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Author of the Month

Greg Taylor, Author of the Month for January 2008

Her Sweet Murmur (cont.)
By Greg Taylor

Prophets, Mystics and Visionaries

Returning to Shanon's off-hand comment regarding Ezekiel's Biblical vision, we encounter yet another area to explore — the sacred ground of religious visions. This topic is often left out of paranormal investigations, though we are left to wonder why when there are so many parallels (Ezekiel and the 'UFO' is perhaps one of the more popular). Turning to the New Testament, we find this narrative during Pentecost:

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1)

Enoch's shamanic-like transformation also notes sounds:

As soon as the Holy One, blessed be He, took me to serve the throne of glory, the wheels of the chariot, and all the needs of the Shekhinah, at once my flesh was changed into flame, my tendons into a fire of glowing heat, my bones to glowing juniper coals, my eyelids to radiance of lightning bolts, my eyeballs to torches of fire, the hair of my head to glowing heat and flame, all my limbs to wings of burning fire, and my bodily frame to scorching fire. On my right were hewers of fiery flames, on my left torches were burning. There blew around me wind, storm, and tempest, and the noise of earthquake upon earthquake was in front of me and behind me.

Interestingly, considering the prevalence of the buzzing sound in multiple experiences, esoteric scholar Manly P. Hall cites Thomas Inman as saying that Beelzebub, "...which the Jews ridiculed as My Lord of Flies, really means My Lord Who Hums or Murmurs" (in the Bible, Beelzebub was an oracular deity of the Philistines).

Turning to Islam, we find the traces of these sounds in the very inspiration behind the faith, in the revelations to Mohammed from the Archangel Gabriel:

The Prophet heard at times the noise of the tinkling of a bell. To him alone was known the meaning of the sound. He alone could distinguish in, and through it, the words which Gabriel wished him to understand. [11]

This is interesting — Mohammed hears the tinkling of a bell, but he "knew the meaning of the sounds"...distinguishing "in, and through it" the revelations from Gabriel. There may be a curious parallel here with the "Virgin Mary apparition" (and I use the term very loosely) of Fatima. In their book Heavenly Lights, Joaquim Fernandes and Fina D'Armada devote a chapter to the buzzing sounds heard by witnesses to the event. In particular, witness Maria Carreira relates that the buzzing seems to have coincided with the conversations between Lucia and the 'Lady':

We would follow the children and kneel in the middle of the field. Lucia would raise her hands and say, 'You bade me come here, what do you wish of me?' And then could be heard a buzzing that seemed to be that of a bee. I took care to discern whether it was the Lady speaking.

Maria subsequently described this phenomenon, from the June apparition, to another investigator with these words: "Then we began to hear something like this, in the manner of a very fine voice, but what it said could not be comprehended or put into words, for it was like the buzzing of a bee." A month after the first event (the Fatima apparitions occurred on the 13th of each month from May to October 1917), another person witnessed the same effect:

After this question, she (Lucia) waited in silence for a short period of time, the time of a brief response. And during this silence, he (the witness) heard, as if coming from the oak tree, a faint voice, similar, he says, to the humming of a bee, but without distinguishing a single word.

Another witness described it as "the buzzing of a fly inside an empty barrel, but without articulation of words", and on another occasion as an indefinable sound, heard throughout the duration of the experience, like that which is heard next to a hive, but altogether more harmonious. And another witness: "I thought I heard at that moment, a little wind, a zoa-zoa sound. While Lucia was listening to a response, it seemed there was a buzzing sound like that of a cicada."

Buzzing was not the only sound heard at Fatima though. Fernandes and D'Armada point out that witnesses likened the sounds "to thunder, to rumors, to rumbling, to the clapping of hands, to the detonation of bombs, to the hiss of rockets." For instance, one witness recounted that "when Lucia said, 'There She goes,' I heard a roaring in the air that seemed like the beginning of thunder."

So what of other 'Marian apparitions'? Consider the case of the "Virgin of Guadeloupe", as related by Jacques Vallee:

...the apparition took place on December 9th 1531 in Mexico. it began with the 'sweet sound of singing birds' followed by a voice which came from the top of the hill. The source of the voice was hidden by 'a frosty mist, a brightening cloud'. The technology of the BVM was at work! [12]

And while speaking of Virgin Mary apparitions, perhaps the best known case is that of Lourdes. The seer who experienced the visitation in that case — the young girl Bernadette — mentions these sounds in her own testimony:

Hardly had I taken off my first stocking, when I heard a sound as though there had been a rush of wind. I looked around towards the meadow. I saw the trees quite still. So I continued to take off my shoes. Again I heard the same noise. I looked upward towards the grotto. I beheld a lady dressed in white. She wore a white dress a blue sash and a yellow rose on each foot..." [13]

It's interesting to note, in regards to this common 'rush of wind' sound, that there was an instance of this in the Fatima case also. In 1915, two years before the 'famous' apparitions, Lucia and her two cousins were said to have been taking shelter from rain in a small cave when they heard the rumble of a powerful windand then saw a "youth of admirable beauty" who called himself the 'Angel of Peace'. Jacques Vallee has pointed out the similarity of this particular apparition (and other 'entity' visitations) with the description in the Biblical Apocrypha of a young child appearing from a 'bright cloud' within a cave. [14]

Before moving on to the next section, there is one final aspect worth noting. Both the Pentecost account, and the Fatima event, yielded 'group' hearing…that is, more than one person present 'heard' the sounds. This is suggestive of some objective source, and is something we will return to.

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  1. The Faith of Islam, Edward Sell [back to text]
  2. The Invisible College, Jacques Vallee, p. 163 [back to text]
  3. Supernatural, Graham Hancock, p. 507 [back to text]
  4. The Invisible College, Jacques Vallee, pp. 149, 156 [back to text]

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