Alright, so the three secrets of Fatima. Many may well be asking "what the hell are they?" A very worthwhile question indeed. Back on July 17, 1917 (note the three sevens in there— obviously important symbolism for the Catholics), a little girl, living near Fatima, Portugal, by the name of Lucia Santos, was given three secrets by the Virgin Mary, along with her two cousins Francisco and Jacinta. To be fair, by the time July came around, there was a growing group of devotees gathering about the three children. The whole thing started in May when Lucia, clearly playing pretend, saw a vision which Jacinta could see, but Francisco (being a boy) couldn't see until he had said the Rosary many times. Over a six month period, they met at the same spot on the thirteenth day of each month so Lucia could "chat" with this vision. By the very last month, there were up to seventy thousand people gathered for the vision, which became a "Sun miracle" for all!
The three secrets supposedly share a vision of Hell, the prediction of the end of World War I (and the possibility for World War II), and ultimately a prediction of the assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II. Now in and around these "secrets" there are some fun and playful statements made into "facts" (which the Church uses as a loose term, obviously) that can make the superstitious and/or devout cringe with horrifying fervor. But for those people who have some sort of skeptical mind... there may just be cringing. Regardless, if one plays with words well enough, takes the mass hysteria of seventy thousand people seriously, as well as the childhood attention-seeking of a ten-year-old girl who just wanted to be important, then by all means be prepared to be floored by the spooky events that unfolded and became known as the "Secrets of Fatima".
15 The Visitation
The title sounds like an invitation to a wake, but since the story goes that Mary never physically died, and was simply shot up to Heaven... it's not really a wake then is it? She's just a very old lady who has aged well and appeared to these three kids. Now at first, the kids didn't know it was the Virgin Mary. The leader of this faithful trio was a shepherd girl named Lucia dos Santos. Not until the third visitation was she given the alleged "Secret of Fatima", whereupon she also (again allegedly) paled and cried out the vision by name; confirming it to be the Virgin Mary. Now people see the Virgin Mary absolutely everywhere, from statues crying oil, to grilled cheese sandwiches, so this doesn't appear to be a huge leap of faith by any means. However, the fact that one little girl, whether or not she actually thought she saw these visions, could get her two cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto in on the action... and then convince seventy thousand people to attend a "miracle"... and then convince millions of people around the world... this is perhaps the most haunting fact regarding the Secrets of Fatima.
14 Seeing Angels
Now it could be attributed to nothing more than a child's incredibly faith-based imagination, but the Virgin Mary was not the first heavenly presence to descend upon the seemingly chosen Lucia dos Santos. Lucia has said that she experienced other heavenly visitations from angels as early as 1915— a full two years before the secret of Fatima as delivered to her by Mary. Even as early as the age of six (four years before the Fatima fiasco), when Lucia received her first communion (a Catholic thing that will not be explained here), she was seeing things in a different way. After her first confession, she looked up to a statue of "Our Lady of the Rosary" (otherwise known as Mary), and it apparently smiled at her. This author had a similar incident with a statue of Mary, but that was due to an allergic reaction to Aspirin while suffering from a migraine. One might not wish to compare the two (since she definitely didn't have access to such medication), but it's interesting how psychoses and religious visions do seem to fit rather snugly together. Now what's more haunting: the likelihood that Lucia was a little batshit, or a con, or that what she claimed to see is real?
13 Francisco Marto And His Death
The little boy of the faithful trio of Fatima, Francisco was not necessarily readily accepted by the Virgin Mary. Why, one might ask? Well if one takes into consideration that these kids were about ten years old, and that he was the only boy with two girls there to pick on him... one might be inclined to say it was Lucia's idea that he had more work to do than the girls because obviously Mary likes them better. After all, at first visitation, Francisco could not see Mary. In fact, Lucia told him that Mary said he must recite the rosary (another Catholic thing that will go unexplained here) many times before he could have any experience of the visions. And even then, though he could allegedly see her, he was not able to hear her. Regardless of this, a haunting fact to note here is that Lucia predicted the death of Francisco...or rather she was told of his death by Mary, of course. And sure enough, come 1919, Francisco had succumb to the Spanish flu. How could Lucia have known if not for Mary?
12 Jacinta Marto And Her Death
More accepted by the Virgin Mary, Jacinta was able to both see and hear the blessed mother. However, in spite of being able to hear Mary's messages (unlike her brother Francisco) she apparently missed the message about the death of her brother...as well as her own death the year following. That's right, come 1920, Jacinta had also succumbed to the Spanish flu. Now what's perhaps most haunting about this is that the so-called vision that Lucia claimed told her about the impending deaths of her cousins didn't come to light until seven years after the fact. So either Lucia was attempting to spare the children the knowledge of their short lives, or she used the deaths of her own family members to bring further celebrity to her supposed chats with Mary. Seven years later, cloistered away in a convent, it might make sense to claim some more bogus stories in order keep relevant in the faith community... but to use the deaths of her own cousins with whom she was so close... that's truly haunting.
11 The Vision Of Hell
The very first message that Lucia reportedly received from Mary was a vision of Hell. Only ten when she received the vision, it's a wonder that she managed to relay the vision so well to others. Then again, one's imagination can do wonders. Lucia is quoted to have seen,
"...a vast sea of fire. Plunged in this fire, we saw the demons and the souls [of the damned]... They were floating about in that conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames which issued from within themselves, together with great clouds of smoke... amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fright (it must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me). The demons were distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. That vision only lasted for a moment, thanks to our good Heavenly Mother, Who at the first apparition had promised to take us to Heaven. Without that, I think that we would have died of terror and fear."
It's an easy way to describe Hell when one is vague about each aspect. On top of that, it's unlikely that a peasant girl from Portugal would have been able to speak so well at age ten. Is Hell more haunting, or the fact that believers seem not to question this at all?
10 Mary Said The War Would End
Yeah, of course the war was going to end. There have always been wars in one place or another, but not the same war continuously, forever. Someone always wins, or a shaky peace is made. Nations run out of money, resources, and bodies to throw at their enemies, so of course the war was going to end. However, it's an amazing message from Mary to Lucia that things were going to get a little better. The message was given in the summer of 1917. Anyone who had any idea of what was going on in the Great War, might have sussed out that the United States finally decided to join in the fray to stop the family squabbling between several of the European nations (they have a record of cleaning house after it's been destroyed). So even a ten-year-old peasant girl would be able to guess that, with the help of the Unites States, the war was not far from the finish. And indeed, come November of the following year, it was over, and Lucia was perceived to have truly been blessed with a message from Mary. If only Mary gave a specific date, then perhaps people could be impressed.
9 The Sun Danced For 70,000 People
Now this could be indeed be a haunting thought: that seventy thousand people witnessed a miracle. Gathering to the place Lucia and company had been meeting with the Virgin Mary, thousands came on the final day of the six-month stint of visits Mary told Lucia she planned to make. And as Lucia gave into the final vision of Mary, she cried aloud "The Sun!" Of course everyone there was already enthralled with this little girl and her visions, so naturally they all cocked their heads back and began to gaze at the Sun. Now the Sun is fourteen million degrees Celsius at its centre (25,200,032 degrees Fahrenheit), and no matter how good our atmosphere is at dispersing the light from this gigantic, fiery orb, to stare directly into the Sun can cause blindness. If one has ever looked directly at the Sun, one might recall seeing one or several orbs dancing about their vision once they've looked away, even a little. So the more haunting thing about this "Sun miracle" that seventy thousand people have witnessed is that they didn't bother to think about the effect the Sun might have on their eyes. Just turn to the very faithful, seventeenth century poet John Donne: "Thy beams, so reverend and strong". It's not like people didn't know about the power of the Sun in 1917.
8 The Northern Lights Signify War
No wonder there are so many wars about the Earth. If the Aurora Borealis is a signifier of war, then it makes perfect sense. During Mary's sharing of secrets at Fatima to Lucia dos Santos, there was mention that another war would "break out during the pontificate of Pius XI." This did happen to fit the timeline of when World War II began. Now this could be haunting enough on its own: wondering how she knew that he would be pope during that time, and that a war would break out. The logical next step would be to accept the truth of Fatima... unless one noted that this specific message from Mary didn't make it to the public until the church commissioned Lucia to write memoirs about the Fatima incident (1935-41). This gave her plenty of time to rewrite the history of her visits from Mary. However, regarding the Northern Lights, Mary was said to have told Lucia that an "unknown light" would be the sign for the outbreak of war. This sign, Lucia took as the beautiful January 25, 1938 display of the Northern Lights... which is interesting since the war didn't break until September of 1939, so over one and a half years went by between this beautiful display and WWII. It's amazing how prophetic one can sound, when fact-checking doesn't occur.
7 World War II Prophesied
“The war is going to end. But if they do not stop offending God, another and worse one will begin in the reign of Pius XI. When you shall see a night illumined by an unknown light, you know that this is the great sign that God gives you that he is going to punish the world for its many crimes by means of war, hunger, and of persecution of the Church and the Holy Father."
These are apparently the words of the Virgin Mary. It could very well seem like she had some understanding of just how things were and would continue to go. But if one were to stop and think about these claims for a minute... People will never stop offending god because... which god, from what faith, and who is right? War, hunger, and persecution of the church? All of those things have been happening since people began, and since the church was created (by men). And to be fair, by this time, the church probably had its due to have some persecution, given its long reign over much of the world. It's an understandable plea from a ten-year-old girl who holds her faith dearly. Why would she ever want her fairy tale to end? When faith is all one has, it makes perfect sense to do anything to keep it... that's truly haunting.
6 Consecration Of Russia
So apparently Mary took issue with Russia, and its disregard of the Catholic church. To be fair, it never was a Catholic nation, and given its super power status, it made sense to want to convert this mass of heathens. There was apparently a way WWII could have been stopped. Here's what Mary had to say about it:
"I shall come to ask the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the communion of reparation on the Five First Saturdays. If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she will scatter her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecution of the Church."
There's a whole lot of business about Russia having been an "Atheist" nation during Stalin's reign and thus spreading persecution of the church. To be fair, the church that Stalin was railing against was not the Catholic church. And now, it might be noted, there are those of the Russian Orthodox church who idolize Stalin... for some bizarre reason. It would have been haunting if Mary mentioned that Germany would nearly eradicate the Jews, but everyone knew Russia was the kid on the playground who liked to be alone, and occasionally take toys from others (like Crimea).
5 Predicting The Shooting Of Pope John Paul II
Ok, so the writings were at least set down before the event happened, this time. However, the prediction itself, or rather the message from Mary, needs a bit of deciphering before it can be fully understood to be about the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II. Talking of a “bishop dressed in white, who prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another, the other bishops, priests, men and women Religious.” First off, yes one could consider the pope to be a bishop (as he is the bishop of Rome), and he is certainly most often dressed in white. But the only incline he was on was the white pope jeep, and he was not killed, as the message from Mary states. Nor was he shot by arrows, nor by soldiers. And while two people were injured in the crowd from the four shots fired into the pope, no one died. If nothing else, being shot in the chest by a bullet that passed through the pope made New Yorker Ann Odre far more religious than she already had been. So it would seem that Mary has a hard time getting her story straight.
4 Vatican's Secrets Of Fatima
There are said to be three secrets of Fatima (in spite of all the other nonsense stories surrounding the events). The first two came out easily enough (not very secretly), but the third, handed to the Vatican in 1957 (a full forty years after the initial events), was kept hidden. So a secret, supposedly spoken to a ten-year-old peasant girl in 1917 (but not written down till 1935-41) was not passed to the Vatican until 1957... and wasn't made public by the Vatican until mid-2000! Talk about giving time to be completely irrelevant... or giving enough time to fabricate relevance. Either way, the third secret, finally disseminated and delivered to the public in 2000 carries the vision of Pope John Paul II's assassination attempt, as well as a vision of an angel wielding a flaming sword, which will be discussed below, for sure. The haunting thing here is that a statement from the Vatican was made that said, "No one could have imagined all this”. Which could be believed if no one had ever read Dante's Divine Comedy, or had never been anywhere near a child.
3 Doctors Can't Cure. They Don't Have God.
Now maybe this is stretching a bit, but this notion comes from the many, assorted dying words of one Jacinta Marto, who was indeed a significant part of the Fatima fiasco. Among statements about governments, and fashion being godless (thank goodness), she also happened to state that: “Doctors do not have light to cure the sick properly because they do not have love of God.” Now one has to wonder if she means they don't believe in God, or perhaps it's simply that God doesn't love them (you know, for using pesky things like science). One is inclined to think that she must mean they do not seek God's love. That being said, people like Dr. Francis Collins exist, and he was a very integral part in the organization and mapping of the human genome. Dr. Collins, by the way, is a very devout Christian (not a Catholic, but it's got to count for something to God). But imagine: this ten-year-old girl, whom everyone is taking very seriously now as she lays on her bed dying of influenza... she makes a statement that, in one fell swoop, likely dissuaded many from bothering to see a doctor... at a time when influenza was devastating the world. She's not responsible for the death of the other twenty million people who went with her, but condemning doctors to a group of faith-based people? It's no wonder why people blame the MMR vaccine for causing autism. In a nutshell Jacinta Marto propagated the mindset Jenny McCarthy has today...
2 The Angel With The Flaming Sword
Well now, here's a possible predication that has yet to come to pass, depending on who one is to believe (if one believes any of this). "An angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!'" There are many who believe this to be a reference to, if not World War III, nuclear annihilation. And then of course the biblical purists would simply use the word Revelations. The dominant biblical verse that references a flaming sword and an angel together is the following from Genesis: "at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life." So... first off, there are angels... as well as one flaming sword that moves about of its own volition. Secondly, this is no prediction. If one is to believe the "word of God", then all of the Garden of Eden business has already happened. Regardless, the continual threat of war and nuclear armament gives credence to this "prediction", but only because people can make clear connections between the world being on fire, and what might cause the world to be on fire. For all that is known, should the prediction be real, it could be read to be about the Sun going supernova.
1 Sister Lucia dos Santos
Yup, right after the death of both Francisco and Jacinta, Lucia cloistered herself away from the prying eyes of the world... eyes that she manipulated to look upon her— and would continue to manipulate to look upon her throughout her whole life. The so-called secrets of Fatima have been one of the biggest news-makers for the Catholic Church, and for one hundred years now. So easily debunked and discarded are the claims, but so fervently believed and bolstered by the billion-strong Catholic Church. Her last words were reported as: "...We are going, we are going. To heaven, with Our Lord, Our Lady, and the little shepherds." Even though, by this point, Lucia dos Santos was blind and nearly deaf, she could still see Mary, and even her two cousins who apparently came for her. Now there is a haunting thought that comes of her death (besides the fast track to sainthood, and the promulgation of her stories). Though it wasn't the Spanish flu, Lucia dos Santos did in fact die of the flu, which had been going around the convent for a time... She was 97 though, so perhaps it's not all that haunting.
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