Idle Worship
(?) February 9th, 1999

The above-mentioned "Santo Miracles" are alleged supernatural events that seem to occur around the girl pictured above, Audrey Marie Santo.  The Mining Co. has a special report in the paranormal area of their site, in which they deftly summarize the events and the controversy.  If you want the whole story, visit their site linked from the photo above. 

The Mining Co. site includes a list of the various miracles that have supposedly happened in their home, and we have added our learned refutation of the "miracles":

                              -Religious statues weep a strange oil. 

Statues weeping a "strange oil" is not an uncommon fraud among religious charlatans.  There have been numerous documented cases in which skeptics (and sometimes, religious leaders) revealed that causing statues to "weep oil" is not a difficult illusion.  We don't have any links to sites that have the information, but you can look it up.  We are also at a loss to determine what exactly makes the oil "strange."  Is it strange because it leaks from statues, or does it have unnamed qualities that normal oil does not have?

-Oil seeps from some walls of the home (which is sometimes caught in
paper cups taped to the walls for distribution to the pilgrims to take
home as souvenirs). 

Just like the above "miracle," oil seeping from things is not difficult to craft.

-Communion wafers ooze blood during a mass said at the home. 

This is interesting.  Have the wafers been studied?  Whose blood is it?  Lots of questions here that will no doubt lead to dead ends, since there are doubtlessly few credible witnesses and even less documentation.

-Chalices fill with oil. 

(see above)

-Statues move by themselves. 

Apply the same logic that we used with the bloody wafers, and you're on the right track.

-A vision of the Virgin Mary was claimed to have been seen in a cloud
formation over the Santo home. 

I'm willing to bet that lots of desperate, religious  people see the Virgin Mary in clouds.  And that characterizes a lot of visitors to the Santo home, since they are there mostly for miraculous healings, meaning that they probably believe Audrey to be an actual supernatural healer, probably coming from a certain amount of piety. 

-The overpowering scent of roses (a flower often associated with the
Virgin Mary) from an unknown source often permeates Audrey's room
or other rooms of the home. 

Just a thought, but maybe there are roses in these rooms?  Begs further study. 

-Spontaneous healings: a local man reported a remission of his throat

Cancer remissions are not unheard of (but, unfortunately, are all too rare).  The odds are the same for a remission for this man had Audrey been there or not, barring further evidence. 

-The appearance of stigmata -- the wounds that Jesus is said to have
suffered during his crucifixion -- on Audrey's hands, feet, and side.

Stigmata have been studied heavily by mainstream science, and have been revealed as completely in the patients' minds. 

Anyway, I have seen a story about the Santo Miracles, on one of the major network newsmagazines.  What struck me then were a few compelling facts about the case that are consistently overlooked in paranormal discussions. 

1-There is no conclusive proof that a better-than-random number of sick people get better after visiting the Santo house.
2-Audrey's father left the family for years, only to miraculously return after the initial claims of miracles began.  Since his return, the number of miracles have markedly increased. 
3-No miracles occur in the house that cannot be explained through charlady or intentional hoax. 

What conclusions can we draw from this case?

Well, if the miracles are real:

1-The Virgin Mary's not working hard enough 
2-God Likes Oil
3-"Miracle" is actually a synonym of "normal stuff"



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