Pat Shingleton: "Ampurdan winds and Fatima..."
Ampurdan is located in northeast Spain where intense winds blow from the Pyrenees. High pressure forces air through the mountain passes and warms by compression. Similar to California's Santa Ana winds, where wildfires burn because of these seasonal blasts, wind gusts reach 80 miles per hour. Surrealist artist Salvador Dali had an unusual fascination with these winds, believing they could be utilized for an unusual purpose. Residents believed that the winds were so strong they could drive a man insane, referring to them as the "tramontane." Prior to his death, nearly 30 years ago, Dali believed he could utilize this wind to power a pipe organ, which would be heard by residents throughout the area. After his death, three Spanish entrepreneurs constructed a giant wind-powered organ originally designed by Dali. With $1.2 million, engineers at Ramon Llull University in Barcelona built two prototypes. A "wind accumulator" collected the mountain wind in a giant funnel that was pushed into a pressure regulator that blows through 500 pipes of the organ. The accumulator factors the winds unpredictability and permits the organ to "play itself" on windy days and lets the organist play it on calmer days. The organ was built near Dali's birthplace of Figueras. German composer Wolfgang Seifen first performed on the instrument in 2004. Finally, on October 13, 1917, 70,000 people gathered at Fatima, Portugal, to witness a miracle. They testified that the sun became detached from the sky, rolling right and left as if it were falling upon the earth. Lucia Santos and her two cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto testified that five months earlier the Virgin Mary appeared to the three young children as they were the only ones to witness her that day. During this solar phenomena Father Ignatius Pereira, who was nine years of age at the time, reported that objects around them reflected colors of the rainbow and after ten minutes the sun returned its original location, but without brilliance. Monsignor Quareman noted that what appeared to be white flower petals fell and disappeared before landing.
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