The first thing that attracted his attention was a man at his side who was bending over, very interested in taking the pulse of the girls. Every now and then he would raise his head toward the people and say, Normal . . . Normal. . . .
The captain of the guard began hearing Normal . . . and asked him, Hey, are you a doctor?
—No sir, I'm a journalist.
—Well then, please get out of here at once.
—Gladly. Pardon me.
These rather ridiculous details, and those that preceded them, caused Father Ramón to think to himself, This thing has neither head nor tail.
Soon both the children came to themselves at the same time, perfectly simultaneously, and looked innocently around them. Everyone was at a loss for words. Then Father Valentín, who already had experience in these matters—over a month of association with them—came near and asked them with his typical stammering. What? What? What did the Virgin say?
—The Virgin said that we should go to the Pines—we, our families, the guards, the priests and the nuns—and that the others should remain below.
Father Valentín turned toward Father Andreu and said nervously, But what nuns? What nuns? There are no nuns here! What nuns? This isn't the Virgin!
Father Andreu remained quiet. What did he know? This was the first time he was here and he was rather confused.
They all went up to the Pines and there the children unaffectedly pointed out the places where the various groups should situate themselves.(2)
It appeared that the Virgin had told the children that the people could see, but should not hear (3). Only two little children of six years of age, Mari Carmen and Sari (sisters of Jacinta and Loli), could be near the visionaries as witnesses.
The ecstasy and the apparition began. The nearest spectators were able to notice that the faces of the visionaries took on an expression of profound sorrow. One of the girls' mothers could not contain herself. They are crying.
Since he could not manage to hear the conversation, the parish priest called to Mari Carmen, the child witness, in order to question her. The little girl approached unhurriedly, and when she heard the questions of the priest, answered in a bored and indifferent manner: They are telling the Virgin that she shouldn't say bad things.(4)
Everyone knew that this apparition was different from the others, that the Virgin was explaining and showing very grave things, surely in relation to some great chastisement that would come upon the world if men did not return to the ways of God by doing penance.
From statements made later on by the children, it was learned that on this day the Virgin had confided a secret and had completed the message which would be made public on the night of October 18th.(5)
A witness present at the time noted:
«They raised up their hands as if holding up something. One pulled in her arms. Kisses were heard . . . They extended their arms . . . They smiled . . . They listened to something . . . And they cried . . .
When they returned to normal we surrounded them and saw that one of them still had tears. Why are you crying? We received no answer.»
While some of the people were speaking with the girls, the third ecstasy of the day occurred there in the same location of the Pines. This time the children could be heard with notable clearness.
—The Apparition had come with the Child, since they asked how old He was. They requested her to give them His crown, and they said that it was little.
—The Virgin told the girls that she was pleased with the way the people had acted, since they had docilely obeyed the things she had said about their positions during the ecstasy.
—She advised them to say the rosary one more time, and to do it at the Pines.
As soon as they returned to normal, Jacinta and Loli began right there to say the rosary. On reaching the fifth Ave María of the third mystery, the two children stopped at The Lord is with . . . without pronouncing the next word.
This ecstasy lasted about an hour. Here are some of the things that were heard:
«Why do you come? If the people hadn't obeyed, would you have come? . . . So that they believe . . . (They offer something. They give a kiss.) How beautiful you are! You're very kind . . . Tomorrow we will come while fasting, without eating anything, not anything . . . I am kissing your scapular . . . Today some Carmelite fathers came . . . I remember a Dominican . . . Show us your dress once more . . . It's white with white flowers . . . A guard brought a little girl who couldn't speak or walk . . . I promised him . . . Cure her! Cure someone, so that all the people can see it.»
2. «Midway toward the Pines, Loli turned around and pointed with her finger, No one should pass beyond here, indicating a path that crossed over from the side.
It wasn't easy to make all that crowd of 500 persons obey immediately. It could be imagined that some hadn't heard what the visionary had said. Three or four of the Civil Guards took charge of implementing these orders. I passed at the side of one of the guards as he was trying to block the passage of some people who wanted to go ahead of him. One of the people said, And who are you to stop me from seeing a miracle? The guard answered, God commands and He should be obeyed.» (From a conference of Father Andreu at Palma de Mallorca.)
It is not easy to allocate each scene and episode precisely to the corresponding ecstasy that took place at the Pines on the afternoon of July 29th.
3. From information that I was able to gather with difficulty, it appears that only the two small witnesses whom we have first mentioned were able to circulate around Jacinta and Loli in ecstasy. Those of the privileged group—their parents, the guards, etc.—had to stay a little farther away, in such a position that they could see, but could not hear; while the crowd—down below to one side, without even seeing anything— remained waiting. At a second stage, those from the privileged group were able to draw closer and encircle the girls. Finally the whole crowd went up to the Pines.
4. Distressing things that were terrifying and painful.
5. Concerning this July 29th, so outstanding in the events of Garabandal, Police Chief Juan Alvarez Seco testifies:
«I remember that María Dolores said to me, Chief, you and my father can come up a little closer, about 100 meters to the right of the Pines. The Pastor and the nuns may come to about 100 meters too, but on the left side; the rest of the people below and far away.
We all did this. And I was able to observe that during the ecstasy the visionaries cried a lot, frightening the little girls . . . Later I learned that the reason for the visionaries being alone and isolated like this was so that the people wouldn't be too stricken on seeing up close what they were suffering, since the Virgin had to be speaking of the message, showing them something of the chastisement and how the cup was being filled with sins. This was what they had to make public later on October 18th.
On this day, the people from the village made a little altar with fruit cases, and they placed it at the foot of the Pines; it was well made and they decorated it with flowers from the fields.»