At least 50 in India have been blinded after staring at the sun in the hope of seeing an apparition of the Virgin Mary, the Telegraph reports.
Devotees have flocked to a hotel manager’s house in Erumeli, near where the apparition is rumored to have occurred. The hotelier claimed that statues of the Virgin Mary in his house had been crying honey and bleeding oils and perfume. The hotelier has since moved, but the house has been the object of attention for months.
Health authorities in the Kottayam district have tried to dispel rumors of a miraculous image in the sun. They warn of the dangers of looking into direct sunlight. Forty-eight cases of sight loss, possibly caused by photochemical burns on the retina, have been recorded at St. Joseph’s ENT and Eye Hospital since Friday.
"All our patients have similar history and symptoms… They have developed photochemical, not thermal, burns after continuously gazing at the sun," Dr. Annamma James Isaac, the hospital's ophthalmologist said, according to the Telegraph.
Clergy have disavowed the apparition after being approached by health officers and doctors.