One of the most unique and unusual events of the 20th century is the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima. It’s a real head-scratcher that still confounds us today. If you were raised Catholic, you should be very familiar with this event, but if not, here’s a little background.
During the summer of 1917, 3 peasant children from the town of Fatima in Portugal, Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta, had claimed that they had been speaking to Mary, mother of Jesus, in an open field near an oak tree. On July 13th of that year, it is said Mary showed them a vision of hell and made some predictions: that World War I would end soon, but if people keep being bad, another world war would break out during the reign of the next pope, which was from 1922 to 1939. (Don’t bother checking – WWII started in 1939). Also, if Russia didn’t go Christian, they would start wars and become an evil empire. She also stated that there would be a big time sign for the public during the month of October.
There was, of course, a lot of ridicule to the 3 children for telling tales. During the August “visitation”, several people accompanied the children. They were told to stay back or it wouldn’t happen – so they stayed back a good distance from the children. Although the onlookers heard nothing, they claimed to see strange colored lights coming from the area around the oak tree. Spurred on by these witnesses, a somewhat larger group accompanied them on September 13th. Again the group heard nothing but saw strange colored lights.
Because of these eyewitness accounts and the promise of some sort of miracle to happen October 13th at exactly 1:30 PM local time, it became something of a local sensation and several journalists and photographers accompanied a huge throng of people on the 13th. It was estimated that over 30,000 people joined the crowd on this chosen date – but of course, it was just a guess. It was, however, a very large crowd – which included a number of scientists and skeptics. It was a wet and rainy day, and the crowd traveled through muddy fields with their umbrellas to see the event.
When the children went to the oak tree to pray, several witnesses saw a column of blue smoke appear above them. A roar broke out from the crowd and people were shouting to look at the sun. A number of eyewitnesses said they could look at the sun without hurting their eyes, and the sun seemed to spin like a pinwheel. It turned yellow and blinked on and off. Yellow stains appeared on clothing and on nearby trees. It took on all the colors of the rainbow and began to dance and shimmy. The colored lights bathed the crowd and the fields. Then there were screams of terror from the crowd as the sun turned red and started to descend toward them. It came closer and closer and the screams got louder, and then suddenly it backed away to it’s normal position and returned to it’s normal color, hurting the eyes to look directly at it once again.
The people in the crowd suddenly noticed their wet clothes and umbrellas were dry, and that the muddy fields had dried to hard earth.
And here is where confusion and controversy begins.
Some said the sun changed to look like a giant pinwheel, while others just saw it as a disk. There were scientists, journalists, and even atheists who saw the entire phenomenon, but some religious pilgrims saw nothing.
Oh, and that 70,000 number? There were only about 30,000 people at the site, but up to 40,000 others as much as 25 miles away, having no idea what was going on, saw the phenomenon and were terrified, contacting police, flooding churches to await the end of the earth, and sending out alarms. But remember — official observatories who were studying the sky during that time noted nothing strange.
A website with accounts from witnesses (as much as 25 miles away) can be found here:
There are numerous websites, people, and organizations who have “debunked” the Miracle of the Sun. One theory is that staring at the sun caused their eyes to react. Another, of course, is mass hysteria. But most of the witnesses were miles away and many had no idea any sort of strange occurrence was supposed to happen that day.
Probably the most interesting theory comes from UFO researchers who suggest that it wasn’t the sun at all, but an extraterrestrial craft which obscured the sun.
And as for the “predictions” of our holy visitor – WWI ended and WWII started according to the time table in the message. Russia did become an anti-religious “evil empire”. The supposed Mary mother of Jesus also said that Francisco and Jacinta would join her in heaven soon. They both died 2 years later. And that Lucia would live a long life. She lived to be 97.
So what do you think? Eye problems from staring at the sun and mass hysteria just don’t work – there were too many people too far away who had no idea what was going on and were going about their daily business when strange colors came from the sky.
Solar flares and atmospheric phenomenon don’t work either as observatories did not notice any sort of atmospheric phenomenon.
That the clothes and muddy fields just plain dried up from warm weather and sunshine – that one I can see. We can check that one off.
Eyewitnesses having somewhat different stories that don’t match up – that’s commonplace. Ask any policeman who has ever done an investigation. There have been tons of experiments testing the accuracy of eyewitness accounts and they seldom match up among totally honest people with nothing to gain by lying. It’s just that not everyone is Sherlock Holmes.
Very curious is religious people seeing nothing and atheists seeing it all.
Possibilities: The “atheists” were lying – they were religious people who claimed to be atheists to make the story more valid. But that works both ways. You could say the religious people who saw nothing were actually atheists lying so as not to foster a religious explanation for the phenomenon.
And the UFO theory – very interesting – but it certainly seems an odd explanation. And how would aliens know Francisco and Jacinta would die soon and Lucia live a long life?
The only way we could really know is if we load up a time machine with all kinds of modern-day investigative equipment – but since we can’t do that —
What’s your take on this story?
Ajax (keeping an open mind)