The Vatican Letter

In a subterranean labyrinth of corridors and vaults beneath the Vatican in Rome there is a large safe that contains various documents which the Vatican has hidden from the light of day. Most of the records of the Vatican Archives are hundreds of years old and are classed as heretical. Among the yellowed, timeworn manuscripts are Henry VIII's application for divorce, a dossier on the subversive activities of one Galileo Galilei, compiled by the spies of the Inquisition, and, according to an enduring legend, the Vatican safe also holds a small azure-coloured envelope that bears the Papal seal. This innocuous-looking missive is alleged to be a mysterious document known as the Vatican Letter, reputed to contain prophesies of a terrifying, apocalyptic nature. The story of the Vatican Letter began in the year 1917. In the little Portugese town of Fatima, three youngsters were looking after their families' sheep. The shepherds, Lucia dos Santos, aged nine, Francisco Marto, aged eight, and his six-year-old sister, Jacinta, were astounded to witness the appearance of a radiant figure of a boy who looked about 15 years of age. The vision told the children to pray, then vanished. The youngsters were sure they had encountered an angel but decided to keep the unearthly meeting a secret. As Portugal's irreligious political leaders had vowed to stamp out Catholicism 'within two generation,' it was hardly the time to report the sighting of a heavenly messenger. On May 13th that year, the children were out in the fields again, tending their families' flocks, when they witnessed another apparition that appeared after a flash of strange summer lightning lit up the skies. The shepherds expected thunder and rain, and ran for shelter, but no thunder rolled and no rain fell. Instead, a woman in white suddenly appeared inexplicably in the vicinity. The 'lady' told the children that she was from heaven and said, 'Continue to come here on the 13th of each month. In October I will say who I am and what I desire and will perform a miracle all shall see so that they believe.' As soon as the heavenly visitant vanished before their eyes the children agreed that the encounter with the lady must be kept secret. However, upon reaching home, little Jacinta could not contain her excitement and blurted out her account of the meeting with the unearthly woman, whom she believed to be the Virgin Mary. News of the vision quickly spread and crowds descended on Fatima. They followed the shepherd children everywhere and, on the 13th day of each month, the multitudes pursued the children to the site of the rendezvous with the apparition. When the lady appeared as she had promised, most of the crowd-members couldn't see her, but many did report seeing 'a strange bright cloud' hanging low in the sky directly over the shepherds. When August 13th arrived, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta could not make their appointment with the lady; the children had been kidnapped and jailed by the civil authorities. The kids were interrogated over their conversation with the invisible entity and, when the young shepherds remained tight-lipped, an official warned them that they would be 'boiled alive' if they refused to denounce their vision. The brave children remained silent and were subsequently released. Six days later, the lady appeared to the minors again, telling them that they would only see her one more time on this planet. On October 13th a raging rainstorm hit fatima but the 80,000 people who had made a pilgrimage to the town endured the inclement weather and looked on at the three shepherds. The observers were not disappointed. The rain stopped and the skies glowed and flashed with incandescent colours that were much richer than those of the usual rainbow. Shortly afterwards, the children appeared to be talking to an unseen presence. When the skies later became dismal again, a sensational rumour rippled through the crowds; the lady had handed a letter to Lucia. It is alleged that officials took the letter from Lucia and were so horrified at the predictions it contained that they literally became reformed people overnight, and subsequently passed the epistle on to to the Pope himself. According to rumours, various individuals inside the Vatican have claimed that Pope John XXIII suffered a minor stroke when he read the contents of the Vatican Letter in 1963, and for some unknown reason, the soon-to-be-assassinated US President John F. Kennedy, was afterwards summoned to the Vatican by the Pope - who also died that year. Months after Kennedy's clandestine meeting with Pope John, a German newspaper published the purported 'complete text' of the Vatican Letter and the religious authorities refused to confirm or deny the validity of the scoop. The German newspaper story claimed that the letter mentioned the outbreak of two world wars, the attempted assassination of a reigning Pope, a global plague, and a nuclear war on the Asian sub-continent which would escalate and wipe out three entire nations. The letter was said to end with a warning that each of the aforementioned events would surely come to pass if humanity failed to change its 'wicked evil ways.'


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