Is there a such thing as miracles? Do angels really exist? Science seems to have logical reasons for unusual occurrences that defy natural and scientific law, but for the people of faith, scientific explanations are not necessary.
Some people of other religions believe that this type of unexplained phenomena is the work of demons.
Here are 10 controversial religious miracles and mysteries that have continued to interest people from all over world. You be the judge.
#1. Our Lady of Akita
In 1973, a Virgin Mary statue in a church in Akita, Japan began to weep tears after a deaf nun named Sister Agnes Sasagawa claimed to see a guardian angel. Reports of stigmata and weeping from the statue continued for 6 years on 101 occasions. Sister Agnes regained her hearing ten years later.
In 1981, a Korean woman named Theresa Chun Son Ho had a terminal brain tumor. She was miraculously cured after her family and friends prayed for the intercession of Our Lady of Akita. The woman saw visions of the Virgin Mary during her recovery. Her case was documented by Dr. Joseph Oh of Seoul, Korea.
#2. Shroud of Turin
The Shroud of Turin is claimed to be the cloth that Jesus Christ was buried in. The linen cloth has a faint imprint of a man’s face and wounds consistent with the crucifixion. Its authenticity has been questioned for centuries.
In 1988, radiocarbon dating carried out by Oxford University found that the shroud was only 728 years old. But a new study claims an 8.2 magnitude earthquake in 33AD that actually caused the image to be imprinted may have also skewed the dating results by releasing neutron particles from crushed rock.
The new theory was published in journal Meccanica
3. Virgin Mary in Cairo
On April 2, 1968, people in Cairo reported seeing an apparition of a woman walking on the roof of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Many claimed it was the Virgin Mary. The apparition was accompanied by dove-shaped lights and moved about at high speeds. Some who saw it claimed to be cured of illnesses they suffered prior to witnessing the apparition. Large numbers of unbelievers converted that year.
The event was even photographed, and skeptics couldn’t find any evidence that the photos were manipulated. The head of the Coptic Church declared this event as a real miracle.
#4. Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City
A peasant named Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin claimed that he saw the Virgin Mary. She told him to have others build a church in her honor. She also asked him to bring flowers and place them on his apron and to set them on hillside. He followed her instructions. Afterwards, he lifted his apron and found an impression of the Virgin Mary.
In 1981, the apron Cuauhtlatoatzin wore was studied by Philip Serna Callahan with infrared rays. Callahan reported that Virgin Mary’s face, hands and robe were painted in one step without sketches or paintbrush strokes.
In 1936, Nobel Chemistry prize recipient Richard Kuhn examined the apron and said that the coloring used was not from a vegetable, mineral or animal source.
Studies started in 1956 to 2001 by several ophthalmologists, including Dr. Javier Torroella Bueno and Dr. José Aste Tonsmann. They claim to have found images reflected in the eyes of the Virgin Mary after the photograph was amplified 2,500 times. Her pupils reflect a group of Franciscans and Native Americans.
#5. Six children of Medjugorje
On June 24, 1981, six children, Ivan, Jakov, Marija, Mirjana, Vicka, and Ivanka, in the small town of Medjugorje reported seeing the Virgin Mary. The children are considered visionaries and the Virgin Mary continues to visit them regularly to give each child a total of ten secrets or happenings that will occur on earth in the future. Once they each have been given all of her messages she will no longer appear to them.
A shrine in Medjugorje marks the spot where the Virgin Mary first appeared and has attracted 40 million visitors of all faiths since 1981. Countless stories have been reported of people who were physically or mentally ill prior to visiting the town and have since converted and healed from their illnesses.
#6. Miracle of the sun in Fatima, Portugal
In 1917 in Fatima, Portugal, some children claimed that they saw the Virgin Mary. They reported that she told them that a miracle would happen on October 13th of that year. Around noon of October 13th, the sun appeared to turn into a spinning disc as thousands of people gathered to witness the event.
Some say it was nothing more than a sundog, but that day was officially accepted as a miracle of by the Roman Catholic Church on October 13,1930.
#7. The blood of Saint Januarius
The Cathedral of Naples holds a vial of blood from Saint Januarius, an early Christian martyr. People gather and pray while the resident cardinal holds the vial of dried blood that liquefies. This has happened 18 times each year for the past 600 years.
#8. St. Joseph of Cupertino
According to legend, in the 1600’s, Saint Joseph of Cupertino hovered over a crowd as part of a religious trance. This happened multiple times. Saint Joseph was declared the patron saint of air travelers, astronauts, aviators, and people with mental handicaps.
Through out history, many people have come forward and said that they experienced stigmata, or injuries similar to that which Jesus Christ received during the crucifixion. Saint Francis of Assisi was the first recorded stigmatic in Christian history.
The most famous case was that of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. He suffered wounds that would bleed and heal and then occur again. Pio reported stigmata for fifty years and was studied by several 20th century physicians.
On June 16, 2002, Pope John Paul II declared Padre Pio a saint.
10. Saint Bernadette Soubirous
Saint Bernadette Soubirous’ fame began when she was just 14 years old. She reported seeing the Virgin Mary, now known as the Lady of Lourdes. The apparition appeared in front of her on 18 different occasions. The Virgin Mary asked her to have a shrine built, which is a popular Christian pilgrimage spot. It attracts millions of visitors each year. Some visitors have reported spontaneous miracles of healing.
In 1878, Saint Bernadette Soubirous died of tuberculosis. Her body was exumed three times as part of the canonization process in 1909, 1919, and 1925. Her body did not decay and she pronounced incorrupt by the church. Her body is on display at the Chapel of Saint Gidard at the Sisters of Charity in Nevers.
The incorruptible bodies of some saints are said to have a sweet scent, remain flexible and look very lifelike many years after their death.