"I couldn't take my eyes off of her ... There was something about this woman that was breathtaking. It was as though I had known her all my life and had just been reunited. Her skin was glowing with a hue that can only be described as a burnt golden color. Her hair was black as coal. Her voice was soothing and musical. She told me not to be afraid. When I asked who she was, she said her name was Mary."
"Mary?" "Yes, my son sent me; I am here to take care of you and the children."
A short while back we had the account of a Georgia man named James Wilburn Chauncey of Georgia who as a child had a near-death experience in which, among other matters, he was shown dramatic future earthly events. It was particularly remarkable because, among the many visions he had, was one of Russia swarming over and around Syria and joining Muslims in a long war with the United States.
Just days after that article, news flashed around the world of Russia arming Syria and joining that troubled nation -- along with China -- in "war games" (the most extensive in many years, according to Israeli intelligence). He also describes what he believes are coming momentous natural disasters.
We have decided to carry a book Chauncey has written about the prophecies and experience, Eyewitness to Heaven, even though he is Protestant. The reason is because the story is hard to put down -- simply fascinating, one of the more extensive such episodes on record. The details remain etched in his mind as if his death (from spinal meningitis or Meninococcal) occurred last week. Remarkably, he was declared dead and before his shocking revival two hours later, nurses were ready to prepare his young body -- riddled with a highly contagious disease -- for mandatory cremation (as prescribed by county health officials, who later quarantined his entire family).
Of most interest to us for our purposes today, however: included in this Protestant man's experience, which occurred way back in the 1940s, were three alleged appearances of a mysterious woman whose name was Mary.
As Chauncey tells it, once he returned to his body after his experience (and putative encounters with Jesus and angels, who showed him those future events), early in the morning, while it was still dark, looking through the fabric of sheet that he says angels had pulled over his head, he saw the image of a woman come into the ward and move toward him.
"She didn't turn on the lights, but I could see her through the sheet because the glow from the corridor lights partially illuminated the room," writes Chauncey in his book.
"I couldn't take my eyes off of her as she came up to my bed and pulled the sheet from my face. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. My eyes must have been as big as saucers. There was something about this woman that was breathtaking. It was as though I had known her all my life and had just been reunited. Her skin was glowing with a hue that can only be described as a burnt golden color. Her hair was black as coal. Her voice was soothing and musical. She told me not to be afraid. When I asked who she was, she said her name was Mary."
"Yes, my son sent me; I am here to take care of you and the children."
She asked if he knew where he was and though he knew it was a hospital, the boy didn't know the name. Mary told him -- and then asked what he remembered from his experience (including, we presume, the prophecies).
"She gently rubbed my face and ran her fingers through my hair as she explained that all of the disease had been removed from my body. She continued, 'Because of the high fever, you may not remember many things. It may be difficult, but we will always be here to help you through those times." As she pulled the sheet back over his face, she said, "Sleep; they will be here soon" -- they being the housekeepers.
Now, remember, this is a Protestant who knew -- and still knows -- little about the Blessed Mother, other than what is in Scripture. While he had belonged to various denominations, he is registered as Baptist -- a congregation that takes an especially dim view of devotion to her. Yet, when we called him yesterday to ask more about it, Chauncey said, "To my mind she fit the description of Mary the Mother of Jesus. It was not so much her being sent as being allowed by her son to come. I take her 'son' to be Jesus."
Later, Chauncey would encounter this mysterious woman again as he struggled during recovery with paralysis -- unable to walk. The boy could feel nothing when at one point doctors examining him touched him, pulled him, and even pricked him with pins.
"Late that night when the corridor lights were dimmed, Mary awakened me," he writes. "She was the same Mary that I saw when I first awoke from returning to my body. I was excited to see her because I had only seen her once. She said, 'Be quiet,' and then... turned me over on my stomach. Then she took her hands and beginning at the base of my skull slowly moved her hands down my spine, continuing down one leg and the other hand down the other leg. She did that several times, and when she was through, my feet and legs began to tingle like someone was sticking them with a million pins. She then dressed me and told me to go back to sleep, that when I awoke everything would be okay and that I would be able to walk."
Was it actually the Blessed Mother? The manner of healing seems odd. The appearance is different. We take it to discernment. To the shock of nurses, he was able to cross the room the next day.
And then there was the third experience.
This occurred when a baby suffering from an open spine and meningitis was rolled into the room and died shortly after.
"A strange thing occurred on the day the baby died," says Chauncey. "I was lying in my bed, mostly staring at the ceiling, when I heard this faint noise coming from the baby. At that moment the door to my ward opened and in walked Mary. She glanced at me as she walked toward the baby and said, 'I've come for the baby.' She reached over the crib to the baby, turned the baby on its back, touching the baby with her hands, and as she touched the baby, I had a sense that something left the baby and went into Mary's arms.
"At that moment, Mary folded her arms over her chest as though she was clutching something and walked toward the door. She held her left arm and hand up, covering her chest as she used her right hands to open the door and exit the room."
[The book "Eyewitness to Heaven" can be purchased from SPIRIT DAILY]
LENNY'S NOTE: A Baptist seeing Mary is not as unusual as you may think. Appearances from the other side may happen with Protestants as often as it does with Catholics. I know of someone who is Lutheran who had his own apparition of Mary. Many have seen Jesus others have seen friends or relatives. Of course they are not as widely publicized as in the Catholic. And they are not as widely accepted because appearances from the other side are often times seen as evil. Of course this is a possibility because it says "Not all Spirits are evil," implying that some are and some are not. At the same time there is a historical precedent in Scripture for people appearing on the other side. For example Moses and Elijah appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus. It would interesting if people have stories to share about appearances that have happened to them, whether it be from Jesus, Mary, the Saints or whether it happened from friends or relatives.