Faithful left hanging on after mystic pulls shroud over vision
Aviation chiefs will probably skip over Joe Coleman's name when it comes to filling the position of ash plume forecaster.
The self-styled Irish visionary insisted in Knock yesterday that he had predicted the ash plume from Eyjafjallajokull three weeks ago.
While those around him nodded wisely at the time, it is probably dawning on them about now that the God-forsaken thing first erupted on March 20.
About 300 people gathered at a holy shrine in Co Mayo yesterday after Mr Coleman claimed to have received a message from the Virgin Mary. He had claimed crosses would be seen in the skies above the shrine.
As the crowds descended on the site, the public address system broadcast the religious ceremonies taking place inside.
Mr Coleman said he had been banned from leading the rosary in the basilica and instead stood outside, alongside a couple of hundred followers, and began to pray fervently.
The Dublin-based mystic was on his latest visit to Knock. Sure enough, just after 2pm he confirmed he had seen the Virgin Mary.
At 2.20pm Mr Coleman announced that the vision would be appearing again at 2.30pm and wanted everyone to move toward the chapel of reconciliation. A couple of hundred moved and formed a small circle as he knelt on the grass outside the chapel and once again closed his eyes in silent prayer, all the time clasping his rosary beads.
After a couple of minutes he stood up, gazed at the heavens and appeared to stumble backwards. He then became upset.
Someone close offered a handkerchief to dry his eyes as he covered his face with his hands.
Yes, the Virgin Mary had appeared in the sky and she was very beautiful, he said.
“She was crying because Knock is not listening, but she's also happy,” he confirmed.
“She gave me a fantastic message, but I'm not going to reveal it today. Our Lady has called for a national rosary in Ireland, but I will reveal her message on my website tomorrow. It's www.knockapparitions.com.”
This did not go down too well with Margaret Hoare, who had travelled from Co Longford to be with the great man yesterday.
“What about us who don't have computers? How will we get it?” she asked.
A woman beside Mr Coleman asked if anyone had seen a cross in the sky and two people said yes, they had seen at least one white cross up there.
The hard-to-convince media saw nothing.