Weeping Statues

16/4/19

In 2012 in a Catholic Church in Mumbai, India, a statue of Jesus seemed to be weeping physical tears. The faithful gathered the liquid to sell to pilgrims who flocked to see the miracle. Rationalist Sanal Edamaruku visited the site and discovered a cracked pipe behind the wall it was attached to which was dripping raw sewage onto the statue. He was swiftly dismissed as a blasphemer and has had to seek refuge in Finland from death threats.

The only weeping statue ever recognised by the church as an official miracle is the Weeping Madonna of Syracuse in Sicily which has been filmed shedding 'tears' from its 'eyes' since 1958. However Chemist Dr Luigi Garlaschelli of University of Pavia has pointed out that a hollow-headed statue that has been glazed would hold in any water that had been poured into its head. But, if the glaze was scratched or damaged - especially around the eyes - then capillary action would draw the liquid through the porous pottery and be expelled just like tears. The statue is held inside a glass case and so far Dr Garlaschelli has not yet been allowed to investigate his hypothesis.

Many other similar miracles have been claimed for statues - invariably in Catholic churches - and sometimes they shed tears of blood or olive oil. There are even statues of the Hindu God Ganesh that seem to drink Milk. The truth is that there is usually a simple explanation for these things and this is much more likely than there being a miraculous event.

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