Among the many people who came was a lawyer from Palencia named Luis Navas Carrillo. Not satisfied merely with devoutly living those days, he also made a report of them, which now serves us well for that period of the year 1962:
«After passing through the mountain pass at Piedras Luengas and from there viewing on the left the fantastic panorama of the Picos de Europa mountains, we told the narrow and tortuous highway that went down to the rapids of the Nansa River. And it was well into the afternoon when we came to Cossío. It was June 29th.
We began the ascent to Garabandal. The temperature was pleasant and the sky clear. During the way up, I couldn't put out of my mind the memory of another day that was very different — the dark and stormy October 18th that I had experienced in the same place. Today the soft mountain breeze purified our lungs and prepared our spirits for the possible beneficial actions of the Virgin Mary.
In the village, we had time to rest about an hour and a half. Afterward, at nightfall, they told us that the girls were walking through one of the streets, already in ecstasy. We easily found them and joined a group of people who were following them toward the Pines. We lost them from view a little beyond the Cuadro since — according to the instructions that had been given by the Most Holy Virgin, as they said — we all were to stay at a distance.(9) There we were waiting, a little anguished, since some heard, or thought they heard faint shrieks, that in the silence of the night and darkness had to remind many of the screams on the night of Corpus Christi.
After a while the girls appeared and they came down toward us. And they stayed rather close; sufficiently close so that with illumination from a powerful flashlight we were able to observe how they fell and how they got up off the stony ground. The beams of light from the flashlights that the girls themselves carried, and with which they had gone out of their houses to come to the rendezvous with the Virgin, lent a special charm to the scene. Not far from them, Mari Loli's father and Jacinta's mother could be distinguished slightly in front of the others.
The silence, which seemed a strange echo on that serene and starry night, helped us to meditate.(10)
After the ecstasy had ended, the girls showed tears on their faces and serious and sad expressions that contrasted with the joyful countenances that they usually had.
The impressions from that first day tempered my spirit so as to understand better this array of things that were beyond reason and the senses, that only could be comprehended by opening wide the eyes of faith.
At the beginning of the evening, we were waiting in Conchita's house. Her mother told her to put on her boots, sensing that the time was drawing near. A little later the girl fell into ecstasy, went out from her home, and drawing with her all the strangers and many from the village, went praying the rosary through the streets and alleys. Some of the decades were recited, others were sung. The voice of the girl in ecstasy, so musical, so full of real, sincere and profound piety, penetrated into us, and immersed us in a sensation of well-being and serenity.
I had never seen the girls walking backwards; but I had heard talk about it, and actually with a certain repugnance bordering on ridicule. Now I can testify that that by its harmony, by its grace and rhythm, appeared to be a thrilling celestial dance.
She stopped and made the sign of the cross on the hood and windshield. It occurred to me that perhaps the Virgin wanted to bless and show her approval this way to the only taxi driver who, at the time, was taking the risk of bringing people over those dangerous roads.
Not long afterwards, the visionary went to search for Mari Cruz. The door of her house was locked. Conchita knocked on it forcefully and persistently until it was opened. Then she went up the steep staircase, came to the place where her companion was, and put the crucifix on her lips. It appeared that Conchita didn't forget Mari Cruz even during her vision, asking the Virgin to appear to Mari Cruz with the same frequency as with the others.
Afterward, to my great surprise, she took us to the cemetery, through those solitary and somber trails. In front of the gate, she stopped for a while and solemnly made the sign of the cross toward the inside, as imparting a blessing upon the graves.(11)
On returning, she entered the house of her aunt Maximina. And finally came the time for the race, which for me was a genuine novelty. Before starting it, she stopped and extended her arms slightly; she went like a wind through the winding path, without touching the walls, the fences, or the stones that were scattered everywhere — without forgetting the low balconies, against which one could hang his head, as happened to me. We couldn't follow her, much less
catch up to her.
When she returned, we all went toward the church, and in the churchyard itself a remarkable rosary concluded what had lasted so long and contained so many incidents. There the Salve was sung and the Credo recited. My attention was certainly attracted when the girl, after Holy Catholic Church, clearly added Apostolic and Roman. They told me that she only did this when she recited the Credo in ecstasy.(12)
Mari Loli had the second vision of that Saturday night. I was there to see the beginning in her home. She went up some almost perpendicular stairs; she began going through different rooms, and right away her father sensed that she was looking for her rubber sandals. He put them near the girl's feet. She had hardly put them on when she fell violently on her knees, and leaned backwards till she struck her head smack against the floor. Her father Ceferino, told Jacinta, who was present, to ask her:(13)
— What did that smack on your head do to you?
We all saw the girl in ecstasy open her lips in a slight smile and answer:
— What smack?
A little later, Jacinta went into ecstasy too. The two went into the street and began their march toward the Pines while saying the second rosary of the night. On the hilltop they fell on their knees. Afterwards, they went backwards . . . By their attitude they gave the impression that the weight of the world was lying upon them and crushing them.
The descent from the hill, backwards, was amazing. Instead of coming down by the regular straight way, they took a transverse shortcut, without following any trail, after going over an almost vertical cliff of considerable height. It seemed to me that the future that they were seeing was moving quite gradually, so that they could glide slowly toward the village.
And down below, I don't think there was a street or alley that didn't see the passage of the night rosary procession. Even the young men singing and drinking in a tavern couldn't avoid it, since the girls entered the tavern and gave them the crucifix to kiss; they certainly took on an attitude of complete respect.(14)
During these marches back and forth, Mari Loli lost one of her sandals; a little later, she began to retrace her way back, while walking backwards, until her bare foot touched against the lost sandal. Without lowering her head and without using her hands, she put it on her foot.
Seconds later, graciously raising her arms, she began to run at dizzying speed, avoiding all types of obstacles. Suddenly she stopped beside a stranger of elegant appearance: this was Concepción Zorrilla, a member of the cast of a foreign theatrical company that had performed in Madrid several days previously. This woman, before returning to her native Uruguay, had detoured from the route to Paris, desiring to go up to that remote spot on the Spanish map in search of . . .
What she was searching for — certainly an answer to her doubts and worries — she must have found when the girl in ecstasy, with her gaze upwards and without turning her head toward her, held out her arm, giving her the crucifix to kiss. She refused it two times, but had to give in to the sweet persistence of the girl and put her lips on the sacred image, while big tears ran down from her eyes. She herself confessed later that, if she had held back from the crucifix, she had done it only because she considered herself completely unworthy to give it her kiss.
9. It may have been during the ecstasy at the Pines that Conchita heard the voice that was foretold, telling her the date of the milagrucu (little miracle); or it may have been during the day while she was walking alone through the area.
10. The affairs of Garabandal always brought those who were watching them, and who were not too frivolous, to this attitude of respect, silence and meditation.
11. Christians realize that the dead are not in the tombs. The dead in the essential part of their being — their soul or their spirit — are in another location. What is in the grave is not the person but his remains or dust, which deserve great care, and from which afterward will come the restoration and the life after the resurrection.
12. The Credo that is ordinarily said outside the Mass is more brief than this; in speaking of the Church, it only says: I believe in One Holy Catholic Church, without the Apostolic and Roman. Perhaps the child, inspired from above — and therefore not comprehending the reason — was warning in advance against certain ecumenical attitudes that were going to come and which would lead the Church into confusion.
13. As has already been mentioned in the early chapters, the girl in ecstasy was not able to establish communication with anyone except another visionary in the normal state.
14. The young men’s attitude is not unexpected. Rather negative toward the practice of religion as all those of that age and environment are inclined, they were furthermore habituated to the things that were happening in their village every day; perhaps also, a little tired of them. How could they be expected to renounce all their leisure time!