material is rare and much that does exist does not deal with it adequately. If we can refute the alleged force of Fatima we can justify disbelieving anything to do with religion.

 

Firstly
 
The Blessed Virgin Mary allegedly appeared in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917 to three children, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco. The visions culminated in an alleged solar miracle on October 13, the miracle of the sun. In this miracle, the sun allegedly changed colour and zigzagged around the sky and almost came down on a crowd of people. The miracle was supposedly seen by up to 70,000 people who had gathered to be with the children during their visions.
 
Lucia revealed that the Lady promised to do a great miracle that day. This promise was published in the papers and this drew huge crowds on the day of the expected miracle. Sceptics have concluded that this prediction preconditioned the people to see something. They were not going to go to the effort of going to the Cova and taking a day off work for nothing.
 
The Bible God forbids us to listen to prophets - people who say they have messages from God - if there is any error in them. Lucia only revealed in 1941 that she was told by Mary in 1914 that there would be another world war - she did this after World War 2 had started. This is only how a fraud would behave. It is against the Bible to believe in the prophecy about the miracle of the sun and therefore in the miracle of the sun itself.

 

70,000?  Does anybody really know?
 
Some books would have you think that it had no less than 70,000 witnesses (eg. Fatima Revealed and Discarded, page 168). But if you look at the photographs you see that this was an exaggeration.

The Lisbon paper, O Seculo, painted a very impressive account of the alleged miracle. It was obviously promoting a mystery. It was the paper that said there was 30,000. Given its adoring attitude towards the alleged miracle, it would not have said that unless it were sure

 

To argue that 70,000 saw the miracle therefore we should lend it credence is odd considering that thousands more did not see it. And it is not true that 70,000 seen it. Nobody really knows if the crowd was 30,000 or more.  One writer said it was about that. 

 

Why is it so hard to get a reasonable number even if not the exact number?  G. de Sede claimed that incense bearers at Fatima were exaggerating the number over a few years until it became one of the highest figures that people estimate.  Dr Almeida Garrett put it as being over 100,000 .

 

In O Seculo a few days after the "miracle" de Almeida wrote: "This crowd, which unbiased estimates of learned persons, very foreign to mystical influences, place somewhere between 30 to 40,000 people."  Later for some reason he wrote that it was 50,000.  "On October 13, according to the calculations of completely unbiased people, some fifty thousand people were gathered at the moor of Fatima.  Significantly, a neutral publication, the Primeiro de Janeiro, agreed with 50,000.

And what is the use of tons of people seeing something when scientific instruments do not? Science is more reliable than people.

 

And there is a contradiction between those who did see something.
 
17 October 1917 O Seculo, "The people ask one another if they have seen anything. The greatest number avow that they have seen the trembling and dancing of the sun. Others however ... swear that the sun fell almost to the point of burning the earth with its rays".
 
This account by a witness talks about the miracle of the sun at Fatima wherein it is boasted that thousands of people saw the sun spin and change colour. It shows that the sun dancing and trembling is not supernatural. If you look at the strong sun it will be hard on the eyes and yourself and you will think it is moving and shaking. If you are shaking you will think it is the sun that is shaking. The quote shows that the witnesses did not all agree on what they saw. It also shows that they noticed people around them who seemed to have seen nothing. You do not ask others if they seen something unless it is clear that they may not have seen anything.
 
Thankfully a Catholic priest wrote in his book that many saw nothing. http://www.amazon.com/God-sun-Fatima-Stanley-Jaki/dp/B0006R7UJ6
 

 

If the number was 50,000 and not all seen anything then are we talking about a few thousand alleged witnesses or what?  Who knows?

 

A Testimony

 
Dr José Maria de Almeida Garrett claimed he saw the Miracle of the Sun. He was Professor at the Faculty of Sciences of Coimbra in Portugal. He wrote the following.
 
It must have been 1:30 pm when there arose, at the exact spot where the children were, a column of smoke, thin, fine and bluish, which extended up to perhaps two meters above their heads, and evaporated at that height. This phenomenon, perfectly visible to the naked eye, lasted for a few seconds. Not having noted how long it had lasted, I cannot say whether it was more or less than a minute. The smoke dissipated abruptly, and after some time, it came back to occur a second time, then a third time.

 

And Rev Dr. Formigão, a professor at the seminary at Santarém claimed, "As if like a bolt from the blue, the clouds were wrenched apart, and the sun at its zenith appeared in all its splendor. It began to revolve vertiginously on its axis, like the most magnificent firewheel that could be imagined, taking on all the colors of the rainbow and sending forth multicolored flashes of light, producing the most astounding effect. This sublime and incomparable spectacle, which was repeated three distinct times, lasted for about ten minutes. The immense multitude, overcome by the evidence of such a tremendous prodigy, threw themselves on their knees."
 
MY COMMENT: THIS "MIRACLE" INDICATES THAT GARRET IS NOT VERY RELIABLE. IT IS STANDARD TO DISMISS ACCOUNTS OF MIRACLES BY WITNESSES WHO REPORT BIZARRE ELEMENTS LIKE THAT. THE CHURCH ITSELF DOES THAT.  GARRETT GIVES THE IMPRESSION THAT ALL SAW WHAT HE REPORTED FOR SAYING SOMETHING IS SEEN BY THE NAKED EYE IMPLIES EVERYBODY SEEN IT.

 

AS FOR THE PRIEST, HE SEES NOTHING UNUSUAL.  LOTS OF PEOPLE SEE THE SUN SEEMING TO SPIN AND COLOUR APPEARING.  HE IMPLIES THE CROWD ALL SAW THE SAME THING WHICH IS A LIE.
 
The sky, which had been overcast all day, suddenly cleared; the rain stopped and it looked as if the sun were about to fill with light the countryside that the wintery morning had made so gloomy. I was looking at the spot of the apparitions in a serene, if cold, expectation of something happening and with diminishing curiosity because a long time had passed without anything to excite my attention. The sun, a few moments before, had broken through the thick layer of clouds which hid it and now shone clearly and intensely.
 
MY COMMENT: THE HIGH MOISTURE CONTENT IN THE AIR MAY HAVE REDUCED THE STRENGTH OF THE SUNLIGHT MAKING IT LESS DANGEROUS TO LOOK AT. IT MAY EVEN HAVE MADE A RAINBOW EFFECT ACCOUNTING FOR THE COLOUR CHANGES.
 
Suddenly I heard the uproar of thousands of voices, and I saw the whole multitude spread out in that vast space at my feet...turn their backs to that spot where, until then, all their expectations had been focused, and look at the sun on the other side. I turned around, too, toward the point commanding their gaze and I could see the sun, like a very clear disc, with its sharp edge, which gleamed without hurting the sight. It could not be confused with the sun seen through a fog (there was no fog at that moment), for it was neither veiled nor dim. At Fatima, it kept its light and heat, and stood out clearly in the sky, with a sharp edge, like a large gaming table. The most astonishing thing was to be able to stare at the solar disc for a long time, brilliant with light and heat, without hurting the eyes or damaging the retina. [During this time], the sun's disc did not remain immobile, it had a giddy motion, [but] not like the twinkling of a star in all its brilliance for it spun round upon itself in a mad whirl.
 
MY COMMENT: LOOKING AT THE SUN WILL CAUSE DISTORTION. HE WAS WORKED UP BY THE SUDDEN DRAMA WHICH WAS HOW HE WAS ABLE TO SWITCH OFF THE PAIN OF LOOKING AT THE SUN. THAT EXPLAINS WHY HE THINKS HE LOOKED AT IT LONG.
 
During the solar phenomenon, which I have just described, there were also changes of colour in the atmosphere. Looking at the sun, I noticed that everything was becoming darkened. I looked first at the nearest objects and then extended my glance further afield as far as the horizon. I saw everything had assumed an amethyst color. Objects around me, the sky and the atmosphere, were of the same color. Everything both near and far had changed, taking on the color of old yellow damask. People looked as if they were suffering from jaundice and I recall a sensation of amusement at seeing them look so ugly and unattractive. My own hand was the same color.
 
MY COMMENT: NO WONDER - HE COULD HAVE BLINDED HIMSELF OR TEMPORARILY DAMAGED HIS EYESIGHT. AS A SCIENTIST HE WOULD NEVER ADMIT TO HAVING DONE DAMAGE. AND FOR MANY THE DAMAGE HEALS IN A FEW DAYS. AND NO TWO PERSONS EXPERIENCE THE SAME KIND OF DAMAGE FROM LOOKING AT THE SUN.
 
Then, suddenly, one heard a clamour, a cry of anguish breaking from all the people. The sun, whirling wildly, seemed all at once to loosen itself from the firmament and, blood red, advance threateningly upon the earth as if to crush us with its huge and fiery weight. The sensation during those moments was truly terrible.
 
MY COMMENT: IF THIS WAS TRUE THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN A STAMPEDE AND PEOPLE WOULD HAVE BEEN KILLED. AND THE CLAIM THAT ALL THE PEOPLE WERE UPSET AT THIS SIGHT IS A BLATANT LIE. HE COULDN'T KNOW THAT FOR A START. AND CONSIDERING THAT THE CHURCH TEACHES THAT REVELATION STOPPED WITH THE DEATH OF THE LAST APOSTLE MEANING THAT WE DON'T HAVE TO BELIEVE IN ANY REVELATIONS SINCE THEN AND THEY SHOULD HIGHLIGHT THE FINISHED REVELATION, HAD THE VIRGIN OF FATIMA THE RIGHT TO FRIGHTEN PEOPLE BY DOING THAT WITH THE SUN? CERTAINLY NOT.

 
All the phenomena which I have described were observed by me in a calm and serene state of mind without any emotional disturbance. It is for others to interpret and explain them. Finally, I must declare that never, before or after October 13 [1917], have I observed similar atmospheric or solar phenomena."
 
MY COMMENT: CALM? REALLY? HE WOULD NOT ADMIT TO BEING FRANTIC WITH EXCITEMENT ANYWAY. FINALLY THE TESTIMONY IS NOT THAT OF THE PROFESSOR AT ALL BUT HIS SON WHO WAS CALLED JOSE MARIA DE PRONECA DE ALMEIDA GARRETT. JOSE WAS A LAWYER - HE WAS NOT TRAINED IN SCIENCE AND PERCEPTION. IS THERE NO END TO THE CATHOLIC'S PIOUS DESPERATION TO FOOL OTHER PEOPLE? THE WAY THE TESTIMONY IS WRITTEN FITS A PERSON WHO HAD NO SCIENTIFIC EXPERTISE. A SCIENTIST WOULD HYPOTHESISE AND CREATE POSSIBLE EXPLANATIONS AND WRITE HIS ACCOUNT TO ELIMINATE THESE. BUT HE MENTIONS NO POSSIBLE EXPLANATIONS AT ALL. HE JUST SIMPLY TELLS HIS STORY. 


Greatest Miracle?
 
The greatest alleged miracle of the twentieth century has to be this miracle of the sun at Fatima.
 
The paper O Seculo gave the following account, "From the height of the road where the people parked their carriages and where many hundreds stood, afraid to brave the muddy soil, we saw the immense multitude turn towards the sun at its highest, free of all clouds. The sun called to mind a plate of dull silver. It could be stared at without the least effort. It did not burn or blind. It seemed that an eclipse was taking place. All of a sudden a tremendous shout burst forth, 'Miracle, miracle! Marvel, marvel! "before the astonished eyes of the people, whose attitude carried us back to biblical times, and who, white with terror, heads uncovered gazed at the blue sky, the sun trembled and made some brusque unheard-of movements beyond all cosmic laws; the sun danced, in the typical expression of the peasants."
 
This dross goes beyond what most of the witnesses said.
 
If you study the photos, a lot of witnesses were shielding their eyes during the miracle and squinting. No wonder they were able to look at the sun!  Some ask why there were no complaints about eye problems or dizziness that you might expect if somebody is directly gazing at the sun.  But there are!  The accounts are typical for damage.  And as for nobody complaining, out of thousands, hardly a few even bothered putting the vision down on paper.  The silence is more bizarre than the miracle itself and shows something more mundane than a miracle was going on.  Were those who saw problems intimidated by those who said the vision was scary?  Were they afraid of divine retribution if they said the "wrong" thing?  Even at fake vision sites (eg Tre Fontane scene of the Marian visions of brute Bruno Cornacchiola, Mary Ann Hoof and at Marpingen, October 1999, where many out of 35,000 pilgrims claimed visions in the sun) where eye damage is reported the solid reports are never numerous even if the hearsay is strong.  Why that is is not clear.  The Bible says three witnesses are enough and in each of those sites you can manage that so any false vision can manage enough witnesses to a solar miracle!  So it does not matter if the visions were seen by thousands - three people alone matter if they agree enough.

 

Take for example how in April, 1980, at Mass at Tre Fontane more than 3,000 persons claimed an amazing miracle of the sun!  "“The sun rose to its zenit, making turns around its own axis and radiating rays of all colors all over. Everyone was frightened; some cried, others screamed, others begged out loud to the Virgin Mary. Another marvelous aspect was the image of the Virgin Mary that at the moment of consecration, became an intense red color, radiating rays that penetrated the roof of the grotto so that they could unite with the rays from the sun. It was a grandiose spectacle, never before seen, and unforgettable. It did not last seconds, but rather half an hour, until the end of the Mass."  Visionary Cornacchiola predicted that on November 7, 1979. 

 

In his first vision he said the virgin told him, ""I am she who is in the Divine Trinity. I am the Virgin of Revelation. You have persecuted me, now is the time to stop! Come and be part of the Holy Fold which is the Celestial Court on earth. God's promise is unchangeable and will remain so.  The nine First Fridays in honor of the Sacred Heart, which your faithful wife persuaded you to observe before you walked down the road of lies, has saved you".

 

This apparition has the virgin claiming in some way to be God.  She said, “Sono Colei che Sono nella Trinità Divina” which despite some lying translations really does say she claims to be in the Trinity.

 

So we have a miracle of the sun proclaiming a false vision and false idolatrous message.
 
The fussing done about the sun miracle is a mystery considering that the occultist Vintras prophesied that visions would take place at Tilly-Sur-Seulles in Calvados France and when the prophecy was fulfilled in 1896 many people had aerial visions of Mary and there were miracles in which bizarre contortions of the bodies of visionaries took place. Contortions like that are generally regarded as from Satan no matter how orthodox the doctrine they seem to defend is for they are so pointless and showy. The miracle of the sun was frequently reported at Bayside New York which was not only the focus of apparitions without credibility for years but which were condemned by the Church and which made mincemeat of the authority of the pope. When people imagine the miracle happening when there is no miracle or when the miracle is heretical and therefore from Satan there is no point in taking any implication of such miracles seriously. In other words, you don’t consider becoming a Catholic if you see the sun spinning and turning different colours. It wouldn’t do any harm to consider seeing a therapist or a psychiatrist or your optician.
 
So that all will believe

Lucia wanted the lady to do a big miracle so that everybody would believe. In July, the Lady told that her she would perform the miracle she wanted in October “so that everyone will believe your story” (page 33, What Happened at Fatima?). 
 
The Lady later appeared to the three children in Valinhos and discussed the miracle she would do in October. She told them that because of the scepticism of the unbelievers the miracle would be less dramatic and great. So she had changed her mind about doing an extremely striking super-miracle and set her Immaculate Heart on a less spectacular one. The less wonderful the miracle is the more reason people have to disbelieve it and yet she said she wanted the miracle done to make people believe. An all-knowing God does not change his mind or spout such stupidity for he knows all things and you only change your mind when you realise you have made a mistake. The Virgin at least partly broke her promise.
 
The Lady said that everybody would believe the story of the children upon seeing the miracle. But everyone did not believe when it happened. Many in the crowd saw nothing! Many of those that did did not see anything that couldn't be explained by excitement and imagination.
 
Many decided to wait until the Church decided what level of veracity and accuracy could be attributed to the Fatima events. The Virgin obviously did not want an ecclesiastical investigation! The real Virgin Mary would have. Not everybody even seen the miracle of the sun though the Lady promised they would all see it.

The vision was subjective
 
The miracle is proven to be a subjective experience by the fact that no observatory noticed any change in the sun that day or a change in its position. Christians often say that Satan doesn’t have miraculous powers but uses tricks that look like miracles. Whatever the so-called miracle did, it did not then demonstrate the miraculous power of God. There are no scientific accounts of the miracle. Is it wiser to believe the machines than the people? You must decide. If three doctors say a person has cancer and a machine which has no faults says they are wrong which do you believe?
 
The atmosphere was right for many to say that the solar miracle had happened because even before it people were reporting strange things. Some thought the sky had gone dark in September though Canon Formigao who was the first to support Fatima saw nothing untoward at all (page 51, What Happened at Fatima?).
 
Many of the people had umbrellas up. Lucia had told them to put down their brollies before the apparition though it was raining (page 78, The Evidence for Visions of the Virgin Mary) which shows that she was planning a solar illusion and had touching concern for the old people who could have caught pneumonia. The brollies might have blocked their vision of the sky so they had to go down. It is obvious that not many would have listened to her or even heard her but many would have noticed people taking brollies down and then they would have followed suit. Mc Clure thinks the crowd did not expect to see the sun spinning but they all knew a miracle was promised and I don’t doubt that being asked to put the umbrellas down was an indication that it was time for the miracle. Since the crowd was so large and it was hard to see the apparition site they would have realised that any sign would have to take place in the sky and that most obvious orb in the sky, the sun. The ban on using umbrellas alone would have suggested that. And people were seeing strange things in the sun months before the miracle of the sun (page 76, Fatima In Lucia’s own words). The role of suggestion and emotionalism and imagination in the miracle cannot be underestimated. Lucia was able to trigger many of the people in their highly charged emotional state to imagine seeing the sun spin.
 
Lucia shouts to look at the sun
 
In October, a crowd of allegedly 70,000 had gathered. At the end of the visions, the Lady who had identified herself as the Lady of the Rosary, let the children see Jesus and Joseph and herself in the sun. Lucia shouted for the crowd to look at the sun.

 

Lucia said, "Opening Her hands, Our Lady made them reflect on the sun, and as She ascended, the reflection of Her own light continued to be projected on the sun itself. That is the reason why I cried out to the people to look at the sun. My aim was not to call their attention to the sun, because I was not even aware of their presence. I was moved to do so under the guidance of an inner impulse."
 
Some say that there is no way of proving that Lucia shouted that the crowd must look at the sun before anything happened. Only a few at the front would have heard her and they might not have seen what maybe Lucia and some of the rest were seeing in the sky for their own imagination and memory would colour their perception of what they thought they were seeing. And you know the way it is with eyewitness reports at occasions like that. Some would misremember her saying to look at the sky before anything happened. But in all probability she did tell them to look at the sun. She had the stage set when she told them to put their brollies down.
 
The accounts do not all agree
 
Many of them but not all (page 77, The Evidence for Visions of the Virgin Mary) saw the sun spinning or changing colour or both but the accounts do not agree (ibid 78, 80). Now, for the Lady to want the crowd to look at the sun which is very dangerous over visions that might have been hoaxes or paranormal freaks shows that she was not the Virgin Mary but something else – perhaps something equivalent to a fairy-tale playmate. Despite all the photographers who were present there are no photos of the changes in the sky or any physical evidence. The best the defender can do is produce photos of eclipses in far away lands! (page 78, The Evidence for Visions of the Virgin Mary). When a miracle is given for unbelievers one would expect the Virgin to have done a better job of seeing to it being authenticated. The picture below shows nothing strange. If it was taken at Fatima which is doubtful then the person who took it thought it was odd. It seems the desperation to see a miracle was at work.

Some of the witnesses must have been liars
 
It seems that a crowd that is guessed to have been up to 70,000 were at the Cova and were drenched to the skin (The Thunder of Justice, page 137). It seems they were up to their ankles in mud. But when the crowd endured so much discomfort which would only have brought them ridicule if nothing happened it is clear that they were desperate to convince themselves or their companions that they saw something. At that stage there was no miraculous or scientific proof that the children were telling the truth. Most of the people then had no regard for evidence and would lie or convince themselves they saw something when they saw nothing.

Many people would have said they saw something though they did not. The Virgin had said the miracle was for unbelievers and those who saw nothing might have been accused of being so stubborn in unbelief that doing a miracle to convince them would not work.

Also anybody who defended the miracle of the sun was helping to undermine the brutal atheistic government and would have felt that it was their duty to lie for Portugal and the Church. Though lying was a sin they probably felt that they had no choice but to say what wasn’t true so it wasn’t wilful lying. It was popularly believed that if the miracle failed to happen the children would be lynched (page 54, What Happened at Fatima?) so there was pressure on people to claim that they saw something.

The miraculous drying of clothes?

It had been wet. The rain has been exaggerated.  It was drizzle.  "I arrived at noon. The rain which had been falling since the morning, fine and persistent, propelled by a fierce wind, continued to fall" writes Dr Almeida Garret. 

 

The people allegedly thought their clothes dried miraculously. They must not have realised that they had not been wet or not noticed that they had dried out which shows what kind of mental state many of them were in. Even today, people claim that Lourdes water dries on their bare skin instantly when they emerge from the baths at Lourdes. That is not true! It dries quickly but you do not come out as dry as you went in. Skin is waterproof and can dry and drip dry fast anyway. Its only places like Lourdes where they do not reach for the towel as they normally do that they have any experience of being nude and wet. The clothes can absorb a lot of the moisture as well.

 

The evidence is that the autumn sun was enough to dry their clothes.  Pereira Gens declared, "It continues to rain so strongly that in spite of our umbrellas, nobody has a stitch of dry clothing left.  The rain suddenly stops, the clouds split open, and the sun is visible in all its splendour. Our clothes are wet and our bodies cold; I still remember the delicious sensation that this warm caress of the sun gave me...Although it is true that the luminosity of the sun was diminished, its warmth lost none of its power. I feel my clothes almost dry now, although they were all wet only a few moments ago."
 
The majority of testimonies about the Solar Miracle of 1917 never mention the drying of clothes. This is inexplicable. Many of them would have thought that what happened the sun was an illusion especially after hearing that the sun only seemed to move where they were at. So they would have dwelt more on the instant drying had it really happened. There is one eyewitness testimony that says the drying never took place. Please read the testimonies compiled by Jaki.
 
The photos show no evidence of anybody getting wet or being wet at all. And that includes the photos from minutes before the Miracle.
 
Not all saw the solar miracle

The Virgin had vowed at Valinhos to convince all that her apparitions were true and from God by performing a great miracle (The Thunder of Justice, page 137). But all in the Cova did not see the miracle of the sun so she lied. The Church lies that the 70,000 did see the miracle (page 54, What Happened at Fatima?) but then we are told that no two people seem to have seen the same thing (page 55, What Happened at Fatima?). “It is clear that only a proportion of the crowd, probably less than half, actually witnessed the miracle. There is some evidence to the effect that only those who were standing in a broad band across the centre of the Cova saw the vision; but the truth of this is now impossible to establish” (page 78, The Evidence for Visions of the Virgin Mary). The Cova was a natural amphitheatre which may mean that the event was a natural illusion caused by the way the sun’s rays were focused by the landscape. This would explain the broad band. The children might have seen it before when they were looking after sheep and planned to have the crowd there that day to see it. Remember Lucia did not roar at the people to look at the sun until she saw the “miracle”.

 

On Halloween day 1917, Izabel Brandao de Melo wrote, "Thousands of people affirm that they saw. As for myself, I saw nothing! I could indeed look at the sun and I was terribly agitated to hear everybody shouting that there were extraordinary signs in the sky. I believe that I was not found worthy by Our Lord to see these phenomena, but in my soul I had no need to see them to believe in the apparition of the Holy Virgin to the children." Cardinal Journet wrote, "I have heard of a very cultured Portuguese lady who, for her greater desolation, saw nothing."  This lady was Izabel.  A girl who became a nun found it difficult to remember the sun changing colour.  Clearly she was under pressure to say she seen what she did not see.  Confusion had set in.  Lots of miracle tales are bolstered by false and manipulated memories.

 

Ti Marto and his wife, Olimpia, Maria Rosa, Carlos Mendes, Father Formigao and Father da Silva declared that they saw nothing.

 

The fear that wasn't

The reports say the sun seemed to be about to drop on the crowd.  This sight was met with remarkable calm and there was no mass hysteria or stampedes.  That is far more remarkable than anything in the sky and shows that most of the people themselves thought what they were seeing was a trick of the light or their eyes.

"It seemed like a wheel of fire which was going to fall on the people," recalls Maria da Capelinha.

 

Alfredo da Silva Santos claims that "the sun began to move and at a certain moment appeared to be detached from the sky and about to hurtle upon us like a wheel of flame."

Almeida Garrett would have us believe, "Then, suddenly, one heard a clamour, a cry of anguish breaking from all the people. The sun, whirling wildly, seemed to loosen itself from the firmament and advance threateningly upon the earth as if to crush us with its huge and fiery weight. The sensation during those moments was terrible."

 

"It suddenly seemed to come down in a zigzag, menacing the earth," according to Father Lourenço.

 

Ti Marto told Father de Marchi:  "We looked easily at the sun, which did not blind us. It seemed to flicker on and off, first one way and then another. It shot rays in different directions and painted everything in different colours – the trees, the people, the air and the ground. What was most extraordinary was that the sun did not hurt our eyes at all.  Everything was still and quiet; everyone was looking upwards. At a certain moment the sun seemed to stop and then began to move and to dance until it seemed that it was being detached from the sky and was falling on us. It was a terrible moment!"

Maria Carreira said, "It turned everything different colours, yellow, blue, white, and it shook and trembled; it seemed like a wheel of fire which was going to fall on the people. They cried out: “We shall all be killed, we shall all be killed!”  We will take your word for that Maria will we?

 

In a Fortean Picture Library photo in The Book of Miracles some of the people are not looking up at the solar miracle evidently because they have seen nothing and all of the faces looking up are not amazed. There are no open mouths or hands to the mouth. There is nobody showing any sign of fear. This picture tells a lot of the real truth about the solar miracle. It says Lucia herself did not see the miracle (page 54, What Happened at Fatima?) though it seems she saw figures in the sun. So the only one who could prove that the Virgin was appearing did not see the super-miracle. Again, the lady does not care about proving the apparition authentic.

 

The village of Alburitel for one that reported seeing the miracle at a distance and which gave out reports afterwards that imitated what people at the Cova were saying seems to have seen the sun falling too!  The priest wrote, "I feel incapable of describing what I saw and felt. I looked fixedly at the sun, which seemed pale and did not hurt the eyes. Looking like a ball of snow revolving upon itself, it suddenly seemed to come down in a zigzag, menacing the earth. Terrified, I ran and hid myself among the people, who were weeping and expecting the end of the world at any moment. During those long moments of the solar prodigy, objects around us turned all the colours of the rainbow."

 

A priest said it was natural

 

The parish priest of Penacova who said he saw nothing is reported to have seen a cloud above the oak where the Virgin appeared which he said was smoke.  When the sun was dancing he thought the red colour was down to them wearing red shawls.  Mr de Paula told him that could not be for they would not be dressed in the one colour.  Then the colour became gold but he still thought there was nothing that amazing.  This is the testimony of a man who caused these sights by looking at the sun but who knew what he saw was not supernatural.  He emphasised how natural it all was.

An illusion?
 
Fr Manuel Pereira da Silva wrote that the sun seemed to have come down to the height of the clouds and began to whirl. The people looked yellow. But if you look up at the sun and pretend you don’t know how high it is it looks as if it is as high as the clouds. And looking at the sun would make it seem to whirl especially when it is a scary thing to look at for we all know what harm it can do to your eyes. The people looked jaundiced because you cannot see colours right if you have just been looking at an excessively bright light.

An account in a newspaper, Ordem, mentioned the sun changing colours and whirling. That can be explained by looking at something too bright for you. It would do strange things to the eyes. The heat mentioned at the time of the miracle was caused by excitement.

Dr Almeida Garret who witnessed the miracle did not agree with the people who said the sun turned a dull silver. He remarked how the sun could be looked at without pain but sometimes that can be done. It is easy when you are excited and anxious to see the paranormal before your very eyes. If you want to fire walk, you won't even feel the heat when the desire takes over and you parade across the coals. Same effect.
 
Because some people reported seeing something happening over Fatima miles away that day, researches sometimes conclude that mass hysteria cannot account for the miracle of the Sun. Were these witnesses telling the truth? It is curious that they didn’t report anything happening to the sun but strange occurrences in the clouds and sky above Fatima. What they saw doesn’t match what the witnesses at Fatima saw that day.
 
The people at the Cova knew that the children stared into space with few blinks to see their vision which was the traditional practice. When two or more people stare at a strong light source they will be subjected to illusions and different colours and the light changing shape and seeming to come towards them or go away from them. Try it and see. You can make a room seem to fill up with light and colour and things seem to move simply by staring fixedly at the one spot. Many of the people in the crowd wanted to see a vision and they would have stared deliberately and perhaps in eagerness to see something and the illusion started.
 
Garret said that the clouds seemed to pass behind the sun. But then the miracle of the sun was deceptive for there is no evidence that the sun moved that day except in the eyes of the people. Science can prove that it did not move. Would God do such a dishonest miracle? When the best ever miracle implies that God is a trickster the rest can’t be reliable at all. Some of the people thought the sun was coming at them which scared them witless and could have prevented them from thinking straight. If there had been no miracle they would have imagined there had been. If a layer of clouds obscures the sun the sun can look pearly. Clouds look pearly. The light could be bright enough to make it look like the clouds are moving behind it and not in front. People do not normally look at the sun so don’t be surprised if these explanations seem too simple to be true.

 

What would you expect?

 

The accounts of the solar miracle manage to have differences which is odd.  You would expect if somebody expected the sun to behave oddly that it would be reported to move, spin or change colour.  The miracle is far from a miracle when you realise there is little else you could expect it to do.


Ti Marto who was the father of two of the visionaries Jacinta and Francisco reports quite a typical experience at sites where people look at the sun seeking visions.  "We looked easily at the sun, which for some reason did not blind us. It seemed to flicker on and off, first one way, then another. It cast its rays in many directions and painted everything in different colors--- the trees, the people, the air and the ground. But what was most extraordinary, I thought, was that the sun did not hurt our eyes. Everything was still and quiet, and everyone was looking up. Then at a certain moment, the sun appeared to stop spinning. It then began to move and to dance in the sky until it seemed to detach itself from its place and fall upon us. It was a terrible moment."

The stratospheric dust
 
Steuart Campbell found that a cloud of stratospheric dust could explain the miracle and change the image of the sun and make it easy to look at (The Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, Journal of Meteorology, UK, Vol 14, no. 142, October, 1989). The sun could still have been strongly bright depending on where one was standing that day meaning that different people could have seen different things. And besides if you see the sun changing you will be caught up in fear and how accurate would your memory be of it? The dust can make the sun easy to look at and make it appear to be different colours even blue and violet. He reported that a similar event happened in China in 1983 where the sun looked blue and red because of the dust.
 
Catholics dismiss this for they say it doesn’t explain how the sun moved across the sky and zig-zagged. Not everybody saw the alleged zig-zagging and if you look at a bright object and look away to the side it may seem to have moved to where your eyes are focused on now. The object may look smaller which can give the impression that it is going back and if you look at the object again it will seem as if the object is coming closer to you for it will look bigger than the illusion.

 

Education Minister, Antonio Sergio, quoted by G. de Sede declared, "When the sun appeared, there were light clouds that gathered around it and which, under the effect of the storm, were driven by gyratory movements that had nothing astonishing about them."  Campbell has some support then from the actual time.
 
Lucia reflects badly on the miracle
 
The centrepiece of it all was Lucia who warned the miracle was coming and told the people to look at the sun.

 

Startlingly, Lucia herself said she did not see any miracle of the sun!  The excuse is that she was looking at Mary but that is nonsense for Mary supposedly shone rays on the sun and then vanished.  So Lucia must have looked at the sun.  The story of Mary zapping the sun only appeared after the miracle of the sun story came out.

 

Her manipulative tendencies are well noted.
 
And it did not stop with the miracle of the sun. An aurora borealis took place over Europe in January 1938 and lasted from 8.45 pm to 1.15 am the next morning. Lucia proclaimed that the Virgin had predicted the coming of this "unknown light" and said it signalled the start of a world war. From eyewitness accounts the light looked reddish and gave the impression that fire had broken out. In some places, the lights were a beautiful display.
 
There was nothing magical abut the aurora borealis. And it was not the first light in the sky and not the last. It suited Lucia to treat it as important as World War II broke out soon after.
 
Nobody asks why the timing is still a bit odd. Why could God not have sent it a few days or the day before the War?
 
The cause was actually "a large sunspot" - (Nature, January 22, 1938, p.156).
 
Read Nature, January 29, 1938, p.192. February 5, 1938, p.232-235. Nature, April 16, 1938, p.686-7.
 
The prophecy of the light contains errors. Mary said that "If people do not cease offending God, a worse [war] will break out during the reign of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given to you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father." The person who makes out that a war that killed many innocent people and children is a punishment is the lowest of the low. And the persecutions of the pope did not happen. The aurora was not an unknown light. It was natural.
 
There is no evidence that the prophecy was written before the event. It was not mentioned even until 1940.
 
There has never been a proven prophecy where somebody was named like the pope was that came true.

The message reflects badly on the miracle
 
The solar miracle is dubious because it happened for the sake of the message of Fatima. And the message in one word is reparation, reparation for the sins and unbelievers of the world. This is a message of evil and perversion. If Jesus paid for our sins then there is no need for reparation and he cannot ask for it for it is a sacrifice for us because there are plenty of sacrifices we could be making. The Devil would not do such a miracle nor would a God so the miracle can only be false. The evidence against it is strongest.
 
If it was a miracle, then it was a miraculous illusion. It was a divine magic trick. It is an indignity to God to suggest that he does such things. A real God does real miracles. If the solar miracle of Fatima happened it was not the Solar Miracle of Fatima but a Miracle Solar Illusion. God deceived the witnesses by making them think that he had done something to the sun. If the super miracle happened then it warns us not to take miracles seriously as signs and revelations from God about what religion is true. The standard Catholic view is that God does real miracles but Satan does illusionary ones. Enough said!

The Catholic Church says divine miracles have mostly good fruits. Fatima started the spinning sun trend in religious fanaticism and it has carried on – especially in Medjugorje – and has left many blind or with bad sight due to damage done by gazing at the sun. Another bad fruit is that the sun miracle is reported at false apparition sites and has left many convinced of the truth of silly apparitions. Plus some who thought at the time of Fatima that the sun was going to fall on top of them were evidently nearly driven to insanity and there could have been a stampede in which people had died. The normal instinct when you see anything like that is to run away. There was no stampede which is evidence that there was no sun seen falling down to earth though some said there was. Or did they suspect or see signs that what they thought they saw was somehow an illusion? The Christian religion says we must love God totally and our neighbour as ourselves meaning that it is best for all people to serve God alone and to do it by helping others and ourselves not for our sake but for his. This is so unnatural that few do it and so what is the point in Mary’s miracle for its attraction was the display of power and its strangeness. People like to feel that there is a God of power to look after them which is what they want to run after miracles for. But that is quite contrary to the Christian religion which wants them to run after God and nothing else.

 

Catholic doctrine is that as Jesus warned that Satan is expert at the miracle tricks a miracle from him by God's providence will do harm in some way.  At the vision of the sun, the people stood by and let the following happen.  "Groups take it in turns to sing the praises of the Virgin, while a terrified hare runs through the crowd and is hardly noticed except by a half a dozen or so of small boys, who catch and beat it to death with sticks" - see O Seculo, October 15; De Marchi, p. 130-131.

When most people wreak havoc over religion though they do not know if it is right or wrong why trust them when they cry, “Miracle”?

Let us finish with an important line in Mc Clure’s wonderful book, The Evidence for Visions of the Virgin Mary, “There are surprisingly few convincing accounts of the solar event at Fatima” (page 80). Yet this miracle is the reason for believing in Fatima and it is a weak one.
 
It seems 10,000 people saw the Miracle of the Sun at Heroldsbach, Germany in 1949 which was a place graced by alleged apparitions. The Church, through the bishop of the diocese and the Holy Office, condemned the apparitions for heretical teaching. By implication, the Miracle of the Sun associated with the visions was condemned too. One witness declared that the sun "grew lighter and lighter and more dazzling. The sun seemed to become more blinding and bigger and to be coming nearer us. I felt blinded. I had the overwhelming impression of something quite abnormal and also felt that something awful was going to happen at any minute. I was terrified ... Then the sun began to turn very quickly on its own axis and the rotations were so clearly visible that it seemed as if a motor was turning the sun's disc at a regular speed. During this process it took on the most wonderful colours."
 
The Miracle of the Sun does not mean that Mary really appeared at Fatima.
 
CONCLUSION
 
The greatest miracle of all time, the solar miracle of Fatima is far from impressive once you get behind all the hype and propaganda of the Church. The Church investigated the apparitions of Fatima but it never ever investigated the solar miracle. It never looked for depositions about it. Why did so few write down what they experienced? Why should we take it seriously when we have no depositions?  The wonder had to happen for what else could a crowd of thousands expect but the sun to move about and plus they had a hint when Lucia roared at them to put down the umbrellas.

 

BIBLE QUOTATIONS FROM:
The Amplified Bible
 
The Following Work Explains the Miracle of the Sun http://www.meessen.net/AMeessen/MirSun.pdf
Its written by Professor Auguste Meessen
Institute of Physics, Catholic Univeristy of Louvain.

 

His thesis was that the miracle was an optical effect caused by looking at the sun for a time.  Retinal after-images cause dancing effects.   Bleaching of photosensitive retinal cells causes usually temporary damage and is responsible for the flashes of colour.  ‘Apparitions and Miracles of the Sun’ International Forum in Porto "Science, Religion and Conscience" October 23–25, 2003 ISSN: 1645-6564
 
 
BOOKS CONSULTED
 
Alexandrina The Agony and the Glory, Francis Johnson, TAN, Illinois, 1979
"Apparitions and Miracles of the Sun." International Forum in Porto “Science, Religion and Conscience”. 31 Dec. 1005, 1645-6564: 199-222.
Celestial Secrets, The Hidden History Of The Fatima Incident, Anomalist Books, San Antonio, New York, 2007
Fatima – in Lucia’s own words, Sr Lucia, Postulation Centre Fatima, 1976
Fatima Revealed and Discarded, Bro Michael of the Holy Trinity, Augustine, Devon, 1988
Is This The Third Secret? IF Colquhoun, 45 Nicholas Court, Swansea, 1995
Looking for a Miracle, Joe Nickell, Prometheus Books, New York, 1993
New Catholic Encyclopedia, The Catholic University of America and the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. Washington, District of Columbia, 1967
Novos Documentos de Fatima, Loyola editions, San Paulo, 1984
Os Mouros Fatimidas e as Aparicoes de Fatima  
Queen of Peace (Newspaper), Fall 1995, Pittsburgh Center for Peace
Reason and Belief, Bland Blanschard, London, George Allen and Unwin Ltd, 1974
The Book of Miracles, Stuart Gordon, Headline, London, 1996
The Evidence for Visions of the Virgin Mary, Kevin McClure, Aquarian Press, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, 1985
The Rosary and the Crisis of Faith, Msgr. Joseph a. Cirrincione and Thomas A. Nelson, Tan, Illinois, 1986
The Third Secret of Fatima, Brother Michael of the Holy Trinity CRC, Tan, Illinois, 1991
The Thunder of Justice, Ted and Maureen Flynn, Maxcol Communications Inc. Sterling VA, 1993
Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. 133-135
What Happened at Fatima? Leo Madigan, Catholic Truth Society, London, 2000

Dunning, Brian. "Illuminating the Fatima "Miracle of the Sun"." Skeptoid Podcast. Skeptoid Media, Inc., 22 Jul 2008. Web. 25 Jan 2012. <http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4110>