The house of miracles
Reporter: Laticia Gibson
Broadcast Date: March 27, 2007
After a 17-year-old boy died, oil began seeping through his bedroom walls and ash appeared on the floor. Some now believe he was a messenger of God.
There are crowds in a suburban Sydney street this evening, as there have been for weeks.
They are hoping for a miracle, to be touched by the hand of God. All because of a young boy who died and occurrences inside the house that are so far unexplained by science.
They line up for hours, hundreds at a time, to enter the small suburban home, a place thousands call “God on Earth”.
Inside the home, oil is slowly seeping from walls and paintings, while ash on the floor is said to be a miracle cure for the mind, body and soul. The deliverer: a dead boy..
Five months ago, 17-year-old Michael Tannous was tragically killed in a car crash.
Forty days later, Mike’s God-fearing parents, George and Lina noticed a strange line of oil appear on his bedroom wall and the smell of roses filled parts of the home.
Ash, the colour of coal, inexplicably began materalising from thin air. His parents believe it is a sign their son is still alive.
According to the Tannous family, the line of oil has multiplied and spread across the walls.
As well as the miracle oil, Mike’s initials and a cross have also appeared. If you believe the believers, even Jesus has been spotted on the ceiling of a neighbouring room.
Now, the young and old are making pilgrimages to this 24-hour cathedral to those seeking to be healed by God.
Among them was 12-year-old Elana Ibiahim, who says her crippling joint pain is gone, healed by a magic elixir, the aromatic oil from Mike’s bedroom.
“I was sick, I had joint problems and they kept swelling up,” Elana said. “I couldn’t kneel and sometimes I was unable to write because of them. “I put it on the first day and since then – all my pain is gone.”
Local Catholic priest, Father Michael Melhen, said in all of his years at the pulpit, he had never seen anything as miraculous as this.
He stressed that he cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic church, but as an individual believer he is stunned at what he’s seen. He is using the oil that comes through the walls to anoint people.
“The purpose of the oil, according to the church, is to bless people and that’s a sign, a symbolism of peace,” Fr Melhen said.
As the word spread, Johanne Adams heard that the messiah was among us, despite never having met the Tannous family, but now visits regularly. “Because I believe, I believe in this house,” Johanne said. “I don’t know these people and they are beautiful people and it’s a miracle.”
Every person who walks through the doors for the very first time receives a free souvenir: a cotton bud soaked in the holy oil. So far, over 3,500 people have received such a gift, with the number increasing by the hour.
“It means that Mike is still alive and that’s a message to everyone that there is life after death,” Fr Melhen said. Mike’s parents and Father Melhen say God hand-picked Mike from birth. A picture taken when he was just six months old, they say, was prophetic in its similarities to a famous rendering of Jesus.
Some even said Mike predicted his own death, his schoolbooks littered with poems and scribbles depicting the afterlife. A gate among his drawings bore an amazing resemblance to the dripping oil.
George and Lina say they have not made a cent from the people arriving at their home. “We have not collect any money, no way, we won’t accept it at all,” George said. “All we need is for people to come here to light candles at the church for Mike, nothing else, or to pray, we don’t need anything.”
Peter Bowditch from Australian Skeptics said that for a miracle to be true, it has to have scientific evidence to back it up. “To become excited about it, you have to be a true believer,” Mr Bowditch said. “That is, you have to be someone who is immersed totally in some form in faith.
Religious sightings and paranormal activity, known as religious pareidolia, have captivated audiences and the faithful for centuries. Celestial sightings have been captured on fence posts, windows, even the humble vegemite sandwich.
In Perth, a statue of the Madonna supposedly bled tears of oil. Extensive scientific testing revealed it to be an oil substance with an added fragrance, most likely rose oil, but where it came from – how it got there – no-one could conclusively determine. A documentary is being released this Easter.
But you only have to look at the faces of those who gather at the Tannous family’s home, night and day, to realise that they believe Michael was a direct messenger of God. “I would like everyone, especially those who don’t believe, to come here and to have a look and to start knowing there is life after death,” Father Melhen said.