An amazing thing that happened
(This information is paraphrased from the book Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot.
One of the most remarkable displays of miraculous events ever recorded took place in Paris in the first half of the 18th century. The events centered around a puritanical sect of Dutch-influenced Catholics known as the Jansenists, and were precipitated by the death of a saintly and revered Jansenist named Francois de Paris. Although few people living today have even heard of the miracles, they were the most talked about events in Europe for the better part of a century.
At the time the Roman Catholic Church and the French Monarchy were trying the crush the Jansenist movement. They branded it a heresy; it was a popular one especially since Jansenist leaders were skilled at performing miraculous healings.
When Francois de Paris died, worshipers began to gather at his tomb and a host of miraculous events occured. People were cured of ailments such as cancerous tumors, paralysis, and deafness...."But this was not all. The mourners also started to experience strange invuluntary spasms or convulsions and to undergo the most amazing contortions of their limbs. These seizures quickly proved contagious, spreading like a brush fire until the streets were packed with men, women, and children, all twisting and writhing as if caught up in a surreal enchantment." (Talbot, p. 129)
These "convulsionaires" as they were called could do all sorts of fantastic things. They could endure physical tortures such as strangulations and severe beatings and blows from heavy and sharp objects, without any sign of injury. In fact they seemed to welcome torture since it relieved the pain of the convulsions! One woman named Jeanne Maulet begged for blows from a 30-pound hammer. An investigator with the Paris Parliament named Montgeron, in a four-volume work about the miracles he published in 1737, describes an instance in which the sharpened point of an iron drill was held against the stomach of a convulsionaire and then pounded violently with a hammer. The nail would stop at her skin.
The Jansenists also exhibited other talents. Some were telepathic or clairvoyant; others could read with their eyes tightly bandaged. Instances of levitation were reported; in one case an abbey from Montpellier called Bescherand would be pulled into the air so forcefully that observers were unable to hold him down.
The amazing thing to me about these miracles is that thousands of people witnessed them over a period of years. Even twenty years later miracles were still reported. 3,000 volunteers were needed to take care of convulsionaires! (one major task was to make sure the women kept their skirts pulled down). Thousands of people, including intellectuals and officials, flocked to see the Jansenists...yet today, nobody has even heard of them.