Virgin Visions : Virgin visions usually take the form of seeing the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are not an uncommon phenomenon. Two famous examples of Blessed Virgin Mary Visions are as follows:
On 11th February in 1858, a 14 year old shepherdess named Bernadette Soubirous saw what she believed was a shining female figure in front of a grotto, near Lourdes in the south of France. Bernadette saw this vision 18 times during which the figure finally revealed herself as the 'Immaculate Conception'. A local priest said this identified her as the Blessed Virgin Mary. During her ninth encounter the vision instructed Bernadette to dig into the ground in the grotto. On doing so, she duly discovered an underground spring. The waters from the spring have since been claimed to possess healing powers.
After her death in 1879, Bernadette was later canonized and Lourdes has since become a place of pilgrimage for sick people all over the globe.
On 13th May in 1917, three children from Fatima in Portugal experienced the first of six visions, while they were herding sheep in a nearby pasture. The vision featured a brilliant figure of a lady above a tree. This lady said that she was from heaven and would appear before the three children, Francisco Marto, Jacinto Marto and Lucia dos Santos every 13th day of every month until October. Although news of the childrens' visions quickly spread, the adults who gathered to witness the visions only ever saw a small cloud above a tree. The children continued to claim that they could see the lady but they were soon doubted and arrested. However on August 19th they encountered another vision in which the lady told them that she would make her final appearance on 13th October.
Over 70,000 observers braved the rain that day to come and witness the sight, but only the three children saw the lady, who described herself as 'Our Lady of the Rosary'. Suddenly and without warning a few of the observers began to see the sun, rotate two or three times, whilst emitting coloured beams of light. After this, it seemed to plummet towards the earth, getting ever closer to its terrified observers, before veering back off into the sky. After the strange event the audience who had been rained on quite heavily, realised to their surprise that their clothes were in fact dry.
"Dances of the Sun" were frequently reported by children in Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina over a five year period spanning 1981 - 85. The children claimed that they saw the Virgin Mary each day which led to a count of over 2000 visions in total.
Until a completely objective study of this phenomenon takes place, the topic will remain an enigma.
Authur C Clarke