The mass visions that took place in Fatima, Portugal in 1917 have long been the subject of fascination. Tonight's guest Father Nicholas Gruner believes these events were miraculous communications from the Virgin Mary, as does the Catholic Church. However, a number of ufologists over the years, have looked at the incidents as possibly being an example of a UFO visitation.
The events at Fatima took place over number of months, and were predicted by a young peasant girl named Lucia, who said she received messages from a brilliantly luminous Lady whom she understood to be Mary. As more and more people heard about the events, some 70,000 people gathered on October 13, as Lucia instructed. As the crowd huddled on this rainy day, they saw an astonishing display, where the sun seemed to come down out of the sky, and spin around on itself, in a mad whirl that lasted 10 minutes.
Proponents of the UFO theory, say this bright globe could have been a huge disc-shaped craft, and that many aspects of the incidents, such as reports of unusual beings, ridicule of the witnesses, and dire messages about our planet, parallel current UFO cases. The well-known researcher Jacques Vallee, drew further connections, comparing the weakness and loss of memory some of the witnesses reported, to the kinds of paralysis and lost time that alien abductees experience. And yet, "there is some danger of creating a stereotyped idea of UFOs...and imposing this on the evidence," writes the insightful UFO author Richard L. Thompson.