Moving Statues

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A group gathers at a site in Ireland where a statue of the Virgin Mary is believed to periodically move. Fortean Picture Library.

Moving Statues

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

While not the most frequent of miracles associated with the Virgin Mary, periodically reports appear of people seeing statues of the Virgin move in ways that would appear to defy the natural order. For example, in 1998 a three-foot-high statue of Mary sitting in the yard of Raquel Fernandez of Corpus Christi, Texas, was seen by a passerby to have moved. The passerby told Fernandez what she had seen. The two then watched the statue for a moment and saw it turn its head, open its eyes, and take several steps. Word of the occurrence spread quickly, and suddenly people began to arrive to pray before the statue, and a number of them also reported seeing the statue move. Adding to the lore were reports of healing from those who came to pray. The statue hit the news when next-door neighbors began to complain about the crowds and asked that the statue be removed to a church.

Among the most famous of the moving statues is one of the Virgin at Ballinspittle in County Cork. It was first reported to have moved in 1985, after which it drew crowds of believers for several years. Over the years the crowds slowly dwindled. Then in 1997, new reports of the statue moving emerged and the crowds returned. According to the new reports, only the Virgin’s head has moved, and it moves only on those feast days dedicated to her. Interestingly enough, another moving statue can be found at the nearby Mount Melleray Cistercian Abbey and Shrine in County Waterford.

Church authorities have been most reluctant to back stories of moving statues and generally do not acknowledge such reports to the point of appointing a formal investigation committee. Many church leaders openly question the veracity of such reports.


“Ballinspittle Statue Reported Moving.” Irish Times (August 11, 1997). Posted at Accessed April 1, 2007.
Howard, Heather. “Neighbor Wants Virgin Mary Statue Moved.” Corpus Christi Caller Times (March 6, 1999). Posted at Accessed April 1, 2007.
The Encyclopedia of Religious Phenomena © 2008 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
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