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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Soubirous, Bernadette (1844-1879) Most who uncritically accept the miracles of Lourdes (which see) are unaware of what occurred to young Bernadette Soubirous, the originator of the story of the vision in the grotto. She herself never made any claim that the entity she said she had seen there had promised cures at the shrine. In fact, she called the vision the local French equivalent of “the lady” and the identification of the figure with the Virgin Mary was made by others.
      On one occasion, Bernadette was asked by an English visitor about certain miracles that had been reported during her last visit to the shrine. She replied, “There's no truth in all that.” Asked about cures at the shrine, she answered, “I have been told that there have been miracles, but . . . I have not seen them.”
      Bernadette was herself chronically ill, and she chose to visit hot springs in another town to treat her ailments. She was taken into a convent and died slowly and painfully in 1879, at age thirty-five, of tuberculosis, asthma, and several complications. Her own father, crippled and partially blind, died still afflicted.

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