Alleged miracle crucifix materialised for Dr. John Hislop
The crucifix given to John Hislop was supposed to have been materialized by the paranormal powers of Sai Baba. The question as to the plausibility of a true materialization which reproduces such details as air bubbles identical with those caused by techniques of inexpensive mass reproduction, and standard but historically inaccurate iconographic features such as nails through palms.
For hundreds of thousands of readers, The book My Baba and I by Dr. John Hislop, [1985: Birth Day Publishing, San Diego] has been read very widely and it is translated into many languages. The title was given to Hislop by Sai Baba. The book reports on Hislop’s prolonged and intimate experiences of Baba’s teachings, some alleged miracles (notably that of the famous Crucifix materialised for Hislop by Baba on Mahashivaratri, 1973. This occurred on a car trip to have a picnic. These trips were then arranged by the Sathya Sai servitor, Colonel Joga Rao, who did not believe in Sai miracles, but who evidently conspired with Sai Baba to facilitate the fraudulence. Joga Rao’s reason for this reportedly was that Sai Baba would thereby become able to get funds to help the poor etc.. On Mahashivartri Day of 1973, Sai Baba took Hislop and others on a car trip in the morning. See Hislop's account opposite...:
Dr. John Hislop readily believed what Sai Baba told him, namely, that the crucifix was made from a piece of the original wood of the Cross. Of course, no carbon dating was done – for it would surely disprove that. Serious scientists would not bother to go to such lengths to disprove such a cheap trick, and Hislop would never have tried because he worked entirely on blind faith.
However, a magnified photo of the amulet was examined by an art expert emeritus professor and proclaimed most likely to be a commonly manufactured amulet from 19th century UK, with visible small defects due to the mass/casting process. There is a serious defect in the crucifix too, for the nails in actual crucifixions passed through the wrist, because nails through the hand could not support a weight of the body. It also has a hole at the top of the cross, so Hislop asked his Lord and master what it was. Sathya Sai Baba, improvising as usual, told him the cross had been suspended from above!
Piet Vroon, wrote in “Santa Claus in India” in Indian Skeptic 6(4), August 1993: 8-16. an article (which appeared on Saturday December 5, 1992 in De Volkskrant (a Dutch national newspaper, under the title ‘Sinterklaas in India’):-
"Baba indicated that this would be the place. He said we would all return here just at dusk..."
" Baba then closed his fingers over the twigs and directed three somewhat slow breaths into his fist, between thumb and forefinger. Then he opened his hand to reveal a Christ figure crucified on a cross..."
Dale's Comments on the Crucifix:
In 1973, Sai Baba produced a small crucifix, gave it to his disciple named Dr. Hislop, and, according to Dr. Hislop, said, "this shows Christ as He really was at the time when He left his body. No writer or artist has imagined him this way before."p. 7, [An Eastern view of Jesus Christ: Divine discourses of Sathya Sai Baba (Compiled by Lee Hewlett & K. Nataraj]
As for the claim
Sai Baba makes that the crucifix "shows Christ as he really was at the time he
left his body, not as artists have imagined him or as historians have told about
him", and "no writer or artist has imagined him this way before," the following
are comments from Uno Langmann, a highly reputable art, antique, and curio
dealer headquartered in Vancouver B.C., and Dr. William S. Dale, Professor
Emeritus in Fine Arts at the University of Western Ontario, upon inspection of
the full page magnified colour photograph of the crucifix reproduced at p. xi
(Plate 2) of Dr. Hislop's book, My Baba & I: