French-Italian Scientific Theological Commission
“On The Extraordinary Events That Are Taking Place In Medjugorje”
The apparitions and visionaries in Medjugorje are unique in that they have been subjected to more scientific scrutiny and testing than any other Marian apparition in the history of the Church. These visionaries have consistently surprised an array of medical doctors, researches and psychologists by the fact that not a single physical or psychological test has yet to reveal even the smallest level of deception or fraud on the part of the visionaries. Moreover the battery of medical, psychological and polygraph testing now serves as additional testimony on behalf of the visionaries given the unexplainable physical phenomenon recorded and observed by researchers. Although science can’t prove that the visionaries see the Blessed Virgin Mary every day, it has repeatedly failed to disprove their supernatural claims. To date, science has also been unable to offer a comprehensive explanation for the extraordinary states of “ecstasy” that the visionaries enter into while experiencing the apparitions. The observations and results of these scientific studies are so compelling that Italian Neurophysiologist, Dr. Marco Margnelli, an avowed atheist, came to Medjugorje in 1988 with the intent to discredit the visionaries and he ultimately left the village a practicing Catholic.
The most complete studies were conducted by a French team of experts headed by the renowned cancer researcher Dr. Henri Joyeux from 1984-1985. Utilizing the most advanced scientific equipment and expertise at the time, the commission examined the internal reactions of the visionaries before, during, and after the apparitions. In addition, the commission tested the synchronization of their ocular, auditory, cardiac, and cerebral reactions. The results of that commission were extremely significant in showing that the object of observation is external to the visionaries. The testing also showed that any external manipulation or mutual agreement between the visionaries is excluded. The results with individual electro-encephalograms and other reactions are published in (H. Joyeux – R. Laurentin, Etudes medicales et scientifique sur les Apparitions de Medjugorje, Paris 1986) as well as summarized in the boxes below. For an in depth discussion of the results read the abstract “Are the Apparitions of Medjugorje Real?” published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, 2001.
Dr. Henry Joyeux
According to the electroencephalogram tests performed by Dr. Henry Joyeux’s team, the commission was able to measure activity in 8 different areas of the visionaries’ brains during ectasy. After examining the visioanries’ alpha (receptive) and beta (reactive) impulses it was confirmed that the visionaries brains prior to an apparition were exaclty normal (10 alpha cycles to 10 beta cycles). However, during the apparitions, the visionaries’ beta impulses stopped completely, creating a state of hyper-awakeness, which has been observed in and acheived only by a select few Buddhist and Trappist monks while in deeply meditative states. However, Dr. Joyeux notes that the few monks who have reached these states of “generalized alpha-rhythm” were only able to do so with their eyes closed while the Medjugorje visioanries experience them with eyes wide-open.
In 1985 Dr. Joyeux turned in his report, having concluded “The ecstasies are not pathological, nor is there any element of deceit. No scientific discipline seems able to describe these phenomena.”
Later in an interview with Paris Match Dr. Joyeux was quoted as saying, “The phenomena of the apparitions at Medjugorje cannot be explained scientifically… In one word, 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 the ecstasy the facial muscles are operating in a normal way…It is more like a state of deep, active prayer, in which they are partially disconnected from the physical word, in a state of contemplation and sane encounter with a person whom they alone can see, hear and touch. We cannot reach the transmitter, but we can ascertain that the receivers are in a state of sane and good working order.”
Dr. Francois Rouquerol
The French physician Dr. Francois Rouquerol proved and demonstrated an inexplanainble “disconnection of the auditory pathways during the ecstasy” of each of the 6 visionaries. This was accomplished by blasting 90 decibels of noise directly into the ear drums of the visionaries while in their ecstatic states. The noise failed to elicit the slightest reaction from any of the visionaries.
Dr. Jacques Philippot
French opthalmologist Dr. Jacques Philippot tested the eyelid reflexes of the visionaries through the use of light, confirming earlier studies which observed an inhibition of the eyelid reflex during ecstasy. Dr. Philippot’s tests also showed that the visionaries’ gazes remain fixed on exactly the same point several feet above their heads. Although he tried to block their vision with a screen, Dr. Philippot notes that the seers’ eyes did not react. The most astounding fact discovered by Dr. Philippot was that the visionaries’ eyeball movements are synchronized within 1/5th of a second at both the beginning and end of the apparitions which completely defies normal human functioning.
Dr. Bernard Hoarau
French cardiologist Dr. Bernard Hoarau performed electrocardio-gram, heart rhythm examinations and blood pressure tests on the visioanries during ecstasy and concluded that the commission could “exclude totally the existence of the phenomena of dreams, sleep or epilepsy.”
Dr. Jean Cadhilac
After throughly examining the visionaries French Neurologist Dr. Jean Cadhilac was convinced the commission could “elimainte formally all clinical signs comparable to those observed during individual or collective hallucination, hysteria, neurosis or pathological ecstasy.”
Dr. Michael Sabatini
Italian Psychopharmacologist Dr. Michael Sabatini is a specialist who has extensively studied “pain” through the use of an instrument called an algometer which measures pain intensity by applying pressure to sensitive areas on the body. His test results showed that the visioanries enter a state of “complete analgesis” during ecstasy and are unable to feel any pain. Dr. Sabatini wrote that this proves without a doubt the visionaries “do not fake and do not deceive.”
Dr. Luigi Frigero, who supervised the Mangiagalli Clinic Team, stated that the results of Dr. Sabatini’s tests along with the neurological tests which proved the visioanries are hyper-awake during ecstasy presented a contradiction that “cannot be explained naturally, and thus can be only preternatural or supernatural.”
Dr. Giorgio Sanguinetti
Dr. Giorgio Sanguinetti, professor of psychiatry at the University of Milan, and a specialist in the study of religious delirium spent an extended amount of time studying the visionaries outside of the states of ecstacy, examining their every-day lives. He has stated that certain behavior patterns are consistently observed with “delirious people with a mystical bent… not necessarily expressed with noisy insistence or displayed fantatically, but coming across with a quiet, complacent silence. This hides the sense of triumph through a priviledged relationship with the transcendant.” Dr. Sanguinetti notes that these types of self-proclaimed mystics have very little geniune interest in others and lack the ability for spontaneous communication. If they are confronted or questioned “they react resentfully and without restraint, intolerant of any contradition.” Theatrical gestures and extravagent behavior are usually also observed in these individuals and thus Dr. Sanguinetti found it important to state, “I consider it of fundamental importance to emphasize that in all my conversations with the young ‘visionaries’ of Medjugorje I have never discovered, on any occasion, any thought, look, conversation, attitude or behavior similar to these pathological states which I have listed. First of all it must be made clear that the ‘visionaries’ live a normal life; they are integrated in their community and in their families and are treated by others as if they were not ‘visionaries'; they themselves relate to others as if they were no different from other people, or from themselves before they became ‘visionaries’…they differ from others only in the time they give to the practice of religion and to the visions; all this is done in a very natural way without piousity or complacency; their behavior is by preference discreet and, politely, they try to shield themselves from the overpowering pressure of pilgrims, when this is possible. They are quite open to conversation and seem patiently resigned to having to answer the same questions; in this they are not effusive, nor are they withdrawn or exhibitionist. On the contrary they look calm and peaceful and gentle. They do not try to convince one, and they do not exceed what is asked of them; their smile is not smug or malicious, and it is not artificial. Their movements reflect only kindness and good will. They certainly are not looking for attention or for an audience; they do not offer interpretations or personal opinions about their mystical experiences; all they want to do is report the facts and admit that they are happy.”
Dr. Marco Margnelli
As aforementioned Italian Neurophysiologist, Dr. Marco Margnelli, an avowed atheist, came to Medjugorje in 1988 with the intent to discredit the visionaries and he ultimately left the village a practicing Catholic. He has admitted that he went to Medjugorje looking for “any evidence that would contrandict it or expose it as a fake.” Dr. Margnelli later stated in an interview that the visionaries experience “a guniune state of ecstasy.” What follows is an excerpt of Dr. Margnelli’s testimony after having conducting a number of medical tests on the visionaries, “As a scientist, I can only decalre that the children really pass into another state of consciouness – a condition that one can also reach through meditation techniques, such as auto-training, though not as profoundly.” Dr. Margnelli did not go so far as to describe the state the visionaries enter, but he did say that, “we were certainly in the presence of an extraordinary phenomenon. Whether we are dealing with an authentic apparition or something else we cannot explain and I cannot say. It is a question I prefer not to put to myself.” Dr. Margnelli then added, “Since returning from Yugoslavia, I have been thinking continually and I confess, I also ask myself nonscientific questions, such as what the meaning of the whole thing can be?” Dr. Margnelli cites the same inexplicable synchronicities observed in the visioanries as previous tests conducted and he has also noted the fact that on many occasions loud flocks of birds near the rectory where the visionaries experienced their apparitions at the time would “suddenly and simultaneously all go silent as soon as the apparition begins.”
12 Point Conclusion Reached By The International French-Italian Scientific Theological Commission
The results of Mr. Joyeux’s tests confirmed the conclusions of a prior investigation conducted by the International French-Italian Scientific Theological Commission of seventeen renowned natural scientists, doctors, psychiatrists and theologians “on the extraordinary events that are taking place in Medjugorje” which examined the apparitions of Medjugorje the most competently and the most expertly to date. Both Mr. Joyeux and the international assembly investigations proved that the apparitions, to which the visionaries testify, are a phenomenon that surpasses modern science and which points toward some other level of happening.
The international French-Italian Scientific Theological Commission in their research came to a 12 point conclusion on January 14, 1986 in Paina near Milan.
1. On the basis of the psychological tests, for all and each of the visionaries it is possible with certainty to exclude fraud and deception.
2. On the basis of the medical examinations, tests and clinical observations etc, for all and each of the visionaries it is possible to exclude pathological hallucinations.
3. On the basis of the results of previous researches for all and each of the visionaries it is possible to exclude a purely natural interpretation of these manifestations.
4. On the basis of information and observations that can be documented, for all and each of the visionaries it is possible to exclude that these manifestations are of the preternatural order i.e. under demonic influence.
5. On the basis of information and observations that can be documented, there is a correspondence between these manifestations and those that are usually described in mystical theology.
6. On the basis of information and observations that can be documented, it is possible to speak of spiritual advances and advances in the theological and moral virtues of the visionaries, from the beginning of these manifestations until today.
7. On the basis of information and observations that can be documented, it is possible to exclude teaching or behavior of the visionaries that would be in clear contradiction to Christian faith and morals.
8. On the basis of information or observations that can be documented, it is possible to speak of good spiritual fruits in people drawn into the supernatural activity of these manifestations and in people favorable to them.
9. After more than four years, the tendencies and different movements that have been generated through Medjugorje, in consequence of these manifestations, influence the people of God in the Church in complete harmony with Christian doctrine and morals.
10. After more than four years, it is possible to speak of permanent and objective spiritual fruits of movements generated through Medjugorje.
11. It is possible to affirm that all good and spiritual undertakings of the Church, which are in complete harmony with the authentic magisterium of the Church, find support in the events in Medjugorje.
12. Accordingly, one can conclude that after a deeper examination of the protagonists, facts, and their effects, not only in the local framework, but also in regard to the responsive chords of the Church in general, it is well for the Church to recognize the supernatural origin and, thereby, the purpose of the events in Medjugorje.
So far it is the most conscientious and the most complete research of the Medjugorje phenomena, and, for that very reason, it is the most positive that has yet been said about it on a scientific-theological level.
Italian Institute For The Field Of Science (IGW) — Innsbruck Centre For Study And Research On Pspychology Of States Of Consciousness – European School Of Hypnotic Psychotherapy AMIS, Milan – Parapsychology Center Of Bologna
At the request of the Parish Office of Međugorje, psycho-physiological and psycho-diagnostic research was carried out on the subjects who since 1981 are known as the visionaries’ group of Međugorje.
The research was carried out in four sessions:
– The first research was carried out on April 22-23, 1998 at the Casa Incontri Cristiani (House of Christian Encounters) in Capiago Intimiano (Como), which is operated by the Dehonian Fathers. On this occasion the examined were: Ivan Dragićević, Marija Pavlović-Lunetti, and Vicka Ivanković.
– The second research was carried out from on July 23-24, 1998 in Međugorje. Examined were Mirjana Soldo-Dragićević, Vicka Ivanković and Ivanka Elez-Ivanković.
– The third research, only psycho-diagnostic, was conducted by psychologist Lori Bradvica on Jakov Čolo with the collaboration of Fr. Ivan Landeka.
– The fourth psycho-physiological registration was conducted December 11, 1998 in the same House of Christian Encounters in Capiago Intimiano (Como) with Marija Pavlović.
The incompleteness of the psycho-physiological investigation was caused by the partial cooperation of some subjects who did not undergo what the working group had expected, due either to their family or social obligations or to their personal reluctance, even though Fr. Slavko Barbarić and Fr. Ivan Landeka encouraged them to do it, without any influences on the programs of the working group called “Međugorje 3″, because, apart from individual medical or psychological investigation, prior to this research two groups had operated: the first a group of French doctors in 1984, and the second a group of Italian doctors in 1985. In addition three European psychiatrists in 1986 carried out only psychiatric-diagnostic investigations.
The following collaborated in the “Međugorje 3″ work group:
– Fr. Andreas Resch, theologian and psychologist from Institute for the Field Limits of Science (IGW) – Innsbruck; General coordinator.
– Dr. Giorgio Gagliardi, medical psycho-physiologist from the Centre for Study and Research on Psychophysiology of States of Consciousness – Milano; member of board of European School of Hypnotic Psychotherapy AMISI, Milan and of the Parapsychology Centre of Bologna.
– Dr. Marco Margnelli, medical psycho-physiologist and neuro-physiologist from the Centre for Study and Research on States of Consciousness – Milano, member of the professors’ board of the European School AMISI, Milan;
– Dr. Mario Cigada, psychotherapist and oculist, Milano, member of the professorial board of the European School AMISI, Milano;
– Dr. Luigi Ravagnati, neurologist; assistant for neuro-surgery at the University of Milan, member of the professors’ board of the European School of Hypnotic Psychotherapy AMISI, Milan
– Dr. Marianna Bolko, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, instructor for specialization in psychotherapy at the University of Bologna.
– Dr. Virginio Nava, psychiatrist; head doctor at Como Psychiatric Hospital.
– Dr. Rosanna Constantini, psychologist, instructor at Auxilium University, Rome.
– Dr. Fabio Alberghina, medical internist.
– Dr. Giovanni Li Rosi, gynaecologist at Varese Hospital and specialist for hypnotic psychotherapy, AMISI, Milan.
– Dr. Gaetano Perriconi, internist at FBF Hospital in Erbi/Como.
– Prof. Massimo Pagani, medical internist, professor of internal medicine at the University of Milan.
– Dr. Gabriella Raffaelli, scientific secretary;
– Fiorella Gagliardi, secretary, community assistant.
The following tests were used on the subjects to investigate their actual psychophysical and psychological situation:
– Complete case history,
– Medical case history,
– MMPI, EPI, MHQ; Tree test, Person test, Raven Matrixes, Rorschach Test, Hand test, Valsecchi truth and lie detection test;
– Neurological visit,
– Computerized polygraph (skin electrical activity; peripheral cardiac capillary and heartbeat activities; skeletal and diaphragmatic pneumography) during the apparitional experience, during mediated hypnotic recall of the same apparitional experience.
– Holter’s arterial pressure dynamic registration.
– Holter’s electro-cardiographic /respiratory dynamic registration.
– Pupillary reflexes (photomotor) and winking reflex
– Video tapes
For all the tests performed the visionaries made their decision with full freedom, readiness and collaboration.
The results from these psychological-diagnostic investigations show that:
During the period since age 17, from the beginning of their apparitional experiences, the subjects do not exhibit any kind of pathological symptoms like trance interference, disassociate interference and loss of reality interference.
All subjects investigated, however, exhibited symptoms that are related to justified stress that occurs through very high levels of exogenous and endogenous stimulation as a consequence of every day life.
From their personal testimonies it follows that the initial and subsequent altered state of consciousness occurs due to their unusual experiences which they themselves recognize and define and still continuously recognize as a vision/apparition of Our Lady.
The psychophysical investigation was carried out on four states of consciousness:
– Waking state;
– Altered state of consciousness (hypnosis with investigation of the state of ecstasy);
– State of visualization of mental images;
– Altered state of consciousness (defined as the ecstasy of apparition).
The aim was to investigate whether the ecstatic state of apparition, already registered in 1985 by the Italian doctors working group, still continues to be present or has undergone changes. In addition it was desired to investigate potential coincidence/divergence with other states off consciousness such as guided visualization or hypnosis.
Results of the investigation carried out demonstrate that the ecstatic phenomenology can be compared to the one from 1985 with somewhat less intensity.
The hypnotically induced state of ecstasy did not cause the phenomenology of spontaneous experiences and therefore it can be deduced that the ecstatic states of spontaneous apparitions were not states of hypnotic trance.
Capiago Intimiano, December 12, 1998
Fr. Andreas Resch, Dr. Giorgio Gagliardi, Dr. Marco Margnelli, Dr. Marianna Bolko, Dr. Gabriella Raffaelli.
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— H. Joyeux – R. Laurentin, Etudes medicales et scientifique sur les Apparitions de Medjugorje, Paris 1986
— The Miracle Detective by Randall Sullivan