Video supposedly shows a 12 year-old Lebanese girl producing sharp crystals from her eyes.
Unsubstantiated – probably untrue
Subject: FW: Crystal girl!!!
A 12 year-old Lebanese girl has baffled medical experts by producing crystals from her eyes. Coming at a rate of seven a day, the crystals are razor sharp, but do not harm her eyes. Hasnah Mohamed Meselmani’s condition is yet to be explained.
This intriguing video of a young Lebanese girl supposedly crying hard crystal tears has been passed around for well over a decade. The video was made back in 1996, but in more recent years it has made its way on to YouTube and other video websites and has again become a popular topic. The video currently circulates as an email attachment and is also often posted to online forums and blogs.
Over the years, the video has generated a great deal of debate with many commentators vaunting the case as a miracle while a great many others are of the opinion that clever trickery is involved.
Skeptical researcher and former stage magician Joe Nickell studied the case for a 1997 Skeptical Enquirer article and was able to quite easily duplicate the phenomenon. Nickell identified the stones as quartz crystals commonly called “Herkimer diamonds” and he was able to obtain some for his experiments. In the article, he notes:
Although such stones are indeed sharp – and I could see a dark red spot inside the girl’s eyelid that probably represented a wound from one of them – I decided to duplicate the effect. All that was necessary was to pull out the lower eyelid to form a pouch and drop in a small crystal so that it rested, only a bit uncomfortably, out of sight. A tug on the lower lid causes the stone to come into view and then pop out of the eye. This I demonstrated at an appropriate time for the television camera, allowing their reporter to actually do the extraction himself. The effect was indistinguishable from the Lebanese “miracle.”
While Joe Nickell’s duplication of the “miracle” does not conclusively prove that trickery was used in the video, it certainly cast strong doubt on the veracity of the story. And, although the video itself may look convincing, there is apparently no other evidence that verifies the claim that the girl was actually producing crystals rather than just secreting them in her eyes prior to extractions.
However, some commentators believe that the production of the crystals was a true miracle and a sign from God. In 1997, Nabil Matraji, a correspondent for the spiritual organization Share International interviewed the girl and her family. He subsequently wrote a rather fanciful article for Share International about the case. Matraji outlines the beginnings of the phenomenon as told to him by the family:
It all began in March 1996. She was at school when she felt something strange in her left eye – her first piece of crystal, which, understandably, troubled her. Back home, she told her family what had happened and, while she was doing so, a second piece of crystal appeared in her eye. Her father took her to the city of Chtaura to see Dr Araji, an ophthalmologist. She stayed in his clinic for two weeks, and the crystals kept flowing out of her eye. Dr Araji certified that the pieces were real crystals and said he had no scientific explanation of the phenomenon. It could only be understood, he thought, as an act of God.
The girl also told Matraji that soon after the crystals began appearing, she began to receive visitations from a mystical figure dressed in white that she called the “White Knight” who identified himself as a messenger from God. The article further claims that “Saudi Arabian authorities” paid the girl’s father $50,000 to keep quiet and this led to unfair allegations of fraud. However, while Nabil Matraji’s account may accurately reflect his personal religious beliefs and ideas, it does not provide any credible evidence that the events actually took place as he describes.
Sadly, or quite conveniently depending on your point of view, the girl stopped producing the crystals a few months after she began, thus ruling out further study. It seems very likely and logical that the young girl’s production of the crystals was simply a prank perpetrated for reasons known only to those involved. But since girl crystal production has long since ceased and, 12 years on, shows no sign of recommencing, the chances of conclusively proving or disproving the alleged events – and ending speculation once and for all – seem quite remote.
Last updated: 3rd September 2008
First published: 3rd September 2008
By Brett M. Christensen
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