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Trying the Spirits

Five Bible principles that you can use to test the claims of supernatural messages and miracle workers

By Betsy Mayer

In 2007, the story of 17-year-old Francesca Zackey, a South African girl who claimed to have had a series of encounters with Mary, the mother of Jesus, made international news. 

Francesca described her first encounter to reporters: “I smelt the strongest fumes of roses and it just hit me, and I fell to my knees and I started crying tears of joy.”1

Her family also smelled roses. Then she said the “Holy Spirit” compelled her to go to her bedroom where she saw Mary sitting on the right side of her bed. “She had ice blue eyes, brown hair, long brown hair, and an ice-blue cloak. Her hands were open, there was light coming out of her hands.”2 The apparition told her to tell others to “pray the Rosary like it’s your last day on earth.”3

At first Francesca was scared, but “then the Holy Spirit took over

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  1. “South African Teen Claims to Have Visions of Mary,” Fox News,, Jan. 13, 2015.

  2. Sheree Bega, “‘Our Lady’ Still Inspires Benoni Virgin,” IOL,, Oct. 5, 2013.

  3. See note 1.

  4. See note 1.

  5. Matt. 24:24; 2 Thess. 2:9; Rev. 13:13, 14; 16:13, 14.

  6. See “Solving the Mystery of Life after Death” in this issue.

Image credits

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About the author

Betsy Mayer is the managing editor of Last Generation.