On 13 August, a crowd of more than 20, 000 people were present at the Cova da Iria. In the morning, the administrator of the district de Vila Nova de Ourem came in his car to the house of Francisco and Jacinta, together with the archpriest of a major town in the surroundings. He pretended that he believed the apparitions and had come for the security of the children. So first he took them together with the archpriest to the presbytery, where the parish priest, in the presence of the administrator, interrogated the children again. After the interrogation, the administrator, declaring that he was convinced now, invited the children to be driven to the place of the apparition for their safety. But instead of bringing them to the Cova da Iria, he turned towards his town (Ourem). When they arrived, the administrator shut them up in a room and declared that they would not get out until they had revealed the secret.
Meanwhile, the people waited at the Cova da Iria in vain for the arrival of the children. Somebody announced that the administrator had kidnapped them.
“I don't know what would have happened if we hadn't heard the clap of thunder. It was much the same as the last time (13 July). Many people were shocked and some of them began to cry out that they would be killed. Everyone began to spread out away from the tree (on which Our Lady already appeared 3 times), but, of course, nobody was killed. After the thunderclap came the flash of lightning, and then we began to see a little cloud, very delicate, very white, which stopped for a few moments over the tree and then rose in the air and disappeared” – by eyewitness Maria Carreira. The majority of the pilgrims confirmed this scene. The people said to each other: “Certainly Our Lady came. What a pity that She could not see the children!”
In the meantime, the children were subjected to uninterrupted interrogations, nine in all. Only on 14 August were they were questioned separately and also examined by a doctor, without any result. Therefore, the administrator decided to use stronger weapons: he put them into the public prison. Jacinta suffered horribly because of the separation from her parents, Francisco was most hurt that he had missed the rendezvous with Our Lady. The prisoners were very good with the children and tried to console them.
Sr. Lucy writes in her memories: “Next, we decided to pray our Rosary. Jacinta took off a medal that she was wearing round her neck, and asked a prisoner to hang it up for her on a nail in the wall. Kneeling before this medal, we began to pray. The prisoners prayed with us … Afterwards, Jacinta, who no longer wept during the interrogations, began sobbing as she thought of her mother. ‘Jacinta,’ I asked, ‘don't you want to offer this sacrifice to Our Lord?’ – ‘Yes I do, but I keep thinking about my mother and I can’t help crying.’ … Suddenly a guard appeared, who in a fearsome voice called out to Jacinta: ‘The oil is boiling now: tell the secret, if you don't want to be burned!’ –
‘I can't.’ –
‘So, you can't, eh? Then I'll make you able to! Come!’
She left immediately, without even saying goodbye. Then Francisco confided to me with boundless joy and peace: ‘If they kill us as they say, we'll soon be in Heaven! How wonderful! Nothing else matters!’ Then, after a moment of silence: ‘May God grant that Jacinta not be afraid. I will say an Ave Maria for her!’”
Shortly after, the guard came to look for Francisco, then Lucy- always the same scenario. The administrator made a third threat: all three of them would boil together! Still he did not obtain the secret or any kind of confession.
The next morning after a final interrogation, the children were conducted back to Fatima. As everyone was very upset at the administrator and also at the parish priest (the children were kidnapped when they left the parish office), the latter, understanding the trickery of the administrator, wrote a public declaration that he had nothing to do with “the odious and sacrilegious act which was committed by the sudden kidnapping of the three children”. Thanks to his public letter, the events of Fatima were published for the first time in the Catholic press.