The miracle of the sun in Fatima was seen by 70,000 people
In the spring of 1917, three shepherd children from Aljustrel, near Fatima, told that they had seen an angel. At the beginning of May of the same year, they then saw a woman. She called herself Our Lady of the Rosary. The children told of a prophecy they received from her that prayer would bring an end to the Great War (World War I), and that on October 13 of that year she would perform a miracle “so that all may believe.” Newspapers wrote about the events and many pilgrims began to visit the area. The children’s testimony drew intense criticism from both local secular and religious authorities. A provisional administrator took the children into custody and threatened to boil them in oil if they did not take back what they had told them about the lady they claimed to have seen. The children refused to take anything back.
"Then suddenly a scream was heard, and a cry of anguish came from all the people. The sun, whirling wildly, seemed to be detached from the sky."
The three shepherd children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, to whom Our Lady appeared in Fatima, Portugal, with important messages for the world.
The solar eclipse occurred on October 13, 1917, and was witnessed by a large crowd that had gathered in Fátima, Portugal, in response to a prophecy conveyed by three shepherd children, Lúcia Santos and Francisco and Jacinta Marto. The Virgin Mary had said that there would be a great miracle that day.
Article from the magazine Ilustração Portuguesa , October 1917, reporting the solar phenomenon. According to three peasant children, this was the last of several apparitions and miracles of the Virgin Mary.
An eyewitness tells
An eyewitness account of Dr. José Maria de Almeida Garrett, Professor at the Faculty of Science in Coimbra, Portugal:
“It must have been at 1:30 p.m. when there arose a column of smoke at the place where the children were, thin, fine and bluish, which extended about two meters above their heads and thinned out at that height. This phenomenon, visible to the naked eye, lasted for a few seconds. The smoke suddenly disappeared, and after a while it reappeared a second time, then a third time.
The rain stops
The sky, which had been overcast all day, suddenly became clear, the rain stopped and the sun began to shine over the landscape that had been so gloomy on the winter morning. I watched the scene of the apparitions with calm expectation that something would happen, but later with less and less expectation, now that so much time had passed without anything happening. The sun, which just before had broken through the thick layer of clouds, now shone clearly and intensely.
Suddenly the cry of thousands of voices was heard, and I saw the whole crowd disperse before me, and all turned towards the sun. I also turned, and I could see straight into the sun, like a very clear disk, with its sharp edge, which glimmered without hurting the eyes. It should not be confused with seeing the sun through fog (there was no fog), for it was neither hidden nor dim. The sun had its usual light and warmth, and it was clearly visible in the sky with a sharp edge, like a great gambling table. The most surprising thing was that one could stare at the solar disk for so long, without damaging the eyes or the retina. The solar disk was moving, it had a dizzying motion, not like the twinkling of a star, but it was spinning around itself in a vortex.
During the solar phenomenon, which I have just described, there were also color changes in the atmosphere. When I looked at the sun, I noticed that everything went dark. I first looked at the nearest objects and then looked further away towards the horizon. I saw that everything had taken on an amethyst (purple) color. Objects around me, the sky and the atmosphere, were the same color. Everything, both near and far, had changed and taken on the color of a yellow damask cloth. People looked like they were suffering from jaundice and I remember a funny feeling seeing them looking so ugly and unattractive. My own hand was the same color.
Then suddenly a scream was heard, and a cry of anguish came from all the people. The sun, whirling wildly, now seemed detached from the sky, and now blood-red it advanced menacingly towards the earth as if to crush us with its enormity and heat and weight. The experience during those moments was truly horrible.
All the phenomena I have described I observed in a calm and peaceful state of mind without any emotional confusion. It is up to others to interpret and explain them. Finally, I must declare that I have never, before or after October 13 , observed any similar atmospheric or solar phenomenon.”
Professor Almeida Garrett’s full account can be found in Novos Documentos de Fatima (Loyola Editions, San Paulo, 1984)