UFOs and Apparitions



© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013



UFOs and APPARITIONS
Contemporary contactees usually interpret the appearance of 'glowing globes of light' and shining entities as extraterrestrial aliens - and such experiences become part of the growing number of UFO reports.
Sometimes, however, such 'strange meetings' are interpreted in a very different way.
If the recipient of such an encounter has a strongly religious outlook, then the interaction may be interpreted as a visitation from 'heaven'.
Equally, it may be speculated, that the entities, or 'intelligence' involved may present in terms of religious stereotypes in order to effect a meaningful relationship with the recipient.
This may well be the explanation for a number of well-known religious apparitions of the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as certain visions recorded in various sacred scriptures which, if carefully analysed contain many features which are also found in UFO phenomena.

THE VISION OF EZELIEL

 1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.
2 In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity,
3 The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him.
4 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.
5 Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.
6 And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.
7 And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass.
8 And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.
9 Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.
10 As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.
11 Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.
12 And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.
13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.
14 And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.
15 Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces.
16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.
17 When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went.
18 As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four.
19 And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.
20 Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
21 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
22 And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above.
23 And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies.
24 And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings.
25 And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings.
26 And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.
27 And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.
28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.

ANALYSIS

Raphael - Vision of Ezekiel
I has beem suggested that the person described by the Book of Ezekiel may have suffered from epilepsy. Specifically, it is claimed that Ezekiel himself may have suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy, which has several characteristic symptoms that are apparent from his writing.
Ezekiel UFO
These symptoms include hypergraphia, hyperreligiosity, fainting spells, and mutism and often are collectively ascribed to a condition known as Geschwind syndrome.
Many UFO researchers believe the Earth has been visited in the past by intelligent extraterrestrial beings and have been intrigued, to a considerable degree, by Ezekiel's vision.
That Ezekiel endeavours  differently than others of the Bible's authors who describe mystic visions, to report about as many details of the design of what he has perceived as possible nourishes doubts that his account can usefully be interpreted merely on a mystical basis and strengthens tendencies to explain certain passages of the book as descriptions of sightings of a UFO.
The Austro-American NASA engineer Josef F. Blumrich tried to reconstruct a UFO that Ezekiel may have seen.

LA SALETTE

La Salette
Notre-Dame de La Salette (Our Lady of La Salette) is a Marian apparition said to have occurred at La Salette, France.
It was reported by two children, Maximin Giraud and Melanie Calvat.

The Vision

On September 19, 1846, Maximin Giraud and Melanie Calvat reported seeing the Virgin Mary on Mount Sous-Les Baisses, weeping bitterly.
Mélanie and Maximin, the two children who reporte seeing Mary in 1846, came from the town of Corps near Grenoble, in a poor part of south-eastern France.

Maximin Giraud and Mélanie Calvat
Our Lady of La Salette
Maximin Giraud was eleven years old at the time and Mélanie Calvat fourteen.
On Saturday 19 September, they were looking after their employer's cattle, high up on the pasture above La Salette, a village near Corps, when they saw an apparition of Mary.
A globe of light travelled across the valley and stopped a short distance from them
The globe opened to reveal a resplendent woman seated on a stone with her head in her hands.
The children later described her as very tall and beautiful, wearing a long, white, pearl studded, sleeved dress, and a white shawl, with some sort of tiara or crown on her head.
Hanging from her neck was a large crucifix adorned with a small hammer and pincers, with a brilliantly shining figure of Christ on it. The whole effect was as if she was made of light.
According to their account, she continued to weep even as she spoke to them - first in French, then in their own dialect.
Speaking tearfully she told them that, unless people repented, she would be forced to let go the arm of her son because it had become so heavy.
Mary went on to complain that she had to pray ceaselessly to her son for them, but the people still worked on Sundays and blasphemed.
She also spoke of coming punishments for these sins, including crop blights and famine.
She confided a secret to each of the children, which they were not to divulge, although eventually these secrets were made known to Pope Pius IX.
Finally she asked the children to spread her message before disappearing.
After speaking, the apparition vanished.
The following day the children's account of the apparition was put into writing and signed by the visionaries and those who had heard the story.

Controversy

Our Lady of La Salette
When the children returned home they told their story, an account of which was taken down in writing the next day.
They faced much opposition in making known Mary's message, but they maintained their story.
The local Bishop too faced quite a degree of opposition in investigating the apparition, and it was only after four years, and having set up two commissions of enquiry, that Mgr de Bruillard, as bishop of Grenoble, approved of devotion to Our Lady of Salette, in the following terms.
Pope Pius IX
"We declare that the apparition of the Blessed Virgin to two shepherds, on September 19, 1846, on a mountain in the Alps in the parish of La Salette, bears in itself all the marks of truth and that the faithful are justified in believing without question in its truth. And so, to mark our lively gratitude to God and the glorious Virgin Mary, we authorise the cult of Our Lady of La Salette."
The visionaries sent two secrets to Pope Pius IX - one given to each of them, which they never revealed to one another - and which the pope never made public.
However, sensation again arose when Melanie allegedly published her secret in a pamphlet, which she herself had printed, in Lecce, with the local bishop's approval.
The Church has condemned the published secret.
Melanie, later in life, was known to have been disturbed by reading apocalyptic books and similar materials.

LOURDES

The Apparition at Lourdes
On 11 February 1858, Bernadette Soubirous went with her sisters Toinette and Jeanne Abadie to collect some firewood and bones in order to buy some bread.
After taking off her shoes and stockings to wade through the water near the Grotto of Massabielle, she said she heard the sound of two gusts of wind (coups de vent) but the trees and bushes nearby did not move.
A wild rose in a natural niche in the grotto, however, did move.
From the niche, or rather the dark alcove behind it, "came a dazzling light, and a white figure."
She was dressed all in white, apart from the blue belt fastened around her waist and the golden yellow roses, one on each foot, the colour of her rosary.
Bernadette tried to keep this a secret, but Toinette told her mother.

Bernadette Soubirous
After parental cross-examination, she and her sister received corporal punishment for their story.
Three days later, Bernadette returned to the Grotto.
She had brought holy water as a test that the apparition was not of evil provenance, and demanded that if she were from God, she must stay, but if she were evil, she must go away; however, she said the vision only inclined her head gratefully when the water was cast and she made her demands.
Bernadette's companions are said to have become afraid when they saw her in ecstasy.
She remained ecstatic even as they returned to the village.
On 18 February, she spoke of being told by the Lady to return to the Grotto over a period of two weeks. She quoted the apparition: 'I promise to make you happy, not in this world, but in the next.'
After that the news spread and her parents took interest. Bernadette was ordered by her parents to never go there again.
It was a shock when people heard her story as it was so unlikely she went anyway, and on 24 February, Bernadette related that the apparition asked for prayer and penitence for the conversion of sinners.
The next day, she said the apparition asked her to dig in the ground and drink from the spring she found there.
"que soy era immaculada concepciou"
This made her dishevelled and some of her supporters were dismayed, but this act revealed the stream that soon became a focal point for pilgrimages.
Although it was muddy at first, the stream became increasingly clean.
As word spread, this water was given to medical patients of all kinds, and many reports of miraculous cures followed.
Seven of these cures were confirmed as lacking any medical explanations by Professor Verges in 1860.
The first person with a “certified miracle” was a woman whose right hand had been deformed as a consequence of an accident.
Several miracles turned out to be short-term improvement or even hoaxes, and Church and government officials became increasingly concerned.
The government fenced off the Grotto and issued stiff penalties for anybody trying to get near the off-limits area.
In the process, Lourdes became a national issue in France, resulting in the intervention of emperor Napoleon III with an order to reopen the grotto on 4 October 1858.
The Church had decided to stay away from the controversy altogether.
Bernadette, knowing the local area well, managed to visit the barricaded grotto under cover of darkness. There, on 25 March, she said she was told: "I am the Immaculate Conception" ("que soy era immaculada concepciou").
On Easter Sunday, 7 April, her examining doctor stated that Bernadette, in ecstasy, was observed to have held her hands over a lit candle without sustaining harm.
On 16 July, Bernadette went for the last time to the Grotto.
'I have never seen her so beautiful before', she reported.
The Church, faced with nationwide questions, decided to institute an investigative commission on 17 November 1858.
On 18 January 1860, the local bishop finally declared that: The Virgin Mary did appear indeed to Bernadette Soubirous.
These events established the Marian veneration in Lourdes, which together with Fátima (see below), is one of the most frequented Marian shrines in the world, and to which between 4 and 6 million pilgrims travel annually.
In 1863, Joseph-Hugues Fabisch was charged to create a statue of the Virgin according to Bernadette's description.
The work was placed in the grotto and solemnly dedicated on 4 April 1864 in presence of 20,000 pilgrims.
One of the strangest aspects of this apparition is the fact that the 'lady' identified herself as "the Immaculate Conception" ("que soy era immaculada concepciou").

The 'Immaculate Conception' is a concept, abstraction or dogma, not a person.
The Immaculate Conception is a dogma of the Catholic Church maintaining that from the moment when she was conceived the Virgin Mary was kept free of 'original sin', and was filled with the 'sanctifying grace' normally conferred during baptism. It is one of the four dogmas in Roman Catholic Mariology.

Bernadette Soubirous  joined the Sisters of Charity at their motherhouse at Nevers at the age of 22. She spent the rest of her brief life there.
She later contracted tuberculosis of the bone in her right knee. She eventually died of her long-term illness at the age of 35 on 16 April 1879.

Bernadette Soubirous 
Bernadette Soubirous - 1919
The Church exhumed the body of Bernadette Soubirous on 22 September 1909, in the presence of two doctors and a sister of the community. They claimed that although the crucifix in her hand and her rosary had both oxidized, her body appeared "incorrupt" — preserved from decomposition.
The corpse was exhumed a second time on 3 April 1919. A doctor who examined the body noted, "The body is practically mummified, covered with patches of mildew and quite a notable layer of salts, which appear to be calcium salts. ... The skin has disappeared in some places, but it is still present on most parts of the body."
In 1925, the church exhumed the body for a third time. They took relics, which were sent to Rome. A precise imprint of the face was moulded so that the firm of Pierre Imans in Paris could make a wax mask based on the imprints and on some genuine photos to be placed on her body.

PONTMAIN

The Apparition at Pontmain
The Children of Pontmain
'Our Lady of Hope' is the title given to the Virgin Mary on her apparition at Pontmain, France on January 17, 1871.
On 19 July 1870, Emperor Napoleon III of the second Empire declared war against Prussia.
From the first days of the war, defeat followed defeat. 
By January 1871, Paris was under siege, two-thirds of the country was in the power of the Prussians, and they was advancing towards the west of France.
It was snowing. Night and day wagons passed through Laval from east to west.
All day long the wounded were being sent down. In the countryside farmers were hiding their possessions - money, corn, wine and linen.
An outbreak of typhoid had been declared. Smallpox was spreading.
On the 11th of January an Aurora Borealis made a deep impression on many.
Some saw in it the masts of a phantom ship; others, on the steeples of the cathedral. By the 17th January, 1871, the Prussians were just across the river from Laval, which is the City next to Mayenne. About half past twelve, there was an earthquake in Pont-Main.

The Apparition

Toward evening on January 17, Pontmain, a small town in the north of Mayenne, lies under a blanket of snow.
Though the roar of cannon could be heard, the Barbedette family was busy with their household chores before supper.
People are anxious, but everybody is going about work as usual.
In a barn in the middle of town two boys, Eugene, 12, and Joseph, 10, Barbedette, are helping their father feed the horses. Some minutes before six o'clock in the evening, taking advantage of a break from work, Eugene leaves the barn and sees in the sky a "Lady".
She spreads her lowered hands in a gesture of welcome and smiles on him.
Joseph comes along a few moments later and also sees the Lady.
But the father of the boys sees nothing.
Undaunted, they call their mother, who also fails to see anything even after going back to the house for her eyeglasses.
There is nothing to it, declare the parents, and the boys are to get on with work and then come in for supper. After a quick meal, the boys still see the beautiful Lady, so the Sisters of the school are called.
Again, they see nothing. But two little girls with them, Frances Richer, 11, Jeanne Marie Lebosse, 9, do see the beautiful Lady.
Another child by the name of Eugene Friteau, six and half, also saw the Lady.
A neighbour, Madame Boitin, with her two-year old, Augustine, joined the crowd which had now gathered together by the barn.
The baby in her childish way reached out with her little arms towards the Apparition and showed signs of joy.

The Description of the Lady

The Lady as described by Eugene was dressed in a flowing robe of deep radiant blue studded with gold stars.
The sleeves were full, extending up to the hands.
She was wearing blue slippers, tied with golden ribbon in the shape of a rosette.
Her hair was completely covered with black veil thrown over her shoulders reaching down to the level of her elbow.
On her head a gold crown rose slightly to a peak.
It had no ornament in front except a red band circling the centre.
Her hands were extended - "like the Miraculous Medal", but without the rays of light.

The Message

From time to time the Lady would look sad because of some haughty and rowdy people in the crowd, but she would smile back especially with the prayers and hymns, the Rosary and Marian songs of the people led by Father Guerin and the two sisters.
As the congregation was reciting the Rosary, stars gathered two by two, below the Lady's feet as if representing the Hail Marys of the Rosary.
Then a white banner, about a yard wide, unrolled beneath the Lady's feet, thus, forming a perfect rectangle. Here she spelled her message:
"OH ! DO PRAY MY CHILDREN, GOD WILL ANSWER YOU VERY SOON. MY SON ALLOWS HIMSELF TO BE MOVED"
"MAIS PRIEZ MES ENFANTS, DIEU VOUS EXAUCERA EN PEU DE TEMPS. MON FILS SE LAISSE TOUCHER"(in French)
"My Son allows Himself to be moved" is an incorrect translation of the French which read: "Mon fils se laisse ...." This is very significant because only the children could see the letters as they unfolded.
When, all together, they spelled the word "laisse", the nun school teacher, who was present, corrected the children and said: "There has no 'i'. ( 'Se laisse' alone would translated 'My Son allows himself', make no sense "se lasse" : this is translated to: "My Son grows weary" .
But they (who saw the message) said "no", and repeated the word "laisse".
"There is a 'i'" they said.

The End of the Apparition

After some time, she raised her hands to the height of her shoulder, arms out and bent slightly backwards and elbows close to her body.
Then a large red cross appeared in the hands of the Blessed Virgin.
The figure of the crucified Christ was a darker red hue but no blood was flowing from the wounds.
The community prayed their night prayers together.
A large white veil began to cover the figure of the Virgin, slowly rising to her face and then she gave her last smile to the children.
As the night prayers came to a close, the apparition ended.
It was about nine o'clock.
The Apparition ended after lasting about three hours.

The Miracle After the Apparition

In the meantime, late that night of the 17th January, General Von Schmidt of the Prussian Army who was about to run over Laval towards Pont-Main, received orders from his Commander not to take the city.
The invasion of the Catholic West never came off.
On 23 January 1871, the long-hoped for Armistice was signed.
The promise, "God will soon grant your request", of Our Lady of Hope had been fulfilled.
Soon all the thirty-eight conscripted men and boys returned home unscathed.
On the evening of the ever-memorable 17 January 1871, the Commander of the Prussian forces, having taken up his quarters at the archiepiscopal palace of Le Mans, told Msgr. Fillion, Bishop of that diocese: "By this time my troops are at Laval".
On the same evening, the Prussian troops in sight of Laval stopped at half-past five o'clock, about the time when the Apparition first appeared above Pont-Main, a few miles off.
General Schmidt is reported to have said on the morning of the 18th: "We cannot go farther. Yonder, in the direction of Brittany, there is an invisible 'Madonna' barring the way."


FATIMA
Nossa Senhora de Fátima

The Apparition at Fatima
The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, appeared six times to three shepherd children near the town of Fatima, Portugal between May 13 and October 13, 1917.
Appearing to the children, the Blessed Virgin told them that she had been sent by God with a message for every man, woman and child living in our century.
Coming at a time when civilization was torn asunder by war and bloody violence, she promised that Heaven would grant peace to all the world if her requests for prayer, reparation and consecration were heard and obeyed.
In the spring of 1916, three young Portuguese shepherds, Lucy dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, led their sheep to graze on a hill called the Cabeço.
Rain began to fall, so the children found a place on the hillside to serve as a shelter.
Even after the rain had passed and the sun had returned, the little shepherds spent the day at this spot, eating lunch, saying the Rosary and playing games. Lucy was then only nine years old, Francisco was eight, and Jacinta was six.
As they were playing, a strong wind suddenly blew, shaking the trees, and the children saw a figure approaching above the olive trees. Lucy described the figure as having "the appearance of a young man of fourteen or fifteen, whiter than snow, which the sun rendered transparent as if it were of crystal, and of great beauty. We were surprised and half absorbed. We did not say a word.

The Fatima Children
"While coming closer to us, the Angel said: ‘Do not fear! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.’ And kneeling on the earth, he bent his forehead to the ground.
Prompted by a supernatural movement, we imitated him and repeated the words which we heard him pronounce: ‘My God, I believe in Thee, I adore Thee, I hope in Thee and I love Thee. I ask pardon for all those who do not believe in Thee, do not adore Thee, do not hope in Thee and do not love Thee.
"Having repeated that prayer three times, he got up again and said to us: ‘Pray in this way. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.’ And he disappeared."
Lucy recalled, "The supernatural atmosphere which enveloped us was so intense that, during a long moment, we barely realized the fact of our own existence. We remained in the position in which the Angel had left us, always repeating the same prayer. The presence of God made itself felt in such an intense and intimate manner, that we did not dare even to speak any longer among ourselves. The next day, we still felt our spirit enveloped in this atmosphere which only disappeared very slowly."

The Angel of Peace
The Angel of Peace had come to speak to the children, to infuse them with this extraordinary grace through which they were penetrated with the Divine Presence, and to demonstrate to them the attitude, posture and fervour with which to pray to God. Interestingly, during the apparition Francisco could not hear the words of the Angel, and had to be told what was said afterwards this would be the case for all of the other apparitions as well.
After some time the three shepherds recovered their physical strength and playfulness.
The second apparition of the Angel took place during the summer of 1916.
While the children were playing around their favorite well, the Angel suddenly appeared. "What are you doing?" he asked. "Pray, pray a great deal! The Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you. Offer unceasingly prayers and sacrifice yourselves to the Most High."
Lucy asked the Angel how they were to make sacrifices.
The Angel replied, "Make of everything you can a sacrifice and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. In this way, you will draw peace upon your country. I am its Guardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all, accept and bear with submission the sufferings which the Lord will send you."
Lucy comments, "Those words of the Angel engraved themselves in our spirit, as a light which made us understand Who God is, how much He loves us and wants to be loved by us, the value of sacrifice and how pleasing it is to Him, and that out of respect for it, God converts sinners."
The dominant theme in this second apparition of the Angel was the importance of making offerings to God through every possible action and sacrifice, even the smallest, and of making the offerings with special intentions, especially for the conversion of sinners.
In the autumn of the same year, the children took their sheep to the same place where the first apparition took place.
Chalice and Host
There in the Cabeço, they were reciting the prayer the Angel had taught them when above them an unknown light appeared.
Lucy relates, "We got up again to see what was happening, and we saw the Angel again, who had in his left hand a Chalice over which was suspended a Host, from which some drops of Blood fell into the Chalice."
Leaving the Chalice and the Host suspended in the air, he prostrated himself down to the earth near the children and repeated three times this prayer:
Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He, Himself is offended. And I draw upon the infinite merits of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that You might convert poor sinners.
Then, getting up, the Angel took the Chalice and Host. He gave Lucy the Sacred Host on the tongue. Then while giving the Precious Blood from the Chalice to Francisco and Jacinta, he said:
"Eat and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God." Then, prostrating himself on the ground he repeated with the children three times the same prayer: Most Holy Trinity, etc., and disappeared.
This final apparition of the Angel was clearly the summit of the three, as the children were graced to see the Precious Blood of Our Lord fall from the Sacred Host into the Chalice, and then receive Holy Communion from the hands of the Angel.
Again, the need for converting poor sinners was a theme in this final apparition of the Angel.
The prayer repeated by the Angel demonstrates that through our prayers, united with the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, sinners can be converted.
'Our prayers and sacrifices alone amount to very little; but when they are united to the merits of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, they become infinitely valuable.'
Also emphasized was the need for reparation for the sins committed against God, by which he is constantly hurt and seeking consolation.
In addition, the way the children received Holy Communion is particularly instructive for our time: they received Communion in the kneeling position, and the Sacred Host was given on the tongue.
The apparitions of the Angel prepared them for seeing the Mother of God, through the transforming Divine graces the Angel showered on them, and his instructions about prayer, sacrifice and offerings.
Through his apparitions to Lucy, Francisco and Jacinta, the Angel of Peace came to ready them for the decisive roles they were each to play.

On 13 May 1917 the three children took their flocks out to pasture on the small area known as the Cova da Iria.
After lunch and the rosary they suddenly saw a bright flash of something like lightning, followed quickly by another flash in the clear blue sky.
They looked up to see in Lucia's words, "a lady, clothed in white, brighter than the sun, radiating a light more clear and intense than a crystal cup filled with sparkling water, lit by burning sunlight."
The children stood there amazed, bathed in the light that surrounded the apparition, as the Lady smiled and said: "Do not be afraid, I will not harm you."
Lucia as the oldest asked her where she came from.
The Lady pointed to the sky and said: "I come from heaven."
Lucia then asked her what she wanted: "I have come to ask you to come here for six months on the 13th day of the month, at this same hour. Later I shall say who I am and what I desire. And I shall return here yet a seventh time."
Lucia then asked if they would go to heaven and she was told yes, she and Jacinta would go to heaven, but Francisco would need to say many rosaries first.
The Lady then said: "Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the conversion of sinners?" Lucia as spokesman for all three readily agreed: "Then you are going to have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort."
Lucia recounted that at the same moment as she said these words the Lady opened her hands and streamed a "light" on the children which allowed them to see themselves in God.
The Lady finished with a request: "Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and the end of the war." With that she began to rise into the air, moving towards the east until she disappeared.
The children got together and tried to think of ways they could make sacrifices, as the Lady had asked, resolving to go without lunch and to pray the full rosary.
Francisco and Jacinta received more support from their parents than Lucia, but the attitude of the local inhabitants was sceptical and even derisory; the children had much to suffer, just as the Lady had told them.

13 June 1917

Apparition at Fatima
About fifty people turned up at the Cova da Iria on June 13, as the three children assembled near the holmoak tree where the Lady had appeared. The children then saw a flash of light followed immediately by the apparition of Mary, as she spoke to Lucia: "I want you to come on the 13th of next month, to pray the Rosary every day, and to learn to read. Later, I will tell you what I want."
Lucia asked Mary to take them to heaven and was reassured in this way: "I will take Jacinta and Francisco shortly; but you will stay here for some time to come. Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne." This last sentence is found in a letter written in 1927 by Sr. Lucia to her confessor.
Lucia was sad at the first part of this reply, saying: "Am I to stay here alone?" Mary replied: "No, my daughter. Are you suffering a great deal? Don't lose heart. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God."
One of the witnesses to this apparition, Maria Carreira, described how Lucia then cried out and pointed as Mary departed. She herself heard a noise like, "a rocket, a long way off," and looked to see a small cloud a few inches over the tree, rise, and move slowly towards the east until it disappeared.
The crowd of pilgrims then returned to Fatima where they reported the amazing things they had seen, thus ensuring that there were between two and three thousand people present for the July apparition.

13 July 1917

On 13 July the three children assembled at the Cova and again they saw the indescribably beautiful Lady over the holmoak. Lucia asked what she wanted, and Mary replied: "I want you to come here on the 13th of next month, to continue to pray the Rosary every day in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, because only she can help you."
Lucia then asked her who she was and for a miracle so everyone would believe: "Continue to come here every month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle for all to see and believe."
Lucia made some requests for sick people, to which Mary replied that she would cure some but not others, and that all must say the rosary to obtain such graces, before continuing: "Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times, especially when you make some sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary."

The Vision of Hell

Lucia later revealed that as she spoke these words, Mary opened her hands and rays of light from them seemed to penetrate the earth so that they saw a terrifying vision of hell, full of demons and lost souls amidst indescribable horrors.
This vision of hell was the first part of the "secret" of Fatima, and was not revealed until much later.
The children looked up to the sad face of the Blessed Virgin, who spoke to them kindly:
"You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given 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.
"To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world."
At this point the second part of the secret of Fatima ends and the third part begins with the words, "In Portugal the dogma of the faith will always be preserved ... " The first two parts of the secret only became publicly known in 1942.
The third part of the secret has only recently been publicly divulged, in June 2000.
Mary specifically told Lucia not to tell anyone about the secret at this stage, apart from Francisco, before continuing: "When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need."
After assuring Lucia that there was nothing more, Mary disappeared off into the distance.

August 1917

As 13 August approached, the story of the apparitions had reached the anti-religious secular press, and while this ensured that the whole country knew about Fatima, it also meant that many biased and negative reports were circulating.
The children were kidnapped on the morning of the 13th by the Mayor of Vila Nova de Ourem, Arturo Santos.
They were interrogated about the secret; but despite his threats and promises of money, they refused to divulge it. In the afternoon they were moved to the local prison and threatened with death but determined that they would die rather than reveal the secret.
On August 19, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta were assembled at a place called Valinhos, near Fatima, late in the afternoon, when they again saw Mary, who spoke to Lucia: "Go again to the Cova da Iria on the 13th and continue to say the Rosary every day." Mary also said she would perform a miracle, so all would believe, and that if they had not been kidnapped it would have been even greater.
Looking very sad, Mary then said: "Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them." With that she rose into the air and moved towards the east before disappearing.
By now the children had thoroughly absorbed Mary's plea for prayer and penance, and did everything they could to answer it.
They prayed for hours while lying prostrate on the ground and went as long as they could without drinking, in the burning heat of the Portuguese summer.
They also went without food, as a sacrifice for sinners, to save them from hell, the vision of which had so profoundly effected them.
They even knotted some pieces of old rope around their waists as a form of mortification, not removing them day or night.

13 September 1917

The Apparition at the Cova da Iria - Fatima
On September 13 very large crowds began to converge on Fatima from all directions.
Around noon the children then arrived, and after the customary flash of light, they saw Mary on the holmoak tree.
She spoke to Lucia: "Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain the end of the war. In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Dolours and Our Lady of Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world. God is pleased with your sacrifices. He does not want you to sleep with the rope on, but only to wear it during the daytime."
Lucia then began to put forward the petitions for cures, to be told: "Yes, I will cure some, but not others. In October I will perform a miracle so that all may believe."
With that she rose, moved to the east, and disappeared.

13 October 1917

The proclamation of a public miracle caused the most intense speculation throughout Portugal, and the journalist Avelino de Almeida, published a satirical article on the whole business in the anti-religious newspaper O Seculo.
People from other parts of the country descended, in their tens of thousands, on the Cova, despite the terrible storm that lashed the mountain country around Fatima, on the eve of the 13th.
Many pilgrims went barefooted, reciting the rosary as they went, all crowding into the area around the Cova, as by midmorning the weather again turned bad and heavy rain began to fall.
The children reached the holmoak around noon, and then saw the flash of light as Mary appeared before them.
For the last time, Lucia asked what she wanted: "I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honour. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes."
Again Lucia made her requests, being informed that people must amend their lives, and ask forgiveness of their sins, if they wanted healings or conversions.
She reported too that Mary grew very sad and said: "Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended."
Then rising into the air and opening her hands towards the sun, growing more brilliant as she did, she disappeared, being replaced by various visions seen only by the children.

The Miracle of the Sun

O Milagre do Sol - The Miracle of the Sun
At the same time the vast crowd saw a true miracle.
The black clouds parted, and the sun became visible, looking like a dull grey disc that could be looked at directly quite easily.
In O Seculo Avelino de Almeida would adopt a very different tone from his earlier satirical article on Fatima:
"...one could see the immense multitude turn towards the sun, which appeared free from clouds and at its zenith. It looked like a plaque of dull silver and it was possible to look at it without the least discomfort. It might have been an eclipse which was taking place. But at that moment a great shout went up and one could hear the spectators nearest at hand shouting: "A miracle! A miracle!" Before the astonished eyes of the crowd, whose aspect was Biblical as they stood bareheaded, eagerly searching the sky, the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws - the sun "danced" according to the typical expression of the people. ...
"People then began to ask each other what they had seen. The great majority admitted to having seen the trembling and dancing of the sun; others affirmed that they saw the face of the Blessed Virgin; others, again, swore that the sun whirled on itself like a giant Catherine wheel and that it lowered itself to the earth as if to burn it with its rays.







O Milagre do Sol - The Miracle of the Sun - Fatima 1917
The Miracle of the Sun - Fatima 1917
Some said they saw it change colours successively. ..."
Other witnesses too, such as Maria Carreira, testified to the terrifying nature of the solar miracle: "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!' ... At last the sun stopped moving and we all breathed a sigh of relief. We were still alive and the miracle which the children had foretold had taken place."
Other people witnessed the solar miracle from a distance thus ruling out the possibility of any type of collective hallucination.
A final intriguing, and important, point was that the heat of the sun, as it descended on the people, also had the effect of drying their clothes and the ground, so that they went from being completely soaked to being dry in about ten minutes.

Jacinta Marto
Francisco Marto
Jacinta and Francisco Marto were victims of the great 1918 influenza epidemic that swept through Europe in 1918. Both lingered for many months, insisting on walking to church to make Eucharistic devotions and prostrating themselves to pray for hours, kneeling with their heads on the ground as instructed by the angel who had first appeared to them.
Francisco declined hospital treatment on the 3rd April 1919 and the next day on April 4th died peacefully at home, while Jacinta was dragged from one hospital to another in an attempt to save her life, which she insisted was futile. She developed purulent pleurisy and endured an operation in which two of her ribs were removed. Because of the condition of her heart, she could not be anaesthetized and suffered terrible pain, which she said would help to convert many sinners. On February 19 1920, Jacinta asked the hospital chaplain who heard her confession to bring her Holy Communion and give her the Anointing of the Sick because she was going to die "the next night". He told her that her condition was not that serious and that he would return the next day. The next day Jacinta was dead. She had died, as she had often said she would, alone: not even a nurse was with her.
Jacinta and Francisco are both buried at the Our Lady of Fátima Basilica.


Lucia Santos

Lúcia moved to Porto in 1921, and at 14 was admitted as a boarder in the school of the Sisters of St. Dorothy in Vilar, on the city's outskirts.
On October 24, 1925, she entered the Institute of the Sisters of St. Dorothy as a postulant in the convent in Tuy, Spain, just across the northern Portuguese border.
Lúcia made her first vows on October 3, 1928, and her perpetual vows on October 3, 1934, receiving the name Sister Maria das Dores (Mary of the Sorrows).
She returned to Portugal in 1946 and in March 1948 after receiving special papal permission to be relieved of her perpetual vows, entered the Carmelite convent of St. Teresa in Coimbra, where she resided until her death. She made her profession as a Discalced Carmelite on May 31, 1949, taking the name Sister Maria Lúcia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart.
Because of the Constitutions of the community, Lucia was expected to "converse as little as possible with persons from without, even with their nearest relatives, unless their conversation be spiritual, and even then it should be very seldom and as brief as possible" and "have nothing to do with worldly affairs, nor speak of them...". This has led some people to believe in a conspiracy to cover up the Fatima message and silence Lucia.
Lúcia died at the age of 97 on February 13, 2005, of cardio-respiratory failure, due to her advanced age.


 Our Lady of Fátima Basilica

ANALYSIS

The 'Fatima UFO Hypothesis' is a theory that the Miracle at Fatima was a UFO incident.
Many UFO researchers including Jacques Vallee, Joaquim Fernandes and Fina d'Armada have expressed the theory. Jacques Vallee first expressed it in the sixties.
Vallee does not believe we should jump to the conclusion that this is the result of Extraterrestrials without further evidence.
In 1976 Joaquim Fernandes and Fina d'Armada began an in depth research project into the original newspaper articles and other documents and used this to develop their theory that the incident at Fatima may have been related to the UFO phenomena that began in the forties.
Their work was first published in 1982 in "Extraterrestrial Intervention at Fatima: The Apparitions and the UFO Phenomenon." 
When reviewing the original text Joaquim Fernandes and Fina d'Armada found that Lucia Santos the eldest of the three didn't initially say it was our lady of Fatima but just "a small pretty lady".
(The lady "seems to be about 15 years old." She compared the lady to a girl who was about 1.1 meters tall.)
This lady allegedly told them to go to the same spot for six consecutive months.
The next five months attracted a growing crowd to observe the event that rose from 40 to 50 people in June, to about 4,500 people in July, 18,000 in August 30,000 in September and 50,000 to 70,000 people in October.
Whenever possible they also interviewed any surviving witnesses, however this didn't include Lucia Santos since they couldn't interview her without approval from the Vatican.

Reported Phenomena

Lightning or a flash of light which was first seen by the three little girls on the 13th of May.
They claimed that this wasn't accompanied by any thunder and it was on a sunny day. 
Buzzing of bees or something similar.
Some UFO reports allegedly are also accompanied by a low hum.
Many of the witnesses specifically referred to it as the buzzing of bees. 
Thunder allegedly accompanied some of the events at Fatima. 
Unusual clouds some of which seemed to hide an apparition. 
A sudden cooling reported by several witnesses. 
Unusual odors or perfumes.
Luminous objects including disks orbs or a cross were reported at Fatima. These were first reported in August when Manuel Marto claimed to see "a type of luminous globe gyrating within the clouds."
Joaquim Xavier Tuna gave this statement: "In august on the 13th day, I saw the sun come down in the sky at the hour of the apparition. It never descended quite as much as it did on that day, not even on the 13th of October. Every object which surrounded me turned yellow."
In September the number of people claiming to see objects in the sky increased the witnesses included Joel de Deus Magno, Dr. Jose Maria Pereira Gens, Monsignor Joao Quaresma, Canon Galamba de Oliveira, Joaquim Xavier Tuna and more.
The highest number of reports came in October when thousands of people claimed the sun was dancing and came down close to Earth. 
Ramps of light were reported to have shined on the Oak tree at Fatima.
Breezes were reported in June and July, in August the thunder and lightning was allegedly accompanied by a "whirlwind" which frightened the crowd and caused them to flee.
A white substance fall from the sky that has often been referred to as 'Angel Hair.'
This usually dissolves quickly so there is rarely anything to examine.
On two occasions a sample was sent for testing once on the 13 of October in 1917 a sample was sent to Lisbon and on October 17 1957 another sample found and examined.
The analysis of this proved to be natural consisting of white flakes.
When put under a microscope it was found to be a vegetable product not animal.

The Miracle of the Sun

On October 13th 50,000 to 70,000 people gathered at Cova da Iria to observe the alleged miracle.
This included a diverse group of people including city people, Professors, farmers, house wives, atheists and Christians. the population of Portugal was about 72% illiterate at that time.
Many of the witnesses claimed they saw a disc; others said it was the sun.
The object appeared to come down to the crowd well within the Earths atmosphere.
This could also be seen from several surrounding towns in different directions including Alburitel, Minde, Aljustrel, Leira and Torres Novas.
Most of the witnesses from these towns claimed they saw the object in the direction of Cova da Iria. Dr Joao Lopes Pires concluded that if this object moved it couldn't have been the sun since it would have affected the orbits of the planets and it would have been seen all over the world not just in Fatima.

The lady came in an 'immense globe, flying westwards, at moderate speed. It irradiated a very bright light.' Some other witnesses saw a white being coming out of the globe, which several minutes later took off, disappearing in the direction of the sun. It was raining hard, and the rain trickled down everyone's clothes. Suddenly, the sun shone through the dense cloud which covered it: everybody looked in its direction. IT LOOKED LIKE A DISC, OF A VERY DEFINITE CONTOUR. It was not dazzling. It possessed a clear, changing brightness, which one could compare to a pearl. It looked like a polished wheel. This clear-shaped disk suddenly began turning. It rotated with increasing speed. Suddenly, the crowd began crying with anguish. The disk, revolving all the time, began falling toward the earth, reddish and bloody, threatening to crush everyone under its fiery weight...'" "...Fatima was a modern event, yet it is already clouded with the distortions of 'belief'. The Photographs of the object had 'disappeared.' The key prophecy has been suppressed. Lucia shut herself away from the world. As the years passed, the object was turned into a 'dancing sun,' the angel hair became 'rose petals,' and the entire phenomena was removed from the field of science and entrusted to the religionists... "

THE ANGELS OF MONS

On 22–23 August 1914, the first major engagement of the British Expeditionary Force in the First World War occurred at the Battle of Mons. Advancing German forces were thrown back by heavily outnumbered British troops, who suffered heavy casualties and, being outflanked, were forced into rapid retreat the next day.
The retreat and the battle were rapidly perceived by the British public as being a key moment in the war.
Despite the censorship going on in Britain at the time, this battle was the first indication the British public had that defeating Germany would not be as easy as some had thought.
Considering the numbers of German troops involved in the battle, the British ability to hold them off for as long as they did seemed remarkable, and army recruitment shot up in the weeks that followed.







Arthur Machen and "The Bowmen"

Arthur Machen
On 29 September 1914 Welsh author Arthur Machen published a short story entitled "The Bowmen" in the London newspaper 'The Evening News', inspired by accounts that he had read of the fighting at Mons and an idea he had had soon after the battle.
Machen, who had already written a number of factual articles on the conflict for the paper, set his story at the time of the retreat from the Battle of Mons in August 1914.
The story described phantom bowmen from the Battle of Agincourt summoned by a soldier calling on St. George, destroying a German host.
Machen's story was not, however, labelled as fiction and the same edition of the 'Evening News' ran a story by a different author under the heading "Our Short Story".
Additionally, Machen's story was written from a first-hand perspective and was a kind of false document, a technique Machen knew well.
The unintended result was that Machen had a number of requests to provide evidence for his sources for the story soon after its publication, from readers who thought it was true, to which he responded that it was completely imaginary, as he had no desire to create a hoax.
A month or two later Machen received requests from the editors of parish magazines to reprint the story, which were granted
The editor of one of these magazines, subsequently wrote to Machen asking if he would allow the story to be reprinted in pamphlet form, and if he would write a short preface giving sources for the story.
Machen replied that they were welcome to reprint but he could not give any sources for the story since he had none. The editor replied that Machen must be mistaken, that the "facts" of the story must be true, and that Machen had just elaborated on a true account.
As Machen later said:

'It seemed that my light fiction had been accepted by the congregation of this particular church as the solidest of facts; and it was then that it began to dawn on me that if I had failed in the art of letters, I had succeeded, unwittingly, in the art of deceit. This happened, I should think, some time in April, and the snowball of rumour that was then set rolling has been rolling ever since, growing bigger and bigger, till it is now swollen to a monstrous size.'
—Arthur Machen, Preface to The Bowmen

Around that time variations of the story began to appear, told as authentic histories, including an account that told how the corpses of German soldiers had been found on the battlefield with arrow wounds.
In "The Bowmen" Machen's soldier saw "a long line of shapes, with a shining about them."
A Mr. A.P. Sinnett, writing in the Occult Review, stated that "those who could see said they saw 'a row of shining beings' between the two armies."
This led Machen to suggest that the bowmen of his story had become the Angels of Mons.

Angels

On 24 April 1915, an account was published in the British Spiritualist magazine telling of visions of a supernatural force that miraculously intervened to help the British at the decisive moment of the battle.
This rapidly resulted in a flurry of similar accounts and the spread of wild rumours.
Descriptions of this force varied from it being medieval longbow archers alongside St. George to a strange luminous cloud, though eventually the most popular version came to be angelic warriors.
In May 1915 a full-blown controversy was erupting, with the angels being used as proof of the action of divine providence on the side of the Allies in sermons across Britain, and then spreading into newspaper reports published widely across the world.
Machen, bemused by all this, attempted to end the rumours by republishing the story in August in book form, with a long preface stating the rumours were false and originated in his story.
It became a bestseller, and resulted in a vast series of other publications claiming to provide evidence of the Angels' existence.
Machen tried to set the record straight, but any attempt to lessen the impact of such an inspiring story was seen as bordering on treason by some.
These new publications included popular songs and artists' renderings of the angels.
There were more reports of angels and apparitions from the front including Joan of Arc.
The only real evidence of visions from actual named serving soldiers provided during the debate stated that they saw visions of phantom cavalrymen, not angels or bowmen, and this occurred during the retreat rather than at the Battle itself.