On the evening of January 25, 1938, at 8:00 pm, the phone rang at Professor Carl StØrmer’s home in southern Norway. His associate was calling from Rjukan, Norway which was about 100 km west of Oslo. The excited voice on the other end of the line was speaking about “an alarming big red corona over the town which surpassed everything seen there before.” (2) Professor StØrmer immediately notified all of his associated aurora-stations and their photographic work began by 9:00 pm – only an hour after the phone call. There would be over 1,000 photographs taken that evening to document in color this “great” aurora borealis. (3) He wrote down what he had seen in the skies that night in the following words:
“There was at that time a big green-rayed arc near the southern horizon and above it a series of fine red and broad bundles of long rays were in fine contrast to the green arc below. Above these rays again there was a blue fine drapery extending toward the west. But the zenith and the northern half of the heaven was without any aurora. During the following hours the auroral displays were imposing, with rays, curtains, and corona in ever-changing development especially in the southern part of the sky. The color changed between yellow-green, yellow, white and red. Sometimes big patches were mingled with the other forms and these patches, whose height was from 300 to 700 km, very often remained without motion for a long time among the other yellow-green moving forms of the aurora. The aurora moved successively towards the north and reached its most imposing development about one o’clock am on the morning of January 26, 1938. Big red draperies and rays, whose height reached towards 700 km had for a time been moving from the south towards the zenith and spread now all over the sky as an imposing corona with white, blue, yellow, green and red rays.”(4)
Professor StØrmer also thought it was worth mentioning in his written documentation that during this corona, one of his aurora-stations on Njuke Mountain in Tuddal, 733 m. above sea level and more than 100 km west of Oslo, heard a sound apparently connected with the aurora. He wrote later: “The sound was difficult to describe. It resembled that of burning grass and spray. On the mountain it was quite still. No sound from wind, waterfalls, telegraph wires, of motors. Both my assistant and I heard it quite distinctly and are both quite sure that it was no illusion. On the mountain where our aurora station was lying there are only some firs and below us on all sides is a big wood.” (5)
Fredrik Carl Mulertz StØrmer was a Norwegian mathematician and physicist who lived from September 3, 1874 to August 13, 1957. A Fellow of the Royal Society with multiple honors for his scholarship, he was the first to develop precise photographic methods that could calculate heights and morphologies of diverse auroral forms during four solar cycles. Professor StØrmer independently devised numerical techniques to determine the trajectories of high-energy charged particles allowed and forbidden in the Earth’s magnetic field. His theoretical analyses explained cosmic ray access to the upper atmosphere 20 years before they were identified by other scientists. It is written that StØrmer’s crowning achievement – his book entitled The Polar Aurora – which was published in 1955 by Oxford University Press, Amen House, London when he was 81 years old - stands to this day as a regularly cited guide in graduate-level courses on space physics. His reputation as a preeminent researcher and discoverer of the auroral phenomenon has even earned him the elite honor of having a crater on the dark side of the moon named after him. (6)
The most visually notable low-latitude aurorae are the type A red auroras (7) and In The Polar Aurora, Professor Carl StØrmer described this event of January 25-26, 1938, as “the most imposing display I had ever seen. (8) Also in that text he described that particular aurora’s “fine red and broad bundles”, its “big red patches” and its “big red draperies” (9). This “great” type A red, low-latitude aurora was seen all over Europe and as far south as the Azores and North Africa. (10) Significantly, but not unusually, this aurora was not observed in the southern hemisphere below North Africa. The scientific literature about “low latitude aurorae” distinguishes “great type A” aurorae from the SAR arcs, the type ds, the neutron atom type and the ion proton type but the strongest events are referred to as “great aurorae”. (11 ) Professor StØrmer particularly referred to this event as “the Great Aurora of January 25-26, 1938.” (12)
This literature describes such “Low-latitude auroras”, like this one seen in January, 1938, as follows: “Low-latitude aurorae are storm time phenomena, in which particles originating from the ring current (and/or which are energized by the ring current) enter the earth’s lower thermosphere causing an optical emission”, a visual display often called ‘the Northern lights’. (13)
Professor StØrmer’s detailed documentation, measurement, and analysis of this “imposing”, great, type A, red, low-latitude aurora can assure us that there is very little chance that a physicist like him, who specializes in the study of these auroral events, would mistakenly designate some other kind of an event as a carefully categorized aurora or vice versa.
StØrmer wrote: “During the 500 nights I have observed aurorae in southern Norway, almost every big aurora was different from the others, with new fascinating colours and forms and with only a few common characteristics.” (14) Yet despite the possible variance in their appearances, the Professor would still be able to recognize an aurora when he sees one – just as any knowledgeable veterinarian would be able to recognize an animal as a dog be it a Saint Bernard or a Pekinese.
Professor StØrmer’s book The Polar Aurora is still the standard, classic text for graduate students studying auroras. As in his article in the May 28, 1938 edition of the journal Nature, that book left absolutely no doubt that this January 25-26, 1938 Great event was nothing other than what Sister Lucia admitted all of the astronomers said it was: an aurora borealis. There was, and is, simply no doubt that two important points must be made about this particular auroral event of January, 1938: (1) Sister Lucia was correct that astronomers – like Carl StØrmer – did in fact call this event an aurora, and (2) they had very good reasons to do so given what they already knew of such phenomena and what they observed in great scientific detail of this event on January 25-26, 1938.
It is said that humility is the science of the saints and it appears that the saintly Sister Lucia, in her third memoir written to and for her Bishop in 1941, displayed that blessed humility when considering this auroral event. In one translation, when opining that if astronomers were to examine the form in which this illuminating event appeared in January 25-26, 1938 they would conclude that “it could not possibly have been an aurora borealis”, the holy woman did humbly preface that opinion with the words “I do not know, but …” (15). In another translation her prefaced words were equally humble: “I can’t say for certain, but …” (16). Similarly, in a third book she recognized that she might be stepping out of her area of knowledge when her words were translated as: “I don’t know for certain, but…” (17)
In fact, the astronomers did examine the form with all of their expertise, equipment and insight and, with absolutely no uncertainty at all, they all did conclude that this event was truly an aurora borealis – a great, type A, red, low-latitude aurora borealis to be exact. In other words, this event involved a “known light” and this is the first reason why this event could not be THE “unknown light” referred to by Our Lady on July 13, 1917.
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But this is not the only evidence we have that this event of January, 1938 was not the warning Our Lady of Fatima was referring to on July 13, 1917. The second reason is this: Our Lady’s message to Sister Lucia on July 13, 1917, was intended to warn the world that Almighty God was about to punish the world for its crimes. However, if that event of January, 1938 was intended as that warning to the entire world, given that it was not publicly explained or interpreted until the composition of the Third Memoir of Sister Lucia on August 31, 1941, it simply failed in its purpose as a warning. A warning event that no one is informed about or which cannot be properly interpreted to bring about the corrective action it is intended to inspire does not serve as an efficient or effective warning. In fact, it is doomed to fail. Almighty God knows that. Almighty God knows how and when to reach us to bestow that last, special measure of mercy He wills to grant before any global chastisement falls to punish “the world”. Our Heavenly Father fails at nothing so He did not fail here by giving the world a secret warning that no one would know how to interpret and which would consequently and necessarily accomplish nothing.
Thirdly, if this celestial event was intended to “warn the world”, out of His impeccable Divine Justice, Our Lord would have arranged for it to be seen everywhere in the world by everyone who should be warned. However, this event did not accomplish that because it was not seen south of northern Africa and the Azores. Although it could be argued that World War II did not effect that part of the globe, that same argument also then undermines the idea that this warning was ever to be a whole world kind of event.
Fourthly, if this January, 1938, event was intended to precede a punishment for the entire world that would be manifested, at least in part, in the form of famine, it would follow that there would actually be a significant, world-wide famine since 1938. Although there has been very regionalized loss of crops and hunger due to various environmental, political, or weather events, the famines we have seen in the following 70+ years after 1938 seem to just be examples of terrible localized hardships for those poor nations and people least able to cope with such misfortune. The balance of the guilty world continues to struggle with the health difficulties associated with being too well-fed as everything is super-sized in their increasingly God-offending cultures.
Fifthly, since 1938, Pope Pius XII had suffered no persecution. In fact, he had a very successful pontificate after World War II even though he, like Catholics everywhere, wept and prayed over the horrors of the Second World War. Similarly, the Church he ruled continued to enjoy full seminaries, convents, and Catholic Schools although there was the same persecution of Catholics in some places continuing after 1938 as had existed before that year. His Holiness Pius XII made it out of World War II in high esteem and, in most places around the world, the Church this Vicar of Christ was entrusted with continued to thrive. That success continued up until the Modernists took control of the Church visibly at Vatican II during the pontificates of his successors. It is well documented that the “Leading Catholic Indicators” (18) reflect the statistical apex of the Church in 1965 – 27 years after January, 1938. It is also well documented that after 1965, there began the undeniable decline in the faith-life of the Church. This decline commenced as soon as the new “pastoral” approach of the Post-conciliar Church became public and the Oath Against Modernism was discarded by the clergy in 1967. In response, the laity began to discard the widespread custom of regular Mass attendance a year later with the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae and the replacement of Catholic Customs with non-Catholic novelties.
It is understandable how the well-meaning and holy Sister Lucia would tie in the event of January, 1938 with the messages about the “worse war breaking out during the pontificate of Pius XI” and about the “Unknown Light”. This confusion perhaps came about because there was an assumption that when Our Lady was speaking, it was just one long paragraph and that Our Lady herself had tied these separate topics all together. Perhaps this was yet another error in interpretation by Sister Lucia but not in the fact of the words of the entire message as spoken by Our Lady. Perhaps Lucia did not understand that Our Lady had changed her topics between the first paragraph below concerning the worse war and the second paragraph about the unknown light.
The first paragraph under consideration here reads as follows: “The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the reign of Pius XI.” (19)
Now consider that here Our Lady ended her comments about the tragic Second World War of the 1930s and first half of the 1945’s. Perhaps the following paragraph dealt next with a topic more important and applicable to the years 2015, 2016, or even later: “When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine and persecutions against the Church and the Holy Father.” (20)
We are now faced with an even more dangerous time than the world experienced in the 1930s and the 1940s. Not only are there many more nuclear weapons scattered around the world but there are now demonically confused people severely misguided by their false religions and/or ideologies who are capable of using such weapons against anyone or any nation that rejects their false teachings. To make matters even worse, even our own Church is also suffering from infections deep within which, though incapable of killing this mystical body of Christ entirely, can certainly kill off the supernatural faith of large portions of its members. Today settled Catholic concepts such as the worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist and what is an acceptable marriage appears to be up for debate among high ranking prelates. Bishops are against bishops and Cardinals are against Cardinals as they also appear to encourage the disregard of even long-settled Catholic understanding of faith as taught by Our Lord Himself.
In the 1930s there was not the support we see globally today for abortion on demand, same-sex marriage and widespread confusion about what a Christian should believe about these topics. It is not difficult to make the case that the world today is more deserving of punishment for its crimes than it was in the very worst days of the 1930 and 1940s. The loss of life due to global abortions and abortifacient contraceptives in our times overwhelms the combined body count of Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and of every other murderous despot, even when combined with all of those people lost in the wars of the twentieth century.
For this reason, it is imperative that all Catholics put aside the belief that God has already punished the world for its many crimes many decades ago when everything about our Catholic Church back then was so much stronger than it is today. As the old saying goes: “We ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” Consequently, we should reread the messages warning of the coming Chastisement as foretold by the approved apparitions of Our Lady of Good Success, Our Lady of La Sallette, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Akita and by other trustworthy apparitions and seers. Then, as we pray our daily rosaries, gather up our blessed bees-waxed candles, and keep handy our dark window coverings, we should keep one eye on the sky. The world has not yet seen that night illuminated by an unknown light but it surely is still to come. Perhaps it will be next month, or next week, or maybe even tonight but as sure as we can trust the Queen of Heaven, it will come!
(1) This article is adapted from Chapter 33 of the author’s book entitled Cleansing Fire – Welcome to the New Springtime, Flaming Sword Publications, LLC, P.O. Box 501, Monroe, WI 53566. www.cleansingfire-thenovel.com .
(2) Stormer, Carl, The Polar Aurora, Oxford University Press, Amen House, London E.C.4, 1955, p. 9. (Hereafter Polar Aurora)
(3) Stormer, Carl, “Photographic Measurements of the Great Aurora of January 25-26, 1938, Nature, No. 3578, May 28, 1938, p.955. (hereafter Nature).
(4) Polar Aurora, at 10.
(6) Menzel, D.H.; Minnaert, M.; Levin, B.; Dollfus, A.; Bell, B. (1971). “Report on Lunar Nomenclature by The Working Group of Commission 17 of the IAU”. Space Science Reviews 12 (2): 136-186. Bibcode:1971SSRv…12..136M.doi:10.1007/BF00171763.
(7) See the article entitled: “Low-latitude aurorae” found November 15, 2003 at: Http://www.oulu.fi/-spaceweb/textbook/low_lat_aurorae.html. P. 1.(hereafter Spaceweb)
(8) Polar Aurora, p. 10.
(10) Id. at 9.
(11) Spaceweb , p. 2.
(12) Nature, p. 955.
(13) Spaceweb, p. 1.
(14) Polar Aurora, 9. 11.
(15) Frere Francois de Marie des Anges, La Contre-Reforme Catholique, Fatima The Only Way to World Peace (Abridged from The Whole Truth About Fatima) Part Two of Volume II The Secret And The Church, Immaculate Heart Publications, Box 1028, Buffalo, New York, U.S.A. 1205, 1993, p. 98.
(16) Martins, S.J., Fr. Antonio Maria Martins, Documents on Fatima & the Memoirs of Sister Lucia, , Fatima Family Apostolate, U.S.A., 1992, p.370.
(17) Sister Mary Lucia of the Immaculate Heart, Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words,, Edited by Fr. Louis Kondor, SVD, Translated by Dominican Nuns of Perpetual Rosary, Postulation Centre, Fatima, Portugal, 1976, p. 109. (hereafter Sister Lucia).
(18) Jones, Kenneth C. Index of Leading Catholic Indicators – The Church Since Vatican II, Oriens Publishing Company, St. Louis, MO, 2003.
(19) Sister Lucia, p. 162.