What I’m about to relate is for me definitely beyond belief. I can’t think of a more compelling mystery, but neither can I think of a more powerfully evidenced story.
We need to go back to Fatima, Portugal, October 13, 1917. On that day in a mountain cove, seventy thousand people had gathered together in hopes of witnessing something miraculous, promised by a girl who claimed to communicate with the Virgin Mary. Two other children saw and communed with the otherwise invisible Mary. The Lady had promised a miracle months ago and today was the day she said it would happen. The miracle would make everybody believe, she predicted. People from all over came to watch the show. Believers, the curious, and plenty of hostile enemies; the mostly skeptical press, progressives who believed in science and materialism, all confident that nothing of note would happen. In fact, there were people from miles around the mountain Cova who witnessed what was about to happen.
The many thousands of people stood in the Cova da Iria in the heaven rain and mud, near noon, looking around under their umbrellas when suddenly the rain stopped and the clouds opened to the sun. It was then that what has been called the “miracle of the sun” occurred. The sun then seemed to begin spinning and emanated colors, yellow, blue, violet, a brilliant light that suddenly came loose from the sky and began to plunge downward toward the people on the ground, a terrifying spectacle prompting witnesses to weep, cry out and fall on their knees, believing it was the end of the world. But in fact this falling “Catherine Wheel of colored fireworks,” (as one witness described it), stopped just as it was about to crash on the earth, and reversing its course, shot back up in the sky, seeming to merge with the sun.
So this is what led to talk of the “miracle of the sun.” But the entire manifestation, witnessed by many thousands of people, had nothing to do with the sun. The plunging “sun” that awed and terrified thousands of witnesses was an illusion of the sun, obviously not the actual sun. The ‘miracle’ was a show, a display of something absolutely real and observed by thousands, assumed immediately by believers and the children to compel belief in God.
But the inference to God is not warranted, though it certainly makes belief possible. We can say that this Fatima ‘miracle of the sun’ is a mystery. The phenomenon certainly qualifies as miraculous in a strictly paranormal sense of the word. It might, I would argue, be the most spectacular and compelling paranormal phenomenon of history.
To begin with, the apparition of the Virgin Mary predicts several months in advance that something is going happen to make everybody believe. The exact time to the hour and the place are foretold by the children. The light that was seen in the sky was seen and described by people thirty miles away, almost touched ground and trees, was clearly designed to astonish and terrify the mass of humanity on the ground, implying intelligence and awesome power. There is no conceivable scientific explanation of the appearance, colors, and trajectory of this light phenomenon. It had been raining constantly and heavily on the Cova where thousands were stationed; within a few minutes the entire Cova was dry. Inexplicable healings were documented as a result of this exactly foretold phenomenon. Finally, it is correct to say there were many thousands of witnesses of the entire series of events, people of every conceivable variety, from scientists, skeptics and journalists to simple-hearted believers and ordinary curious people. All minds were blown; the thing happened, it was real, and it certainly looks like a religious miracle.
But it turns out that certain features of the story are not only parapsychological but also ufological. In his book, The Invisible College, UFO researcher Jacques Vallee has pointed out certain features of the Marian story that are similar to UFO and UAP phenomena. “The events at Fatima involve luminous spheres, lights with strange colors, a feeling of heat waves, all physical characteristics commonly associated with UFOs. They even include the typical “falling leaf” of the saucer zigzagging through the air. But they also encompass healing and prophecy . . .”(143) Vallee describes in detail other Marian vision phenomena commonly associated with UFOs.
In 1960, John Haffert published a book describing what witnesses saw and experienced (Meet the Witnesses of the Miracle of the Sun.) When this intense ball of descended toward the people, they fell to their knees, confessing their sins, crying out that it was the end of the world. One witness stated “I see like the sun almost on top of my shoulder,” obviously an illusion of the sun. Another witness describes this strange observation: “As soon as the ‘sun’ went back in the right place the wind started to blow real hard, but the trees didn’t move at all.” (p.11) The wind itself seems to have been part of the illusion.
I should mention that many witnesses said they were able to stare at the sun “without harm to the eyes” (42), which is explained by the fact that they were not staring at the sun, or if they were, it was because they were staring at a UFOlike “disk” appearing to emanate from the sun. A father Lourenco said “Looking like a ball of snow revolving on itself, it (the ‘sun’) suddenly seemed to come down in a zigzag, menacing the earth.” Another witness Mario Godinho, a skeptical engineer, deposed that he was able to stare at the sun: “It was a disc of dimmed glass illuminated from behind moving around and around, and then gave the impression of falling down.”(56) Mario, too, mentions the fact that suddenly everything was dry. Another person described the ‘sun’ as the “wheel of a bicycle” hurtling downward. A skeptical reporter from O Speculo deposed: “The sun seemed to us like a plate of dull silver . . . and then trembled and made brusque and unheard if movement beyond all cosmic laws, the sun seemed literally to dance in the sky.”(74)
Needless to say, it was not the sun but an illusion of the sun meant to terrify the witnesses and convince them a miracle had taken place. One major and mysterious fact emerges from the Fatima phenomenon: a miracle related to a vision of the Virgin Mary was produced from start to finish by the known and familiar thing we call UFOs or UAPs today, entities associated with a technology now known to dance rings around our best multi-million dollar fighter jets. The entire shocking phenomenon forces us to think about the connection between religion and the proven reality of UFO technology. I plan to come back to this mystery in future posts. I am interested in reader’s thoughts or experiences relating to this story.