Not far away from me, in Springfield, MA, there is a magical window, at Mercy Medical Center there. It bears an image of the Virgin Mary, it is said. People have flocked from all over to see it:

Hundreds of devout Catholics and curious onlookers have gathered to pray, weep and chant outside a Catholic Springfield hospital window where an image that some say looks like the Virgin Mary has appeared.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, with which this medical center is affiliated, is making hay out of it:

Mark Dupont, spokesman for the Springfield Diocese, said that when he saw the image yesterday it was a “clearly, well-defined outline.” …

He said about 100 people had gathered this morning to see the image – and that is what has moved him.

“You may debate the image, but you can’t debate the faces of the people who are gathered there,” he said. “That’s what is inspiring right now.”

The spokesman’s reference to faces is, of course, a form of the “democratic fallacy” by which things are claimed to have veracity merely because there are people who believe they do. Nice. Lots of logic there, Dupont.

Fortunately, some minds more rational than his have been called in to have a look — specifically some engineers, and they have determined there is actually nothing supernatural about the window:

Engineers say an analysis of a hospital window that hundreds claim displays an apparition of the Virgin Mary indicates the image may be due to a mineral deposit. …

Their report indicated the image may be a mineral deposit that built up in the sealed area between the window’s two panes of glass.

Like most windows in New England, this one is double-paned, meaning it’s two sheets of glass sealed with a vacuum between. Unforunately it’s all too easy for the seal to be breached and for air to get inside, letting who-knows-what seep in and stay behind. It’s much more common than most people are aware.

But it’s not magic.

And I defy anyone to show me where, exactly, the Virgin Mary is in these pictures (see links in this article for photos). Sorry but I don’t see anything recognizable — not even if diocesan spokesman Dupont says I must, just because some are convinced of it.

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