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Stigmata


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Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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I came across a note stating the first recorded instance of Stigmata was St Francis of Assissi in 1224 and it only tends to effect deeply religious people. Any thoughts on the subject? Is it paranormal?

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Agricola
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Most people leave notes

Most people leave notes about more mundane things like 'get milk' or 'buy bread' not notes on St Francis...

Stigmata is one of those events that I'd like to witness in person. I've seen enough images of 'victims', but I find it hard to believe that the wounds are physical and caused by belief. I'd much rather see footage of someone investigating the wounds - do they exist or are we talking about small nics in the skin - most wounds seem to always be congealed with blood, and once cleaned, do the wounds return. If they do, then we have to ask if someones psychological state/beliefs are causing some sort of bodily action.

Anyone recommend any books about this subject?

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Urisk
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Stigmata's a weird thing.

Stigmata's a weird thing. Why does it occur in the hands when according to many historical sources, crucifiction victims would have to have been nailed through the wrists to stop the nail tearing through and the victim falling off the cross...?

but then many pictures depict Jesus standing on a podium attached to the cross, and I suppose there was nothing to stop the Romans from binding him by the wrists to the cross with rope anyway, hypothetically speaking.

Too many questions, not enough answers.

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Lee Waterhouse
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I think the bleeding from

I think the bleeding from the hands and not the wrists is because of the depictions of the crucifiction, don't they all seem to show the nails in the hands and feet and not in the wrists and ankles. I do seem to remember at least one stigmatist that bled through the wrists though.

As you pointed out about the skin tearing through if you were nailed by the hands, i once saw a tv programme that said the same thing. I personally think the nails would have been in the wrists, but when you see these people that hang themselves from hooks through their skin it would seem plausable that the hands could take the strain

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Urisk
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(Warning: not for

(Warning: not for squeamish)

The thing to bear in mind, Lee, is that crucifiction victims endured the punishment for days; these people that get fitted up to the old "meat hooks" are on there for minutes. Our skin is tough, but not indestructable.
Besides, the hooks have more of a "purchase" as it were. Presumably the nail would be driven between the metacarpals, you could probably pull yourself off of the nail (no matter how excrutiating unpleasant it would be). I don't know for sure, however.

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Agricola
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Also, don't forget that

Also, don't forget that crucifiction wasn't necesarily a punishment to the death.

Mauro
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There are a few skin

There are a few skin conditions that can produce superficial lesions similar to the ones associated with stigmata, especially on the hands: these are usually associated with lack of some nutrients, stress, lack of rest... all conditions that can be encountered during a deep mystical experience.
It has also been suggested that at least some cases were the result of either inconsciously self-inflicted wounds or downright fraud. The recently canonized Saint Pius, a Capuchin monk who died in 1968 and who is incredibly popular in Catholic countries (particulary Italy and Spain), has long been suspected of having "faked" his stigmata, though if this was done inconsciously or deliberately it is not known. During his youth he freely displayed the wounds but after a few years he started to wear heavy wool gloves at all time. And to be sure at the moment of his death the wounds were completely healed.

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"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"

-Kalevala, Rune XIII-


wombat
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Just a thought - one of

Just a thought - one of today's scriptures at church was Isaiah 49:8-16. It includes the words, "Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands." The "I" refers to God.

Now I'm hardly a Biblical literist, and I know that the Old Testement has gone through many translations, etc. so this is just a thought - perhaps stigmata occur in the hands because the person in question takes a passage such as this so literally that it has a sub-concious physical effect upon them?

Not trying to offend anyone's religious beliefs, just doing a little musing.

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Agricola
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Would be interesting to do a

Would be interesting to do a study on stigmata and the religion of those involved - are they all catholics? I would assume so.

And then it would be worthwhile to see if they were quoted the Old Testament in church or whether it was the NT that they were primarily subjected to.

Remember though, crucifiction was a Roman punishment (unless anyone knows better than me), so won't have been around in OT times.

Mauro
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Crucifiction

If I remember correctly crucifiction usually originated in the Iranic area and then spread westward during the Hellenistic period. The Romans probably picked up this disgusting custom during the Mithridatic Wars, though the tradition that it was the punishment reserved for rebels is probably wrong and largey based on Crassus' treatment of Spartacus and his fellow rebels. It is also worth of note that that, while Jesus Christ is usally shown as being nailed to the cross and dying because of intense bleeding, Romans usually tied people to crosses and left them to die of thrist, hunger and exposure.
An interesting and little known fact is that Jesus Christ is by no mean the first "crucified" God: both Actis and Dyonisos (I prefer the Greek spelling also used in theology), very popular deities in the Hellenistic and Roman universe, were said to have been killed by crucifiction and their followers celebrated their rebirth in the same joyous way as Christians.
Dyonisos in particular is now commonly accepted as one of the "pagan forerunners" of Christ: though today we usually picture him as the god of wine and drunkness it was the subject of an incredibly sophisticated cult which deeply influenced early Christianity: just to give you an example the longest poem of the ancient world was a long lost work by Nonnos of Panoplis honoring Dyonisos.
On the issue of stigmatas it is good to remember that, as much as modern day skeptics and atheists blame fanaticism for such phenomena, in the ancient world the followers of Dyonisos were widely feared for their fanaticism. The famous Bacchantes, immortalized by Eurypides, were the best known followers of Dyonisos.
On a footnote it is curious to note that a much-corrupted Dyonisiac cult is believed to have survived in the Alps near Salzburg up to the opening years of the XX century. Only women practised this cult and, just like the Bacchantes of old, they were widely feared for the frenzy they worked themselves into.

__________________

"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"

-Kalevala, Rune XIII-




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