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The Blessed Virgin on a Window Pane-1917

In 1917, an image of the Blessed Mary appeared in Judge Baca's new window. Thousands of people pilgrimaged to the Baca house to view the image. The account was recorded by A.A. Carter on April 17, 1936 as part of the WPA Writers Project.

A.A. Carter

Strange Phenomena of Blessed Virgin On Window Pane at Belen

In a dormer window on the east side of the oldest housed in Belen (Valencia County), owned and occupied by Honorable Ramon Baca y Chavez, Justice of the Peace and Police Judge for many years, is found a most unusual religious phenomena which takes the form of the Blessed Virgin to some, and to others, the form of Jesus floating in the clouds.

Early in 1917 Judge Baca was having an addition built on to the east side of the house and had occasion to have a new pane of glass cut for the east dormer window. The glass was purchased at the mercantile establishment of John Becker in Belen at a cost of $1.15. At first the likeness was not noticed, but in June of that year Judge Baca’s wife happened to look up at the window and noticed the spectacle. She called her husband and others, and they all immediately noticed the unusual appearance of this religious symbolism.

The word was spread, and since the image was first seen in June, 1917, several thousand persons have visited the premises from far and near. Many priests and other members of the clergy as well as about ninety sisters of Catholic orders have also visited the Baca residence for a view of this window. Some persons, after concentrating their gaze upon the window for several minutes, have claimed that even the arms appeared to move.

The Christ-like figure seems to be enveloped in a deep blue robe, while the face assumes a semi-natural color, and, if one stands in a certain position, a vague halo seems to surround the head. All this is seen from outside of the Baca home, but from the inside of the house, looking out, the same glass is absolutely clear and no trace whatsoever of the spectacle is to be seen. There are no pictures within the room to make a reflection, and there is positively no outside reflection on the window. In order to test this feature of the pane of the glass out black cloths have been hung immediately behind the window, so as to preclude all reflections of any kind or nature whatsoever, and the image is still plainly visible as before.

Glass experts have also visited the house and made tests on the window. They have cleaned both surfaces with chemicals, acids and gasoline, but these have no effect upon the glass whatever. Both outside and inside surfaces are chemically clear and clean, but the image may only be seen from the outside, and no inside or outside reflections are possible.

Judge Baca was first offered the sum of $500.00 for the pane, but refused. The offer was increased to $1,000.00 just for the glass but the Judge has refused to sell it. He is a devout Catholic and he will not commercialize this remarkable phenomenon notwithstanding repeated offers to rent his grounds for the purpose of making an admission charge.

This particular Baca family is typically representative of the culture and courtesy of Old Spain, and they used to most cordially invite persons who came to see the window to go inside and see for themselves how clear and unobstructed the glass was from that side. However, they found this practice had to be discontinued as every now and then some person carried away a souvenir in the form of some personal property of this gracious household.

A moving picture concern attempted to make pictures for a news reel of the image in the window, but were unsuccessful in getting satisfactory results. However, a man named Armijo was a poor man, and the Baca family disposed of these pictures for him at the price of twenty-five cents each until the supply was exhausted, when they turned over the entire receipts therefore [sic] intact to Mr. Armijo. Judge Baca steadfastly refused to in any wise [sic] commercialize this counterpart and likeness of the Christ or the Blessed Virgin, and will always refuse so to do.

While many have been drawn to Belen to view this remarkable phenomena of the religious image on the window pane with its mystifying effect, many more will continue to come, and to persons interested in such matters such a visit will always remain a source of gratification as well as mystification.

Source of Information:

Information personally supplied by Hon. Ramon Baca y Chavez, Police Judge, Belen New Mexico, and by his son, Ignacio Baca, Editor of the Belen News, Belen, New Mexico.