Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


THE ALLEGEDLY PARANORMAL SIDE OF GARABANDAL VISIONS

Garabandal is a village in Northern Spain in the diocese of Santander. Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared there from 1961 to 1965 to Conchita Gonzalez, Jacinta Gonzalez, Mari Cruz Gonzalez and Mari-Loli Mazon. The Virgin wore a white dress and a blue mantle. A crown of twelve stars rested upon her head. The children said she bore a close resemblance to the face of the Turin Shroud. They said, “No other woman looks like her or sounds like her”.

The intriguing thing is not the apparitions but the alleged paranormal happiness surrounding them.

Joe Nickell tells us that none of the allegedly supernatural events that happened at Garabandal can be proved to be supernatural (Looking for a Miracle, Prometheus Books, New York, page 182). None of the miracles such as the weight of the children during ecstasy when nobody could lift them up, the contortions of the body with the head nearly touching they waists and the racing backwards down the steep hills were done under the right test conditions (page 178, Powers of Darkness, Powers of Light). If the children had secretly fastened themselves to the ground somehow you can be sure that people who tried to lift them did not try too hard in case they would have injured them. A loose dress will move away from the back and hang if the head with the shoulders is put far back – a child can often put it back further than an adult – giving the illusion that the waist is nearer the head than it really is.

The children running backwards down treacherous slopes without falling could be explained by their being taken over by the subconscious mind which remembers everything more accurately.  Practice could help there too.

 They also were able to take objects to the Virgin for blessing and give them back to the owners without making a mistake. Wedding rings were collected and returned by the children to the rightful owners. But wedding rings have an average size and look the same especially in backward areas where there is not much of a selection. And if a person were stupid enough to let them have their ring they would have been too embarrassed to admit it had they received the wrong ring back. Some of them might have discreetly returned a ring they received by mistake to the real owner.

Self-discipline could account for the visionaries’ seeming insensitivity to pain when needles were stick in them during their visions. A pinprick will not make you jump when you are expecting it or when you are afraid of the consequences of responding to it and showing that your trance is probably faked.

Garabandal is famous for Conchita’s Miracle of the Host. In this, an invisible angel would give her communion which would materialise on her tongue. A witness said that he host did not seem to be put on the tongue but just materialised there (Looking for a Miracle, page 183). The witnesses did not see the wafer appearing in space and floating on to her tongue. It just materialised there.

A film was made of the event. Some sweets stick to the roof of the mouth for a few seconds and then drop down. Conchita could have pushed a white round flat one up to make it stick just before she opened her mouth and put her tongue out so that it would fall on her tongue. The thing on her tongue does not really look like a communion wafer but like something wet and spongy. Did she use ordinary bread? Did the sweet in the roof of her mouth melt causing foam to drip onto her tongue?

The host looked spongy (page 133, Powers of Darkness, Powers of Light). If you push some saliva back and forth though the gaps in your teeth it becomes white and spongy looking. Was this the host of Garabandal? Moreover, the light was poor (page 89, The Book of Miracles) and many of the people walked past her for she was in an alley and dripped down to her knees so suddenly (ibid, page 89). She deliberately chose a time in which people would be distracted enough not to notice anything amiss.

Don Benjamin Gomez was a farmer Potes. According to him, "I was standing at less than an arm's length from the girl. I saw very well that her tongue was completely clean of everything. The girl did not move. Suddenly there appeared on it the Sacred Host. It was white, shining and resplendent. It reminded one of the snow when the sun strikes it with its brilliant rays. The girl's face was beautifully transformed into heavenly ecstasy. Her face was angelic I can certify that she was there motionless, moving neither hands nor tongue. In this motionless position she received the Sacred Host. We had enough time to contemplate this marvelous phenomenon without any undue haste, and we were many who saw it. I was an unbeliever until that day. I am not such a Catholic as to be subject to any hallucination or imagination. I had not concerned myself about God until then except to offend Him. I went to confession in April but previous to that time I had not gone to confession for twenty-three years."

None of that is true. The girl did not look beautiful but sinister. The host appeared gradually. He said it was like the snow in the sun. Another said it was not. This testimony shows how people get excited and inaccurate.

The Virgin herself in the last apparition to Conchita expressed unhappiness that she had chewing gum in her mouth. Conchita had to spit it out. "At that very moment I saw Her with the Child in her arms. She was dressed as usual and smiling. I told Her, 'I have come to bring you the rosaries so that you can kiss them.' She said to me, 'I can see it.' I had been chewing gum, but as I was seeing Her I did not chew it; I placed the gum on a tooth. She must have noticed for She said, 'Conchita why don't you get rid of the chewing gum and offer it up as a sacrifice for the glory of my Son?' I, a bit ashamed of myself, took it out and threw it on the ground." Was chewing gum the host in the Miracle of the Host? She was fond of the chewing gum - she even chewed it when about to see Mary. Had the host miracle went wrong and people seen it was chewing gum she would used that excuse.

Conchita according to Father J Pelletier admitted that she stole a communion host from a Tabernacle to fake her miracle of the host. The Church said that the judgement if the vision was real or not or from God or Satan or a lie rested entirely on the bishop of the diocese of Santander. Rome was confident that the bishop could make the right decision – knowing that he maintained a hostile stance towards the apparitions. Rome's acceptance of the bishop's right reflects Rome’s scepticism about the apparition. The apparition of Garabandal surpasses all the rest in supernatural prowess and only philosophy and not science or even evidence can prove that the supernatural was not supernatural. And yet the vision was a fake despite its good fruits and the convincing miracle reports that came with it. That warns us about Lourdes and other spiritual disneylands like Medjugorje. (Read more about the information in the last three paragraphs in the website The Most Dangerous False Apparition in the World.)

The testimonies of strange things happening are many. But none of the miracle events happened under test conditions. We must remember that similar stories are told about psychics such as Uri Gellar. Looking at the stories it seems very impressive. But when the psychics are put in the lab under test conditions the end result is anything but marvellous.

God would only do miracles for grave reasons. They are signs. They cannot be signs unless they can be checked out by scientists and qualified investigators and magicians. Until they are checked out, they are just interesting stories. They are not signs. True visionaries would be very keen on being tested and checked out. They would ask people not to be gullible and believe everything but to keep open minds.

Religionists know that people can lie about miracles happening, they can be mistaken or they can be telling the truth. It is possible that an apparition can seem to be very strong evidence for the supernatural and still be based on lies or errors or both and not be supernatural at all. How will you know how much evidence you need? You would need to do experiments. You would need to set up fake apparitions and see how reliable or unreliable those who testify to their supernaturality are. That is the only way you can discover the level of evidence you need before judging something as supernatural. We don't really have the right to say that anything supernatural happened at Garabandal - no matter how convincing it seems right now - until we first sort out this problem. An apparition asking for acceptance without the problem being dealt with is cheating us. What else is it lying about?

It would be very strange if the reported Catholic signs and wonders of Garabandal had really happened when you can read books such as The Rite (The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist, Matt Baglio, Pocket Books, London, 2010) which show how unimpressive Catholicism's diagnoses of demonic possession and its exorcisms are! Exorcism would be a better sign than healings or miracles or prophecies that God is with the Catholic Church and that the Church is invested with his power. Yet the Church shows no real ability to cast out demons. For example, the Church teaches that mental illness and possession can go together and the demon can make the victim act mentally ill though he or she is not. Clearly the Church just assumes the person has a demon - this is blatantly wicked. And more so when the Church holds that demons like to hide their presence in the victim. Talk about irresponsible diagnosis . Even if a supernatural entity were possessing the victim, the Church has no right to say that entity is a demon who is damned in Hell and pure evil. It might not be that evil and besides to tell the victim he is possessed by evil is not helping him or her.

In Garabandal, we have the best authenticated incidences of miracles – though not accepted by the Church - ever and yet the apparition undermines the Church and makes false prophecy. It was not from God. It was not from Satan either who would never come saying that his appearance in the guise of the Mary would be the last ever. Garabandal proves that believing in the Church because of stories about a man rising from the dead and so on is foolery for miracles prove nothing. At best they prove the paranormal.

There is no evidence at all that the lady appeared. Children with paranormal abilities could use them and lie about seeing her. Garabandal became famous not for the apparitions so much as the apparently paranormal events. The children gave the Virgin rosaries to kiss. All they did was hold them up. Never did the rosaries show any sign that somebody invisible was taking them and kissing them.

Some time after the visions Mari-Loli and Conchita concurred that "it is as if that had been a dream, and as if all that had happened to another person." This lack of clarity and certainty makes the message useless. A supernatural or paranormal vision should be able to impress itself on the mind.

BOOKS CONSULTED

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THE WEB

The Most Dangerous False Apparition in the World
www.unitypublishing.com/Apparitions/Garabandal2.html