It’s the holiday season, and in this world that at times seems to be imploding upon itself it is a time for many around the planet to hope for something better. It is a time to be with family, to think of joy and peace, to believe in miracles. Here in the holiday spirit I will present a location infused with a strange phenomenon that has given hope to many people whether it is real or not, a house in the country of Australia that has an unsolved mystery that seems to suggest that miracles just may indeed exist.
It all begins with a modest three-bedroom home in a suburb of western Sydney, which is the abode of a George and Lina Tannous, and up until 2006 their son, Mike, as well. In September of that year tragedy struck when 17-year-old Mike Tannous was involved in a fatal car accident practically just down the street from the home, which took his life and left his parents in a deep state of grieving. It was a dark time for the family, their only son dead, and the deeply religious couple would later say that prayer was the sole thing that had gotten them through the wilderness of grief and anguish. Then, exactly 40 days after the tragic accident, strange things began to happen around the ordinarily normal and unassuming house.
It started rather innocuously enough, when Lina was allegedly in her son’s room and spotted what looked like a tiny diamond sparkling in the wall over his bed. She went closer to investigate, and that was when she noticed that it was actually some wet spot of what looked like some sort of gel or oil, although where it came from was not immediately apparent. Over the next days and weeks this strange oil began to appear in other places around the house, beginning with religious idols, framed photos of Mike, and places that the son had often frequented, and graduating to bleeding from the walls and ceiling in sheets, none of it with any clear source. There was no accounting for it, no reasonable explanation, and although it was at first rather frightening for the family they soon came to suspect that it was their dead son communicating with them from the grave, a theory further bolstered when George Tannous recalled a dream that Mike had told him about 2 weeks before his accident, in which he had said the Virgin Mary had guided him around Heaven and told him the special things were in store for him.
The idea that it was their son was made even more apparent when on several occasions the strange oil was found to have scrawled Mike’s name and birth date across the wall, and there were sometimes religious symbols drawn there as well. The Tannous’ came to believe that this was a true sign from God, that their son was speaking to them from beyond, and word began to leak out to the media of this “miracle.” The devout began coming to the Tannous house in droves to pray, and the family welcomed them into their home to witness it for themselves. These people were hoping to see some sign from God, and according to reports some of them got it. One woman claimed that she had been unable to conceive a child, but shortly after visiting the home she became miraculously pregnant. Another claimed to have been cured of cancer after rubbing some of the oil onto herself, and there were nearly a dozen such miraculous healings reported, further driving the fame of the house to make it known all over the world. Mr. Tannous would say of the occurrences:
Mike is a messenger between us and God. He has healed so many people. My son’s spirit is in this house. He loved God and Jesus. He has come to this house and the oil is his spirit. There is no question, this is a miracle.
Although there was obviously quite a bit of skepticism aimed at the supposed “miracle,” with many pointing out that it was either a natural seeping of condensed moisture from under the wallpaper or just a flat-out hoax, the oil itself has remained mysterious despite actual testing. The only thing that can really be really ascertained about the strange substance is that it contains water, gold, and a “safe level of uranium.” Wait, what? Is there a “safe” level of uranium and why is it weeping from the walls? What would uranium have to do with a gift from God? Who knows?
The inability to distinctly identify the oil only served to fuel the mystery, and people began to make pilgrimages to the house from all over the world, always welcomed into the home and never asked to make any sort of donation. One family friend would say, “I believe in what is happening; I guess this has also to do with my faith. They are not taking donations, nor do they seek ‘15 minutes of fame’. They strongly believe this is a sign from God for the world to see.”
In the meantime, the Tannous family has made appeals to the Church to seriously consider their son for Sainthood, based on the miracles he was supposedly performing from beyond the grave. For a while the “Weeping House,” or “The House of Miracles,” was all over the news and drew in hundreds of visitors a day, generating quite a bit of religious debate and skepticism in the process. Then skeptics got a boost when George Tannous was arrested for credit card fraud, casting a rather unfavorable light on him and painting him as a scam artist, but the fact remains that he has never asked for any money off of his “miracle,” and even after being found guilty of fraud he has adamantly defended the mysterious phenomenon happening at his home, and accused authorities and the bank of trying to taint his good name and cover up the miracles, saying:
I would like to announce that there is a big game prepared by those who are against the miracle and the House of Miracles. The Westpac Bank opened this case against me while the miracle is giving fruits to the world. The miracle is completely true and it’s clear from the result of the oil which was tested by the scientists from the government. If somebody has a problem with my job, let him take me to court. The miracle will continue always and the door is always open.
The accusations have not really had any impact on the faithful, who still show up in large numbers hoping for some miracle or to be healed at this place. Is any of it real, or is this just a hoax given power by the blind hope of the faithful? For now, it remains an odd little unexplained mystery, and whether miracles really exist or not, in this season it sure is nice to at least think they do.