To begin….the miracle detectives head to the small town of Elyria, Ohio. For 25 years, Maureen Sweeney-Kyle has claimed that the Blessed Mother appears to her and relays messages. In 1994, she told Maureen she wanted her messages to be heard by the world. Maureen invited those who wanted to hear…1000 people came to the residential home and literally stopped traffic! Then, the Blessed Mother told Maureen to look for property in the country, which is where the Holy Love Campus was soon created.
When the miracle detectives arrived at the campus, one couldn’t shake the commercialized vibe. They were met by Mary Ann Augustine, the office manager and representative of the campus. The camera followed Dr. V and Randall around the quiet, barren campus. They hovered in what appeared to be a gift shop, flipping through a display of photos believed to have caught holy apparitions in film.
Many people come to the campus to try to catch a glimpse of the Blessed Mother and hear the messages Maureen Sweeney-Kyle is famous for relaying. Not everyone sees apparitions, only those who are “granted with the grace” we are told. In the presence of Maureen, everyone recites the rosary. Maureen then would fall to her knees which would indicate that the Blessed Mother had arrived. This is how she speaks to Maureen.
Maureen hasn’t given an interview for 13 years. In a surprising move, she was willing to speak to Randall…the Blessed Mother told her to….with stipulations! No other person or camera was allowed and that included Dr. V. Randall had to come alone. It was odd that Maureen wasn’t open to discussing her gift with Dr. V. It sets a level of concern that something is being hidden. She told Randall that many Saints, Jesus and Mary all come to her to deliver messages. She believes she was chosen because of her inadequacies. Randall met with her and found he felt amazing in her presence. But let’s be honest…Randall requires little to believe.
Dr. V then turns to the images….something she can put to the test. The Holy Love Campus displays and uses the photos taken as proof that the Blessed Mother is connected to Maureen. Dr. V enlists a photographer to help her better understand how these images are possible. With little manipulation…merely moving the camera around, he was able to reproduce ALL the images with great accuracy. Not just “kinda like”…they looked as if they should be hung in the gift shop and sold. So the photos were a result of bad photography.
This left Dr. V wondering if the people who witness the apparitions had vivid imaginations, hallucinated them or if it they were possibly real? Kurt Jensen, a crowd psychologist, explained how people can believe in something with very little compelling evidence. The more like-minded people there are…the more likely they are to believe. A normal event can turn into a paranormal one.
Randall couldn’t help but lean towards a miracle on this one. People came to Maureen, found faith and continued to expand on it….to him, God was involved. However he was disappointed that Maureen didn’t allow Dr. V to meet with her. So although is wasn’t an absolute “Yes”….he leaned pretty close to it. After seeing the replication of the photos and speaking with the Psychologist, Dr. V couldn’t help but feel this wasn’t a miracle. There were natural explanations for both sets of evidence. Since she was unable to meet with Maureen…there was nothing she could say. To her, this looked like a “No.”
THAT won’t stop me though. I just have to wonder about Maureen. Why not talk to Dr. V? God spoke to everyone…not only a select few. What is there to hide? Why must she control all aspects? I feel the more someone has to hide….the more control they need. I’m just not buying it. The photos were easily replicated and the psychology of crowds explains so much. I mean seriously….in a crowd of thousands you want to experience what you came so far to see…you wish, hope and possibly can make it happen for yourself. It makes me feel as if people are seeing what they are so intensely focused on seeing. Although affirmation of faith is ALWAYS a wonderful thing…I can’t help but wonder who is behind the curtain and if this is OZ.
This leaves me curious….is affirmation of faith through unproven miracles a good thing, or does it simply create more skeptics?