Fatima mystery: how did a German publication guess at the third secret?

by Michael H. Brown

It's a mystery that editors may have taken to the grave. Back in 1963 a German weekly, Neues Europa, published what it said was the third secret of Fatima, which was denounced in many circles as a work of fiction. There was no way the publication could have seen the secret, said authorities. It claimed to have obtained the message from diplomatic sources in Washington, London, and Moscow. According to Neues Europa, Pope Paul VI had sent the passage to John Kennedy and Nikita Krushchev in hopes that it would shock them into slowing the arms race.

What did Neues Europa claim was in the secret?

It quoted the secret as saying that if mankind did not correct itself a great punishment was coming in the second part of the twentieth century and would involve a "big, big war war." 

"Fire and smoke will fall from the sky and the waters of the oceans will be turned to steam -- hurling their foam towards the sky, and all that is standing will be overthrown,," said this version that claimed to be what seer Lucia dos Santos had received. "Millions and more millions of men will lose their lives from one hour to the next, and those who remain living at that moment will envy those who are dead. There will be tribulation wherever the eye can see and misery over the earth and desolation in all countries."

Half of mankind, said the Neues Europa secret, would be killed in a matter of hours.

And there would be consternation in the Church. "Cardinals will be against cardinals, and bishops against bishops," said this version. "Satan will put himself in their midst."

It sounded like a mere rehashing of a similarly worded prophecy that had allegedly been given in 1846 at the French site of LaSalette, and there was at least one major mistake: it made reference to the great Fatima sun miracle (when the sun seemed to fall from the sky on October 13, 1917) as having already happened  -- whereas the actual secret was given to Lucia on July 13, 1917, four months before the famous miracle of the sun.

To this day the German version is the most famous of the so-called "false" Fatima secrets, a genre that was denounced by Sister Lucia herself. But it remains a mystery how it came as close as it did. When the real secret was released last June, it showed the image of an angel setting the world on fire, and that could go along with what Neues Europa was the all-out nuclear attack that Neues Europa was describing. While the actual secret was not quite so explicit, it could hardly have been more dramatic. There was nothing said about frothing seas and millions dead but in it an angel was shown ready to torch the world with a flaming sword!

Which brings up some last questions:

Did someone simply speculate that the third secret had to do with a nuclear war and extrapolate from there? Was it a simple guess? 

We may never know. To make things more mysterious, the Neues Europa "secret" bears remarkable similarities to a message given ten years later at Akita, Japan. There a nun who said she heard the voice of the Virgin in 1983 quoted Mary as warning that "if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead... The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops..." 

Michael H. Brown is the author of Sent To Earth and director of a daily spiritual news website, www.spiritdaily.com