“John Smith” responds to Orac’s post on his Lava Lamp pareidolia

This was so good that I just couldn’t resist.

Yesterday, I did a quick post about an amusing bit of pareidolia, in which the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus were seen in a Lava Lamp. Apparently, an Australian man going by the pseudonym of John Smith noticed the shape in the wax as he fired up a brand spanking new Lava Lamp, recognized it for the Holy Miracle that it was, and shut off the lamp before Satan’s heat could melt the apparition. He then stayed quiet for over a year and then announced his discovery to all the world. Naturally, I and other skeptics, particularly you, my readers, were not quite convinced.

Fortunately for us, Mr. Smith showed up in the comments to try to convince us. Far be it from me not to let him be heard:


I’ve been reading numerous comments about this lamp, and I must admit, the assumptions some people make are so far off track it’s incredible.
Firstly, its my lamp, yes, I am JOHN SMITH.

To answer some of the posts here…

  1. Chines…. I said I had been going through a tough time. I did NOT say a FINANCIALLY tough time… so why make your assumption??
  2. DLC. The nature of WAX is that it remains in SOLID form INDEFINATELY provided it is kept below its melting temperature.

    At room temperature the image will remain like this indefinately. It has been the same for the past 18 months. Of course if I turned it on again it would MELT.. .

    Pesky laws of physics… it would help if you knew those laws accurately…

  3. SWT… one of the criteria the vatican uses to verify an appearance is GENUINE is that the person who sees it keeps it to himself, which I have done for over 18 months.
  4. Zeno, nobody is paying me money, nobody knows who I am. The lamp is NOT for sale and NEVER will be. The website is FREE and anyone can view it for FREE.
  5. Orac, God says he manifests himself in all things from the great Galaxies to the tiniest ANT. Read Job, and Read Psalms…

So why not a lava lamp..?

Do you know the story of the israelites going into battle? they looked for signs in the sheep skin, if it was wet in the morning they would win the battle, if it was dry, they would lose…


John Smith

You know, I can’t argue with logic like that. Of course, given that Mr. “Smith” knew that Church teaching says that for something to be considered miraculous the person observing it must keep it quiet, why did he decide to reveal it now? Was there a time limit of 18 months? Personally, Initially, I couldn’t find any sort of requirement that the witness of a miracle keep it quiet.

Until the other day.

Now, I have to wonder if Mr. Smith’s belief that he must keep quiet about his miraculous vision of the Virgin and Child in Lava Lamp comes from a new declaration by the Pope about such sitings:

Catholics who claim they have seen the Virgin Mary will be forced to remain silent about the apparitions until a team of psychologists, theologians, priests and exorcists have fully investigated their claims under new Vatican guidelines aimed at stamping out false claims of miracles.

The Pope has instructed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly the Holy Office of the Inquisition, to draw up a new handbook to help bishops snuff out an explosion of bogus heavenly apparitions.

Benedict XVI plans to update the Vatican’s current rules on investigating apparitions to help distinguish between true and false claims of visions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, messages, stigmata (the appearances of the five wounds of Christ), weeping and bleeding statues and Eucharistic miracles.

I wonder if Mr. Smith decided to publicize his glorious vision before the new rule kicked in, particularly in light of this admonition by the Vatican:

According to Petrus, an Italian online magazine which leans towards conservative elements in the Vatican, anyone who claims to have seen an apparition will only be believed as long as they remain silent and do not court publicity over their claims. If they refuse to obey, this will be taken as a sign that their claims are false.

The visionaries will then be visited by a team of psychiatrists, either atheists or Catholics, to certify their mental health while theologians will assess the content of any heavenly messages to see if they contravene Church teachings.

If the visionary is considered credible they will ultimately be questioned by one or more demonologists and exorcists to exclude the possibility that Satan is hiding behind the apparitions in order to deceive the faithful.

I’m guessing that a team of psychiatrists has not yet visited Mr. Smith, and freed him to speak openly. Of course, the new rules have apparently not yet been finalized, much less taken effect, which suggests to me a possibility. Perhaps when Mr. Smith heard about these new rules, he realized that he had to get his story out or that he’d be stuck waiting for the slow wheels of the Roman Catholic Church to investigate his claim before he could proclaim it. Certainly, given that he’s waited for eighteen months, his timing in announcing his discovery strikes me as…rather convenient.

Of course, if he is a believer, one wonders why he announced his miracle under a pseudonym. After all, didn’t Jesus say (Mark 4:21-25):

Is the lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn’t it put on a stand? For there is nothing hidden, except that it should be made known; neither was anything made secret, but that it should come to light. If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.

Somehow, announcing such miracles of God doesn’t strike me as putting a lamp on a stand, but rather hiding it under a basket or a bed. But that’s just me.