From Parasociology, part 5 on the El-Zeitoun apparitions in Egypt 1968. Excerpt:
Parasociology: Marian Apparitions at El-Zeitoun and Social Psi (part 5): In such an atmosphere, which mixes religious devotion and amazement, the probabilities that many people projected their belief into what they saw seem quite high. Non-believers like Nelson, as already noted, did saw an intense light, but could not translate what they saw into the “Virgin Mary”. Yet, the original witnessed were Muslim workers, and they thought that a woman was about to commit suicide by jumping from the Church’s roof.
A combination of factors can be invoked to reinforce what was discussed on this blog in previous posts about “prior plausibility structure”. Zeitoun is known in the Coptic tradition as a place where the Virgin rested during the escape to Egypt, and there is an old tree associated with this tradition in Zeitoun. Then, the apparitions were centered on a Church, dedicated to Saint Mary. There were “miracles” seen by witnesses, and there is no doubt that the word about such event spread very quickly. The main colors were blue and white, and sometimes red, the traditional colors associated with the Marian iconography. Finally, the shape of the apparition was construed even by no believers as the one of a woman.