Man discovers that "dripping holy water" Jesus statue comes from clogged toilet, has to flee country
Sanal Edamaruku, an Indian professional myth-buster found himself running for his life when he traced the source of the leaking jesus to a clogged toilet.
In 2012, a steady drip of water began to fall from the toe of a statue of Jesus at the Church of Our Lady of Velankanni in western Mumbai. This was obviously hailed a miracle. Thousands of people and Catholic devotees flocked to the shrine in a Mumbai suburb to watch the miraculous drip. Lots of people even drank the droplets with the hope of curing various illnesses.
Edamaruku, who is the founder and president of Rationalist International was challenged to investigate the drip (bearing in mind India is a nation often associated with profound superstition). He went to the site with an engineer friend and traced the source of the drip backwards. Moisture on the wall the statue was mounted on seemed to come from an overflowing drain, was was in turn fed by a pipe that issued from a nearby toilet.
“I had a close look at a nearby washroom and the connected drainage system that passed underneath the concrete base of the cross. I removed some stones from the drain and found it was blocked. I touched the walls, the base, and the cross and took some photographs for documentation. It was very simple: Water from the washroom, which had been blocked in the clogged drainage system, had been transmitted via capillary action into the adjacent walls and the base of the cross as well as into the wooden cross itself. The water came out through a nail hole and ran down over the statue’s feet.”
It looked like the miracle was simply bad plumbing. All good right? You’d think everyone would be pleased he got to the bottom of it. Well… no. He presented his case on live television with a load of Catholic lobby groups, while outside the studio an angry crowd gathered bearing sticks.
What really annoyed them, was not that the miracle wasn’t actually a miracle, but that he insulted the Catholic church by alleging the church manufactured the miracle to make money.
In the following weeks, three police stations in Mumbai took up blasphemy cases filed against him by Catholic groups, under India’s hate speech code. He found he was getting threatening phone calls from policemen, and found threatening comments online.
Finland was the first country to give him a visa, and he had friends there who agreed to help him out. He believed he would stay there for a couple of weeks, but no - the anger did not died down, so is STILL THERE four years later.
He says “I miss a lot of people… That I cannot meet them is something that saddens me.
“I don’t regret anything I said. I feel I have full right to express my views… I am open for discussion and correction but am not willing to accept anybody’s bullying, change my views or submit to their pressure to apologise.”
The statue is still in Mumbai, but someone must have sorted out that toilet, because it no longer drips (that or Jesus is angry).