A miraculous photo of the stigmata?

By: Glenn Dallaire
Since I wrote my original article on Irving "Francis" Houle (1925-2009) of Michigan, USA back in 2014 I have since received a number of very positive comments in support of Francis, both beneath the original article and also by private email, attesting to various graces received through his intercession during his lifetime (particularly through his prayer and healing ministry), and since his passing back in 2009.

Photograph of the purported stigmata of  Irving "Francis" Houle with what appears to be images of a crucifix and Mary
Sacred images appearing in a photograph of the stigmata? We report, you discern
One of the letters I received from a person who knew Francis during his lifetime contained a very interesting photo of the purported stigmatized hands of Francis. The person who sent me the photo--which is an original photo on Fujifilm stock taken from the original developed film roll--told me that the photo (above) of Francis stigmata was taken in September of 1996 at the expressed request of Francis' brother Reynold, who along with Francis spiritual director Fr. Robert J. Fox were usually the only ones who were allowed to see Francis during the times he reportedly mystically suffered the passion. Concerning this photo she wrote:
"When the picture was developed, the images of Jesus and Mary appeared on his hands. Francis gave a copy of this photo to a close friend, who put it away until his death in 2009. This picture has not been altered in any way."

In turn, I have posted a high resolution scan of this photograph, and have not altered it in any way (you can click on the photograph to enlarge it). One can see in the photo that an image of a crucifix appears quite clearly over the left stigmatized hand, whereas somewhat fainter image of the Blessed Virgin Mary is seen in what appears to be a representation of our Lady of Lourdes upon the right hand stigmata.

Additionally, there appears to be at least one (if not more) additional image(s) in the finger areas of both hands, but upon close inspection with a magnifying glass this writer cannot make out what it is, as there seems to be some distortion in this area of the photo.

Since this photo was taken back in 1996 from a standard roll film camera with the photo developing taking place in a film lab (ie- not a digital camera), this allows for the possibility of what is known as "double exposure" or ghost imaging, where one photo image in the film roll is superimposed upon another through natural means, such as not advancing the film when taking two photos. If this is the case in this photo, then the placement of the crucifix and the Virgin Mary over each stigmata would certainly be noteworthy, to say the least. In the end this writer makes no claims or judgement concerning this photo, simply that "we report, you discern", as the purpose of this site is to publish a variety of information covering all aspects of Catholic mystics and mysticism.

For more information on Francis those interested can read my original article on Francis, and also the book “Francis”–A True Story- Family man suffers the Passion of Jesus daily”  by Father Robert J. Fox, Fatima Family Apostolate, 1999. In more recent editions the book was renamed “A Man Called Francis”.

Additionally for more info or for those who would like to report graces received through Francis' intercession can contact:
My Mother's House
2015 - 10th Avenue South
Escanaba, MI   49829


Glenn Dallaire said...

Publishing on all things concerning alleged Catholic mystics and visionaries. We report, you discern.

Joseph J. said...

The fact that he wanted the photo put aside until after his death lends support to it more likely being real I think.

Anonymous said...

Glenn, thank you for sharing the photo of this holy man showing his stigmatised hands.
I notice the faint image of what appears to be Blessed Mother on his right hand and a Cross on his left hand.

It does seem to me to be images from a previous photo or something however superimposed on the photo itself, and as you mention there also seems to be what to me looks like a little oblong card or picture over the two middle fingers on the right hand. And other vague images on the left hand as well.

I have read the story about Francis and was very touched by it. I don't doubt Francis in any way because of the unusual photo image shared above.

God bless you Glenn and may God grant Francis eternal rest.

CherryPie said...

With regards to the photograph only.

It looks like at least two photograph exposures are placed one on top of the other. This is possible on film cameras. Take a photograph and then take another without winding the film on. This can be done accidentally or on purpose to provide a photographic effect.

In the photo you show, I see a photographic effect.

Glenn Dallaire said...

Yes, very good point Cherry Pie! In this age of digital cameras I imagine some people might not be familiar with film roll 35mm style cameras, and the potential for such cameras (especially manual film advance ones) to take double exposure "ghost" images. I personally think that this is quite possible in this case, but nevertheless the placement of the crucifix and the Virgin Mary directly over each stigmata would be quite exceptional and noteworthy I think, if such were the case.

One could also note that in the period in which this photograph was taken (1996) film roll cameras (especially 35mm) were still quite popular, though the manual film advance ones had certainly been superseded by the automatic film advance cameras for quite some time, and with this the potential for double exposures/ghost imaging with these automatic film advance cameras is greatly lessened.

Thanks for your comments and may God bless you and your loved ones,
Glenn Dallaire

KMecca said...

The images of a cross and Mary remind me of "watermarks" that can be applied to paper, digital photos and, I'm sure, to many other types of things.

Anonymous said...

I knew Irving Houle personally. We would go to Escanaba, MI to Sandy Boucher's home and visit with him before the people would come to her home for prayers. He also came to Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, two times and St. Francis Xavior Cathedral, two times, here in Green Bay, WI. There is not enough space to explain the uncountable miracles and graces that were bestowed during the Holy Mass and then prayers for healing after. Not only physical healing, but spiritual, emotional and mental. There were a couple of priests I knew personally (now deceased) who at first had their doubts, but the Holy Spirit touched their hearts as soon as they met him and became very close to him. Irving loved priests. At one of the healing Masses, there were 11 priests concelebrating. What a blessing. May the Most Holy Trinity bestow upon you and your families Their Choicest blessings.

Anonymous said...

Appears to be a “doctored” photograph as half of the crucifix isn’t even on his hand but over his trousers. This photo could have been “embellished” at any time including recently before it was shown to Glenn. Why do this? The stigmata alone if genuine are miracle enough or is there another message? As St Therese noted God can be shown to be as miraculous in the ordinary everyday as in extraordinary revelations. Both are Christ like and mystical.

Profast said...

Interesting, even if it’s a "double exposure" or ghost imaging effect, it’s remarkable because the “accident” placed both images on both hands well. If you notice, the left-hand-side hand is higher than the other hand and the top of both images appear right over his writs (end of his shirt sleeves – so that the Virgin Mary image is at a higher altitude than the Cross image – fitting both hands altitudes). So Providence over coincidence in my opinion.

Boo said...

I know nothing of the authenticity of this person and have no opinion on his holiness but please be aware that stigmata can also be diabolical. When the Church investigates stigmata they always do it to separate human causes/interference from supernatural causes. If they deem it supernatural, it is not immediately judged as being from God. Satan can affect our bodies. The person’s life is then investigated, the fruits so to speak. There have been fake stigmatas in history (not human origin) As for this photo, I’m sorry but I think it is clearly a fake. My father has been a photographer since the 1950s and I’ve seen my fair share of double exposures. The fainter image even continues over Francis’ hands to the bottom left hand corner of the photo.