Scientific Study Claimed To Yield No Clue As To Composition Of Mysterious 'Glitter'


Spirit Daily online newspaper


Published: June 15, 2006

By Michael H. Brown

Spirit Daily online newspaper article.

For your discernment:

[In many parts of the world or at least the West, those involved in devotional and charismatic practices have asserted that at times a strange "glitter" falls, like decorative manna. This is a particularly difficult phenomenon to accept in the way of its strangeness and glitziness, although it was reported during the apparitions at Fatima, Portugal, during 1917 in an ephemeral form which soon vanished, leaving no material.]

The glitter reported in some parts of the world allegedly remains as a physical manifestation. While remaining open we warn that the materialization of any such thing can be occult, and so we place that as input for discernment. At the same time, Christians across denominations have been reporting both the glitter and "gold dust" during especially poignant spiritual moments. The alleged phenomenon is prevalent in South America, particularly Venezuela -- including the approved apparition site of Betania -- as well as the Miami area.

In Latin America it is known as "escarchas." Below we present an article translated by former monk Allan Weilart from a Spanish article entitled, "La Gracia de las Escarchas" or "The Grace of the Escarchas," including scientific tests of the "glitter." The article, from a while back, was translated from the official website of the convent at Carrizal, Venezuela where, along with all the houses of the same community in Venezuela, "escarchas" were said fall from "Heaven" during daily Mass. We submit it unedited for your strict discernment]:

"The Grace of Escarchas"
translated from the Spanish:

The theme of escarchas has become a controversial topic for certain people, some lend absolute credibility to them, believing they are a sign that shows the presence and aid of the Most Holy Virgin, just as she affirmed it that day February 9, 1993, to  Sister Mary Carmen. Others reject such a possibility and doubt, laughing it all off.

It is important to precisely touch on this theme with a certain latitude by noting that escarchas from Carrizal have been studied twice in different laboratories of the Central University of Venezuela.

The first study was carried out by the petition of the Sister Mary Clara, superior of the Servants of Jesus in Carrizal and by the Chief Engineer who was the intermediary with the UCV, since was he graduated from that university in the Faculty of Engineering and could help in that sense. The Laboratory of Special Studies of the School of Mechanical Engineering accepted the assignment and proceeded with a thorough a scientific investigation.

This study was carried out September 21 -- October 14, 1993. The samples were taken of escarchas which  appeared on different days within the dates mentioned, in the monastery of Carrizal, as well as a sample of the escarchas which appeared the day following the first apparition so that those also could be analyzed.

So once they separated and placed the samples in test tubes. They were sealed airtight, to prevent the possibility of fraud, by order of the Chief Engineer. He was likewise present during the majority of the hours of study dedicated to the investigation.  In this manner and under these conditions, were the escarchas delivered to the laboratory of the UCV.

It is interesting here to allude to an event which happened September 22, when at 9:00 AM, a doctor came to the laboratory and related that the previous day having listened on the origin of the escarchas, and having access to the laboratory, had secretly taken two of these escarchas to his two small children who had suffered from chronic asthma for some years.

He related that after having taken the escarchas home, the children unexpectedly suffered a severe asthma attack and  expelled phlegm by coughing almost all night. They were cured when they awoke; the asthma had disappeared!

The laboratory continued its scientific examination of the escarchas, submitting them to study and observation, by  viewing them in the microscope without processing and in the electron microscope without processing. 

Then they were studied again in the microscope and in the electronic one,  but this time with processing chemicals. 

They were then submitted to different mechanical actions and to other various chemical processing and incinerated in a burning flame.  The results were similar to the ones found in the second more comprehensive and  exhaustive study.

This second study was carried out, with the consent of the Sister Mary Clara, with a much more extensive sample of escarchas, including industrial glitter, manufactured by man, in order to know the difference between them.

From among the escarchas that appeared from the Virgin were chosen samples from other convents in Venezuela in which this phenomenon had also taken place, including some collected during a conference of the Marian Movement of Priests on March 2, 1992.

The colors of the religious escarchas chosen for this scientific study, so-called to distinguish them from manufactured glitter were silver, gold, green, red, aquamarine, pink, and transparent. 

They took the shapes of squares, rectangles, and hexagons. Their size was between 1 and 2 millimeters. 

There was also golden dust collected. The circumstances of these appearance of escarchas was related to some of these situations: moments of anguish and pain, dedication to the Virgin, moments of prayer, and even without any particular reason: simply they appeared.

Some escarchas had appeared on the hands, others on the face; there were also taken from various parts of the body, and even some collected off bedspreads, off the cloths of the altar, or off the pews of the church.  As for type of people they had been collected from:  children, youths and adults, religious sisters, as well as laymen of both sexes.

This second study was initiated in October of 1994 and was finished in May of 1995. The thesis of the experiment had this title:  "INVESTIGATION OF THE PRIVATE MATERIAL OF VARIOUS COLORS AND ITS COMPARISON WITH INDUSTRIAL GLITTER"

The religious escarchas taken of the samples chosen of the places already mentioned were submitted to the same experimental processing that the other man-made glitter, in order to compare the physiochemical characteristics of both types and to compare likewise the effects produced by subjugation of both groups to mechanical actions, incinerations by flame, chemical
processing, and other means.

The chemical processing both types of escarchas (religious and industrial glitter) were submitted successively to nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, isopropol alcohol, to NITAL (mixture of alcohol and nitric acid), to hydroxide of sodium, to benzol, to benzene, and to flurohydric acid.  After being submitted to these chemical substances for periods that oscillated between 60 minutes and several days, they were examined by electron microscope.

Selected for this experiment was the laboratory of Physics of the Faculty of Sciences of the Central University, in which was located one of the better electron microscopes in Venezuela.

The results were carefully scrutinized by three professors and continuously monitored by the Licentiate in Biology, Gillermo Strap, of the Laboratory of Physics of the UCV. The conditions of the experiments and strict measures of scientific character were carefully followed.

These results can be summarized thus:

A.- Simple observation can differentiate the religious escarchas from man-made glitter in the following way: the religious ones have greater quantity of tones in its color.  For example in glitter, they came three types of green tone and in the religious to seven types of that tone of
color can be observed. The religious escarchas are thin, light, and shine with apparently their own brightness;  they do not reflect light shined on them in the same manner as does glitter. The religious escarchas adhere to any surface and it is difficult to remove them. They present two faces or surfaces, as the plant leaves: a "top" and "bottom" side.

On the other hand, manufactured glitter is rough;  it feels sandy, without its own brightness, it dazzles when any light shines on it; it is not as adherent as escarchas, and they present two equal surfaces.

B - Observation with optic microscope, without processing the following differences can be found:

In the religious escarchas is observed  the presence of protozoans or of green or various algae and blue or of diverse fungi, bubbles of air, water, and crystals. These elements always remained static, without activity, they seemed like fossils.

In the man-made glitter it is observed that besides having the two equal faces lack protozoans, fungi, algae and they do not contain anything organic in them.

C - Of the observation with electron microscope without processing, can be appreciated the following differences:

The escarchas are not metallic -- it is impossible to see them without first covering them with gold (does not apply  with silver escarchas), in order visualize them with the detachment of the necessary secondary electrons to be able to view them through the electron microscope. They show they have a laminated structure. The edges are solid.

Glitter possesses half of the thickness of the religious escarchas; they are of plastic material and the mark of the cut of the machine is observed at the same junction, as if were a fingerprint.  The edges are not solid.

D.- Of the observation of the frosts submitted to various chemical processing and then analyzed by optic microscope, can be appreciated these differences:

No differences were found when both groups were submitted to nitric acid, hydrochloric acid and distilled water. 

But with isopropyl alcohol, the religious escarchas were not bleached, but the glitter was bleached 75 percent. With NITAL the religious escarchas remained stable while the glitter
suffered total discoloration,  they diminished in size and developed pores, tracks, and bubbles of air. 

With hydroxide of sodium the religious escarchas did not suffer alterations, while the glitter was reduced of size.

The test of acid fluorohydric acid turns out to be highly significant:  the religious escarchas remained stable while the industrial glitter disappeared completely.

This last experiment shows that the religious escarchas are not metallic, neither they are of plastic, nor mica, nor resins. Their composition could not be determined.  With the oxide of propylene the same thing was shown, although through this chemical substance, glitter suffered corrosion by its industrial nature, but not the religious escarchas.

E.- Of the observation of the frosts submitted to thermal procedure of flames and combustion is obtained these differences:

The religious frosts are bleached a little, but they increase their shine and do not leave any residual odor.  The glitter is bleached completely; they lose the shine and they leave an irritating odor, noxious to the eyes and the throat. This scientific differential analysis is presented in order to present a clear conclusion that the phenomenon of escarchas cannot be so easily dismissed, as some have done,  even to the point of  laughter and mockery.

One can sin by  negligence or omission, not only by action.  It is a fact that from 1993 the phenomenon of escarchas has constantly increased and has reached  in Venezuela such proportions that it cannot be ignored.  This study can help in the comprehension of the reality of this phenomenon connected with the presence of the Virgin, just as she declared on February 9, 1993. Since the escarchas have become a phenomenon of incalculable proportions, the same one, the Most Holy Virgin deigned to deliver to a priest who desires to remain anonymous, the meaning of their colors.

I have here the message of the September 23, 1999:

            Revelation About the Meaning of the Escarchas

In these times in which men feel self-satisfied and far away from my Son the
Lord, I want to declare in a humbler way, the message that I want to deliver
to them and to declare to them the meaning of the escarchas.  The ones who
live in my heart are those who have been bought by the blood of my Son.
Therefore, prayer, sacrifice, reconciliation, and penitence are the weapons
with which are going to fight in the battle against Satan.

I want to announce to them the meaning of the colors of my frosts:

-- The silver: in them I show you the magnanimity of my heart.  Ask me what you

-- The golden: in them I incline toward the weak one; I am going to heal you
spiritually, physically, psychologically, morally.

-- The blue: in them I want to announce you my proximity. I am with you, I
have been present to you.

-- The green: they are a song so that open you to hope. I will act in the
favor of God. Hope in God.

-- The red: in times of trial you offer me a sacrifice; remember that I love

-- The transparent: the road of humility is the path that leads to freedom. I
know those who are humble and simple

-- The aquamarines: is the road that is very treacherous and curved, I want
to tell you on that road, I will be with you.

To my children, who have been graced with my gifts, sprouted from the love
of my Son,  and who are the sweetest fragrance of the Father, to all who
find shelter in His breast, I give my blessing in the name of the Father, of
the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

For your discernment only!