In 1917 on the 13th of six consecutive months one of the largest mysteries in Portugal took place starting in May, when three children allegedly claimed they saw "Our Lady" or "a small pretty lady" who told them to come back on the 13 of each month until October when she allegedly said she would tell them "who she was and what she wanted of us."
Rational skeptics have good reason to be doubt large portions of this story; however there is little or no doubt that about forty people believed these little children and showed up to see what would happen on June 13th of that year, and the crowd grew each month until in October estimates of the crowd ranged from 30,000 to 100,000. There was an enormous amount of media coverage collecting testimony from hundreds if not thousands of people that claimed they saw a variety of unusual phenomena.
Like a lot of other major unsolved mysteries that involve alleged communications or signs from "God" the highest profile views are almost always divided into two sides which often don't seem to listen to each other and may, in some cases, both ignore major flaws from their own views. Religious people claim that there is a "God" who created us and is worth worshiping because he's been so benevolent and miraculous, etc.; however if such a "God" did exist why wouldn't he maintain an open honest line of communication and when atrocities like the Crusades, Inquisitions, or Holocaust start happening, partly, if not entirely as a result of someones interpretation of religion, Why doesn't "God" speak up and explain this isn't what he meant at all, and provide guidance in a manner that people can understand so that these atrocities can be avoided or at least minimized.
If "God" was as powerful and merciful as they believe, surely he would.
Mainstream academics are usually much better, at least if they stick to their own field and show the work explaining how they come to their own conclusions; however when there is a powerful faction, often related to financial ideologies that impact scientific fields, or if their are major unsolved mysteries they may also ignore inconvenient facts and often adopt many of the same distraction tactics that religious people do. When it comes to the academics providing financial propaganda, people that look through the alternative media outlets or non-fiction books can often find much better academic work; however when it comes to major unsolved mysteries the media has arranged for a class of "skeptics" that often only use scientific methods when it supports their own beliefs.
In many cases they do a great job using scientific methods and attempt to develop credibility with their track record; however, Fatima may be one of the examples where they can't even come close to explaining the full story so they often ignore, or misrepresent, the parts that they can't explain and focus on the problems they can explain. This method works very well when the public is unfamiliar with the subject; or if the only alternative presented to the public is the one provided by believers who make even more mistakes.
I listed at least half a dozen of these skeptics below, and it isn't hard to find more; however the ones I looked at demonstrated that either they didn't look to close into the details or, they did and didn't feel the need to address many of the most important reports and hoped that their target audience wouldn't be familiar with it. Ironically, many of these skeptics passed up many opportunities to debunk large portions that weren't accurate at all, at least according to the earliest written accounts taken either shortly after the alleged "Miracle" on October 13th, or before it while they were still unaware of what the biggest event would bring and they only saw smaller phenomena and heard the predictions of alleged "Secrets of Fatima."
The researchers that did the best job, that I know of, looking into the details, by interviewing many of the survivors decades later, and sorting through the historical records including newspaper accounts that were written as the events were happening and testimony that was taken during several Parish inquiries, were Joaquim Fernandes and Fina D'Armada who found evidence to indicate that most of the alleged prophecies may have begun as rumors at a time when the children who allegedly received these secrets weren't mentioning it at all in their testimonies. Some of these alleged prophecies weren't disclosed to the public until they came true. The clear implication is that there is a possibility that these children were pressured to saying that they were given a secret. And, even if they did receive a message from this being, which was allegedly acting on behalf of a benevolent God, why would they ask to keep it secret if God was, as religious people believe, looking out for the best interest of his followers?
However, whether they did receive a message or not about later prophecies, there were thousands of witnesses saying that they saw increased amount of unexplained phenomena escalating until the "Miracle" on October 13th. There should be no doubt that if they hadn't believed something would have happened there they never would have gone there in the first place, since this was an isolated place with a very low population, nor would there have been any need for the enormous amount of media coverage or the Parish Inquiries and other investigations.
Joaquim Fernandes and Fina D'Armada are the authors of "Heavenly Lights: The Apparitions of Fatima and the UFO Phenomenon" where they explain why the written records indicate that it is far more likely that this event was part of the large number of UFO incidents that escalated after World War II, and that the people of that time were more inclined to interpret it in a manner that fit their beliefs as indicated in the following article which originally appeared on Wikipedia for about four months in 2009, before it was redirected to the "Miracle of the Sun."
A review of the skeptics efforts to debunk this alleged "Miracle" may raise doubts about whether or not they read the vast majority of material about this subject or looked at many of the pictures. My impression is that if they did they ignored an enormous amount of it and their bias is surprisingly obvious. Ironically, in some cases they passed up justifiable evidence that could have debunked some portions of the miracle if they had read some of the most important history of this event which it appears that Joaquim Fernandes and Fina D'Armada did a much better job at. This would have enabled them to dismiss most of the alleged prophecies about the war coming to an immediate end, which it didn't, the claim that Saint Joseph would appear with the Baby Jesus on October 13th, which wasn't necessarily true.
The vast majority of the crowd didn't see them at all, it was only the three children, and perhaps a few of the most devout that claimed they saw them at the end of the miracle of the Sun. This is what most rational skeptics refer to as anecdotal evidence which they often easily dismiss, right or wrong. My impression was that this was far less credible than most of the claims from that day, including many that were seen by far more people; I wouldn't completely rule out the possibility that they let their imagination get away with them on that one. Joaquim Fernandes and Fina D'Armada didn't completely rule this out but they also speculated about the possibility that they might have mistaken extraterrestrials for the Baby Jesus, Saint Joseph and Mary. Most of the apparitions that they described in much more detail including extensive conversations were just of what Lucia referred to as "a small pretty lady" but Jacinta jumped to the conclusion that it was "Our Lady," even though she only allegedly spoke to Lucia.
Joe Nickell is widely recognized as one of the most credible "skeptics" among the community of "skeptics" that often agree with each other on almost everything, when it comes to debunking claims they don't believe; however he said, "Two years before the famous series of apparitions occurred at Fatima, eight-year-old Lucia and three girlfriends claimed to have seen apparitions of a snow-white figure on three occasions. Lucia’s mother called the experiences 'childish nonsense.'" If he had checked the record he would have known that Lucia initially denied this claim and only when pressured by Canon Formigao did she say that she had made this claim. Lucia's mother did dismiss her stories initially but her parents were among the witnesses to the alleged miracle.
However, despite all the credibility problems that Lucia, may or may not have had, there is little doubt that there was an enormous pilgrimage of people that traveled a major distance, often on foot, since there were few automobiles or other transportation at that time expecting to see some kind of miraculous event; and when the time came they did see something they considered spectacular, although they couldn't all agree on many of the details. When it comes to the vast majority of the evidence, like most if not all other high profile skeptics, Joe Nickell simply pretends it doesn't exist, and doesn't bother doing research that challenges his beliefs.
Several of the skeptics including Brian Dunning raise doubts about the size of the crowd and he even goes so far as to say, "it does look like several thousand to me, I certainly wouldn't go as high as thirty," without much if any explanation except to say that the photographers would shown larger portions of the crowd. He also said that he was only able to find one photo with umbrellas, which seems meaningless; however if he wanted to find photos with more umbrellas or crowds as large as a photographer, from that time, could get into a picture he could have either by Googling "Miracle of the Sun," which he could have done at the time he wrote his article, or before the internet he could have done a little research the old fashioned way and it wouldn't have taken to long to find more photos and enormous amounts of testimony from the witnesses.
Their efforts to debunk these claims are, for the most part only capable of convincing people that are not familiar with the subject. They rarely ever acknowledge the vast majority of evidence available even when at times it could help them debunk some of the claims that should be debunked. At least Brian Dunning did provide a link to one of the most widely cited sources about the subject although he raises doubts about his credibility. Father John de Marchi may have been biased; and some of the testimonies that he collected were clearly based on witness testimony that may be unreliable; and in some cases I suspect he may have exaggerated the numbers, however he does acknowledge that some of them are hard to estimate, and presents a fer more credible and informed story than many of the skeptics who don't seem to have done there own research as indicated in a few of the following excerpts, the rest of his book is available free on line:
As I've pointed out in numerous articles in the past including 107 Wonders of the Ancient World there is overwhelming evidence of other major unexplained mysteries, including massive megaliths, some over seven hundred tons, that were allegedly moved with ancient technology even though experiments to replicate this with the same technology runs into problems when they get over ten tons and they begin cheating, without even trying to go above forty tones. The vast majority of the high profile debate about this subject, and many others about the evidence of miracles divides up, for the most part, to two sides, one that claims that this miracle is evidence of a "God" and they assume that this is a "good God," and the other side that argues, for the most part that there is no "God," or at least they strongly imply that; however neither side gives much if any consideration that it could be an unknown advanced intelligence of some sort with some kind of ulterior motive.
If this was caused by a "Good God" what Benefit did it provide and how? This event sounds spectacular, and it scared many people but it didn't involve opening up an honest line of communication or lead to the end of the war.
Whether this event happened or not, if it was a UFO or miracle created by "God," it was used by the Catholic Church to strengthen peoples belief in "God" and they used this to strengthen their own authority.
There were also alleged prophecies and miracle healing that were attributed to God and the Miracle at Fatima; however it doesn't take much to figure out that if there was an unknown advanced intelligence of some sort, whether people believe it is "God," aliens or something else, and it wanted to heal people in the most effective way possible or bring an end to the war, or even better prevent wars from happening in the first place, then there are better ways to accomplish that than this alleged miracle.
If "God" wanted to help cure people in the most effective way possible then he could teach people how to cure themselves; yet instead of doing this for thousands of years this hypothetical "God" has either been inspiring religions that suppress research into the best medical cures, and often even done enormous amounts of stupid things based on superstitions, often related to religion, like instead of controlling the rat population, which carried fleas that caused many plagues, they killed cats because they thought they caused the plagues.
Instead of opening up a consistent line of communication, teaching people how to get along with each other, and develop education systems that teach critical thinking skills, the religions allegedly inspired by "God" divide people up into different groups and teach them to hate and fight those not part of their own groups, in many cases. God doesn't try to teach people basic principles about democracy, like that all people should be able to participate in decisions about how their government is run; or that in order to do that they need a good education and accurate information to based their decisions.
Instead the dominant religious teachings are about obedience, backed up by the threat of violence, which is why we fight many of these wars that are often based on lies. This begins at a very young age, often based on Biblical teachings including Proverbs 23:13 which says, "Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die." actually in many cases children that are beat by their parents for disciplinary purposes do die, and when they don't they grow up thinking the way to deal with their problems is to deal with them using violence.
Religion is far more concerned about control than it is about teaching morality as can be demonstrated in one verse after another including Exodus 14:4 which says, "I shall then make Pharaoh stubborn and he will set out in pursuit of them; and I shall win glory for myself at the expense of Pharaoh and his whole army, and then the Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh.' And the Israelites did this." If people accept the Bible as the literal truth this should be an obvious example of entrapment, where "God" made the "Pharaoh stubborn" then used his own actions as an excuse to punish the entire Egyptian population. Of course if the Bible is not the literal truth then this never happened; however it is still used by religious people as a guide to lead their life; and if "God" did exist he could have corrected their mistakes by opening up a consistent line of communication which would be the appropriate way of earning trust.
There is one Biblical verse after another that clearly shows how outrageous the alleged sense of morality taught by the Bible is including Genesis 19:4-8, 2 Peter 2:7 which portrays Lot as being righteous even though he offers up his own daughters to be raped when he thinks it will deter a mob from raping messengers he thinks came from God, yet, if this "God" exists he never explains that this might not be such a rational sense of morality, and when rational people suggest such a thing emotionally unstable devout religious people often resist any reform to the best of their ability, often with violence.
The most rational sense of morality is often learned when people figure it out for themselves, without help from "God," the most powerful religious leaders, or what ever political faction is currently controlling any given government!
Religious people aren't taught that trust is earned by honest communication, at least not when it comes to the most powerful people in society or "God" himself. They're taught to blindly believe their leaders and obey without question. This is what enabled many tyrants to hold power for thousands of years and these tyrants fought one war after another based on lies. The World War they were hoping to see come to an end was just the latest of these wars and the second World War, which they claim was predicted at Fatima, although that revelation wasn't disclosed to the public until 1941 when the war had already begun was another; and if the people were taught to question authority it could have either been prevented or kept from becoming so extreme.
The incident at Fatima did far more to amaze people than it did to accomplish anything worthwhile, at least directly; however since an enormous amount of people were predisposed to believe that the appropriate way to demonstrate credibility, at least for "God" was to carry out spectacular feats that don't do anything practical this helped reinforce peoples beliefs and led them to obey authority figures.
Monsignor Journet, the future Cardinal believed that "Without Fátima, Salazar would not be possible. He would not be serving in government to begin with, much less have maintained his position there," and he may have been at least partially right although it may have been for the wrong reasons. Monsignor Journet seems to have supported Salazar's regime even though he was a dictator that oppressed his people; however he did support the Catholic church, and was supported in return by the Church, which is typical of many tyrants. Religion is also be responsible for World War II, and the strengthened faith provided by Fatima and other alleged mystical people or events, like Padre Pio, may also be partially responsible for it, since the prophecies of Fatima and teachings of Padre Pio were used to teach obedience, and this is what enabled Adolf Hitler to get so many blind followers to blindly obey. Religion also caused fanatical Antisemitism teaching people to hate Jews going back centuries, blaming them for everything.
If "God," assuming he exists, or aliens, or any other unknown advanced intelligence that is perceived as "God," wanted to prevent World War II at the time of Fatima he could have explained how they were mistaken about many of their beliefs. For that matter if "God" was inclined to prevent WW-II, and if he was influencing religion since Biblical times, he could have done this thousands of years earlier making the Crusades, Inquisitions, and many other atrocities far less likely, if not prevented them completely. At best, by refusing to provide better advice, "God" gave tacit approval of many of these atrocities; at worst he actively and intentionally inspired religions knowing that it would have lead to atrocities that he was partially if not entirely responsible for.
Instead, if "God" Exists and has been influencing religion for thousands of years he shrouds his motives and methods in secrecy and even uses his control of religion to teach people to think this secrecy that results in atrocities and ensures that the human races is constantly basing their decisions on lies is worthy of worship. Devout Catholics actually seem to think that it is appropriate for their benevolent God to share secrets through little children that wind up being pressured and abused by religious and secular leaders.
There is a popular Portuguese saying, "Secrecy is the soul of business." This is a reasonably fair description of business everywhere; however this secrecy enables those that control powerful financial institutions to get away with enormous amounts of fraud that robs the public and also causes an enormous amount of other problems like selling unsafe products or polluting the poor. It is also a reasonably fair description of religion, which is based on secrecy, lies or ideological misunderstandings, and mythology that is used to control the beliefs of the followers. Cult leaders that can control the beliefs, however absurd or false, of the followers can partially if not entirely control the decisions made by the followers, creating a state of virtual slavery that enslaves minds, which is much more difficult to free than the body, unless intervention happens at a young age.
Regrettably thanks to the enormous amount of pressure that was put on the three children instead of intervening to teach them rational thinking they were surrounded by people that wanted to use the perception of this miracle to control the masses for their own purposes. If "God" existed, cared about the best interest of these children, and understood the consequences then he wouldn't have used them in this manner. Two of these children died only a couple years after this, indicating that even if "God" was capable of miracle healing he refused to use it to save them.
All three children especially Lucia were intimidated by one person after another including the mayor who tricked them into going into his carriage on the 13th of August, 1917, in an attempt to end what he considered nonsense, then when there was thunder scaring the people attending, instead of letting them go he took them to the local jail held them over night, threatened to boil them in oil, although he never intended to do so, and when they refused to tell him what the alleged "secret" was reluctantly took them back to his home before releasing them two days later.
The three children allegedly claimed they received a prophecy about the two youngest dying within a few years of the incident at Fatima; as far as I can tell no one reported on this in the early newspaper reports including ones covered by Joaquim Fernandes and Fina D'Armada, who don't directly address this issue, However they do establish a pattern of behavior of changing the alleged secrets and prophecies; and my best guess is that like the prediction about WW II it wasn't disclosed to the public until after the fact. According to the official version from the Church and this article, Seven Lessons From Fatima’s Youngest Visionary, 02/20/2017 Jacinta believed that she should worship the "Lord" even though he allegedly caused the suffering that killed her older brother and was clearly leading to her death soon afterwards, when she was also sick and actually said that she loved her own suffering. “Mortification and sacrifice please our Lord very much,” she said. “Oh, how much I love to suffer for love of Our Lord and our Lady. They greatly love those who suffer for the conversion of sinners.” she said.
This is part of an indoctrination process that teaches followers to blindly worship their leaders and sacrifice for them, whether there is a supernatural "Lord," aliens that have been perceived as the "Lord," some other unknown advanced intelligence, or just by the Catholic church, assuming the skeptics are right about there not being any phenomena. Enormous numbers of people are being indoctrinated to sacrifice without question for the benefit of those that control powerful institutions. The author of this article about Jacinta served as press secretary of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman, which might raise doubts about separation of Church and State, and whether the Church is still helping to control the government and the people, influenced by "God" or not.
Then representatives of the Church coerced Lucia into reluctantly joining a convent where she was sequestered for the rest of her life. It was there that the alleged secrets grew from one to three and were released selectively when it suited the Churches purposes. Many people blame the Church for controlling this message, and to some degree, justifiably so, however, if there is an unknown advanced intelligence that has been influencing religion for thousands of years, known as "God" and it created these revelations and the phenomena observed by thousands, most of the responsibility belongs to who ever or what ever this "God" is.
With or without a Miracle or a UFO the Church has decided to put an enormous amount of money, which could have been used for more practical purposes, like helping feed or educate the poor, into building a massive Chapel; and they've been able to inspire large pilgrimages to Fatima that enable them to help control the faithful and collect money for them to pay for their temples. These massive temples are more effective as tools to help indoctrinate and control their followers than they are as any practical charitable efforts, as they imply. Skeptics often pass up many opportunities to point this out.
By refusing to consider other explanations or to acknowledge that their efforts to "debunk" religious beliefs involves ignoring many of the most important facts high profile "skeptics" like Michael Shermer, James Randi, and Joe Nickell actually play into the beliefs of religious people since they don't even follow scientific methods that they pretend to support. If they were willing to consider the possibility that this phenomena was created by an unknown advanced intelligence, at least as a hypothesis, even if they don't consider if likely, then they could argue that even if this advanced intelligence exists it isn't providing an open honest line of communication, therefore we shouldn't trust alleged beliefs from cult leaders based on it.
They could also put far more emphasis on research about how indoctrination methods often begin at childhood from an early age using coercion that also leads to escalating violence as numerous secular researchers including Philip Greven author of "Spare the Child," have pointed out. Philip Greven doesn't rely on paranormal or supernatural claims to explain how corporal punishment is part of a process to dictate irrational beliefs to religious children, so you would think it would be compatible with their beliefs. However, a close look at their track record doesn't indicate that they're as concerned with skepticism as they are with their own ideology, although that is too much to go into in this article.
|Michael Shermer, Ray Hyman, James Randi, Paul Kurtz, and Joe Nickell|
The highest profile researchers into the "Ancient Aliens Theory" aren't much better, since they rarely abide by basic scientific methods either and make so many obviously false claims that hardly any rational person would believe them, unless some people are inclined to go along with bad arguments without fact checking them well if at all, or if some people take the time to sort through the details and come to their own conclusions independently.
That doesn't explain what "God," "Aliens," or some other unknown advanced intelligence is trying to accomplish though, do they just have some kind of sick sense of humor? Not likely, it is far more likely that they're trying to accomplish something in the most effective way they know hoe, or at least they think they are; however when it is portrayed as "Good verses evil" it is almost certain that the belief that "God" or "aliens" may have a sick sense of humor will come up repeatedly if an attempt to expose it is made.
As I explained in Deadly Monopolies With Alien Technology? one possibility that might be far more likely is that they're conducting research that they couldn't conduct on their own world, including medical research. this could also include other types of research as well including into Climate Change and how it is caused by human behavior. There is no doubt that there is plenty of research into Climate Change, whether it is being overseen by aliens or not; but if there have been aliens visiting for thousands of years then it could have been intentional from the beginning.
If the aliens have been influencing societies for thousands of years it would be incredibly foolish to trust them since they have a history of of watching as cultures like the Ancient Egyptians, Romans, Assyrians, Kingdom of Ashoka, Angkors, inhabitants of Easter Island, Mayans build up their societies, perhaps with influence from the aliens, then allowing them to collapse and self destruct. we're in the process of doing that now by destroying the environment and the insane political activities by Donald Trump and the incredibly corrupt candidates the Democrats nominate like Hillary Clinton.
If it does turn out that they're studying climate change how can we be certain they don't want to study much more extensive efforts to change it than the human race can live with? If there are people within our government that exchanged technology in return for cooperation with these experiments how can they be certain the aliens don't want to push the environment beyond the point of no return and do research in a different kind of terrain?
This is highly speculative; however there is enough evidence to raise major doubts about the official explanations for these unexplained phenomena. And there is no doubt that our government isn't even trying to act rationally and is behaving in a destructive manner designed to indoctrinate the public instead of educate them.
Whether this far-fetched theory is right or wrong there are many issues that people should agree on like that we need to do a much better job protecting the environment, provide health care, allow coverage for grassroots candidates so that diverse views are provided to make political decisions, and much more.
The following are some of the sources for this article and provide additional information on the subject:
Joaquim Fernandes and Fina D'Armada "Heavenly Lights: The Apparitions of Fatima and the UFO Phenomenon"
The Real Secrets of Fatima by Joe Nickell 2009
Illuminating the Fatima Miracle of the Sun by Brian Dunning 07/22/2008
Skeptic Benjamin Radford on the Fátima Miracle
The 1917 Miracle of the Sun at Fatima - what does the camera say?
The Lies of Fatima by Philip Coppens
Solar Miracle of Fatima The Flop of the Century
Our Lady Came to Fatima The Final Apparition
Our Lady of Fatima