The Miracle of the Dancing Sun at Fatima which was seen by 70,000 people on October 13th, 1917 has been written about often. I truly do enjoy reading about all the “scientific” explanations for the “anomaly of Fatima.” The way that science has bent itself into a pretzel to explain away the vision of the sun dancing in the sky at a foretold time is always fun.

So, last year, I got together my top ten “scientific explanations” for Fatima that I was able to find on the internet.

First I’ll start with a little history history: A writer named Avelino de Almeida who wrote articles for O Século, (a big newspaper in Portugal at the time). The papper took a strong anti-religious stance. Goodness, even then, the media wasn’t a big fan of religion, huh? In fact, all of Almeida’s previous articles had mocked the previously reported events at Fatima but here’s what he wrote that day 81 years ago:

“Before the astonished eyes of the crowd, whose aspect was biblical as they stood bare-headed, eagerly searching the sky, the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws — the sun ‘danced’ according to the typical expression of the people.”

But despite the fact that one of their own reported this, secularists have amassed an enormous amount of explanations as to why we should not believe our own eyes. Here are the astounding reasons they’ve amassed so we should believe nothing at all special happened in Portugal that great day.

10. Stratospheric Dust. Steuart Campbell, writing for the 1989 edition of Journal of Meteorology, theorizes that a cloud of stratospheric dust altered the appearance of the sun on 13 October, making it easier to look at, and causing it to appear yellow, blue, and violet and to spin. In support of his hypothesis, Mr. Campbell reports that a blue and reddened sun was reported in China as documented in 1983.

9. Not everyone saw it so nothing happened. Oddly, this is the exact opposite of their argument that people in China saw it so it didn’t happen. Astronomers, they say, noticed no dancing in the sky from all over the world. The dancing sun was a regional event thus disproving it. A quick question would be the fact that it was a regional event should prove that something out of the ordinary happened. If it happened worldwide it would be written off as simply an astronomical event because the whole world saw it.

8. ESP! (Always my favorite) Author Lisa Schwebel claims that the event was a supernatural form of extra-sensory phenomenon. God? no way! ESP? Yup! Schwebel has said that throughout the history of man there have been several reported cases of religious gatherings culminating in the sudden and mysterious appearance of lights in the sky so therefore it’s ESP. The logic evades me a little but I guess if you’re a believer in The Exorcist Part II, then it’s as believable as Richard Burton as a priest.

7. Mock-Sun. Didn’t even know this one existed but it’s worth a listen. Joe Nickell, a self described skeptic and paranormal investigator, according to Wikipedia,

claims that the position of the phenomenon as described by the various witnesses, is at the wrong azimuth and elevation to have been the sun. He suggests the cause may have been a sundog. Sometimes referred to as a parhelion or “mock sun”, a sundog is an atmospheric optical phenomenon associated with the reflection/refraction of sunlight by the numerous small ice crystals that make up cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. A sundog is, however, a stationary phenomenon, and would not explain the reported appearance of the “dancing sun”. So Nickell further suggests an explanation for this phenomena may lie in temporary retinal distortion, caused by staring at the intense light and/or the effect of darting the eyes to and fro so as to avoid completely fixed gazing (thus combining image, afterimage and movement).

So, in effect, 70,000 people all shook their heads and thought a mock-sun was dancing. All 70,000? Prety ridiculous, huh?

6. Dust cloud! Paul Simons, in an article entitled “Weather Secrets of Miracle at Fatima”, said that it’s possible that some of the optical effects at Fatima may have been caused by a cloud of dust from the Sahara.

5. The old mass hallucination theory. Author Kevin McClure is one of many on this claim which goes something like this: The crowd at Cova da Iria was expecting to see signs in the sun so they did. Yeah because that happens all the time. But McClure doesn’t factor in that people several miles away who weren’t thinking about the event also saw it.

4. UFO! The old alien craft pretending to be a sign from God trick. Happens all the time, didn’t you know. Of course, the spaceship just happened to come on the day that the three children said a miracle would occur. Or perhaps the apparitions were all the works of little green men. This all sounds a lot more real than the Church’s explanation.

3. Solar Storm. A gigantic coronal mass ejection (CME) occurred. Better known as the Northern Lights in Portugal. You see, solar flares emit high-speed particles that cause the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. Well that explains it all right there. Because we all know the Northern Lights look exactly like the Sun dancing. Or not.

2. Peer pressure. There was significant social pressure to see a miracle so everyone fooled themselves into believing they did. 70,000 people? That’s some pretty strong peer pressure especially for the people who saw it 20 miles away.

1. An Eclipse. These fellas don’t mind contradicting themselves. This would be a very very regional eclipse. Wouldn’t astronomers have noted the eclipse?

Bonus Reason:
-1. Evolution. This is sadly from Institute of Physics, Catholic University of Louvain. Evolution has provided us with the infamous “zoom and loom effect”. It occurs when you see an image at some unknown distance. Your brain considers the possibility that it might come closer so without your knowledge your brain performs “an illusory mental zoom, where the apparent size of the object is progressively increased.” Here’s why this occurs, says scientists: Evolution forces us to be constantly worried that something dangerous is coming to eat us so we might need to skedaddle right quick so the brain zooms it in to scare us into skedaddling. When the “idea” of an approach does not lead to any real danger, the perceived object returns to its normal place. Thus the dancing sun. Amazing. 70,000 people thought the Sun was coming to eat them. When they realized the Sun had no teeth they “zoomed and loomed” it back to where it belonged. That might just be my favorite one.

So after listening to these level-headed scientists(?) explain away Fatima hasn’t it convinced you to join the Richard Dawkins fan club? Me neither.