Case File: Fatima Miracle
Location: Fatima, Portugal
Date: May 13 to October 13, 1917
Description: At the time, Fatima was a small rural farming village. The apparition or spirit they observed was described as a female figure in Biblical attire who spoke their native Portuguese to them.
History: Three children, siblings Jacinta and Francisco Marto and their cousin, Lucia Santos, were herding sheep on May 13, 1917, near their home in the village of Fatima, Portugal, when a flash of lighting hit. Believing that it was going to rain, the children began to head home. As they were walking, a second flash of lightning occurred and a brightly lit woman appeared out of nowhere. She said that she was the Virgin Mary and told them that she would reveal three secrets to them. She told them to come back on the thirteenth day of every month. She also said that they would become her messenger.
When they told their parents, they thought they were lying. Lucia's mother beat her for lying, even though she swore that she was telling the truth. On June 13, the three returned, along with around fifty villagers who had heard about the vision. Once again, the three had a vision of the woman. Like the first time, only Lucia spoke to her. Although some claimed that an unusual light was visible, nobody else saw the woman. The woman said that she would take Jacinta and Francisco to Heaven soon, but Lucia would have to stay on Earth longer.
Lucia's mother still believed that she was lying and told her to go to the priest and confess. She refused to tell the priest about her vision. Due to political problems at the time, the priest felt that he could not endorse or publicly state that he believed in Lucia's visions. He told her that the Devil was giving her lies. In her memoirs, Lucia wrote about her internal conflict at the time and how difficult it was for her.
On July 13, pilgrims arrived in the area where the visions occurred. At noon, the woman again appeared to only Lucia and her cousins. She asked for the woman to perform a miracle in front of everyone. The woman said that she would do so on her sixth appearance. She then showed the children a vision of Hell, filled with demons and souls shrieking. The woman said that God was offended with World War One. She said that the war would soon end, only to be replaced by a more serious threat: Russia. It is believed that she was also referring to Communism, an atheistic form of government. The woman asked that Lucia keep this information secret.
On August 13, a local government administrator offered to assist the children to the vision area. However, the administrator then abducted the children and took them to a government prison. He believed that the children were perpetrating a hoax at the behest of the church. He threatened to cook the children in oil if they did not tell him the secret that the woman had told them. Lucia refused to tell them anything. For three days, the children were held at the prison. Finally, they were let free and the administrator admitted his failure.
The woman appeared twice more, with the sixth and final appearance occurring on October 13. Approximately 70,000 pilgrims came from hundreds of miles away to witness the miracle that the woman had promised. Soon after the children arrived at the area, a large downpour stopped. After several minutes, the woman appeared to the children and Lucia began to speak to her. According to many eyewitness accounts, the sun began to undulate, with ribbons of multi-colored light shooting across the sky. Suddenly, the sun began to fall. Many stated that they feared being scorched by the heat. Then, the sun returned to its normal place in the sky.
The miracle appeared to last for at least twelve minutes. Many around Fatima also witnessed the event. Incredibly, some witnesses claimed to have seen nothing spectacular that day. Many people who were formally skeptics noted that they became believers that day. Although some dismiss the event as a simple mass delusion, others are convinced that the crowd witnessed a miracle.
Jacinta and Francisco died a few years after due to the 1918 flu epidemic, but Lucia survived and still had the Three Secrets of Fatima. The first was a vision of Hell, and the second included the Virgin Mary's instructions on how to save souls from there and convert the world to the Christian faith. In 1925, Lucia claimed to have seen her again in Spain, and she later became a nun.
In 1930, the Catholic Church recognized the events at Fatima as a miracle. Although the Third Secret of Fatima was allowed to be revealed to the public in 1960, it was withheld. To this day, Fatima is known as one of the most revered shrines in all of Catholicism.
Background: Fatima is a small village located in the country of Portugal. The population reached 10,302 in 2001, mostly due to the Fatima Miracle. Jacinta was eight, her brother, Francisco was seven, and their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, was nine when the first Fatima vision occurred.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the November 3, 1993 episode.
Results: Unsolved. In 2000, the Third Secret of Fatima was finally revealed. It was about the deaths of the Pope and other religious figures. Lucia spent the rest of her life within the monastery walls of the Discalced Caremlites of Coimbra. She passed away in 2005, and the Fatima visions remain a mystery.