From the very first days of the apparitions, the six visionaries were repeatedly examined for evidence of any mental disorder, hallucinations, lying, use of drugs, etc. The visionaries endured the examination of countless number of doctors, an unimaginable amount of hours, dedicated to sifting them to uncover any possibility of deception or digression from their testimony. They were often pressured, tricked, made to repeat over and over again their stories, going through the same tests over and over again by different doctors. Imagine the patience necessary for any teenager to endure such tedious testing and questioning, often under highly stressful circumstances.
The situation for the visionaries grew highly volatile as the communist authorities began to fear an uprising when great numbers of Croatians began arriving each day for the apparitions. Outside of the psychological testing, the communist police mercilessly threatened the children if they did not denounce their testimony. The visionaries, still young children, had many occasions when they believed they were being led off to their deaths. They accepted their fate with resignation and peace.
Not only were they being threatened, but their parents, their families, their neighbors and friends, the parish priests. Fr. Jozo was sentenced to prison for three years for defending the visionaries. All this because of what the visionaries said they saw. It was very difficult for the visionaries to see others suffering for what they were testifying to. They often would say, “Leave them alone. Take us. It is our testimony that is causing you problems, not theirs.”
In the early days, it was under these circumstances that the children were being observed. The testing, therefore, was not just an inconvenience in the life of normal teenagers, but they often faced very hostile, unbelieving adults who were bent on disproving and breaking their resolve. Marija, for instance, was ordered by the police not to speak about her experience of Our Lady at school with her teachers or classmates. She understood that to disobey the order, she would be severely punished. She obeyed the order for an entire year, and ended up converting her entire classroom through her witness of love, without uttering a single word about the apparitions. This alone, to many who knew this, was enough to convince them that they were truly seeing the Virgin Mary. Imagine, however, the pressure of knowing your every move was being watched, your every word was being dissected. During that year, Marija said someone was always just ten feet behind her.
Many of the doctors who examined the visionaries’ psychological well-being were greatly impressed at their serenity in the midst of such pressure and threats, knowing full well that most adults would have difficulty standing up against such extreme resistance. There was not one doctor, professor, theologian, or scientist who tested the visionaries in all the 28 years of the apparitions that found anything abnormal about their behavior. There have been allegations by those who do not believe the apparitions to be true that the visionaries are hallucinating, lying, under the influence of satan, etc., but in regards to the actual tests and observations made by professionals in that area of expertise, the visionaries were found to be normal in every respect concerning their mental well-being. This was true at the beginning of the apparitions, throughout the first decade of the apparitions, and in recent years as periodic testing continues to take place to observe if there have been any changes worth noting in the experienced of the visionaries.
What the experts have unanimously concluded can also be seen through the eyes of common sense. Ponder the questions that Croatian psychiatrist, Dr. Nikola Bartulica, one of the examiners of the visionaries, asked himself concerning the possibility of the visionaries “faking it” all these years.
“Vicka was very expressive. I was watching her moving her lips, nodding. It made me think, if she doesn’t see the Blessed Mother, and is just staring into the wall like the rest of us, and behaves in such a manner, then she is making fools of all of us! You have to ask yourself if it is possible that she is deceiving us. That answer is that it might be possible, but if that was the case, all the six seers are capable of this simultaneously for a period of 25 years! That in itself would be a phenomenon! And anyway that cannot be, because it has been established scientifically that their ecstasies are authentic. Besides there is no such case in the history of psychiatry that six children start simultaneously hallucinating at 6:40 (every evening for the past 28 years)!” (1)
In the simplicity that is the hallmark of all the visionaries, Marija sums up the results found in the testing by saying,
“Sometimes we laugh together, at the end of ends, we have it written in black and white that we are normal and so many people live without such a proof. So it ends in a joke…” (2)
1. “The Scientific Claim That the Visionaries Are Telling the Truth,” Žarko Ivković, Medjugorje Truibune, January 2007, No. 1
2. From an Interview with Marija Lunetti from the film, “The Lasting Sign: The Apparitions at Medjugorje” produced by Caritas of Birmingham, 1989.