Believe it or not, throughout the history of the Church there have been various saints that were reported to fly or levitate.
In fact, numerous literature sources attest to these so-called “flying saints” with the ability of “miraculous levitation.”
The most famous of the flying saints is Saint Joseph of Cupertino.
A Franciscan friar born in the beginning of the 17th century, he is said to have been “remarkably unclever” but a powerful mystic none-the-less, prone to bouts of miraculous levitation and intense ecstatic visions.
After being ordained a priest and sent to a convent outside Cupertino in 1628, he would often levitate while celebrating Mass or participating in the Divine Office. So often in fact he was actually sent to the Inquisition for being suspected of witchcraft, a suspicion they never ended up confirming.
There have been other flying saints, too.
Saint Francis of Assisi is said to have been often seen “suspended above the earth, often to a height of three, and often to a height of four cubits” (4 to 6 feet). Saint Alphonsus Liguori was also known to levitate several feet in the area while preaching.
In the history of the Church, there have also been some who had the ability of “demonic levitation.”
Take for example the legendary tale of Simon Magus’ death in the apocryphal Acts of Peter.
Performing magic in the Roman Forum, he flies up in the air to prove himself a pagan god. Peter then prays to God to end this “demonic levitation,” and Simon Magus stops mid-air, falls down breaking his legs, then is stoned to death by crowd.
“And Peter seeing the strangeness of the sight cried unto the Lord Jesus Christ: If thou suffer this man to accomplish that which he hath set about, now will all they that have believed on thee be offended, and the signs and wonders which thou hast given them through me will not be believed: hasten thy grace, O Lord, and let him fall from the height and be disabled; and let him not die but be brought to nought, and break his leg in three places. And he fell from the height and brake his leg in three places. Then every man cast stones at him and went away home, and thenceforth believed Peter.”
Tradition holds the Church of Santa Francesca Romana in Rome was built at the same spot where Peter fell to the ground in prayer to end Simon Magus’ flying.
Basalt stones in the south wall of the church today still bear the imprint of Peter’s knees!