Mar 13, 2022 I Paul Seaburn

Alleged Bleeding Statue in Colorado Associated with Ukraine

(Note: photo above is not the 'bleeding' statue in the story.)

‘Miracle’ is term overused and misused in the media, in sports and especially in religion. While there’s little dispute that a true ‘miracle’ should be something which can’t be explained by natural or scientific laws, few events actually qualify. While a ‘miraculous’ recovery from a disability could be psychological, a limb that is cut off and then grows would have few denying it was a medically-impossible miracle. That bar has to be set extremely low when “bleeding statues” are called miracles, but that’s what we have today in Colorado, where a woman claims her statue of St, Michael the Archangel – the patron saint of Kyiv, Ukraine – appeared to bleed from its head on the day Russia invaded that country, and continued to ‘bleed’ until the ‘blood’ reached the demon Michael was depicted standing on.

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A non-bleeding statue of Michael the Archangel

“He’s not crying. He’s bleeding from the forehead. [The blood] passes around his eyes. It doesn’t enter his eyes. “It was dripping like when you cut yourself and the blood drips out; that’s how it was.”

The Catholic News Agency reports that Alicia Martinez of Broomfield, Colorado, claims her 30-inch-tall statue of St. Michael began oozing a dark red liquid on February 23rd. (Photos here.) A video posted two days later (watch it here) shows the liquid in a shiny state, in a dried state, and seemingly being blotted with a paper towel by Martinez and leaving a reddish mark. She claims the liquid oozed for over a week until it reached the demon under Michael’s feet – something foretold to her by a nun. While other people interviewed on the news and many social media commenters called it a hoax, possibly a money-making one, Mark Haas, public relations director for the Archdiocese of Denver, said this on March 7th:

“(The archdiocese) has just recently been informed of this claim and we will investigate.”

Mathew Schmalz, an Associate Professor of Religion at the College of the Holy Cross, says the Catholic Church rarely endorses weeping or bleeding statues as miracles because they’re so easy to fake. He references two cases of statues that wept blood – one in Canada in 1986 and another in Italy in 2006 – where the blood turned out be that of the statue’s owner. Other scientific investigations have shown how a porous statue can be placed in a liquid ahead of time to absorb it – the liquid then leaks out of premade holes. In 1995, a bleeding Madonna statue was witnessed by 60 people, including the local bishop, but a DNA test showed the blood to be from a male, possibly the statue’s owner. Often, the statue is merely secretly squirted with blood, water, oil or another liquid. Oil can be mixed with a solid fat and rubbed on a statue’s eyes or face – it will then appear to run when the temperature rises to melt the fat.

“Miracle: a sign or wonder such as a healing, or control of nature, which can only be attributed to divine power.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church sets a high bar for miracles, but the Church is not above recognizing the benefits of questionable ‘miracle’ events. In August of 1920, during the Irish War of Independence, newspapers in Templemore, a city suffering from bloody killings, reported the religious statues in a shop and in some homes began bleeding. Soon there were reports of medical cures an a truce – albeit short-lived – was negotiated between the IRA and Crown forces as a result. While the Catholic Church took a position of “extreme reserve” on the bleeding statues and alleged miracles, a local parish priest was widely quoted as saying: “If it is a prank it will fizzle out. If not, why should I stop it?”

At least one Templemore statue was indeed a prank – one ‘bleeding’ statue was broken open and inside was an alarm clock connected to fountain pen inserts filled with sheep's blood. At certain times, the clock would somehow bump the inserts and squirt blood.

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An archangel statue in Kyiv

Which brings us back to Alicia Martinez and her ‘bleeding’ statue of St. Michael, patron of Kyiv. Will it be explained? Will it inspire anyone, restore their faith or convince them to get some? Can it cause a ceasefire in Ukraine? Probably not. It looks like a hoax, but if not …

Just don't call it a 'miracle' -- unless it gets smashed open and the pieces glue themselves back together.

Paul Seaburn
Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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