Thursday, May 9, 2013

Myths about the Miracle of Calanda Debunked

Often atheists ask Christians why God doesn't heel amputees. While a good case can be made about God helping them put their lives back together after such a lifestyle altering event, thus "healing" them in a spiritual sense, most likely the atheist wants to hear about actual limb regeneration like the type seen in reptiles. In that case, I personally bring up the Miracle of Calanda, and once that happens, look out for all the lies and distortions atheists fling at it. If you're not familiar with the story, here it is courtesy of Wikipedia:  

At the end of July 1637 Miguel Juan Pellicer, a 20 year old man from Calanda in Aragon was working as an agricultural labourer at Castellón, 60 km from Valencia, on his uncle's farm. While steering a cart by riding one of the mules that was pulling it, Miguel fell off, probably because he had fallen asleep. The cartwheel passed over his right leg, breaking the tibia. He received initial treatment at Castellón, then was admitted to the hospital of Valencia, where he stayed for five days. He then decided to leave for Zaragoza in order to receive treatment in the hospital dedicated to Our Lady of the Pillar (Madonna del Pilar) to whom he had great devotion. The 300 kilometre journey took him some 50 days. On his arrival, the doctors observed that the leg was in an advanced state of gangrene, leaving no other choice but to amputate it. In their testimony, the doctors described the leg as "very phlegmonous and gangrenous," to the point of appearing "black." In mid-October two master surgeons, Juan de Estanga and Diego Millaruelo, carried out the operation. The leg was cut "four fingers below the knee." Although they had made the patient drowsy with alcoholic and drugged drinks, as was the practice at the time, Miguel suffered excruciating pain: "In his torment," the witnesses would later say, "the young man called upon the Virgin of the Pillar, unceasingly and with great fervor." The leg was then buried, as was customary at the time, in a special part of the hospital's cemetery. The stub was subsequently cauterized with fire. Miguel Juan Pellicer stayed in hospital for a few months, until in the spring of 1638 he was provided with a wooden leg and crutches and released from hospital. For the next two years, he made his living through begging. He was provided with the necessary authorization, at the Sanctuary of the Pillar. During this time he was certainly a familiar sight for a large number of the citizens of Zaragoza. He regularly returned to the hospital for checkups and treatment through Dr. Estanga.
 According to Messori, at about ten o'clock in the evening of 29 March 1640, Pellicer laid himself to rest. Because his bed was occupied by a soldier of a garrison that stayed at Calanda over night, he went to sleep on a provisional bed in his parents' room. Between half past ten and eleven o'clock, his mother entered the room and saw two feet appearing from below the cloak that covered her son. Thinking that Miguel Juan and the soldier must have changed places, she called her husband to resolve the misunderstanding. But while removing the cloak, husband and wife, were dumbstruck, as they realized that this was indeed their own son. They shook him and shouted at him to wake him up. Some minutes passed until Miguel Juan woke up from a deep sleep. He told them that he had dreamt of being within the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Pillar and rubbing his leg with the holy oil, as he had done so often. Soon all three agreed that the restoration of the leg was due to the intercession of the Virgin of the Pillar.

No lie: I once presented this to a group of ten atheists (strategically leaving out some parts of the story) and without fail, all ten atheists concluded the man faked his injury, using this notion or that to justify their stand and each justification didn't hold up in light of the whole story. Thinking ten atheists are not enough to make a case, I presented it to various atheist forums and without fail, all the atheists there reached the exact same conclusion and make the exact same mistakes.

Before we look into all the mistakes atheists made, I want everyone to keep in mind the following quote:

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever is left--no matter how improbable---must be correct."

Now, let's look at atheist objections and why none of them hold up:

1. The man in question never existed.

      Response: The town where it all took place has on file the baptism record of the man, so that would be quite a big ruse for not just one family but a whole town to make.

2. It never happened.

    Response: There are at least ten documents (and several more notarized copies of the documents) confirming the story happened as it is presented.  So either this is an elaborate conspiracy or this is the complete truth. To those who go with the first choice, I remind you that even the American Skeptics Society says conspiracies might make interesting stories but rarely turn out to hold up as truth.

3. He made the story up.

    Response: Considering how many people saw him with just one leg, then with two and considering how many doctors looked at him, I see no reason to believe this hypothesis. Sure, passersby might have been fooled by him standing on one leg (more on this later) but doctors well trained in bodily exams who would have seen him with nothing on? Very doubtful. So doubtful I'm surprised atheists--who want us to view them as "bright"--would jump to this conclusion so fast.

4. The Gangrene Theory (ie, the amount of time that passed would have caused gangrene to spread far enough to kill him)

    Response: This has a bit more thought put into it, but only in the sense 1st degree murder has more planning in it than manslaughter. This came to me thanks to an atheist blogger who brought up the theory then concluded gangrene would have set in far deeper than mere amputation could have fixed. This might sound more scientific except for one little problem:

There are at least four types of gangrene and the blog writer didn't specify which one was meant.

Given what we now know about bone fractures, the man most likely suffered from what we now call compartment syndrome on his 50 day journey. I bring this up because given the description the doctors gave and given the circumstances, the gangrene would have most likely been the dry type, the kind most often seen in elderly patients but not unheard of in poorly resent limbs. This also matches the story where the gangrene spread slowly as opposed to rapid spread and the precise description of where the leg was cut off.

5. No one asked basic questions.

     Response: Again, given the judges, magistrates, public officials, priests and bishops involved, it's hard to imagine no one asked the right questions. This is nothing more than a smoke screen to cover up the negative attitude atheists have to anyone with faith.

6. While the story might have some truth to it, overall it's too fantastic to believe.

     Response:  this is nothing more than trying to pass off an opinion as a fact. That's no different than saying "I feel the world is flat so therefore it must be flat."

7. The Brian Dunning Theory (the man saw the money people gave him for having a broken leg so he thought having a missing leg would mean getting more money and it wasn't until his mother uncovered his sheet that she saw the other leg and his ruse was discovered.)

     Response: I named this after skeptical thinker Brian Dunning who made this claim after supposedly "looking at all the paperwork evidence." Strange: I didn't think talking to the dead could be shown by document evidence. ;)
In all seriousness, how did Dunning reach that conclusion? And how does it even make sense? Does he not know that bouncing on a leg looks different than people walking on a fake leg? And I ask again:

Would doctors have been that easily fooled?

And there you have it: all objections to it shot down with ease. These are nothing more than empty tactics used by the morally corrupt to avoid facing the REAL issue. Of course atheists would use this tactic because atheists are idiots.


  1. Atheists keep asking for a miracle like this and when it's given to them, they still find a way to deny it. The truth is that atheists deed own inside do believe that God exists but just want to deny him emotionally and stubbornly find a way to cling to their dogmatic cultist atheistic beliefs.

    I have cornered them a zillion times on the scientific and historic evidences from the shroud of turin and they in turn either run away or give a very ignorant response that doesn't fit well with the evidences at hand.

    They just don't want to be confused by the facts lol

  2. Then you should look at the new meme I put here.

  3. I will definately check it out my friend. Could u also say a prayer for a healimg for my dad who has metastatic cancer and for my. Mom who suffered a massive stroke and is in a vegetative state.
    God bless you my friend and keep exposing those idiot atheists :)

  4. Tremendous read. I'm a cradle Catholic and love it when one of our more intellectual brethren blacken the eye of the atheists. I've heard about this story before and cannot for the life of me see how the guy wood of hoodwinked so many people for so long. Thank you for your work.

  5. I am not an atheist but i also don't blindly believe every miracle so I just want to quickly ask if you have any evidence to back up the doctor
    Reports because I heard from
    Another source that the gangrene was wet like the gangrene that spreads quickly. The doctor reports I believe will be the most sufficient in proving something.

    1. You are mistaken. You should believe this miracle. Based on what you typed, I believe the disconnect stems from how gangrene works.
      From the story, it was most likely wet gangrene (dry would only occur if we were talking about someone with a heart blockage). However, since there was no evidence of bacterial or viral infection, the time would vary on how the gangrene progressed.
      The two surgeons who helped him both testified they cut his leg off and documents of their deposition can be found at the Cathedral of the Pillar or failing that Zaragoza, Spain's town hall.

  6. I am a General Surgeon who has personally treated many, many case of gangrene of many different areas of the body and many also of the feet and lower limbs. Gangrene simply means the tissue has lost its blood supply and has died. It does not necessarily imply an infection. When tissue on the leg dies for example. the skin turns black and shriveled. Dead tissue is a great medium for bacteria to grow and often the gangrenous tissue becomes infected and the infection spreads to the surrounding tissue. If the bacteria causing the infection is a clostridia species then it becomes a medical emergency and rapid high amputation is necessary to save the life of the patient. In most cases this is not the case and the infective agent is much more indolent. The decision to amputate is based on the amount of dead tissue present and the threat of spreading infection. The story of Miguel Juan Pellicer is entirely consistent with non-clostridial gangrene and could have reasonably lasted for weeks or even months before the decision to amputate was made.
    Michael P. Vercimak, M.D.,F.A.C.S.