It was raining at the Cova da Iria on Oct. 13, 1917 – raining so much, in fact, that the crowds gathered there, their clothing drenched and dripping, slipped in the puddles and along the trails of mud. Those who had umbrellas opened them against the downpour, but they were still splashed and sodden. All waited, their eyes on three peasant children who had promised a miracle.
And then, at high noon, something remarkable happened: The clouds broke, and the sun appeared in the sky. Unlike any other day, the sun began to revolve in the sky – an opaque, spinning disc. It cast multicolored lights across the landscape, the people and the surrounding clouds. Without warning, the sun began to careen across the sky, zigging and zagging toward the earth. Three times it approached, then receded. The panicked crowd erupted in screams; but there was no evading it. The end of the earth, some believed, was at hand.
The event lasted 10 minutes, and then the sun, just as mysteriously, stopped and receded back toward its place in the heavens. The frightened witnesses murmured as they looked about. The rainwater had evaporated and their clothing, which had been soaked through to their skin, was now completely dry. So, too, was the ground: As if transformed by a sorcerer’s wand, the pathways and trails of mud were as dry as on a hot summer day. According to Fr. John De Marchi, an Italian Catholic priest and researcher who spent seven years in Fatima, 110 miles north of Lisbon, studying the phenomenon and interviewing witnesses,
“Engineers that have studied the case reckoned that an incredible amount of energy would have been necessary to dry up those pools of water that had formed on the field in a few minutes as it was reported by witnesses.”
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