5. Stigmata: Padre Pio of Pietrelcina
Ever since St. Francis of Assisi first made it cool for Christians to exhibit unexplained wounds similar to those suffered by Jesus Christ, many other people have hopped on the trend train. The person selected for our list is Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, a priest who would later become a saint and who was the first stigmatic to undergo the scrutiny of (relatively) modern medical science. His stigmata appeared after the turn of the 20th century. Wounds opened in the middle of his two hands and medical practitioners failed to diagnose the cause. Infection never entered the wounds even though they were present for most of his life (they healed once only to reappear shortly thereafter). In fact, his wounds were inexplicably smooth and his hands were never puffy. This irregularity has been accepted as proof that his body did not see the wounds as invasive and so found no reason to try fighting them. Stigmata isn’t just relegated to Christianity, it is found in many mystical cultures, including Buddhism.
4. Unexplained Healing: Therese Neumann
Therese Neumann has a bucket list of miraculous events that could have made this list, including stigmata. So many in fact that not only has she found herself sanctified, she has also made this list as a case of unexplained healing. She was declared blind in 1919. Therese was also partially paralyzed and suffered nasty bedsores. On May 17, 1925 she claims that Saint Therese of Lisieux came to her in spirit and cured her of her illnesses. Whatever happened, her bedsores were healed and eyesight physically restored. She was then (and this could be treated more skeptically, due to the nature of medical diagnosis at the time) diagnosed with appendicitis only to later announce herself free of the ailment.
3. Our Lady of Akita
Our Lady of Akita is the name for a miracle regarding the Virgin Mary that happened near Akita, Japan. Since this list is about what has tangibly been experienced and seen we can pass briefly over the supposed apparition of Mary seen by Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa. Sure, Mary had a lot to say to the good nun, but it is what happened next on live national television that makes our list here. A statue of Mary was filmed crying for the world to see. In the long history of the Vatican, Our Lady of Akita is the only apparition accompanied weeping statue that has been confirmed as being truly unexplained and supernatural in origin. The vast majority of weeping statues are hoaxes. The Vatican may be religious, but they are very scientific when it comes to miracle-proving. They run tests (including DNA) on all liquids that are expulsed by weeping statues.
2. Miracle of the Sun
The Miracle of the Sun was an event witnessed on a mass scale (up to 100,000 people) in Portugal, 1917. There was such a large amount of people present because the miracle had been preordained by three farm children. They had promised the crowd a vision of the Virgin Mary, but what followed was a dazzling array of bizarre solar displays. The sun moved erratically towards Earth, inverted into a spinning disk, and shed a multitude of different colors and shadows across the landscape. Onlookers momentarily feared the end of the world. Apparently, the Sun was only saying hello and also kindly dried the wet clothes of bystanders. Skeptics point to the fact that it isn’t generally healthy for the eyes or the mind to stare at the Sun. In sum, the size of the event alone lends credence that something miraculous did occur that day.
1. Falling out of the Sky and Living: Vesna Vulović
As a 22 year old flight stewardess who had boarded the wrong flight because of a scheduling mishap, Vesna Vulović must have cursed her luck when a bomb exploded in the small aircraft where she was working. What followed was a 33,000 ft. drop that resulted in the deaths of 27 out of 28 people in the plane at the time. Vesna was pulled from the debris by Bruno Henke, a former medic during World War II who treated her extensive trauma. She awoke from a coma after 27 days (an ironic number if you see above) with a new lease on life and the claim to the highest fall survived in history. Vesna has since taken advantage of the notoriety granted her to become politically active in former Yugoslavia and Serbia.