The apparitions at Fatima in the early 20th century were some of the most important apparitions of the last hundred years. Among the many things that Our Lady revealed to the children is a fairly graphic vision of hell.
The souls of the damned in hell, Sr. Lúcia later wrote, “were like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze…” They were “raised into the air by the flames which issued from within themselves, together with great clouds of smoke.” All of this was in the midst of “shrieks and groans of pain and despair.” (The full text of her description is at the bottom of this article.)
Of course, all private revelations of the saints are non-authoritative, so you shouldn’t look to these for your theology. Rather, the saints’ visions of hell should remind us of two important things our faith already teaches:
1) Hell is a real and terrible place.
2) People can really go there.
So don’t just be afraid: turn away from your sins, and work to lead others to Christ!
Here’s the full text of her description:
“She opened Her hands once more, as She had done the two previous months. The rays [of light] appeared to penetrate the earth, and we saw, as it were, a vast sea of fire. Plunged in this fire, we saw the demons and the souls [of the damned].
“The latter were like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, having human forms. They were floating about in that conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames which issued from within themselves, together with great clouds of smoke. Now they fell back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fright (it must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me).
“The demons were distinguished [from the souls of the damned] by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals.”