Miracle or not: Seeking your input/pointers
Posted: 13 May 2008 12:33 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Folks, I was led to this forum by Google when I searched for “inquiry” and similar key words. I am new to this site, so pardon me if I am posting this question to the worng forum - if so, please direct me to the right one!

I am writing in connection with a phenomenon that I would like to further investigate, but don’t know how to. If you Google or Yahoo search “Carmelo Cortez”, you will see plenty or articles related to this purported Marian visionary who lives in the Philippines. (He claims to have seen and conversed with the Virgin Mary.) These articles will also make mention of a “rose petal miracle” where he essentially takes a rose petal from a basket (the roses not purchased by him!), touches it to your neck for a few seconds and then asks you to look at it, only to discover that you now have a sacred image on it - Jesus, Mary, Last Supper, various saints, etc.

He comes to the Chicago area (where I live) every few months and some of my close friends have attended these rose petal services celebrated in a church in Darien, IL. In fact, Brother Cortez (as he is known) stays in my friend’s house when he visits Chicago; and my friend, who claims he was a skeptic earlier, is now an ardent believer in this “miraculous” phenomenon! I have personally seen the petals he has given close and trusted friends of mine (but have not received one directly from him). I have to admit that the images are quite stunning - very clear and sharp facial features, for example - and are unlikely to have been generated by some obvious technique like a stamp.

Do any of you know how one can investigate (via chemical, photographic, whatever tests, for example) this phenomenon scientifically to determine if there is a non-miraculous explanation? Any direction/pointers will be gratefully appreciated. For those of you who want a really good “paranormal claim” to tackle, this is one of the best I know because the phenomenon is repeatable - almost ALL the people who have received a petal from him have an image on it. There are millions of people (all over the world, but mostly in the Philippines) who truly believe that Brother Cortez’s rose petal phenomenon is a miracle.

Thanks in advance,

Joe

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Posted: 13 May 2008 12:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Welcome to the site, joegerdme. My guess is that you’re talking about some sort of sleight-of-hand trick here. The petal with the image would be hidden on him somewhere before the trick and substituted for the ‘normal’ petal at the appropriate point in the performance. So you’d definitely need to have a professional magician on hand to watch what was going on.

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Posted: 15 May 2008 12:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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