by Marco Corvaglia
Go to the page Science Demonstrates Nothing [Part 1]
§ 4. A Survey of the Outcomes
In the A.R.PA (“Queen of Peace Society”) report, orthopedist Luciano Cappello talks about the synchronicities that seem to characterize the apparitions:
The first type of synchronicity occurs when the youngsters, after beginning the Lord’s Prayer, without an perceivable external command—a command that could be a light sign, an acoustic sign, or a gesture—all fall on their knees at the same time.
[Frigerio et al., Dossier scientifico su Medjugorje, p. 18]
Here is a tape recording of an apparition that occurred in 1984. The video shows five seers (Mirijana’s daily “apparitions” had already stopped in 1982). They are, from left to right, Marija (half-hidden), Ivan, Ivanka, Jakov, and Vicka.
There really is nothing special in the way the youngsters kneel down. Let us look at the genuflection in slow motion, too:
Of course, this does not prove that the visionaries were simulating, but it shows how a meaningless fact can be presented by some supporters (even scientists!) as if it was almost a miracle.
By the way, it is worth noting that Ivanka, who was the first to move, was also the tallest in the group and usually stood at the center (in fact, in a position of maximum visibility for the others). Father Laurentin noted that "the six visionaries have made a habit of putting themselves always in the same order" [R. Laurentin, L. Rupčić, La Vierge apparaît-Elle à Medjugorje ?, O.E.I.L., Paris, April 1984, p. 31].
Of particular interest is what happened in April 1998, when the research team led by Dr. Gagliardi and Father Resch had the opportunity to study two ecstasies of Ivan and Marija —the only seers who accepted the invitation to their laboratory in Capiago Intimiano, Como, Italy.
On April 22nd. Dr. Gagliardi suggests a new test condition, where the two seers cannot see each other during the apparition. Therefore, they have to be put in two different rooms. This is what their report says:
The moment of the daily apparition is getting closer: it should happen at around 6:30pm, accounting for daylight savings time. Our wish to recreate the seers’ apparition experience in two separate locations is frustrated by Ivan’s insistence, who wants to prepare and pray together with his fellow seer.
[Resch, Gagliardi, I veggenti di Medjugorje. Ricerca psicofisiologica, p. 19]
When reading this, one should not forget that Ivan spends six months a year on the other side of the world, in Boston, MA, where he regularly receives (or claims to receive) daily apparentions all by himself.
The same argument holds for Marija, who usually experiences her apparitions in her house in Monza, Italy. Why did it suddenly become so important to be in the same room? And wouldn’t it be in their best interest to comply with the researchers’ request, and let them ascertain the truth? As a matter of fact, this way of behaving makes it easy to be suspicious.
Nonetheless, the experiments abide to the seers’ will. When the ecstasies arrive, they are simultaneous:
On the 22nd, Marija had her apparition in the same room where Ivan was […] The onset of the ecstasy was, as usual, abrupt, occurring while the two were reciting a prayer (Pater Noster) together. Her ecstasy was simultaneous with Ivan’s.
[Resch, Gagliardi, I veggenti di Medjugorje. Ricerca psicofisiologica, p. 45]
On the following day, Dr. Gagliardi asks again for an opportunity to test the two seers separately, set apart by a wall. In order to make the experiment more significant, the physicians got the two visionaries to pray at the usual time, but, in the room where Marija was, the clock was set a few minutes fast.
Let us listen to the story by Dr. Giorgio Gagliardi, during the program 30 Denari, broadcasted on 8 March 2011 by Espansione TV (for English subtitles, select the relevant function in the player bar):
The report confirms:
This ecstasy/apparition occurred in a different location than Marija’s […] The onset of Ivan’s ecstasy did not (emphasis added) coincide with Marija’s.
[Resch, Gagliardi, I veggenti di Medjugorje. Ricerca psicofisiologica, p. 96]
The difference between the two onsets was almost 5 minutes. The first to have the apparition was just Marija [cf. Resch, Gagliardi, I veggenti di Medjugorje. Ricerca psicofisiologica, pp. 47 and 96].
Now, let us turn to the second, supposedly unexplainable type of synchronicity.
In the early years, when the youngsters still had joint group apparitions, at the beginning of the apparition they moved their lips, while they were (according to them) talking to the Virgin, without those present hearing anything.
Eventually, their voices reappeared when the youngsters heard the Virgin begin reciting the Lord’s Prayer, and they continued on from "koji jesi na nebesima" (who art in Heaven).
Dr. Capello wrote in the dossier:
At the same time, and without any external command, the youngsters recover the sound of their speech, always with the words «…who art in Heaven»; In fact, they maintain that, after Virgin Mary starts the Lord’s Prayer by herself, they continue with her, reciting «who art in Heaven,» and so on. I cannot see any possible natural account for this second type of synchronicity, since it is factually impossible for the youngsters to reach an agreement beforehand.
[Frigerio et al., Dossier scientifico su Medjugorje, p. 19]
Let alone the fact that there are many ways to agree upon when to start and stop speaking at the same time, this type of synchronicity has been involuntarily denied by Father Janko Bubalo, a passionate advocate for Medjugorje, who used to live in the monastery of Humac, 10 km away from Medjugorje, and often attended to the apparitions.
In his interview book with Vicka he tells her, in 1983, something remarkable:
Ordinarily, you are the first to pick up the Our Father which, during the apparition, is begun by the Virgin, while some nights little Jakov begins the prayer.
[Janko Bubalo, A Thousand Encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje. The Seer Vicka Speaks of Her Experiences, Friends of medjugorje, Chicago, 1987, p. 114]
Therefore, it must have been possible to distinguish the voice of who was getting the prayer going, followed by the others.
As an additional confirmation, a tape of the December 9, 1983 apparition is available that contains a close-up shot of Ivanka who, ostensibly, only after hearing Vicka’s voice saying "koji" (who), picks up the prayer from the words "jesi na nebesima" (art in Heaven):
There is also a video available related to the apparition which occurred on 7 September 1985 (in front of the A.R.PA team!).
Also in this case, one can clearly see that there is no inexplicable synchronism: Jakov starts again (koji jesi...) and the other two seers who are present continue in chorus only after hearing him:
So, if these presumed synchronisms are actually such trivial phenomena, how can one explain Dr. Cappello’s astonishment in front of them?
In order to fully appreciate this physician’s attitude, it might be helpful to consider the following episode. In his report, he casually mentions Jelena and Marjana Vasilj, the other two little girls who claimed to be hearning Virgin’s Mary voice:
I also had the opportunity of talking indirectly (that is, by means of an interpreter) to Jelena, a girl of 11, and Marjana, 12, who received the gift of interior locution.
[Frigerio et al., Dossier scientifico su Medjugorje, p. 18]
The report does not say that the two girls “claimed of having received...”, but that they “received the gift of interior locution”. A true scientist, facing a presumed supernatural phenomenon that he could not even observe first-hand, would have adopted an objective and neutral expression.
This article continues on the page Science Demonstrates Nothing [Part 3]