If you have read "Apparitions & Mystics - True or False" and still do not know about Necedah it is probably because you donít have all the information. Necedah is an apparition in which we have a great deal of inside information. Five of our very close friends lived in Necedah and were close friends of the mystic, Mary Van Hoof [actually Mary Ann Hirt]. Their relationship with her was not incidental, for their direct contact with her was from four to twenty years, including the six years they lived there. Our files on Necedah are ten inches thick if we include a 320 page manuscript we have by one member of the family [now a priest], Father Joe Dwight.
Forty years ago [November 12, 1949] Mary Van Hoof began to receive "Visions and messages from heaven". She "suffers" the stigmata on Fridays. Countless cures of body and soul are reported. Signs in the sky are seen. Rosaries change color.
On August 15, 1950 over 100,000 people came to witness the promised "Miracle of the Sun". People came from forty states in buses, trains and cars. The news media was there. Mary Van Hoof prayed and then told everyone to look at the sun. Some tried but had to turn away before burning their eyes. The newsmen saw nothing. Most of the people saw nothing. But some claimed to see the sun spin. Others saw a cross in the sun. Some saw the sun change colors. Rosaries changed to a gold color.
Yes, there have been many abnormal things happen at Necedah, but in forty years not a single [provable] miracle occurred that could not have been bin done by the Satanic.
Mary Van Hoof died in 1984, but the multi-million dollar operation still goes on. Mary Ann came to America from Transylvania, Hungary. Her mother, Elizabeth Bieber practiced spiritualism and witchcraft with Gypsies in Transylvania. She held seances in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Mary Ann and her mother attended the Spiritist camps in Wonewac, and her mother became vice-president of the Kenosha Assembly of Spiritualists. It is not insignificant that her mother was always behind her during the apparitions.
Those who knew Mary Ann at the time, claim she had a child out of wedlock, married a divorced man, divorced him and did not go to church for twenty years. She married again in 1934 to Fred Van Hoof. She did not begin attending Mass regularly until after Nov. 12, 1949. When Fred died, Mary Ann married Ray Hirt, a man twenty years younger than the mystic. "Heaven?" told her to marry him. However, like her first marriage, she never bothered to get a marriage licence.
Mary Ann and her husband, Fred, went to Texas to get away from her "damned Catholic" relatives [her words]. She then fled to Missouri to get away from Texas' creditors. Later, in Necedah, they lived so poorly that they had no running water. Mary Ann's house was always filthy and the children seldom were bathed.
Mary Ann was uneducated and therefore the grammar of her "apparitions" had to be constantly corrected by editors. In fact, she did not hesitate to use language that even a truck-driver would not use when she was angry. Her closest friends knew her to scream hysterically and have tirades when anyone disagreed with her.
She kept tight control over everyone by claiming that she could bi-locate and saw people engaging in sins. And she was unnaturally strong. She was known to throw adults across the room when angry. She used [sold] magic boxes and magic pillows that she claimed could do almost anything.
Joe Dwight (now Father) stood by her side many times during her so called "sufferings" of the stigmata. In his own words:
"I was very surprised to discover that the supposed "heavenly" revelations and "Friday sufferings" of Mary Ann Hirt [which I had witnessed many times while at Necedah] were much more similar to the descriptions of hallucinations and hysteria [most likely provoked and developed, consciously and/or unconsciously over the years] than to the description of a genuine private revelation or supernaturally imposed sufferings from God."
Although Mary Ann claims to receive the stigmata, no stigmata appears. She goes though all kinds of unseemly acts of sufferings. There are even photos of her stigmata, but no one has ever witnessed it. During the Lent of 1952, she was hospitalized and watched closely by the bishop and the doctors. No stigmata appeared.
The messages Mary Ann Van Hoof receives can be described as nothing less than "stupid". When you take away all the sugar and get down to the bottom line, these are the messages of Necedah:
1) We must sign up for a SPACE SHIP coming to take us away before the coming chastisement. This space ship will be guided by someone called "Alex".
2) 30,000 priests in the United states are "planted" communists SPIES and should not be listened to or obeyed. [There are only 57,000 priests in the United States.]
3) All schools, churches, and governments have been infiltrated by a vicious and cunning PLOT to corrupt the "true way". Even the food we eat is planned to CONTROL our minds.
4) Vatican II is false and should not be followed. The Church is full of "traitorous bishops, heretical cardinals, and BLACK POPES."
5) The new Mass of Vatican II is FALSE.
"The errors he [the Holy Father] made were not because of himself, but because of those about him, those who have misquoted him; those who have given false statements in place of his. He [the Holy Father] does not want the Mass altered. He wants the Mass said the way My Divine Son instituted it on Holy Thursday. He does not seek for an easier way."
From this we can see that the Holy Father is not to be trusted; and that Christ said the First Mass in Latin and not Arimatic; that the Apostles wrote in Latin and not in Greek and Hebrew. How stupid does Mary Ann take us to be? Keep this in mind when considering Bayside, New York, which came out of Necedah.
6) There is nothing wrong with NOT being a Catholic.
"Those NOT of the Catholic faith, remember the Lord in YOUR OWN WAY. The ministers should ... teach their flocks to ABIDE BY THEIR RULES of their church and remember THEIR GOD."
This is "pluralism" and has been condemned by the Church. In fact, it is so wrong that if we took the time we could find at least one Papal Statement against it in every century since Christ.
7) And of course, the inevitable chastisement that all false apparitions predict, in which only members of the Necedah shrine will be spared. The SPACE SHIP with a 1200-year-old man will come and take them to the MIDDLE EARTH, where they will be spared the chastisement and then emerge to re-populate the world and establish Christ's TRUE CHURCH.
[MIDDLE EARTH IS PROBABLY CORRECT.]
Mary Ann sees everything from the Holy Trinity to the angels and the saints. She sees them as six inch tall figures that come at her beckoned call. She points to them in trees, on fences, on her furniture, everywhere. No one else sees them. Then she carries on a one way conversation with them and reports to the people what was said after she has finished.
The "Virgin" told Mary Ann that if the Church did not approve the messages soon it would be too late. That was in 1950. It is now 1996 and they are still condemned. We have not seen any chastisement. Our friends told us that almost every week the messages were the "the last messages" but they went on and on anyway. And of course, as in all the other false apparitions, this one is the "last warning on earth" before the chastisement.
Right from the beginning, Bishop John Treacy, the local bishop of Necedah, investigated the alleged apparitions and ordered all activities stopped--1950. He declared that the happenings were not from God.
"All claims regarding supernatural revelations and visions made by the aforementioned Mrs. Van Hoof are false. Furthermore, all public and private religious worship connected with these false claims is prohibited...."
In 1969 Bishop Frederick Freking replaced the retired Bishop Treacy, and ordered a new investigation. He ordered the shrine closed.
Mary Ann's response to this was to tell the people that no matter what the bishop said, they must do
"what Our Lady of Necedah wants ... This is my property, and I'll do as I wish."
In 1972 the bishop sent a letter informing Mary Ann that unless his directives were followed, he would have to take sanctions against her and her followers. Many warnings followed. She did not obey.
In 1975 Bishop Freking excommunicated and refused sacraments to anyone who: attended, participated, approved, associated with, contributed to, anything whatsoever associated with the Shrine at Necedah, whether pageants, prayer meetings, devotions, venerations, visits, meetings, classes, secret meetings, strategy meetings, seances, movies, books, or anything else, whether at the Shrine or away from it.
[We wonder how many people are "excommunicated ipso facto" without even knowing it.]
Mary Ann's response to this was to bring in an already excommunicated "Old Roman Catholic" Bishop, Edward Stehlik. The Old Catholic Sect was established after Vatican I, and has been schismatic and excommunicated for several hundred years. He brought in priests and another bishop, Bishop Francis DeBennedetto.
An order of sisters [the Seven Sorrows of Our Holy Mother Sisters] was established without vows. They dressed themselves up as Catholic nuns and made up their own vows.
In 1983 Cardinal Oddi and other Church officials of the Vatican ordered that everyone in Necedah obey the local bishop in all things. To this day the Shrine goes on. In fact, there is now an international movement that will be discussed later.
After the order from Rome, most of the followers, even those who moved to Necadah and lived at the Shrine, left. Joe Dwight stayed on long enough to write a booklet called,
"The Holy Catholic Church and Private Revelation".
With the help of this book, he converted Bishop DiBenedetto away from the Shrine. Bishop DiBenedetto gave a talk that helped most of the people break away from the grip of Mary Ann Van Hoof. DiBenedetto left the Old Roman Catholic cult and re-entered the Catholic Church.
Joe Dwight and his family returned home. But this was not without great cost - financially and emotionally; not to mention time and reputation.
He lost years in his preparation to be a priest. He become a priest in 1995, many years after he would have. Many others lost thousands of dollars that they had deposited in the Shrine's bank.
Brother Glen Goergen, ran a radio program on the Shrine property. He had a police record of fraud, disorderly conduct and statutory rape. He tapped the Old Roman Catholic Bishop's phone and attempted to blackmail him.
In 1987 Gary McLaughlin [another Shrine priest] was convicted of mail fraud and impersonating a priest.
David Schott, a Shrine auxiliary bishop, was convicted of sexually molesting an 11-year old boy. He continued to keep a 10-year-old boy with him. He was arrested again. Assisted by Shrine members, he escaped.
Bishop Stehlik left the Shrine, and it was later learned that he was gay.
Henry Binkowski, a World War II vet, stocked his Shrine house with an arsenal of weapons and over 100 rounds of ammunition. He made a maze of concrete walls, foxholes and peep holes inside his house and stocked it with canned goods. One day he went crazy and shot his friend, Tommy Huber. The police came, and in a gun battle with Binkowski, he was shot dead.
Unhappy with the condemnations received, the Shrine members have even developed their own book on "Testing the Spirits" by Joseph Thomas Scarlata. In this book they completely overlook obedience to the bishops and lend their support to Garabandal, San Damiano and of course Bayside.
These are the fruits of Necedah, Wisconsin. But the promotion goes on and on. We just received a large package from them showing the massive construction going on. They think we are supporters, since we order information from them. Joe Dwight and his family told us that in spite of the craziness and the fraud, the people who were fooled were good people, and as such, made a very good and holy community in which they lived holy lives. In fact being separated from the world of television, drugs, drunks, and even money, made them lead a life that was very happy. All the family with one voice claims that was the happiest time of their lives. In the community they mimicked the early Church - sharing all things in common, praying three times a day together, working together, helping each other, and loving each other. It was those who were fooled that gave the shrine the impression of holiness, not the seer. The same is true of all other false shrines - those who go bring holiness with them, and this is confused with holiness at the shrine.
For additional information on "Necedah", write to FIDELITY, 206 Marquette Ave., South Bend, IN 46617 or call (219) 289-9786.