n The sun shone brightly in the clear August sky, and those who came to Fatima eagerly awaited the arrival of the children and the noon hour. Then word came and spread throughout the crowd that the mayor had kidnapped the young visionaries. As the people began to talk among themselves, the hour of solar noon commenced – as did certain signs previously see and heard in July:
First came an extremely loud boom of thunder, which so badly frightened the people that many scattered and ran, thinking they would be killed. Maria Carreira, eyewitness to every Fatima apparition since June 1917, said, “Some thought the thunder came from the road;; others thought it came from the holmoak; but it seemed to me that it came from a distance. It frightened us all…”
A flash of lightning, following the thunder, also garnered the attention of the now-silenced crowd. This “flash” seen only by the three children, served as the sign of the Virgin’s approach. In August, when the children were not present, it was the crowd who perceived it.
Immediately after the “flash,” a little cloud, described as very delicate and very white, appeared and hovered over the little holmoak tree for a few minutes and then rose in the air and disappeared.
Simultaneously, there was a change of atmosphere in which people saw “all the colors of the rainbow, pink, red, blue, … the trees seemed to be made not of leaves but of flowers … the ground came out in colors and so did our clothes. The lanterns fixed to the arch looked like gold.
When the signs disappeared, the people seemed to realize that Our Lady had come and, not finding the children, had returned.
as Maria Carreira would later say: “They felt that Our Lady was disappointed and hence they were exceedingly upset.”
From Fatima in Lucy’s own words. The Memoirs of Sister Lucy