Likewise I was tired last night to find references but the Holy Lance does indeed have an interesting history of it's own.
"The name of the soldier who pierced Christ's side is not given in the Bible, but in the oldest known references to the legend, the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus appended to late manuscripts of the 4th century Acts of Pilate, the soldier is identified with a centurion and called Logginus or Longinus (making the spear's "correct" Latin name Lancea Longini)." - Holy Lance article.
I wasn’t accusing you or anyone of planting doubt, however, if examples of such a thing are found, it doesn’t mean one should doubt. However, as you said, people aren’t required to believe in apparitions, however, they should accept the recognized ones. (Also, Ste. Marie Bernard Soubirous is one of my favorite saints, for the record).
What they can mean is that the apparition in question underwent a rigorous process before being declared as recognized, and therefore there should be even more reason to believe, and not just accepted on blind faith.
Karl Keating (and his organization Catholic Answers - www.catholic.org)...an outstanding resource, if I must say myself.
As to your comments on the spear of St. Longinus, I must say that I don’t have much knowledge in that area (other than the time in the 8th grade at St. Josaphat Elementary when I played the part in the Passion play).