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This section contains articles on phenomena or versions that may be interesting or useful to researchers of the unexplained facts in one way or another.

The Miracle of Fatima

Miracle The Sun (Portuguese: Milagre do Sol), also known as the Miracle of Fatima or the Dance of the Sun, is a series of events)(The sun appeared to be "dancing" or zigzagging across the sky, leaning towards the Ground, or emitting multicolored light and shining colors, which reportedly occurred on October 13, 1917. According to these reports, the event lasted about ten minutes.

This unusual phenomenon was observed by a large crowd (according to various estimates, from 30,000 to 100,000 people) gathered in Fatima (Portugal), after learning about a prophecy made by three shepherd children. These are Lucia dos Santos (Lúcia dos Santos) and her cousins Jacinta (Jacinta Marto) and Francisco Marto (Francisco Marto).

The story began in the spring of 1916, when these three children from Catholic families living near Fatima began to report incredible phenomena. they were watching Angel, Jesus , Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Joseph, who blesses the people, and since May 1917 - about the apparitions of the Virgin Mary (called Our Lady of Fatima), whom the children called the Lady of the Rosary. 

In the fourth edition of her memoirs, written in 1941, Lucia said that during their third visit to Cova da Iria on July 13, 1917, she asked the Lady to tell them who she was and perform a miracle so that everyone would believe. The lady told her that they should continue to come to Cova every month until October, when the requested miracle would happen.

They told the residents about the prophecy: that prayer will lead to the end The Great War, and that on October 13 of the same year, the Lady would reveal her identity and perform a miracle "so that everyone would believe." Many newspapers began to write about it, and pilgrims began to visit the area.

What did the witnesses say?

According to a large number of people, after a period of rain, the dark clouds dispersed, and the Sun appeared in the sky in the form of an opaque rotating disk. It is said that it was much dimmer than usual and cast multicolored lights on the landscape, people and surrounding clouds. It was then reported that the Sun tilted towards the Earth before returning to its normal position in zigzags. Some reported that their previously wet clothes became "suddenly and completely dry, as well as wet and dirty ground that was previously wet due to falling rain." 

John De Marchi, an Italian Catholic priest and researcher, collected a lot of evidence of the phenomenon.

His book "The True Story of Fatima" includes a number of descriptions of witnesses:

  • "The sun, sometimes surrounded by a scarlet flame, sometimes surrounded by a yellow and dark purple halo, seemed to be in extremely fast and swirling motion, then it seemed that it was breaking away from the sky and approaching the earth, greatly heating." —   Dr. Domingos Pinto Coelho, writing for a Catholic newspaper Ordem.
  • "The silver sun, shrouded in the same smoky gray light, was seen spinning and spinning in a circle of torn clouds [.. The light turned a beautiful blue, as if it had passed through the stained glass windows of the cathedral, and spread to people kneeling with outstretched hands [...] people were crying and praying with their heads uncovered, in the presence of the miracle they were waiting for. The seconds seemed like hours, they were so bright." — reporter of the Lisbon newspaper "O Dia".
  • "The solar disk did not remain stationary. It was not the sparkle of the heavenly body, for it was spinning on itself in a frenzied whirlwind, when suddenly a noise was heard from all the people. the firmament and menacingly approaching the earth, as if to crush us with its huge fiery weight. The feeling at those moments was terrible." - De Marchi attributes this description to Dr. Almeida Garrett, professor of natural sciences at the University of Coimbra. Theologian Father Stanley L. Jaki wrote that it was actually given by Dr. Jose Almeida Garrett, a young lawyer, and is often mistakenly attributed to his father, a professor of natural sciences at the University of Coimbra named after Dr. Gonzalo de Almeida Garrett.
  • "Like a thunderbolt from a clear sky, the clouds broke, and the sun appeared in all its splendor at the zenith. rainbow colors and emitting multicolored flashes of light, making a striking impression. This sublime and incomparable spectacle, which was repeated three times, lasted about ten minutes. child prodigy, they threw themselves on their knees." -   Dr. Manuel Formigao, professor at the Seminary in Santarem and a priest.
  • "I feel unable to describe what I saw. I stared intently at the sun, which seemed pale and did not hurt my eyes. It was like a snowball spinning by itself, it suddenly seemed to zigzag down, threatening the earth. Terrified, I ran and hid among people who were crying and expecting the end of the world at any moment." -  The Reverend Joaquim Laurenzo, describing his childhood in Alburitel, 18 kilometers (11 miles) from Fatima.
  • "On that day, October 13, 1917, not remembering the predictions of the children, I was fascinated by a wonderful sight in the sky, which I had never seen before. I saw him from this veranda," Portuguese poet Afonso Lopez Vieira. 

It is worth noting that not all witnesses reported that they saw the "dance" of the Sun. Some people saw only shining colors. Several people didn't see anything.

Many scientists began to look for explanations for this phenomenon, since the effect was not noticed by nearby and remote observatories, and there are no photos of the phenomenon (usually these are photos of a crowd of people looking at the sky, not the phenomenon itself).

For example, science writer Benjamin Radford believed that the power of suggestion and pareidolia could better explain the reported events.

Former editor of ASSAP magazine Kevin McClure wrote that the crowd in Cova da Iria may have expected to see signs in the Sun, as similar phenomena were reported a few weeks before the miracle, and the crowd saw what they wanted to see.

According to theologian Lisa J. Schwebel, claims of a miracle present a number of difficulties. Schwebel claims that "not only did not everyone present see this phenomenon, but there are significant discrepancies among the witnesses as to what they saw." Schwebel also notes that there is no authentic photograph of the claimed solar phenomena:

"despite the presence of hundreds of reporters and photographers on the field, and one photo, which is often passed off as authentic, is actually a solar eclipse in another part of the world, taken sometime before 1917."

Usually explanations for such a mass illusion are associated with the political situation in Portugal at that time. It was characterized by strong religious tension after the recent revolution of 1910 and attempts at secularization (the transition from a society governed mainly by religious tradition to a secular model of social structure based on rational (non-religious) norms) of the state and society.

In addition to mass psychosis and pareidolia, other versions were indicated. Critics also suggest that the described visual phenomena could be caused by a combination of clouds, atmospheric phenomena and natural sunlight. Stuart Campbell, writing for Meteorology magazine in 1989, suggested that a cloud of stratospheric dust changed the appearance of the Sun on October 13, making it easier to look at it and making it appear yellow, blue and yellow, purple, and rotating.

Researcher Joe Nickell combined these two major versions. He wrote that the effects of the "dancing sun" were "a combination of factors, including optical effects and meteorological phenomena, such as the sun visible through thin clouds, which made it look like a silver disk. Other possibilities include changing the density of passing clouds, as a result of which the image of the sun alternately becomes brighter and dimmer and thus appears to be approaching and retreating, as well as dust or moisture droplets in the atmosphere, refracting sunlight and thus giving different colors." 

Nickell also suggested that the unusual visual effects could have resulted from a temporary distortion of the retina caused by observing the intense light of the Sun, or were caused by a halo. Nickell also emphasizes the psychological suggestibility of witnesses who wait a long time to see the promised miracle.

Modern scientists also hypothesize about the phenomenon. For example, Artur Wirowski from the Lodz University of Technology has been investigating this phenomenon since 2012 and believes that there may be a meteorological explanation for this. Clouds of ice crystals at high altitude can create "sun dogs" or false suns and rainbow-colored stripes, and solar dancing can be a more complex variation of such effects. Wirowski's work shows that if crystals receive an electric charge, they can oscillate and produce such effects as described by witnesses of the Miracle of the Sun.

Ufologists attribute this phenomenon to UFOs.

However, due to the lack of photographs, inconsistent testimony of witnesses and the lack of observations from observatories, scientists have not come to a consensus on this phenomenon.

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