Slanter: “Research shows” is a Proof Surrogate. The type of research is not listed, therefore one can assume that there was no kind of scientific proof, only many different claims of stigmata that are being recounted and used as fact.
Restated Claim: Many believe that within religious circles there have been many more stigmatics.
Observers: John & Anne Spencer who wrote this particular article as well as a book specifically on Heather Woods, a stigmatic, titled Spirit Within Her.
John and Anne Spencer say to have examined, observed and documented the case of Heather Woods, as one of the most in-depth analysis of a stigmatics claim. Their work with Heather “consisted of twelve hours of video-taped interview; over 130,000 words of dictated memories and access to all of Heather's private diaries, and to the 60,000 or so words of writings that Heather believed were channelled guidance from God.” John and Anne also lived with Heather for 3 days in order to get her story out. Heather Woods endured a painful childhood. Heather and her sisters were taken away from her parents at the age of 9 years old. She was shifted from place to place until she reached 18. During this time, Heather was sexually, physically and emotionally abused. One memory of this time period was “of sitting in the 'best' room of the care-house, dressed in her best clothes, waiting for a promised
visit from her parents, knowing that they would not turn up – just like they had not turned up the week before.” During this time, Heather's mother had a breakdown, went to prison and eventually commit suicide. Heather also had several suicide attempts of her own. Later on, Heather married a man who also was sexually abused as a child. They had a son who was brain-damaged, and a daughter. Her husband died after some time and Heather had no contact with her daughter. Heather's first stigmata came about in “trance-like states” while she received channelled drawings, writings and visions. The article is written by John and Anne Spencer who have no education background listed, only their personal experience with Heather Woods which we can assume was fairly reliable as they spent quite a deal of time with her listening to her story and examining all of her personal writings. However, relying on just her word is skeptical. We can assume that they are religious because they nowhere seem to ask for or need proof of Heather's actual stigmata.
Relying on just Heather's word for her stigmata is problematic given her background. Heather had a horrible childhood. She was taken away from her parents at a young age and abused. These types of childhood issues usually manifest themselves into personality issues in adulthood. Being left by her parents she could easily have abandonment issues. Children with abandonment issues generally grow up displaying attention seeking behavior. Having this type of background, I would find the say-so, or word, of Heather Woods claims to be questionable
on many different levels. John and Anne Spencer do not seem to need any sort of validation other than that of Heather Woods, which to me would conclude that they empathize with her and are more emotionally involved with her and her story as opposed to being objective observers. Heather's stigmata came to her in a “trance-like states” in which she would write at super human speeds. While John and Amy saw her writings after the fact, they never witnessed her in the process itself. I believe that John and Amy are biased as they have written a book about Heather Woods and have obviously seen the movie that was released Easter of 94. They are personally invested in her story as well as financially. Money can be made off their book the more people become interested in Heather Woods and her claim of stigmata.