The Madonna Files Rights Sold To New York Publishing House

“On behalf of my partner Steven and our long-serving WCP Senior Staff, Jan Janssen, Marsha Briscoe, Melanie Billings, and Angela Archer, I am announcing that Start Publishing, LLC, a quickly growing NYC-based company,
has offered to acquire Whiskey Creek Press, and we have agreed to sell the company, with the exception of the Wee Creek Imprint. In speaking with the executives of Start Publishing, we have grown increasingly impressed with and
confident in their plans to grow WCP author book sales to an exciting new level, well beyond our current limited capacities.

Start Publishing is a particularly exciting company to be a part of for several reasons. They are highly skilled in e-book marketing, as evidenced by their swiftly accelerating e-book sales over the last year. They are also a fully integrated part of Start Media, a company which does feature film production and financing, and has other interests in the entertainment industry. Thus, in addition to being a thriving publishing company in its own right, Start Publishing serves as a development pool for content that might be translated into other media beyond books. We believe this is an unusual opportunity for our author body to join a reputable and growing company with exceptional resources to help grow your sales well beyond historical levels.”

Buy The Madonna Files on Amazon

Start Publishing, LLC is a New York based publishing company that specializes in the publishing and marketing of eBooks. Recently, we’ve acquired Night Shade Books eBook catalogue and have amassed roughly 2700 titles in the Start Publishing catalogue. Start Publishing has books that have won Hugo Awards, Nebula Awards and The Shirley Jackson Award as well as Locus Awards.


  • Jarred G. Weisfeld

    President, Start Publishing
    Jarred Weisfeld started his career as a Production Assistant for Vh1, where he pitched and sold a show to rap sensation Ol’ Dirty Bastard and subsequently became ODB’s manager. From there he created and produced television shows for Vh1, MTV, Spike TV and Nickelodeon. Recently Weisfeld has served as Executive Producer on “Gone Too Soon” which was seen in over 50 Countries, “Charlie Sheen: Hollywood Blackbook,” and “Chasing Gaga.”Weisfeld currently serves as CEO of Objective Entertainment; full service literary agency that represents over 250 authors. Since joining Start Publishing, Weisfeld has acquired over 1300 eBooks in addition to the science fiction publisher Night Shade Books’ entire eBook catalog.Weisfeld is a graduate of Lynn University with a BA in Communications.
  • Michael J. Maher

    CEO, Start Media

    Michael Maher serves as CEO of Start Media and is responsible for all business activities of the organization with a focus on further growing the business though both organic growth and strategic acquisitions. Since 2007 Maher has founded Wayfare Entertainment (now Start Motion Pictures), a producer and financier of studio quality independent motion pictures, Observer Capital (now Start Alternative), an investment vehicle for the Maher family with a focus on real estate investment, and most recently Start Media, which amalgamates all of Maher’s business activities to date in a multi-faceted media organization bridging exhibition, technology, content production, and publishing.In 2012 Maher and Start Media partnered with Digiplex Destinations and its CEO Bud Mayo to facilitate the rapid growth of the Digiplex theatrical footprint. The acquisition of Ultrastar Cinemas by the Start/Digiplex joint venture was the first and largest deal done through this partnership to date.Maher will serve as Executive Producer of Disney’s THE GRAVEYARD BOOK to be directed by Ron Howard and based on the multi-award winning book by Neil Gaiman; and The Weinstein Company’s PASSENGERS, starring Keanu Reeves and Rachel McAdams. Previously, Maher and Academy Award winning filmmaker James Cameron served as Executive Producers on the 3D underwater adventure feature SANCTUM. Maher also Executive Produced the upcoming science fiction adventure EUROPA REPORT, which Access Hollywood reviewed as “an instant classic… the next essential sci-fi masterpiece”; Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY, starring Zach Galifianakis for Focus Features; and Academy Award winner Neil Jordan’s multi-award winning ONDINE, starring Colin Farrell.Prior to Start Media, Michael was a Director of Operations and then a Vice President of Marketing at Maher Terminals LLC, a then family-owned Marine Terminal Operator in the Port of New York and New Jersey. Maher Terminals was sold to a private equity fund in 2007.Maher is a graduate of Duke University and has an MBA from New York University.


Russian Orthodox Priest Blesses New Secret Russian Nuclear Submarine

Russian Orthodox Priest Blesses New Secret Russian Nuclear Submarine


photo credit via RBTH/Vladimir Rodionov/RIA Novosti


On June 17, the new Project-885 Yasen-class nuclear submarine officially became part of the Russian Navy’s fleet

The launch of this nuclear submarine is considered a revolution for the Soviet submarine fleet.

According to Business Insider “The key feature of the Yasen-class submarine, which still remains one of the Russian defense industry’s most closely guarded projects, is its universality, previously unachievable either by its Russian predecessors or their foreign equivalents”
Read more:

Bad Week for Neo Cons and the USA War Industry

    1. Eric Cantor lost election badly to unknown college professor .. Mr. Cantor is a renowned Chicken Hawk and Neocon

    2. Mosul the second largest city in Iraq has been overrun by Al Queda insurgents. Iraq is now on fire. (Wasn’t the surge supposed to eliminate this potential.

     3. Taliban have shut down the Karachi Airport  in Pakistan

     4. Five of America’s finest special forces military hero were killed in a “friendly” fire incident.

      5. Five dangerous Taliban leaders were exchanged for a prisoner of war who may have deserted his post.

6. “The Western Powers that have irresponsibly and incomprehensibly aided the Islamist rebellion that has all but destroyed Christian life in Syria are directly responsible for the new development – the third largest and very ancient Iraqi city of Mosul fell to the invading international Syria-based Jihadists this Tuesday.” From Roate Caeli ….

Obedience of American Medjugorje Fans


Obedience of American Medjugorje Fans

On October 22,
2013 the Papal Nuncio to the United States wrote

a letter stating that Catholics 
“are not permitted”  to participate in meetings
which take for granted that the supposed Marian apparitions in Medjugorje are

The United States Catholic press quickly labeled
this announcement a
“Bombshell”  for Medjugorje’s many devoted followers.

The press was right in many ways. Indeed the consequences to Medjugorje cottage
“industries” including conferences and Catholic tour operators were swift and
decisive. The National Medjugorje Conference, annually held at Notre Dame, was immediately
cancelled. Numerous other Marian conferences across the country were either
canceled or reorganized to reduce the formal promotion of Medjugorje.   Well
known priest and longtime supporter of Medjugorje Father Donald Calloway immediately
cancelled his pilgrimage to Medjugorje.

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But the remarkable untold story is the
strict obedience displayed by even the most devout Medjugorje fans – dubbed by
some as “Med Heads” to the Catholic Church’s desires regarding Medjugorje.  There was little outcry or loud demands for
the Church to withdrawn the Papal Nuncio’s “clarification”.

What is striking about this display of
quiet obedience is that many Catholic pundits have ridiculed Medjugorje and its
followers as a movement rooted in disobedience. Their claim is that the Bishop,
who has authority over Medjugorje, has been skeptical of the alleged visionaries
who say they see the Virgin Mary. Some high profile pundits have even
written that Medjugorje, because of its history of “disobedience” and huge
popularity, was potentially schismatic to the Catholic Church.

But observers of Medjugorje can now see that obedience to the Catholic Church has been the overwhelming response by devout fans of Medjugorje.

As the Vatican continues to study Medjugorje its followers wait patiently for guidance from the Church.  Perhaps this is another example of the spiritual fruits of Medjugorje.

Holy Humor

Holy Humor
A father was approached by his small son who told him proudly, “I
know what the Bible means!”
His father smiled and replied, “What do you mean, you ‘know’ what the Bible means?
The son replied, “I do know!”
“Okay,” said his father. “What does the Bible mean?”
“That’s easy, Daddy…” the young boy replied excitedly,” It stands for
‘Basic Information Before Leaving Earth..’
(This one is my favorite)
There was a very gracious lady who was mailing an old
family Bible to her brother in another part of the country.
“Is there anything breakable in here?” asked the postal clerk.
“Only the Ten Commandments.” answered the lady.
“Somebody has said there are only two kinds of
people in the world. There are those who wake up in the
morning and say, “Good morning, Lord,” and there
are those who wake up in the morning and say, “Good
Lord, it’s morning.”
A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a
large city because he was short of time and couldn’t
find a space with a meter.
Then he put a note under the windshield wiper that read:
“I have circled the block 10 times. If I don’t park here, I’ll miss my
appointment. Forgive us our trespasses.”
When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer
along with this note “I’ve circled this block for 10 years.
If I don’t give you a ticket I’ll lose my job. Lead us not into temptation.”
There is the story of a pastor who got up one Sunday
and announced to his congregation: “I have good news
and bad news. The good news is, we have enough money to pay
for our new building program. The bad news is, it’s
still out there in your pockets.”
While driving in Pennsylvania , a family caught up to
an Amish carriage. The owner of the carriage obviously had a
sense of humor, because attached to the back of the
carriage was a hand printed sign… “Energy efficient
vehicle: Runs on oats and grass. Caution: Do not step in
A Sunday School teacher began her lesson with a
question, “Boys and girls, what do we know about God?”;
A hand shot up in the air. “He is an artist!” said
the kindergarten boy.
“Really? How do you know?” the teacher asked.
“You know – Our Father, who does art in Heaven…”
A minister waited in line to have his car filled with
gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked
quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him. Finally, the
attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump.
“Reverend,” said the young man, “I’m so
sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until
the last minute to get ready for a long trip.”
The minister chuckled, “I know what you mean. It’s
the same in my business.”
People want the front of the bus, the back of the
church, and the center of attention.
Sunday after church, a Mom asked her very young
daughter what the lesson was about.
The daughter answered, “Don’t be scared, you’ll get your quilt.”
Needless to say, the Mom was perplexed. Later in the day,
the pastor stopped by for tea and the Mom asked him what
that morning’s Sunday school lesson was about.
He said “Be not afraid, thy comforter is coming.”
The minister was preoccupied with thoughts of how he
was going to ask the congregation to come up with more money
than they were expecting for repairs to the church building.
Therefore, he was annoyed to find that the regular organist
was sick and a substitute had been brought in at the last
minute.. The substitute wanted to know what to play.
“Here’s a copy of the service,” he said impatiently. “But, you’ll
have to think of something to play after I make the announcement
about the finances.”
During the service, the minister paused and said,
“Brothers and Sisters, we are in great difficulty; the
roof repairs cost twice as much as we expected and we need
$4,000 more. Any of you who can pledge $100 or more, please
stand up.”
At that moment, the substitute organist played “The
And that is how the substitute became the regular organist!
When you carry the Bible, Satan gets a headache…..
When you open it, he collapses…..
When he sees you reading it, he faints…..
When he sees that you are living what you read, he flees……
And when you are about to forward this message….
He will try and discourage you…
I just defeated him!!!

Why I Still Believe in Medjugorje

by John Beutler

On Christmas Eve in 1986, I stumbled on to a book about Medjugorje when I went into a Christian bookstore looking for a book for my mother. I had no idea that any such book existed. A year earlier, I had read a few short news items about six children in Yugoslavia who said they were seeing and talking to the Virgin Mary since June 24, 1981. I was shocked that these reports could be coming out of a Communist country.

After reading a couple of books, I wanted to go to Medjugorje to see if what I had read was true, which I did in 1987. I witnessed miracles and experienced a personal conversion on that visit that no one could explain. I went to Medjugorje again in the 1990s and experienced supernatural events that confirmed to me the existence of heaven and hell. In 1995, I helped start the Marian Peace Center of Lansing. And, just this past May, 2012, I went to Medjugorje again with one of my sons and good friends from Grand Rapids. Much has changed in the 25 years since my first visit, but much is also the same.

MEDJUGORJE IS STILL A TASTE OF HEAVEN: There is great peacefulness in the holy places, shrines, and the village; many people attest that their pilgrimage has helped them tremendously; property owners still allow pilgrims to walk the paths through their vineyards and other fields to go to the holy sites; many Masses are celebrated in various languages throughout each entire day in St. James Church attended by large numbers of pilgrims; many priests con-celebrate the daily Masses and hear confessions in many different languages; Eucharistic Adoration is promoted and many thousands attend the beautiful Saturday night holy hours; great love of Jesus and Our Blessed Mother is expressed and encouraged, as well as obedience to the Pope and Magisterium of the Catholic Church. There is always a strong emphasis on prayer and the sacraments in order to live the Gospels and have the strength to love and serve others.

OTHER THINGS HAVE CHANGED: The six children are grown and are no longer together for the daily 6:40 pm apparitions, and yet many thousands still go to Medjugorje each week. (Only three of the visionaries still report daily apparitions; the other three report annual or periodic apparitions). Many pilgrims who go to Medjugorje might only see or hear a talk from one of the visionaries, and yet many thousands still go there each week. There are no apparitions in the church or surrounding buildings as in the past, and yet many thousands still go there each week. The well-known priests, who were in Medjugorje during the early years, are no longer around and available to give regular talks, and yet many thousands still go there each week. Dramatic healings and supernatural phenomena have decreased or are not publicized as much as in the past, and yet many thousands still go there each week. These points may help prove the genuineness of these reported apparitions; they can also add to the good fruits from the apparitions.

As Father Edward D. O’Connor, C.S.C. writes in his book, Marian Apparitions Today: Why So Many?, if no one paid attention to reported apparitions, there would be no need or occasion for the Church to make a judgment on them. There would be no approved apparitions anywhere if a lot of people had not followed them, converted their lives, and visited the site where the visions occurred. Prophecy is a permanent gift to the Church.

A few people, especially some good Catholic apologists in the U.S., are trying to discourage others from believing that these could be true apparitions of the Virgin Mary. It is somewhat understandable because most of these apologists are well-known for debating often with Protestants, and the whole subject of Marian devotion and apparitions is a very difficult hurdle for most Protestants. So expressing disbelief in Medjugorje could actually help them in their apologetics work, which may or may not be their motive. However, there is no evidence that the visionaries are a fraud. The criticisms of Medjugorje are miniscule compared to the gigantic achievements that have occurred through Medjugorje over the past 31 years.

It is too easy for some people in this day of extreme skepticism and disbelief to draw a box around what they think God can do or what He is doing. Even if Medjugorje receives some form of official approval, these apologists may never go there because no one has to believe in apparitions, but it would be far more prudent to withhold their criticisms until the Vatican issues a ruling on the matter because the tremendous good coming from Medjugorje, as supported by numerous bishops and priests, could well be a work of the Holy Spirit.

One of the most convincing arguments that the six reported visionaries are telling the truth is that it is absolutely unheard-of that six children could grow up and become mature adults, often not seeing each other for long periods of time, and all six of them still keep up a so-called fraud for more than 30 years without at least one of them breaking down and going against everything the others are saying. But this has not happened, even from the visionaries who no longer report daily apparitions. And it never happened when they were all teens or young adults, the most unlikely time for any group of six people to maintain a so-called fraud while sacrificing so much in comparison to most other individuals their age.

For 31 years, the visionaries tell the same story about how the visions began and all the same details about the visions. They live lives that are not easy with many demands placed upon them and have given countless talks and interviews. They have their apparitions in the same way as they always have. They pray the Rosary, then raise their heads when Mary comes and they talk in an animated way with her as the visions occur. On various occasions I have been close to more than one of the visionaries during their apparitions and I have seen this myself. I wish everyone who doubts could witness this up close, or that they would look closely at the many videos on-line showing this. It is still happening after 31 years, which some people think is too long for God to allow any apparitions.

But even Lucia of Fatima had apparitions long after the 1917 apparitions (such as in 1925, 1926, 1927, and later, as documented in Fatima for Today by Fr. Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R., 2010). And according to Lucia’s own nephew, Father Jose dos Santos Valinho, a Salesian priest who lives in Portugal, said the Virgin Mary told Lucia after 1981 that the Madonna’s work was continuing in Medjugorje, as documented by the French author Sister Emmanuel Maillard in her book Medjugorje, Triumph of the Heart! (2004). (Also see related article by Daniel Klimek, July 1, 2011.)

Why is Medjugorje important? If it were not for Medjugorje, the world and the entire Church would be in far worse condition than it is. There would be far less support for the Pope and Magisterium because Medjugorje is a staunch supporter of faithful Catholicism. The people involved in Medjugorje and millions of people affected by it usually grow into very strong Catholics who support official Church teachings. The conversions of countless sinners and rebellious people are wonderful fruits that build up the Church and help to destroy the influence and evil works of Satan.

Medjugorje continues because the Church needs much more help in counteracting the dictatorship of relativism and rampant atheism. Medjugorje has helped millions of people to know that God exists, that Jesus is the Son of God and He loves and wants every person to go to heaven, that daily Mass, regular Confession, daily Scripture reading, and the Rosary are very important, and that we should practice regular fasting each week. Prior to Medjugorje, many of these practices were not emphasized and were even discouraged in many quarters of the Church. There have been more priestly and religious vocations and conversions through Medjugorje than any other single place over the past three decades, more than anywhere else in the world. People can read new conversion stories every month. If this is happening anywhere else in the world, even the Catholic press is not reporting it.

I love the approved apparition sites, but, in our increasingly skeptical and secularized world, millions of people find it reassuring to feel and know that God continues to reach out in miraculous ways to help everyone know the truths in the Scriptures, even more than He has done in recent centuries. There is an explosion of miracles in the lives of many people because the evil in our times allows God to intervene to combat the extreme evil in the world. Mary is begging us to love Jesus with our whole heart and to live the Gospels with passion and conviction. Let us pray for one another and for a great increase in love and humility, especially towards anyone who disagrees with us about Medjugorje.

NOTE: The Church has not yet issued a final decision on the reported apparitions in Medjugorje. The Vatican is in charge of Medjugorje and took control of it under then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), removing authority for passing judgement on Medjugorje from the local bishops and placing the matter in the hands of a Vatican Commission. Whatever the final decision of the Church is, we will accept it and trust in God.

Bio of John Beutler - I was in a seminary for seven years, served in the Vietnam War, have a Masters Degree in public administration, and worked for a non-partisan staff for the Michigan state senate for 30 years. I reside in Lansing, Michigan and have been director of the Marian Peace Center of Lansing for the past 17 years.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the Little Known Connection to Slavery and the Battle of the Alamo

By Stephen Ryan

Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the Little Known Connection to Slavery and the battle at the Alamo 


“This New World has been won and conquered by the hand of the Virgin Mary. Our Lady of Guadalupe is often considered a mixture of the cultures which blend to form Mexico, both racially and religiously Guadalupe is sometimes called the “first mestiza“or “the first Mexican”. In the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Mary O’Connor writes that Guadalupe “brings together people of distinct cultural heritages, while at the same time affirming their distinctness.”

When considering the cultural and historical significance of the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe,  it is very common to view the mystical events  from the rather narrow context of how the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary that appeared on Juan Diego’s “Tilma” led to the rise of Christianity in Mexico.   The conversion of millions of Aztecs to Christianity also ended the  long and gruesome era of pagan rituals and human sacrifice.

But the mystery of the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe runs deeper when we look closely at some important events with respect to race and religion that occurred in the early days of Mexico’s development as a nation and how these early events, in part, shaped the history of the United States.

On December 6, 1810 a Catholic priest named Father Miguel Hidalgo – considered the “Father of Mexico” – after battling anti-clerical leaders, issued a decree  to abolish slavery in Mexico.  Earlier that year, Hidalgo had led a group of peasants in a revolt under the banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Father Hidalgo was assassinated in July of 1811 but his legacy to abolish slavery in Mexico would endure.   On September 15, 1829 the second President of Mexico, Vicente Ramon Guerrero, a black man - his father was of African descent – an amazingly important but little known historical fact – freed all slaves within the Republic of Mexico including the Mexican territory of Texas.  A few years prior to the new law, in 1821, Mexico accepted Americans to settle the Mexican territory of Texas, under the conditions that the settlers observe Mexican laws, including the abolition of slavery.

Texas had it’s own “Father” – Stephen Austin – who came to Texas carrying with him slaves from Arkansas.  Stephen Austin, a protestant Christian,   held very different Biblical views pertaining to the rights to own  slaves then did the Catholic leaders of Mexico and these difference would ultimately lead to war between Mexico and the United States.

Early in his presidency, Vicente Guerrero sent a letter to Stephen Austin, informing him of the new law abolishing slavery in the Mexican territory of Texas.    The Mexican President immediately received a warning back from Texas not to enforce the   new law. Then in 1836 the new Mexican President, Santa Anna, who succeeded Vicente Guerrero, sent troops to the Alamo, an old Catholic outpost and church to enforce the decree.

Most Americans, of course, are familiar with the battle of the Alamo – movies, books and Davy Crockett – have made the Alamo an iconic symbol of American culture,  but very few get past the Alamo’s heroic image.   The great irony of the Alamo is that the battle was fought by American protestants against Catholic Mexicans over the right to hold other people in bondage.

Despite this fact, today,  the battle for the Alamo is one of the most recognized symbols of American bravery and heroism.

Instead of a great symbol of America’s “God Given” right to fulfill its manifest destiny, one  could argue, that the Alamo nothing more than a jingoistic emblem of America’s long history of  racism and support of slavery.


Our Lady of Guadalupe and her role in American history is explored in depth in The Madonna Files


Tears of the Virgin Mary meet the Smoke of Satan


By Stephen Ryan Author of The Madonna Files

“On June 29, 1972   Paul VI spoke of God’s enemy supreme, that enemy of man called Satan, enemy of the Church. “The smoke of Satan”, warned Paul VI, “has found its way into the Church through the fissures”. It was an anguished warning that caused great shock and scandal, even within the Catholic world.”…From an interview with the Vatican’s chief excorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth by Stefano Maria Paci

The Mystery

For years, many close to the Church had speculated on how an Evil – the Smoke of Satan – would manifest itself inside the Catholic Church – inside “certain chanceries” and then on a hot summer day in August – a clue.

On August 11, 1992, the long time Chancellor to the diocese of Arlington in Virginia, 53-year-old Monsignor William Reinecke, walked into a nondescript cornfield in Berryville, Virginia, near the Holy Cross Trappist Monastery with a loaded shotgun and killed himself.  His death would leave behind a long shadow of untold secrets – secrets of both good and evil- secrets whose scope, nearly twenty years later, are only now beginning to be fully understood.


During an implausible six months in 1992, Chancellor Reinecke would quite literally come face to face with both the divine and the damned.

Before the Chancellor’s death, five months earlier, on March 6, 1992, a local television affiliate of CBS news aired a story, initially without much fanfare, about mysterious occurrences of weeping statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary taking place in Lake Ridge, Virginia, a quite suburb twenty miles south of the Nation’s Capitol. The extraordinary events were mostly occurring at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church (SEAS) and its rectory.

The reported weeping Madonnas were associated with a local priest named Father Jim Bruse – they seemed to tear in his presence. Father Bruse was also experiencing the “wounds of Christ” known as the Stigmata.

Many eye-witnesses to the events and those who have investigated the incident argue that never in the entire history of the Catholic Church, has there been a greater manifestation of the supernatural or momentous occurrence of weeping statues and other physical signs of God’s presence through the Blessed Virgin Mary than what took place on the outskirts of Washington, D.C.  in 1991 – 1993.

There were hundreds, if not thousands, of credible witnesses who saw the statues of the Virgin Mary weep before their eyes, including lawyers, military officers and government employees. Most significantly the Bishop of the Arlington Diocese, John R. Keating along with  Monsignor William Reinecke both witnessed  the weeping Madonnas . On March 2, 1992  Father Hamilton and Father Bruse met with Bishop Keating at the Chancery along with Monsignor William Reinecke  and  both prelates had  their own Madonna statues at the meeting . Bishop Keating had two in his office and Monsignor Reinecke brought one of his own. In addition, Fr Bruse, had brought his little Fatima statue with him. During the  meeting all the statues wept. Reportedly, this convinced Bishop Keating that the weeping is a genuine phenomenon and should be so treated. These events have been reported in the book –  The Seton Miracles

Within days of the CBS news report, the story of the weeping statues and the priest experiencing the stigmata would become a worldwide media sensation.  The Washington Post and a throng of other national and international news organizations descended onto the community to report and investigate the miraculous occurrences. To this day, the spontaneous media frenzy that engulfed the unexplained events stands as a singular moment in television history in the coverage of mystical religious phenomena.

Then suddenly, the Chancery Office to the diocese of Arlington, headed by Monsignor Reinecke, concerned about the “circus atmosphere” at the Lake Ridge parish, and with the blessing of the Bishop,  coldly shut everything down. The statues of the Madonna, mind you, continued to weep, at times profusely, but as far as the diocese of Arlington and the Catholic Church were concerned the matter was officially over.

The Chancery stated its position regarding the miraculous events in a formal declaration to the Pastor of St. Elisabeth Seton Catholic Church.  In a nutshell, the declaration said that since there was no overt divine message being delivered, there was nothing to investigate and the parish and the clergy from that point forward were forbidden to talk about the events.  This decision, to many parishioners was not only profoundly sad but seemed to be an odd determination since only physical phenomena can be investigated. Reports of apparitions and locutions cannot be investigated. They can merely be assessed as to whether they are consistent with Catholic faith and morals.

The Smoke of Satan

Within months of dismissing the tears of Our Lady and silencing the talk of the highly publicized miraculous events, Monsignor William Reinecke,  would again make newspaper headlines –  this time by committing suicide in the cornfield by the monastery.

After the suicide, at first, shocked priests, parishioners,and friends searched for answers.  Many blamed themselves for failing to see Monsignor’s Reinecke quiet despair.

But soon after the suicide a startling report surfaced in the Washington Post. Joe McDonald, a former altar boy from another parish, claimed that Father Reinecke sexually molested him twenty-five years ago and said he had confronted the priest about the incident two days before Reinecke killed himself.

Then another bombshell. After reporting the allegations of sexual molestation, The Washington Post revealed that William Reinecke was also, scandalously, the person in charge of investigating claims of pedophilia for the Arlington Diocese.

On August 30, 1992, after being rebuffed by the diocese of Arlington to discuss Reinecke’s death,  Joe McDonald contacted the Washington Post and  told his story of  his sexual abuse by Father Reinecke. Then, according the Post, Bishop John R. Keating, after reading the story in the newspaper, sought out Mr. McDonald to discuss the matter. In the meeting with the Bishop’s representatives he asked the diocese to establish support groups for victims and priests, but Mr. McDonald said no “concrete proposals” came out of his meeting and was upset that they asked him to “stop speaking out”.

Five months earlier Bishop Keating and Monsignor Reinecke had also asked the parishioners of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton to stop speaking and the diocese has rebuffed all inquires to investigate the mysterious events of the weeping Madonnas  for nearly twenty years.

In 2006 Becky Ianni came forward saying that in the late 1960s, when she was ten years old, she  had been sexually abused by  Fr. Reinecke.  She told the Washington Postthat Father Reinecke gave  her family their first color TV set and  within days, while watching the brand new TV in the basement,  the molestation started.  ”I didn’t tell anyone what happened,” she said. “I was basically told that I’d go to hell if I did.” Ianni said she no longer considers herself a practicing Catholic.”I became so disillusioned,” she said. “I realized I couldn’t be a part of a church that wouldn’t deal appropriately with these victims.”

Of course nobody on that tragic day would hear the gun go off that killed Monsignor Reinecke.   But now, looking back on the events of 1992, as Our Lady was weeping like never before in history,  perhaps the gunshot was the “shot heard ‘round the world” because within months of the accused pedophile’s suicide – a man in charge of pedophilia investigations for the diocese, the Catholic Church’s  sexual abuse crises would begin to unfold.

In the 2004  John Jay Report on sexual abuse, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,  it stated that “prior to 1993, only one-third of sex-abuse cases were known to church officials,”    The Sex abuse catastophe, as we now know, has become, arguably, the single greatest challenge to the hearts, minds, and souls of the Catholic faithful – many have left the faith because of it – and to this day the Vatican continues to endure the ramifications of what Pope Benedict XVI has described as a “wretchedness” inside the Church.  The Smoke of Satan had indeed entered the Church and the Blessed Virgin Mother  wept for the loss of so many souls.

The Aftermath 

Bishop Keating and Monsignor Reinecke’s  decision to ignore the miraculous events of the weeping statues continues to be an unsolved  mystery and to many  a very unfortunate one. The decision to ignore the events did not leave a neutral opinion in its wake. It left a negative implication, some even believe the events have been condemned by the diocese of Arlington.

The bishop’s apparent disinterest suggested that he must know something negative about the cause of the phenomena.

The tragedy of this situation is that the local bishop, then Most Rev. John R. Keating and now Most Rev. Paul Loverde, have refused to even acknowledge the events much less investigate them to determine whether they constitute a true sign from God that the faithful could consider as miraculous.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect to all of this is that the point man in charge of silencing talk of the Seton Miracles, a man who was also overseeing investigations into claims of sexual abuse by clergy, may well have been a pedophile.

Recently the bishop of Green Bay, Wisconsin, just recognized the first official apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the United States to a nun in 1859.  The church is the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help at Champion, just east of Green Bay near Lake Michigan.  For purposes of the Seton Miracles, it demonstrates that it is not too late to conduct this investigation and make a determination of validity.

Indeed it is never to late to investigate the miraculous and to be sure prominent people still seek answers and guidance from the diocese of Arlington. Citing the weeping statues and miracles that took place in the outskirts of Washington D.C.,Justice Scalia recently arguedthat “It isn’t irrational to accept the testimony of eyewitnesses to miracles. What is irrational,” is to reject a priori, with no investigation… which is, of course, precisely what the worldly wise do. Why wasn’t that church absolutely packed with nonbelievers, seeking to determine if there might be something to this?”  The answer was obvious, he said with disdain: “The wise do not investigate such silliness.”

The words of Supreme Court Justice leaves us asking why indeed was the church not packed with officials of the diocese of Arlington to investigate the mysteries that obviously to this day haunt Justice Scalia. Clearly, Justice Scalia has not heard evidence to his satisfaction to make a ruling in the extraordinary case of the weeping statues of the Blessed Mother.

If an honest investigation determines that there were natural causes for all of the strange things that happened around Fr. Bruse, in Lake Ridge, Va. great!   – the matter could then be put to rest  But we don’t believe that will be the outcome of a true investigation.  We don’t see how such a conclusion would be possible.  But, that’s the purpose of investigating.

Former Rolling Stone Contributing Editor and Oprah TV Show Host Offers Praise for “The Madonna Files”

Randall Sullivan

Randall  Sullivan,  who was a contributing editor to Rolling Stone magazine for more than 20 years and a host for a television show on the Oprah Winfrey Network,  offered some praise for the new thriller published by Whiskey Creek Press “The Madonna Files”.

Mr. Sullivan writes :“The Madonna Files is  fast-paced, tightly-plotted religious mystery with genuine spirituality at its core.”

About The Madonna Files:

Stephen Ryan’s  book is a  contemporary religious thriller described in an Amazon review as ”a cross between Indiana Jones and a Dan Brown mystery.”

The Madonna Files is, for the most part, set in the near future, but the story begins with a mysterious event that takes place in Rwanda just as the genocide begins to rip that country apart.   From there, the story quickly moves to the outskirts of Washington D.C., where Father Daniel Baronowski finds himself in a deadly race against time to locate a letter stolen from the Pope’s apartment. The letter contains an apocalyptic message.  The hunt for the letter takes Father Dan on an epic journey across the globe.  From Rome to Washington D.C., from Annapolis to grand cathedrals and secret hideouts, Father Dan must find the letter with the secret message before enemies of the Church find it first.

The Madonna Files was recently selected as a featured debut novel for the International Thrillers Writers conference to be held in New York on July 12.


More Reviews:

“I found it to be a great book; a fascinating, fast-paced thriller, written in a strong voice, filled with rich dialogue, complex and colorful characters, a story-line that tackles the most meaningful, religious and political subjects in the world. It is an impressive work…Move over Dan Brown, I was blown away!”  -  DANIEL KLIMEK -Scholar, seminarian and Marian expert featured in the full length motion picture –  ”Queen of Peace

“A Powerful book of adventure and faith” - FRANK SCHAEFFER is a New York Times best selling author of fiction and nonfiction. Frank’s highly acclaimed novels include Portofino, Zermatt and Saving Grandma and have been translated into nine languages. His nonfiction includes Crazy For God and Keeping Faith. Frank is a frequent commentator on MSNBC and a blogger on the Huffington Post

5.0 out of 5 stars An intellectually rich and satisfying read. April 22, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Initially, the array of characters and multiple global settings present an intimidating read, but under Stephen Ryan’s deft hand, every character is fully developed and their critical role in this complex story, divulged. The strong story line juxtaposed with modern religious and political intrigue more than holds a reader’s interest. However, the true brilliance of this book is the depth and wealth of knowledge imparted by the author in the course of storytelling. Fascinating facts of Catholic faith, especially mysticism, melded with an insider’s knowledge of financial markets and sailing, make “The Madonna Files” an intellectually rich and satisfying read.
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS BOOK IS AWESOME!, September 27, 2013
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Madonna Files (Kindle Edition)
If you are a Da Vinci Code fan, YOU MUST READ THIS — Vatican intrique set in the Washington, DC area. I could see the map, streets, rivers, etc. — WHAT FUN! The complexity of the history, story development, character relationships, twists and turns are astounding. The history was so believable that I kept thinking — “wow, I didn’t know that!” The worst news is it ended. I WANT MORE IMMEDIATELY!!!







Medjugorje – Scientific Investigations – Sensational Evidence That God Exists

800px-AngelsBridgeAndBasilicaDiSanPietroAtNight2.jpgBy Daniel Klimek 

Daniel is a PH.D candidate at Catholic University.

The spiritual significance of the apparitions in Medjugorje is of course monumental and, in many ways, self-evident. However, few people may know how much Medjugorje means on a scientific and academic level, especially in regard to the study of mysticism and supernatural phenomena. Medjugorje’s implications, largely due to the timely significance of the apparitions, constitute a breakthrough for the study of mystical experience.

Throughout the centuries countless of Christians have reported experiencing mystical phenomena, both bodily and spiritual. The late-medieval and early-modern periods are especially studied richly in this tradition. From a stigmatic like Francis of Assisi to medieval visionaries like Catherine of Siena, Hildegard of Bingen, Angela of Foligno, Julian of Norwich, to famous early-modern mystics, especially the great Spaniards like Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Ignatius of Loyola, to lesser known (or unknown) figures of the time, the examples of existing Christian mystics between these periods are pervasive. Because claims like visionary or apparitional experience were prevalently reported in the distant past, however, usually reduced to the medieval and early-modern framework, they became that much easier to dismiss for contemporary thinkers.


Sidney Callahan, a professor and psychologist, explains: “Suspicions that religious beliefs and fervent religious experiences are a form of mental pathology still prevail in our world.” Likewise Amy Hollywood, Harvard scholar of Christian mysticism and medieval history, additionally points out that mysticism often—and thus mystical experience, particularly—is denigrated by skeptical scholars through psychoanalytical categories as simply constituting a form of hysteria, among other possible natural disorders. “Most scholars who have wanted to take mysticism seriously have, as a result of such dismissive diagnoses, either avoided the term ‘hysteria’ entirely or have reserved it for those figures seen as somehow marginal, excessive, or troubling to standard religious categories.” Speaking of the reported visionary experiences of medieval mystics of the Christian tradition, Columbia University neurologist Oliver Sacks argues: “It is impossible to ascertain in the vast majority of cases, whether the experience represents a hysterical or psychotic ecstasy, the effects of intoxication or an epileptic or migrainous manifestation.” Noticeably, the possibility of a genuine mystical experience is not even considered by Sacks in light of these neurological (and, therefore, natural) alternatives.

Religious historian Moshe Sluhovsky, likewise, points to the numerous “natural” diagnoses which are employed by many modern scholars to dismiss the validity of mystical experiences, whether divine or diabolical, especially reported experiences of late-medieval and early-modern Europe. Such diagnoses include: “insanity, hysteria, paralysis, imbecility, or epilepsy…” Yet Sluhovsky aptly explains that stereotyping Christians of past centuries, particularly of early-modern Europe, as ignorant of medical or psychological causes for abnormal (if not paranormal) behavior constitutes an erroneous approach, if not an altogether arrogant dismissal, obstructing serious study of such cases. Since matters like hysteria and epilepsy were “all classifications of afflictions that were not unfamiliar to early modern people” the assumption “that medieval and early modern people were simply not sophisticated enough to know the right meanings of the symptoms they experienced and witnessed tells us more about modern scholarly arrogance than about premodern ailments and healing techniques, or about early modern configurations of the interactions with the divine,” Sluhovsky concludes.

This is exactly what makes the case of Medjugorje so unique and important: by occurring in our contemporary society of the late-twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the apparitions have been able to be scrutinized by exhaustive medical and scientific investigations unavailable to past generations—instead of remaining untested and being prejudicially dismissed by modern thinkers as constituting a case of hysteria, fraud, or any other possible natural explanation. In other words, the timing of the phenomenon has shielded it from the unexamined (and presumptuous) dismissal which so many medieval and early-modern mystical claims have received by skeptical critics. Now, with Medjugorje, skeptics need to deal with concrete empirical evidence, instead of simply proposing preconceived reductionist theories about mystical experience. As author and journalist Randall Sullivan explained: “the apparitions in Medjugorje had been subjected to perhaps more medical and scientific examination than any purported supernatural event in the history of the human race.” Similarly, Andrew Newberg, a radiologist at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, and Eugene D’ Aquili, a professor of psychiatry at Pennsylvania, have made the claim that: “It is possible that with the advent of improved technologies for studying the brain, mystical experiences may finally be differentiated from any type of psychopathology.”

The majority of the studies conducted on the young Medjugorje visionaries, which have ranged from polygraphs to neurological examinations, psychiatric tests, electrocardiogram, blood pressure and heart rhythm examinations, and electroencephalogram tests measuring brain waves during ecstasies, have supported the integrity of the apparitions. The tests have shown that the visionaries were not lying or hallucinating, nor were they in any epileptic or hypnotic state during their daily ecstasies but, indeed, experiencing something unexplainable, beyond the boundaries of scientific understanding. Furthermore, numerous miraculous healings have also been reported at Medjugorje, many of them copiously documented with abundant medical evidence supporting the claims.

Thus, at Medjugorje, for the first time in human history, neuroscience and medical examination have played an instrumental role in penetrating the interior depths of mysticism by combining scientific inquiry with spiritual experience, thus elucidating our knowledge of the subject with empirical examination of the visionaries’ ecstasies. As the French doctor Henri Joyeux, an internationally renowned physician and Professor of Cancerology in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Montpellier, explained in regard to the timely significance of the apparitions:

“Ecstasy is seen as a sensory perception of realities that are perceivable by and visible to the visionaries but invisible to and imperceivable by all others and, in particular, those who seek to understand. For the first time in history science can study these facts as they unfold in Medjugorje and not merely a posteriori. The most advanced medical techniques and the most up-to-date photographic and cinematographic techniques help us to reach the kernel of these events in order to try to understand them.”

This is much different from Oliver Sacks’ neurological reductionism, which applied no empiricism to the study of mysticism whatsoever but simply postulated that mystical experience cannot be authentic by offering neurological euphemisms for the experiences of medieval visionaries. The Medjugorje visionaries, on the other hand, have been tested for all of the natural symptoms which are usually applied by skeptics to discredit mystical experience, thus undermining reductionist theories against the apparitions. Dr. Joyeux led a team of French physicians from the University of Montpelier to examine the Medjugorje seers in ecstasy during their daily apparitions of the Virgin, when the visionaries simultaneously fall to their knees and enter an ecstatic state, which has the appearance of a trance. This phenomenon takes place daily at the same time (5:45 pm in the winter and 6:45 pm in the summer). Dr. Joyeux’s concluding report, delivered in the spring of 1985, stated: “The ecstasies are not pathological, nor is there any element of deceit. No scientific discipline seems able to describe these phenomena.” He explained that “these young people are healthy and there is no sign of epilepsy, nor is it a sleep or dream state. It is neither a case of pathological hallucination nor hallucination in the hearing or sight faculties…It cannot be a cataleptic state, for during ecstasy the facial muscles are operating in a normal way.” Through meticulous examination and investigation, the scientific studies have been able to disqualify all possible alternative, natural explanations for the apparitions.

Electroencephalogram tests, measuring brain waves and thus indicating the rhythms of brain activity through electrodes attached to eight different parts of the skull, were used on the visionaries and the results were recorded as taking place before, during, and after the apparitions. The electroencephalograms confirmed that pathological symptoms were not present before, during, or after ecstasy, excluding the possibility of epilepsy, paroxystic hallucination, or any sleep or dream state which can ignite hallucinations that are observable in cases of extreme mental disorder or in the course of atrophic dementia. All these were ruled out, since clinical studies proved the visionaries to be completely healthy, mentally and physically, and the electroencephalograms indicated the presence of type alpha (receptive) rhythms in their brain activity during ecstasies, which display the “normal electrical activity associated with wakefulness…” 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. In sum, the results especially contradicted claims of an epileptic state or any hallucinatory sleep or dream state, whether collective or individual, omitting these possibilities as explanations for the apparitions.

Dr. Jacques Philippot, an ophthalmologist, undertook the study of ocular and visual functions on the visionaries, examining the back of their eyes; photomotor and blinking reflexes; the frequency of blinking before, during, and after ecstasy; screening tests; and studying the mobility of the eyeballs by using electro-oculographic recordings before, during, and after ecstasy. The examinations on the back of the visionaries’ eyes “were normal and were identical before and after the ecstasy.” These tests excluded any “organic anomaly (either ocular or cerebral, whether due to swelling or not)” and, furthermore, they excluded the possibility of visual hallucination since the “ocular system is anatomically and functionally normal.” The reflex of blinking, interestingly, was absent from the eyes during ecstasy when extremely strong lights were flashed in front of the visionaries, having no effect on them—yet reflexive blinking was present both before and after ecstasy in the face of dazzling lights. Moreover, during ecstasy the number of eyelid movements, thus blinking, was significantly less than observable before or after the apparition. Two of the visionaries had no eyelid movement whatsoever during ecstasy. Furthermore, according to the electro-oculogram tests, as the ecstasies begin the eyeballs of the visionaries become immobile, their eye movements “ceasing simultaneously almost to the second.” This graphic recording of the uncanny synchronization in the simultaneous movements of the eyeballs “indicates simultaneity to the second in cessation of movement at the beginning of the ecstasy and, again, simultaneity to the second in the return of movement at the end of the ecstasy.” Dr. Philippot would notice that, actually, at “the beginning of the ecstasy there is a simultaneity to one-fifth of a second in the cessation of eyeball movement which begins again simultaneously at the end of the ecstasy.” The electro-ocuolgram recordings showed that the visionaries’ eyes converge on the same point, a spot above their heads where they report to see the Virgin. The eyeball movements support the fact that during “ecstasy there is a face-to-face meeting, as it were, between the visionaries and a person whom we did not see.” James Paul Pandarakalam, a member of the Department of Psychiatry of Soho House in England, came to the same conclusion: “The eye movements of a person looking at a real moving object are different from those of a person looking at an imaginary moving object; the visionaries’ eye movements at the end of the apparition correspond to the former, as I had the occasion to witness in a person in Medjugorje.” Pandarakalam explained that this is defined as a voluntary activity, which is most observable when the apparition ends and the visionaries all simultaneously look up within the same second, claiming that the Virgin disappears upwards.

Pandarakalam, who witnessed the visionaries experiencing their apparitions on 21 different occasions, also ruled out the possibility of hypnosis. He noted that human eye movement patterns differ when a person is visualizing or remembering something from when the sequence of a person’s eyes are focused on an external object. The latter sequence involves no randomness, but both eyeballs converge to a point on the object as when looking at something in a three-dimensional space. This noticeable pattern in the visionaries, combined with the fact that the apparitions begin spontaneously (and not at the demand of the visionaries), and with the fact that there is no evidence of any intense concentration, or preparation, by the visionaries before the apparitional experience, undermines hypnosis as a possible explanation. The healthy mental state of the visionaries, before and after the apparitions, as determined by the clinical studies performed by the French team, further excludes the possibility of hypnosis, in addition to the electro-encephalograms that ruled out any induced sleep or dream state during the ecstasies

Of course, since the apparitions continue to the present day, it is that more unlikely that a hypnotic manipulation could take place consistently on a daily basis, to a collective group, over a 28 year period. Thus the conducted tests—ocular, visual, and mental—all undermine the possibility of fraud and deception, and exclude visual hallucination, hypnosis or any organic abnormality as possible explanations for the apparitions.

Dr. Francois Rouquerol, another member of the French team, conducted tests measuring the auditory functions of the visionaries in order to determine whether an auditory hallucination is taking place. The doctor concluded that during ecstasy there is an absence of normal objective clinical reactions to the presence of violent noise. A 90 decibel sound—the “equivalent to the noise of a combustion engine at high speed”—was fed into the right ear of Ivan Dragicevic, one of the visionaries, during ecstasy without a single reaction of surprise from the visionary. “At the end of the ecstasy Ivan confirmed that he heard nothing.” This was a fascinating contrast to his pre-ecstasy reaction, wherein the injection of a 70 decibel sound visibly startled the young visionary. In addition to concluding that there is a clear disconnection of auditory pathways during the ecstasy, making the visionaries as impervious to exterior noise as they are to strong blasts of light, in “the same way [it was concluded] the visionaries do not feel pinching, prodding or other interventions” thus being impervious to pain as well. Dr. Rouquerol’s results additionally showed that the “auditory potential test, which studies the nervous influx from the periphery (the cochlea, part of the inner ear) to the core of the cerebral artery, indicates that the various pathways to the brain are normal. The regular and rounded shape of the graph eliminates auditory hallucination of an epileptic type.” Thus another alternative explanation for the apparitions was eliminated.

Dr. Rouquerol also conducted voice function (phonation) experiments on the visionaries. It is interesting, and important, to note that during their ecstasies the visionaries’ voices become inaudible while their lips continue moving as if in conversation with the Virgin. This is one of the key synchronizations experienced by the visionaries during their ecstasies. As the apparition begins, first the children fall to their knees and their voices immediately (and simultaneously) become silent without even a split second of distinction, in addition to the synchronistic movements of their eyeballs. Dr. Rouquerol’s tests showed that during ecstasy, while their lips and facial muscles are mobile, the larynx (where the vocal cords are present) of each visionary stops. Interestingly, this means that while their lips are moving normally, as in communication, the act of exhaling does not vibrate the vocal cords of the visionaries, presenting an inexplicable paradox. Yet the movement of the lips, and thus the muscles controlling gesticulation on the face, provide “a further argument against catalepsy” since a cataleptic state would constitute rigidity and immobility of the muscles. Thus another natural explanation for the apparitions was eliminated.

The visionaries, in addition to medical scrutiny, underwent immense psychological and psychiatric testing. The results showed a group of perfectly healthy young people. According to Dr. Joyeux’s report: “The visionaries have no symptoms of anxiety or obsessional neurosis, phobic or hysterical neurosis, hypochondriac/or psychosomatic neurosis, and there is no indication of any psychosis. We can make these formal statements in the light of detailed clinical examinations.” In his previous examinations, Dr. Stopar reached the same results: “Scientific and sociological tests, including (respectively) neuropsychiatric, medico-psychological, somatic, adolescent and young-adult profiles, lifestyle characteristics and intelligence and educational standards, show the children to be absolutely normal and free from all psychopathological reactions” (emphasis in original). Likewise, Dr. Philippe Loron, head of the Neurology Clinic at La Salpietre Hospital in Paris who examined the visionaries himself in 1989, concurred that this “is the first time that medical science has been involved to such an extent in evaluating the phenomenon of ecstasy. And, in the process, what was confirmed in several ways was the moral and psychological integrity of the visionaries.”

After taking into consideration all of the tests and results assembled by the French team, Dr. Joyeux had to admit, in his final analysis, that the “phenomenon of the apparition in Medjugorje, which was studied during five different periods of 1984 with five visionaries as subjects, is scientifically inexplicable.” He acknowledged that an extraordinary event is taking place in the village and, in a later interview, the doctor would reiterate that, taking into account all of the possible natural explanations which were eliminated by the investigations, the experiences of the children “do not belong to any scientific denominations.”

Moreover, Dr. Luigi Frigerio, another member of the Italian team, explained that the results combined with neurological testing, which determined that the visionaries were not only awake but hyper-awake during their ecstasies, presented a paradox that “cannot be explained naturally, and thus can be only preternatural or supernatural.” Interestingly, even Dr. Stopar reached the same conclusion years earlier, admitting: “I had the impression of coming into contact with a supernatural reality at Medjugorje.”

Such facts—pointing to the supernatural through scientific inquiry—have led to many spiritual conversions, especially of scientific skeptics, in the small Bosnian village. Randall Sullivan relates the story of Dr. Marco Margnelli, an eminent Italian neurophysiologist and an ardent atheist who came to Medjugorje in the summer of 1988 determined to expose the apparitions as a fraud. Margnelli had a well-known history of doubting the validity of Christian mysticism and supernatural phenomena, perhaps most notoriously conveyed in his skepticism toward the stigmata of the Franciscan friar Padre Pio, arguably the twentieth century’s most prominent mystic. An expert in altered states of consciousness, Margnelli conducted an array of medical tests on the Medjugorje visionaries in which he had to conclude that during their daily apparitions the seers did, in fact, enter into “a genuine state of ecstasy” and adding, “we were certainly in the presence of an extraordinary phenomenon.” Dr. Margnelli’s observations have ranged from conducting medical investigations on the seers to personally witnessing miraculous healings and strange occurrences which, admittedly, left him bewildered and deeply shaken. Sullivan relates a sequence of events to which Dr. Margnelli had been a witness at Medjugorje:

“from the ‘synchronous movements’ of the visionaries [during apparitions] to the apparently miraculous healing of a woman with leukemia. What had affected him most deeply were the birds: During the late afternoon, they would gather in the trees outside the rectory where the seers shared their apparitions, chirping and cooing and calling by the hundreds, at times deafeningly loud, until ‘they suddenly and simultaneously all go silent as soon as the apparition begins.’ This ‘absolute silence of the birds’ haunted him, the doctor admitted.”

Thus, a “few weeks after returning to Milan, Dr. Margnelli became a practicing Catholic.”

The very possibility of the supernatural in modern society, as strongly supported by medical science and observation, challenges an immense array of Enlightenment-influenced thinkers subscribing to strict rationalist ideology who have denied the possibility of such phenomena—denials that have led to renouncing the reported visionary experiences of earlier mystics and, frequently, the very existence of God. As noted, many modern scholars have utilized theories from neurology and psychology prominently in order to provide alternative explanations for phenomena they presumed medieval and early-modern people, with their lack of scientific knowledge, were not sophisticated enough to understand. Ironically and inversely, the same process is occurring today, wherein disciplines like medical science, neuroscience, and psychology have been utilized to disprove the rationalistic and naturalistic preconceptions of many post-Enlightenment thinkers by using advanced technology—such as electroencephalograms—to test supernatural claims with more sophisticated methods than any of those available to past generations. The fact that science lends strong support to the Medjugorje apparitions as constituting a legitimate supernatural phenomenon undermines numerous preconceptions of the rationalist worldview, challenging its presuppositions while providing significant support for the possibility of mystical experience and divine intervention. Of course, one modern case cannot vindicate all past visionary reports—since psychosomatic and fraudulent experiences are, obviously, probable in Christian history—but it can challenge the prejudicial, and easily accepted, mentality that all former mystical claims must be pathological or false.

In Medjugorje, the findings of contemporary doctors and scientists, based on knowledge of medical investigations not available to previous visionary and apparitional encounters, do offer significant insights concerning the possible mechanisms and probabilities of past mystical experiences. Whether one chooses to believe in the spiritual content behind the phenomenon—that the Virgin Mary is appearing—does, however, still constitute (and require) an act of faith. But since so much evidence is offered for the possibility, excluding all other alternative scientific explanations, then the visionaries’ claims must be given a fair chance. Not to do so could easily constitute an inverse reflection of dogmatic fundamentalism (in rationalist thought) over the findings of objective scientific and medical studies. The mentality of presumptuous skepticism has been prominent among many modern and postmodern thinkers denying the reported mystical experiences of late-medieval and early-modern Christians. However, the inclusion of modern science and technology in investigating contemporary mystical phenomena no longer makes such unexamined presuppositions universally agreeable, undermining their rash and unscientific conclusions.