Science and Medjugorje

This addresses many of usual explanations for mystical visions and finds them wanting. The article is not as sensationalist as the link title suggests.

Extract: "What is most fascinating is that, in neuroscience, states of consciousness are identified through some combination of alpha (receptive) and beta (reactive) impulses. Falling into a sleep or trance state would decrease the number of alpha cycles while increasing the beta. Yet, surprisingly, the exact opposite happened during apparitions: the visionaries’ beta impulses ceased completely, showing them to be in a state that is not simply awake, but hyper-awake. A similar, general alpha rhythm state has previously been observed only in a few Trappist or Buddhist monks. And the monks, Dr. Joyeux explained, could only reach such a state with their eyes closed in meditation, and after partaking in several hours of deep prayer, while the Medjugorje visionaries reached it instantly, as the apparition began, with their eyes wide open during the entire time of the ecstasies..."
Thanks, excellent article.
This case is probably the first I have investigated some 10+ years ago. At the time I was uber skeptical and used to hastily look for "debunking" resources to learn what critics had to say. My typical starting point was CICAP, the Italian branch of CSICOP, a group compsosed of many fervent religion debunkers, with lots and lots of work done to explain away most of the classic Catholic paranormal cases such as Padre Pio, the shroud of Turin, San Gennaro's miracles etc...

Not to say that they didn't have some very valid points, but we all know the attitude of these ardent atheists... the idea is that there is no such thing as "paranormal" phenomenon. Therefore it's all about providing an alternative explanation. Any alternative explanation.

So Medjugorje is possibly the first case that struck me for the quantity and the depth of the evidence on one side, and the stubborn, irrational attitude of most debunkers to not even concede that the case is far from explained away or solved. That was probably the biggest and most difficult red flag to swallow.

In any case I will play devil's advocate a bit and propose a critic's point of view:

Also there're some gems of pure comedy that I cannot let go undetected. For example see the well know "Critical Study" By Prof. Théophile Kammerer which in his 4th point of his work points out:

4. What is really disconcerting is to see that the expertise is limited to those instrumental tests to which some superficial clinical observations are added. It presents itself as an example of neurobiological reductionism currently in vogue in the milieu of materialist neuroscience. Clearly, the problems raised by apparitions or visions relate mainly to psychology or psychopathology and require the assistance of a psychiatrist.
Holy fagioli, Batman! That's really a masterpiece of a joke :D

For more see here:éophile-kammerer-president-o.html

The Marco Corvaglia article combines the usual selective reporting and well poisoning we've come to expect. Taken in the round - and I've read a lot on Medjugorje - there are too many inexplicable aspects to be written off so perfunctorily. Rather than detail the reasons why I believe something paranormal is going on, I suggest people Google some of the tests that have been undertaken, and place the behaviour of the visionaries in the context of what they know about psychology and physiology.

The idea that Christ's mother has been appearing regularly for thirty three years may be too big a pill for people to swallow, I certainly found it to be unlikely to the point of impossibility, but I believe the details of the case are true in all essentials and the apparition is an inexplicable phenomenon.

Pandarakalam's report:
In case anyone should imagine debunking was a secular activity, here's a right wing Catholic fundie channel's take on the Medjugorje apparitions:
It's worth remembering with cases like these, that there are enormous political forces attempting to sway an outcome in their favour. Marian apparitions, even officially sanctioned ones, frequently involve some unprepossessing examples of humanity, that don't fit conventional notions of sainthood. The history is littered with flawed individuals who continue to exhibit their shortcomings while undergoing communication with the apparitions. In fact that is the norm, whatever official religious channels like to claim retrospectively.

Marian apparitions are a challenge to both wings of orthodoxy, and as ever, the rank and file take them in their stride.

Useful site:
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Hi, thanks for the links. I find Blessed Virgin Mary apparitions fascinating, and tied up with a whole lot of other stuff.

I highly recommend this excellent book on the Medjugorje visions, a must read for both sceptics & believers (written by a neautral sceptic), has intimate discussions with the "seers", and lots of history and background info on the whole phenomena, along with details of the various scientific researchers on it, and the Catholic Church's attitude to these things, along with a few other cases worldwide.

Highly recommended:

The Miracle Detective by Randall Sullivan