Blather has been idly comparing the news of these past few days to our hypothetical dramatisation (adapted for the ‘net) of the Book of Revelations. On March 8th, traffic on 200 mile stretch of North Californian highway slowed to a near halt as it was illuminated by flaming objects falling from the sky, convincing many that an aircraft had crashed. According to Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, it was a large meteor shower (The Associated Press, Via Nando News, and the San Francisco Examiner on March 10th). This was preceded by a disclosure concerning a 32-year-old Chinese farmer who had just been divested of two of his three tongues (Agence France-Presse March 9th, Reuters March 8th), and a Canadian cow which gave birth to four calves, a rather rare and momentous occurrence (The Associated Press, via Nando March 8th).
We nearly didn’t get round to mentioning this little gem. Paper Round in the Irish Times of February 9th quoted ‘Kerry’s Eye’ (dead link: http://www.kerryseye.com/), who in turn quoted one Kevin Tracey, a Christian Brother who reckons that “a Heavenly warning, that will precede a great miracle, will be seen and experienced all over the world at the same time. This warning will be seen in the sky and will be so frightening that men will die. Those who believe in the apparitions of our Lady of Garabandal believe this warning will come within the next two years, very possibly this year.”
Apparently the miracle will take place on some unknown Thursday at 8.30 p.m., or so sez Conchita Gonzalez, the “principal visionary of Garabandal” who resides in the good old town of New York. Conchita is one the four child visionaries of Garabandal (dead link) who allegedly witnessed apparitions of the Blessed Virgin in the 1960s.
Kerry’s Eye cheerily adds “We’ll have eight days’ notice of a miracle, but even then some of us will die from emotional shock at seeing this fire in the sky which doesn’t burn the skin”, before letting Brother Tracey lets us know that “It will be visible all over the world in whatever place anyone might be, whether you’re downtown shopping, at work or at home. It will be like the revelation of our soul, and it will be seen and felt equally by believers and people of any religion . . . Even if you hide in your room and close the blinds, you will not escape it,”.
Consumerism to the death! Fortunately in Ireland, there’s late shopping on Thursdays.
WHICH OF THE DARWINS ACTED ALONE?
The eternal folkloric conundrum concerning the elusive ‘Darwin Awards’ has been made manifest at the ‘The Darwin Awards & Simple Human Travesties‘ page.
‘Following the ideas of Charles Darwin, the Darwin Awards are given, usually posthumously, to the individual(s) who remove themselves from the gene pool in the most spectacular fashion. However there is an exception to the requirement to die. If said individual does not die, however does render him/her self incapable of producing any children – they may be eligible for the dubious honour of receiving the award while still alive’.
We at Blatherville, Dublin 2, suffer not a little consternation at actually finding an ‘official’ Darwin Awards site. Previously, the awards seemed to be a product of the internet division of the collective (un)consciousness, a transient organic myth which seeped into Friday night pub conversations – the masses reeled in horror at the idea that any party could or would lay claim to them.
OUT OUT OUT
The Times (London) on 26th February informed us that the Vatican are set to simplify their rites for the casting out of devils, because of a recent ‘demand’ for exorcisms. This seems a bit odd or even unnecessary, considering a ‘leading exorcist’ has admitted that he has ‘yet to encounter a case of genuine demonic possession’. This hasn’t, however, stopped the ‘The Congregation for the Divine Sacraments and Divine Worship’ from spending 10 years doing a rewrite of the original 400 year old documents, shortening the prayers and strengthening the language.
Rather interesting was a quote from a Father Louis McRaye ‘the official exorcist for the Birmingham archdiocese’, who said that although he has been involved with more than 80 ‘exorcism’ cases, not one had demonstrated real ‘possession’. What they *had* demonstrated was evidence of disturbed or psychiatrically ill individuals.
Several years ago, I was given cause to wonder how many medical conditions which we are familiar with today were once perhaps stigmatised as ‘demonic possession’, and in some countries, quite possibly still are.
How does an exorcist decide?
Dave (daev) Walsh
11th March 1998