Wednesday, June 22

The Ghost Of St Bernadette And Her Incorrupt Body

Ghost of Saint Bernadette Soubirous
While going through photos for last Sunday's post, Producing Energy Between Your Hands, I came across this picture above, purported to be Saint Bernadette - after she had died. There are five images shown as her spirit gradually fades into a wall.

It's not known who the photographer was but is generally referred to as The Ghost of Bernadette Soubirous and was taken in 1890, eleven years following her death.

Bernadette Soubirous is the French farm girl from rural Lourdes who was canonised as a saint on December 13th 1933. Lourdes has since become a center of healing for believers, mostly of the Catholic faith. Her full story can be found on Wikipedia, where it is says:

"In the 150 years since Bernadette dug up the spring (at Lourdes), 67 cures have been verified by the Lourdes Medical Bureau as 'inexplicable', but only after what the Church claims are 'extremely rigorous scientific and medical examinations' that failed to find any other explanation."

I think most people have probably heard of the Lourdes story but I didn't realise that Bernadette's body had been exhumed three times with bizarre results:

On the first occasion, in September 1909, witnesses claimed that, though a crucifix in her hand had oxidised, her body was declared 'incorrupt.' In other words there was no sign of decomposition.

On the second exhumation in April 1919 the doctor, who examined the body stated: "The body is practically mummified, covered with patches of mildew and quite a notable layer of salts, which appear to be calcium salts. The skin has disappeared in some places, but it is still present on most parts of the body."

Following a third exhumation in 1925 Doctor Comte published a report in the Bulletin de I'Association medicale de Notre-Dame de Lourdes:

"What struck me during this examination, of course, was the state of perfect preservation of the skeleton, the fibrous tissues of the muscles (still supple and firm), of the ligaments, and of the skin, and above all the totally unexpected state of the liver after 46 years. One would have thought that this organ, which is basically soft and inclined to crumble, would have decomposed very rapidly or would have hardened to a chalky consistency. Yet, when it was cut it was soft and almost normal in consistency. I pointed this out to those present, remarking that this did not seem to be a natural phenomenon."

As to whether Lourdes has supernatural powers of healing is a matter of opinion. What can be said is that belief can do many wondrous things - including returning people to health. Belief is at the center of most miracles.

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  1. You summed it up beautifully. Belief. It's at the center of everything.

    1. Anonymous01:13

      The Bible clearly states if one is saved, you are absent from the body and with the Lord. Any so called ghosts are demonic as is the incorruption of her body. Are you calling God a liar when He says, from dust thou came and to dust thou shall return? All Marian apparitions are satan who comes as an angel of light.

    2. Lisa22:11

      I completely agree with you.

    3. Anonymous18:55

      doesn't it also say in the bible to judge a tree by its fruits. Look at the fruits of Lourdes, Fatima and Medjugorje and their messages. Are they not consistent with the Lord's teachings? doesn't it also say that to call works of the spirit as from the devil is an unforgivable sin? Although we are not bound to belief through faith we must be careful not to judge something which may indeed be of God. After all,isn't it not within God's power to send his beloved mother to help us? Does it not say that "the women"shalt crush the head of satan?

    4. to those who disagree and say blasphemous words . . . have you ever proven to your self what you are saying? have you seen life after death or anything after death?

  2. i didnt realise the bernadette story was how the lourdes healing came about. like trish i think belief is what makes it work

  3. Bernadette followed the nonsensical commands of a ball of light type UFO and was laughed at until she found a spring whose water apparently was very beneficial.

    It's a UFO contactee case with lots of witnesses basically.

    1. Anonymous03:44

      No..Bernadette saw (and heard) a person she identified as the Virgin Mary.

      She said nothing about a "ball of light" and you, sir (or madam) are guilty of spreading disinformation when you post such nonsense.

    2. Anonymous01:14

      All Marian apparitions are the devil coming as an angel of light.

    3. Anonymous19:03

      Infact she saw a beautiful woman who identified herself as the immaculate conception..This can only be the mother of Christ.

  4. Anonymous19:03

    I love Saint Bernadette. She is near to my heart.
    She is humble,simple and full of beauty.
    Maged from Coptic Church

  5. The girl in this alleged ghost photo bears only a superficial resemblance to Bernadette -- who never in her life wore such a costume. The real Bernadette was very small, about 4'9". The girl in this photo would appear to be much taller -- compare her height to that of the door, which must be 6'5" or taller.

    There were a lot of faked spirit photos in the 1890s.

    You may be interested to know that there is another bogus ghost photo of Bernadette, "starring" the same actress at the same location. It shows "Bernadette" hovering over a sick child -- who is, absurdly, lying outdoors. I can email you a copy, if you're interested. It's a profile shot, and you can clearly see that the actress did not have Bernadette's nose.

    As you know, her liver was extracted during the 1925 examination. I can't imagine anyone disposing of such a thing, but I have no idea where the liver might be right now. To be frank, I can't think of a way to make inquiries without sounding ghoulish.

    The Anonymous commenter of March 5 is mostly, but not entirely, correct. At the time of the first apparition, Bernadette did report seeing a large orb of light emerge from the cave at Massabielle. (Most people think that the apparition occurred in a niche, but the niche is actually the mouth of an extensive cave system. A statue which Bernadette disliked now stands there.) The light congealed into the form of a woman in white.

    The large orb of light is mentioned in some accounts by Bernadette, though not in all.

    It is not quite clear when Bernadette accepted the identification of the Woman in White as the Virgin Mary. I don't think she committed herself to that interpretation until after the apparition sequence was over.

    It is worth noting that, well before Bernadette was born, there was a folkloric figure in the Pyrenees called the White Lady. She was the local spook. Just as Maryland has Goatman, New Jersey has the Jersey Devil and Big Sur has the Grey Watcher, the forests of the Haute Pyrenees were haunted by White Ladies. Common people loved these legends, but nobody took them seriously.

    Bernadette was hardly the only one to see and hear strange things at Massabielle. Fifty years ago, you could talk to elderly Lourdais who still regarded the place as more haunted than holy.

    1. Thanks Joseph for that interesting comment. I agree that there were many fake spirit photos from the same period - though some are almost laughable.

    2. Anonymous19:00

      The lady identified herself as " I am the immaculate conception"..She didn't know what it meant or even understood the words. The priest did. So she did identify herself

  6. To my knowledge Bernadette's liver was never extracted, Catholics like to take relics, mostly bones from Saints. She mentioned in earlier accounts of the apparitions that a light appeared before the lady appeared and stayed for bit after she left. Bernadette never said that the lady was the Blessed Virgin, she called it "Aquero", meaning that thing. She reported to her Priest that when she asked the lady her name, she was told Immaculate Conception, she could never have known what that term meant. Considering 18 apparitions and all that occurred subsequent to them it's hard to disprove her story, plus she never lied and had no reason too.

  7. Anonymous15:24

    The ghost of St. Bernadette...Wow!!!

  8. Anonymous03:46

    my god how I love thee. The passion our Jesus suffered for us is adored. The devil was beaten at calvary. Lamb of god who takes away the sins of the world have mercy on us.

  9. Anonymous22:54

    Miracles happen . . . and one does not have to believe in them for them to occur. But once you have experienced a miracle, then you surely do believe.

  10. "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe , no explanation is possible."

    1. i totally agree with you man!

  11. Anonymous23:13

    I believed in Our Lady of Guadalupe, Fatima and Lourdes, but not Garabandal and Medjorgorje. Medjorgorje' apparition against the Bible when the Lord Jesus said " I am the Way, the True, and the Life, and No one can come to the Father but by me", and Medjugorje said Jesus Christ accepts any body such as, Hindu, Muslims, Atheists, Mormons, etc., which Contradicts the Holy Bible.
    I believed only the words of God, and anything that's not in the Bible, it's not from God.

  12. Anonymous06:40

    I never believed the ghost image of a lady in white is Saint Bernadette. The people who attacked Saint Bernadette and the Church for 2000 years are demons.

  13. 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
    Revelations 22:8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw all these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me. 9 But he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God!”
    Luke 11:27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” 28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

  14. Anonymous20:47

    I just finished watching, for so many times as well, the wonderful movie, The Song of Bernadette, and as always I cry tears of love for both Saint Bernadette AND The Blessed Mother at the end of the movie when she comes for her..I believe with all my heart and soul she was chosen by God, when she was conceived to lay her eyes on our beloved Blessed Mother and to report her words to the doctor as a matter of fact traveled to where she lays in her tomb and has told me yes, she was very tiny and looks as if she just passed, so beautiful.. I love my St. Bernadette and i pray to her, as well as my God, my Jesus and Blessed Mother..i wish you all peace, love and please be safe out there, God's blessings to each of you in this troubled time of ours ..