A Catholic priest believes a modest three-bedroom western Sydney home has miraculous oil with divine healing powers seeping from its walls in the shape of religious symbols and dates.
The so-called “Miracle House” in Guildford first started to “weep” more than a decade ago and if you believe a recent string of Facebook posts, the bizarre spectacle has since grown to include the remarkable formation of ash, incense, religious symbols and even engraved dates.
Father Michael Haykal — who has been working as a co-ordinator at the family home — told The Daily Telegraph scores of people are still flocking to witness what they believe are messages from God, which supposedly appear throughout the home every couple of weeks.
“I don’t know how people can stay sceptical because the miracle is beyond science,” he said.
The owners of the sometimes controversial property, George and Lina Tannous, claim the miracle is the work of the spirit of their the deceased son, Mike.
The family said the oil first started in their son’s bedroom 40 days after the 17-year-old was tragically killed in a car crash 200 metres from the family home in September, 2006.
“He’s an angel,” Fr Haykal said.
“He’s trying to remind us about heaven and new life after death.”
Now, 12 years later, the “Miracle House” has overcome scepticism and is claiming to offer divine intervention from the alleged unexplained phenomenon.
Fr Haykal said most recently the miracle oil from the house had helped a number of women fall pregnant, despite doctors telling them it would be impossible for them to conceive a child.
“There have been many people who have been trying to have a baby for 10 to 15 years who come to the house and fall pregnant soon after,” he said.
Executive officer and editor Australian Skeptics Tim Mendham has been following the home for a number of years and finds the claims to be dubious at best.
“They have been doing it for such a long time now, it’s either real or they are so invested in it they just keep doing it,” he said.
“If I can be so cynical, the early photos show the oil at shoulder height, which was the right height for someone throwing it on the wall. Only now is it higher and on the roof.
“There’s nothing particularly intriguing about the messages, I’d like to see something a bit more unusual, something that only God would know.”
The attributed miracles do not just come from testimonials of the family and priest, with one person saying oil from the home had helped cure her son of cancer.
“My friend came to the house five years ago for my son who was sick with Neuroblastoma — cancer at age two and half. He is now eight and half years and has survived from this horrible disease. Believing in prayers and the oil she brought back to me all helped with my sons healing back to health and remission,” she wrote on the Miracle House Facebook page
“Please believe and many blessings to the family for allowing everyone to come to their home in memory of their son Mike who is still helping many people today.”
With the family’s blessing, an investigation from Today Tonight in 2007 explored each cavity of the home and also scientifically tested the oil and ash.
“It’s very likely to be aqueous-based (a solution in which the solvent is water) with trace substances of what you would find in an oil,” explained the scientist.
“We conducted a scientific examination of the ash and it’s likely the ash is charcoal derived from timber.”
Despite the findings sounding clear-cut, the scientists said he could not determine its origin and believed “it’s a result of some type of unnatural innovation”.
Mr Mendham said he was confused with the finding that the oil and charcoal was “unnatural” given “the mundane nature of the materials”.
He added that even though he has not been given permission to test the oil, an independent scientist approached for an Australian Skeptics feature articleprovided information to refute claims the oil was unnatural and the work of God.
“One of the scientists we interviewed in 2013 reckons they would have to be applying the oil regularly because otherwise, after a few years, it would have gone yellow, discoloured and started to smell,” he said.
“Looking at the photos now, you can see that some of the oil is discolouring.”
Fr Haykal said he still strongly believed the oil is a mystery.
“I feel sorry for people who say someone poured out all the oil on the walls because it’s already been tested by scientists who said it was beyond logic.”
He also added it was difficult to explain the emergence of Mike’s birthdate, which has been engraved on the wall of his bedroom three times — most recently on his birthday this year.
“It’s not just beyond science. This is proof the boy is still alive,” he said.
Mr Mendham said he couldn’t understand why Mike’s birthdate had appeared in the manifestations, mostly because it used the Gregorian calendar — the most widely used civil calendar in the world developed as a refinement of the Julian calendar in 1582.
“The fact there’s a date is meaningless,” he said. “Why would God be using a Gregorian calendar? It’s man-made, so that’s sort of strange.”
Fr Haykal said the findings of the latest Cenus — which show the number of people who claim “no religion” has overtaken Catholics for the first time in Australia’s history — demonstrate why Australians need to embrace the Miracle House more than ever.
“We live in a society far away from God. When 30 per cent of people say they don’t believe, it’s a sad day. But this home is touching proof of him down here on Earth,” he said.
“We are just servants, but the boy, it’s clear, he’s chosen to deliver a message and the message is for everyone; scientists, sceptics and even throes close to God.
“He’s trying to remind us about heaven, life after death and the hard work needed to get to there.”