The Extraordinary Tale of... |

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The Extraordinary Tale of...

When ten-year-old Lúcia dos Santos prophesised that the Virgin Mary would visit Earth, she could never have imagined the crowds who would flock to see


THE EXTRAORDINARY TALE OF… Was the Miracle of the Sun an optical illusion, the result of stratospheric dust, or a message from beyond?

“The Sun’s disc did not remain immobile. This was not the sparkling of a heavenly body, for it spun round on itself in a mad whirl, when suddenly a clamour was heard from all the people. The Sun, whirling, seemed to loosen itself from the firmament and advance threateningly upon the Earth as if to crush us with its huge fiery weight. The sensation during those moments was terrible.”

This was just one of the many eyewitness accounts of apparent extreme solar activity near the town of Fátima in Portugal just after midday on 13 October 1917. Similar reports were abundant – of the Sun spinning off its axis while giving off light of extraordinary colours. Another witness described the Sun resembling “the most magnificent firewheel that could be imagined, taking on all the colours of the rainbow and sending forth multicolored flashes of light.” The spectacle lasted for around ten minutes before the Sun returned to its natural state.

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About BBC History Revealed Magazine

The November 2016 issue of History Revealed.