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Stigmata; Fact or Fiction

            On the day of his death, Jesus suffered five penetrating wounds to his body. Soldiers placed a crown of thorns on the top of his head, then drove nails threw both of his wrist and feet and placed him on the cross to die. After the soldiers thought that he was dead one man pierced Jesus's side with a spear and watched blood and water pour out. These five wounds have reappeared all across the world on 62 different saints as well as about 250 normal people like you and I. These wounds are called Stigmata which comes from the Greek word meaning "sign" or "mark". What does this mean? Scientist and religious leaders have debated this for centuries yet no one has come forward with substantial evidence to conclude anything. .
             The first reported case of stigmata was in 1224 ce. of St. Frances of Assissi, a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. About two years before he died St. Frances was on top of a Mount. Alverna in Italy when he had a vision of an angle carrying a cross with a man nailed to it. At the same time he felt very sharp pains as if he were being stabbed on both palm, his feet, his side, and across his forehead. People around him reported that the wounds even looked "fleshy" and "nail like" (Griffen). His side had appeared to be "slashed" (Griffen). St. Frances continued to live with these wounds for the next two years until he died. Everyday he would walk around with his clothes soaked with blood and it caused him a lot of pain. The pope at the time first thought of them as "Heavenly sent" (Griffen) but later he decided the cuts were caused by St. Frances being such a strong believer and his mind caused them. .
             People have tried to find an explanation for this phenomenon ever since that day in 1224 ce. One of the most supported theories is that they may be self inflicted by people with certain types of brain disorders. This is more supported than the idea of psychosomatic for two primary reasons.

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