Levitation….of people, not UFOs
In the Times Literary Supplement for July 17, 2015, Brian Stanley reviews the Liam Matthew Brockey book The Visitor: André Palmeiro and the Jesuits in Asia [Belknap Press].
Mr. Stanley quotes from the book:
“Some readers may … take exception to Brockey’s apparently unquestioned acceptance of a distinctly premodern form of Catholic piety: he records, without so much as an arching of a scholarly eyebrow, Palmeiro’s testimony that he [Palmeiro] had seen one of the saintly scholars at the Colégio de São Paulo, when absorbed in ecstasies of prayer, levitate ‘two or three palms high.’” [Page 28, TLS]
Palmeiro, about whom the book is written, was the under-appreciated (according to the author, Brockey) Visitor of the [Jesuit] Society’s mission in Asia, 1617 on.
Palmeiro’s stature allows acceptance by Brockey that what Palmeiro reported was true, which I’d also see as credible, having been taught by staunchly religious and honest Jesuits in seminary.
But there is this: there is a [apocryphal] tale that fellow Dominicans saw St. Thomas Aquinas, the great Catholic theologian and saint, also levitate while saying mass, having what Richard Bucke claims was a “Cosmic Consciousness” experience, that took Aquinas away from his writings [Summa Theologica and Summa contra Gentiles]:
“ On 6 December 1273 at the Dominican convent of Naples in the Chapel of Saint Nicholas after Matins, Thomas lingered and was seen by the sacristan Domenic of Caserta to be levitating in prayer with tears before an icon of the crucified Christ. Christ said to Thomas, "You have written well of me, Thomas. What reward would you have for your labor?" Thomas responded, "Nothing but you, Lord." After this exchange something happened, but Thomas never spoke of it or wrote it down. Because of what he saw, he abandoned his routine and refused to dictate to his socius Reginald of Piperno. When Reginald begged him to get back to work, Thomas replied: "Reginald, I cannot, because all that I have written seems like straw to me" (mihi videtur ut palea).” [Wikipedia]
Then there are the alleged levitations of swamis in India.
Are such witness accounts to be dismissed, as UFO sightings are?
Because of the sincere religious psyche of the witnesses in the Palmeiro observation and that reported by Domenic Caserta, one has to be cautious if inclined to shrug off the reported levitations.
But what have we here, with such accounts?
I have no idea.