Neuropsychiatrical and parapsychological
study about Garabandal events

Dr. Ricardo Pancernau, Ex-Manager of University Clinic
of Pathology, Neurology Department

1. ?A children4s game?

To Investigate, from the medical point of view, the causes of the phenomenon taken place at San Sebastian de Garabandal between 1961 and 1965, firstly we have to see, as it was sayed, if it could be a children4s game, that is, a simple concious simulation.

The active part of the phenomenon lasted for more than a year and a half, with great number of true trance states with complete loss of the sensity and sensority, with important changes in muscle tone, with an extraordinary resistance to fatigue and, above all, with lots of para-phenomenon which offered evidence to witnesses. Between all them, a detail, which can be seen on many photographs of the trance states and let us discard the possibility of a children game, is the instant change in the four children emotional expresion at the same time, while they were absorbed in the vision, and frequently without any physical contact that allowed signals to be entablished between them, to act like true little actresses.

I think there is no need of more insistence on this point. A good look at the children trances is enough to discard this supposed game.

2. ?Hysteria?

The second and more important cause of this kind of phenomenon which offers scientific thought, is hysteria. Hysteria is a neurosis that, as Ey says, is : the somatic hiper-expressiveness of ideas, images, unconcious affections and the personality structure altered by psicoplasticity and suggestivity. In relation to hysteria, and reducing our discussion to the most important things about Garabandal, we must consider mainly:

A) The trance states could remind remotely paroxysms, the hysterical crisis in Charot4s way. In the beginning of those trances which had a falling, you could think of the usual hysterical arch. During the trance states, there were tactile, thermic and painful sensitity loss. All this may be observed with more or less intensity in hysterical states, but normally the hysterical person uses to react in front of strong painful stimulus or an eyed-cardiac reflex.

The hysterical paroxysm usually shows unpleasant emotional expressions, lack of harmony, and sometimes clear kind of sexual movements, with paralysis, spasms or contractures, with weeping or laughing common hysterical crisis, looking unpleasant or even disgasting. That was not Garabandal case.

B) The children4s character and personality were not hysterical; they were hardly suggestionable, and not hypnotizable. There were not inconsistence in the unity and identification of the person, nor in the course of their life. On the other hand, until now, and it has been many years, they haven4t developed any kind of neurosis or psychosis. It didn4t exist any kind of exhibition or stage. Their way back to normalily from ecstasy was quiet, smiling and gentle; under trance everything happened in a kind of order and serene calm.

3. ?Catalepsy?

Another assumption which was pointed by a member of the commission is catalepsy or cataleptic states. On this states, the person is immobile with opened or closed eyes, without the typical sleeping trio (miosis, diverging strabismus and orbicular contraction). This state is semiconcious. It can last hours, or days. It remember hypnosis, as we will see inmediatly, very much.

We can say that if this is catalepsy symptomatology, catalepsy is a bad defined syndrome. Some authors assimilate it to catatonias in which the person stays at the same position passively, with the usual "Flebilitis-Cerea" of muscles. It is what happens in psychiatric illnesses like catatonical schizophrenia.

Another kind of catalepsys are linked with some dissomnia and dissociated paralysis of sleep, both in the moment of going to sleep, and waking up. That last case would be the inverse side of somnambulism. There would be motor kind paralysis and conciousness. Finally there are other syndromes that go from the "Aquinetic Mutism" to the "Locked-in" syndrome. As a summary, they are very strange to find.

We could say that this symptomatology in relation to Garabandal events has nothing to do with it. Garabandal trances were sometimes immobile, but sometimes in the way of very long and fast runnings, with a lot of clever and clear goal movements. I think that the member of the commission who defend this idea, was at the beginning of the events, when the trances were only static. There is no objetive basis for this hypothesis. In a similar way, we will see now "Crepuscular Crisis" and Hypnosis states.

The crepuscular hysterical state consist of a concious weakness, with a sudden beginning and end, that may go from a simple cloudiness to stupor, and that means, as P. Janet says, a semiconcious experience of dispersonalization and strangeness, usually centered on a fixed idea.

This, as we sayed before, reminds hypnosis. The ecstasy state would be what we could call the reverse side of the hypnotic state. In both the person is outside of the normal conciousness level, but in a different way. On one hand, being under ecstasy is as if the person would be attracted to his outside, to the upper, to the meta or supra conscious, and on the other hand, being under hypnosis, to the depth of subconscious. Under hypnosis, there are flaccidness of feature, inexpressive look, general aspect of mask, slow and sleepy. Let4s compare it with the trance states of the children of Garabandal on the so many photographs and films available which make patent their vivacity of emotional expression, never mind it would be a sad, pathetic, smiling or fascinating ecstasy. Morover, it is not possible making four children to enter and to go out of a trance instantly, and seeing it reproduced exactly in the same way, at the same time and during the same time, with simultaneous changes.

If we even considered the posibility of a post-hypnotic sign, this can4t embrace the umpredictable changes that, depending on circumstances, were arising and the little girls gave so proper anwer.

4. ?Perception Disorder?

We can discard many of this kind of perception disorders because of their context. We will center on hallucination due to its importance. Hallucination (perception without an object) can be simple, visual, auditive, olfactory, tactile, linked with alteration of cerebral areas. Complex hallucination is strange if it4s not linked to important neurologycal disorders, as we will see with deliriums.

In relation to Garabandal, we find that both the neurologycal and phyquical analysis of the children are completely normal, and anly there would be so complex hallucinations if linked to a global phyquical damage.

More or less complex hallucinations may be obtained under hypnotical state. But the same hallucination on the four children, at the same time, on the same subject as it showed their exact emotional expression changing simultaneously, is something very difficult to get. Hypnotical tests were made to four children at the same time, suggesting pleasant or unpleasant visions. They reacted in a similar way, but the same changes of the children of Garabandal couldn4t be obtained.

This complex hallucinations may be at delirium states, like sharp delirium phychosis, which is not Garabandal case, and chronic delirium phychosis with continous and persistent ego-alienation.

Garabandal children had a normal and well formed personality, which is very different from paranoia, paranoiac schizophrenic, phychosis and chronic hallucinations and paraphrenia. In those cases, the bottom of character and personality are linked to distrust, pride, aggressiveness, and psycho-rigidity in paranoia; to autism, and dispersion in schyzophrenic; and to complex sensitive and phycomotor automatism in phychosis and paraphrenia. If Garabandal case is hallucination, it would be a simple one without mental illness or thought disorder. To be sensorial automatism, we have order, calm and serenity instead of abnormal or unpleasant perception, or any kind of pathological psychomotor automatism.

As we sayed before, on every mental illness there is a persistent pathological bottom. In Garabandal, we have only symptoms during trances. The children hadn4t any kind of neurotic feature. Temper was stable, tolerant and without contradictions.

Furthermore, lack of another mental neuropsychical illnessess was evident. We will only mention them; for example: dementias, oligophrenias, manicdepressive psychosis, confusion psychosis, epilepsy, obsessive neurosis, etc...

5. ?Hysterical autosuggestive experience?

Another posibility is hysterical trances with hypnotic conscience. This hypothesis was defended: it was entablished a kind of deep suggestive and hypnotic closed circle contact, due to a intense emotional moment caused by a guilt personal experience, which would be the apple robbery and the known commentary of the children about the Angel and Evil, followed by an autosuggestive hysterical experience.

Instead of hallucinations, they would be pseudoperceptions. On these cases, extraordinary corporal performance could happen. It is so difficult to find a so high suggestiveness degree in four children at the same time, that it was supposed the group induction was controled by Conchita. And that4s why the Commission took her far from the others to the province of Santander. However, when doing this, the phenomenon increased in the three others.

It has been sayed, for example, that if a child, surrounded by a great expectation at Christmas, were very suggestionable, would be easy for him to see Santa Claus. However, it is more difficult to explain that he fell under an hypnotic trance just by this suggestion; that this happened to four children at the same time, make it more difficult, and that so suggestionable children would be together in a little village, much more.

Furthermore, there are some parapsycological events in Garabandal that fully exceeds any hysterical character or personality, as we will see soon.

6. ?Heterohypnosis?

Another hypothesis was heterohypnosis. Hypnotic induction requieres an hypnotist to be present. Garabandal hasn4t this supposed hypnotist. Moreover, it would have been impossible for him to embrace all the unpredictable circumstances. Much more difficult when the children trances happened simultaneously in very distant places. As a summary, we can say:

A) Different processes can cause similar symptoms, because organism who express them is the same.
B) Garabandal symptomatology is diverse and can not be included or structured in any illness frame.
C) There is no clear patologycal context in Garabandal. So, this hallucinations don4t match any neuropsychical illness frame.

7. ?Parapsychological Events?

This is the explanation which more satisfies Garabandal problem, though not completely. Parapsychological events or Psi phenomenon are divided into three parts:

A) Psi Gamma phenomenon, between two phyches.
B) Psi Kappa phenomenon in relation to substance.
C) Psi Tau phenomenon in relation to the past or future time.

With respect to Psi gamma phenomenon, there are a great diversity: telepathy, clear-sightedness, checked and known by many and good witnesses, and even us. This phenomenon sometimes happens in a great distance, in hours or days after having been present at any Garabandal trance. About clear-sightedness, person or object identification, are frequent. There are many books that speak about this, like my little work "Garabandal parapsychological phenomenon".

With respect to Psi kappa phenomenon, in relation to substance, we can talk about the four children weight change under ecstasy, the blessed water case, the corporal temperature stability in spite of the atmosphere changes and the long runnings effort.

The visible communion of Conchita, seen by so many people and even filmed, being under ecstasy and sprouting a sacred Host on her tongue, as she had announced before as a Virgin miracle, is one of this kind of phenomenon. When an experienced medium tryes it, it is a very slow process, but many witnesses says that the Host sprouted instantly.

With respect to Psi tau phenomenon, in relation to past or future time, we should value the acomplished predictions. Parapsychological events in Garabandal are so important in quantity and quality, that they can be considered as landmarks in parapsychological history.

As a summary, I would say there is no natural scientific explanation for all the events happened in Garabandal.