|The Mother of all sightings. Literally...|
|In 1968, while Americans were watching the Chicago
riots at the Democratic Convention or live broadcasts from the Vietnam war,
millions of Egyptians tuned in to broadcasts of a miraculous apparition
of the Virgin Mary at a church in the town of Zeitoun, a suburb of Cairo.
The amazing thing is that they were first spotted April 2 by a Muslim
laborer named Atwa. He noticed someone walking on the dome of the Coptic
orthodox church and said he first thought it was someone who was going to
jump. He yelled at them to wait, then alerted passersby and fellow crewmen.
Well, they all found out it wasn't just some woman. The apparitions lasted
for 3 years and were broadcast by Egyptian TV, photographed by many
professional photographers and also personally witnessed by Egyptian President
Abdul Nasser. Over 1,000,000 people saw the manifestations, with sometimes
as many as 200,000 people there at the same time. They all watched Mary
pacing the roof and raising her hands in blessing - her robes being seen
to move as the wind would blow. Dove-like objects would also appear with
or around her and would move without flapping their wings, sometimes forming
geometric shapes. The apparitions were believed to be responsible for numerous
unaccountable healings, one which happened to be the finger of Atwa, which
was full of gangrene and scheduled to be removed the day after he sighted
the vision. Local seismic activity was 10 times greater than normal ...could
this have had something to do with it or was it the other way around? Local
legend said that the church had been built in 1918 by a man named Khalil,
who said the Blessed Virgin came to him in a dream and asked him to build
it. If he did, she said she would return in 50 years to bless it.
The local police, believing the apparitions to be an elaborate hoax, were unable to find any source of trickery. The government put teams of soldiers on a 15 mile radius search of the church to try to find any electrical devices or projectors which could be creating the images. Nothing was found.
These are actual Polaroids from the sighting. More info and photos can be found on the Zeitun-eg.org site, here