FACT CHECK:   Was a Philippine baby recently born with stigmata, attracting visits from thousands of devout Christians?

Claim:   A Philippine baby born with stigmata drew thousands of devout Christians to the site of her birth.

  FALSE

Example:     [Collected via e-mail, July 2015]

Baby born with stigmata of Jesus Christ Is this true? It is reported in the Filipines (Philipines?), I believe.

Origins:    On 17 March 2015 the fake news web site World News Daily Report published an article reporting that a Philippine baby had been born with stigmata, attracting visits from thousands of devout Christians:

Jejomar Castillo was born on the morning of March 15, weighting 3.2 kilograms and bearing strange injuries on his face, hands and feet. These surprising sores are almost identical to the famous wounds suffered by Jesus, including the head wounds associated with the Crown of thorns and the wounds caused by the crucifixion itself.

Rumors of a “miraculous child” rapidly spread across the hospital, then across the city, and a large crowd rapidly gathered outside the boy’s room and even around the hospital. Within a matter of hours, thousands of people surrounded the building in silent prayer.

The crowd has now been there for two days, praying and chanting religious slogans like “Welcome to the Saviour” and “Thank you God for sending Jejomar”. Many of the people on the site seem to associate the birth of this enigmatic child with the biblical Return of Jesus Christ.

This article gained additional traction in mid-2015, when it was republished by other disreputable web sites. However, its source, World News Daily Report is a well-know peddler of fake news, and their disclaimer states that the site’s articles are for “entertainment purposes only” (the standard dodge for sites attempting to pass off fabricated news):

Information contained in this World News Daily Report website is for information and entertainment purposes only.

As is often the case with World News Daily Report articles, a reverse image search reveals that the photographs used to illustrate the report were taken from news articles about entirely unrelated events. The infant pictured here is Danica May Camacho, whose 30 October 2011 birth was indeed notable, but not because she bore stigmata. Rather, Camacho’s birth was widely reported as heralding the arrival of the seven billionth person to our world.

Last updated:      7 July 2015

Originally published:     7 July 2015