The following is a short extract from the testimony of the late John Watters who died in October 1997 but not before documenting his story (officially, The Testimony of John Watters — ISBN 0 9519718 0 8):
It was a Wednesday night, 05 December 1984. December had just made its first impression on the landscape. The last of the girls had been dropped off near her home and John Watters was driving the works van to his own house at Dundonald, Ayrshire, Scotland. It was threatening frost and the sky was a deep purple and starless.
Turning the bend on this quiet country road, looking between the branches of the trees, John was aware of horizontal white lines in the sky. As he approached the next bend, a hundred yards away, he found himself wondering “what have we here?” knowing that this question would soon be answered as he turned the bend and came out of the trees. As he did so, the lines he had seen turned out to be three huge three-dimensional letters floating in the night sky. The letters formed a word — MIR.
As John slowed down, thoughts faced through his mind. What a funny time to advertise! What is this advertisement for? Beer? Washing liquid? Furniture polish? The only logical explanation was that this was sky-writing which he had seen many times as a youngster.
Then he noticed how perfectly these letters had been formed. He marvelled at the technology. As John watched, it became clear that these letters were made of cloud, as the knurls were obvious to the eye. They did not waver or waste away.
As the road was deserted he took the opportunity to study this formation closely. John looked at and enjoyed the beauty of these letters in the stillness of the night, unaware that what he was watching was going to bring about the most unbelievable change in his life.
The letters remained in the sky for about five minutes, by which time John had come to the end of the road. As he turned into the village of Drybridge, the letters disappeared behind the houses. He knew he would see them again — this time from a different angle — when he left the houses behind. As he did so, he turned to look at the letters once again, but all that was left were some wisps of black cloud wasting away.
John arrived home minutes later. His main thoughts concerned what his colleagues would find to say about this sky-writing in the morning. At work the next morning, John told of his experience of the previous evening and was surprised to find that not one of his colleagues had noticed the letters and, after a few jokes about what the letters stood for, the incident was put down to sky-writing and forgotten.
The following Sunday John attended Mass in the village hall at Dundonald, the small community being served by the Passionist Fathers from the nearby retreat centre at Coodham. After Mass, Fr Tom Scanlon made a statement.
“If any of you watched a skit on television about a fortnight ago, about the alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Medjugorje in Yugoslavia,” he said, “we have a man who has just come back from there, and he is giving a talk on his experiences in Medjugorje. You are most welcome to come and listen.”
John had seen this programme — the tailpiece to ITN News which very briefly reported on the alleged appearances. His feeling was that this was really very remote — it was happening in Yugoslavia but had little to do with him.
This was not the sort of thing that John would normally have attended. However, when the day of the talk arrived, John was there. Having seen the TV programme, he was able to follow the story with interest. The priest, Fr John Mary Griffin, was certainly convinced that Our Lady was appearing there and considered the apparitions were authentic. He was finishing his talk when he said something that completely shocked John.
“…and seen in the sky by hundreds of people was the word ‘peace.’ Of course, it was written in Croatian, whose word for peace is MIR.” This was the first time that John had heard the word mentioned.
And it was the beginning of John’s commitment for the remaining years of his life to spread and promise Our Lady’s messages of peace within Scotland.