16 May 2005, 02:55:04 PM

Reporter: Andrea Burns

The people are true believers, they claim the mysterious tears from the fibreglass statue are the world of God and that some of them are alive because of the miracle.

Devout Catholic Patty Powell bought the statue in Thailand over a decade ago. Three years ago she claims it started crying, and the tears are still flowing.

Patty has transformed her backyard into a grotto for prayer and the inside of her home as well. Her website documents other signs, including an apparition which she claims left a footprint. “I was very humbled, I was a bit emotional about it because it was such a tangible sign”, Patty said.

Grandparents Mary and Geoff Wishart believe they have received two miracles thanks to the weeping Madonna. “I had severe pins and needles in my left arm, 24/7. It was absolutely shocking and my neck was very restricted”, Mary said.

On her second visit to the statue, Mary claims she heard a voice. “I felt nothing happen, nothing at all. It was just a voice saying Mary move your head and I very cautiously did. I found I had pretty near full movement”, Mary said.

Within days of receiving a Virgin Mary medal, Geoff says something pushed him to get his eyes checked. Doctors found a hard to diagnose cancer. “There is no other explanation. If I had been two weeks later to the optician, I wouldn't be here tonight”, Geoff said.

Angel and Lorraine Floate still wear lockets around their necks containing tear-soaked cotton wool. They believe it was responsible for bringing the twenty-five year old out of a diabetic coma. “I put the oil on her forehead and her hands while she was lying there. I kept calling out to her and then she opened her eyes”, Lorraine said.

Scientific tests two years ago found no evidence of foul play – a Catholic Archbishop's inquiry couldn't explain the tears.

John Happs from the Sceptics Society, said it simply couldn't be true – a fibreglass statue does not cry role oil. He says he hasn't changed his mind and says the whole thing is just nonsense.