In any other world, black spots on bread would be mold

October 3, 2011

Not so in the world of Roman Catholics. Polish ones are convinced a dark mark on a communion wafer is visible proof of Jesus Christ’s heart. How would they get this bizarre notion? From doctors who examined the wafer, that’s how:

The communion wafer in question developed a brown spot in 2008 after falling on the floor during a Mass in the eastern Polish town of Sokolka. Two medical doctors determined that the spot was heart muscle tissue, church officials have said.

Bialystok Archbishop Edward Ozorowski said during the Mass that in history, the “substance of Christ’s body or blood has become available to the human senses, and this also happened in Sokolka.”

“For God, nothing is impossible,” Ozorowski said.

The dark-spotted wafer was carried aloft in a reliquary by a golden-robed priest in a procession and was put on display in the town’s church of St. Anthony as about 1,000 faithful looked on.

Though some believers consider the object miraculous, the Vatican is still examining the matter and has not yet officially decided whether to declare it a miracle, church spokesman Andrzej Debski said.

Seems like a story that should have come from the Onion..


A sighting in the clouds is always Jesus if it’s not a UFO

September 6, 2011

Or God. God’s also popular, as are sightings of the Virgin Mary — when you go by what some news sites choose to publish, that is. This time around, the Daily Mail reports on seeing Jesus.

An eerie figure appears to stand on a cloud high in the mountains, arms outstretched, bearing an uncanny resemblance to Jesus. To complete the picture, the figure is crowned with a perfect halo of light.

Amateur photographer Luc Perrot was stunned when he saw the apparition 2,000ft up on top of the volcanic Cirque of Mafate peak, on the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean.

Said Perrot about this,

‘It took me by complete surprise. When I looked back at the footage, it gave me the feeling of divine apparition.

‘When I saw the footage I realised the figure was surmounted by a white arc, which reminded me very much of a halo.

‘You read about this phenomenon in books but I have never seen it before myself.’

Yes, it’s called pareidolia and every God and Jesus sighting ever reported has been the result of humans attributing meaning to random patterns. At least Perrot keeps his head and doesn’t automatically assume it’s a sign that he must now start preaching on mountain tops and demanding money from followers.

‘It can probably be explained scientifically. There are lots of different climatic phenomena like the Brocken spectre and fogbows, but it does look amazing and is unique.’

Well done, M. Perrot.


Jesus sightings piling up

August 26, 2011

This time he’s on a dock piling in Florida:

They were drinking morning coffee poolside a few days after installing the set in early August, when they noticed a face on one of the pilings. It was the first of two that have appeared. It looked like a man, a wolf, or a lion, depending on which friend or neighbor stopped by their house in Jensen Beach.

“Everyone saw something different,” said Pat Wolfe, 58. “Some couldn’t see it at all, but there were very few.”

Then this weekend the image changed. Now it looks like, well, Jesus.

“I hesitate to say that, because everybody says that,” Wolfe said. “Not everyone agrees with me, but some do.”

She’s a down-to-earth lady who finds the change in her yard decoration “curious.” She was raised Catholic and now attends a Unitarian church. She sure doesn’t want anyone lining up at her door to visit the piling to see the face.

But by all means, tell the media. It’s not like there’s any real news that needs reporting…


It’s drafty in here – a couple old ideas resurface

July 22, 2011

While I wasn’t in the mood to blog I was still reading articles and saving them with the intention of writing something on the topic at some point. I’d come across this one about vines on a power pole and people’s reactions to its iconic resemblance to You Know Who (and I don’t mean Voldemort).

Kent Hardison, who runs Ma’s Hotdog House less than a half mile from the pareidolia, rides by the Christ-resembling post each day. He said when he first saw the kudzu growing he almost sprayed it with herbicide.

“I glanced at it, and it looks like Jesus,” Hardison said. “I thought, ‘You can’t spray Jesus with Roundup.’ ”

It always amuses me when people say they think they’ve seen an image of Jesus. Aside from how artists have chosen to depict the man (on a cross or otherwise), we’ve got nothing from his day painted from life. Nothing. It’s pointless to point to something occurring by chance and say it must be Jesus-inspired. It’s always merely the result of someone’s imagination. And humans rarely have too little of that.

In South Carolina more recently comes a story of a couple claiming Jesus appeared on their Walmart receipt. The resulting stains on the paper do tend to make a face-like pattern but why does Jesus have to be the go-to guy every time this sort of thing gets noticed? I think it looks more like an artist’s interpretation of a neanderthal, myself.

The other thing I ran across is from 2009 and a minister in Tennessee who got it in his head to build an enormous treehouse. Why?

Burgess says he started working on this giant treehouse after he had a vision back in 1993. God spoke to him and said: “If you build me a treehouse, I’ll see you never run out of material.” And so he spent the next 14 years building God’s treehouse, using only salvaged materials, like pieces of lumber from garages, storage sheds and barns. So, as far as Horace is concerned, God did provide him with all the materials he needed.

It’s quite impressive, actually. At the time the article was written it was popular with tourists. Judging by recent comments on site, it still is.


God’s name in vein? I can’t see it

June 17, 2011

Blurry video and even blurrier screen caps don’t help me see what Audreanna Phelps thought she saw in her leg that compelled her to contact the media: God’s name.

Not sure what to think, Phelps asked for her cousin’s opinion, then sent a picture to her parents and, according to kwch.com, everyone agreed it looks like the word God.

“It was more of an exciting feeling, very excited,” Phelps said. “My family says in all their years of living, they’ve never seen that.”

Her first thought was that God was telling her that her prayers have been heard and everything was going to be okay.

“I feel like it’s a unique mark,” Phelps told MyBoston.com. “I feel like it has meaning. I don’t know what God has planned, but I feel like he’s going to use me.”

If God has the ability to sign his work, as it were, why does the message still have to be so short as to be incomprehensible to all but her and her enabling family? Phelps can only theorize about what kind of message it was she received. It’s not much different than throwing an apple peel behind you to see if it’ll spell your future husband’s name. (“Millions of girls had tried it and had inevitably been disappointed, unless the loved one was called Scscs.” — Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters)

People see what they want to see but perhaps Phelps should also consider seeing a doctor. Maybe her veins shouldn’t be looking like that…


Wax work Jesus rubbed off the wrong way

June 10, 2011

Well, the right way, actually, with whatever takes wax off wood. Unfortunately for Ogbourne St George church in Wiltshire and its parishioners, an unknown but diligent cleaner cleared the drippy wax Jesus off the pulpit. The gravity creation was first noticed at Easter and subsequent drips only added to its charm.

The image could only be seen from a certain angle.

“You had to be in the right seat,” said Mrs Irwin.

“From the side it just looked like dripped wax. It was only when you looked at it face-on that you could see it.”

Although many within the small congregation saw a face some were unwilling to “sign up to more then that”, she said.

Despite going through the church’s cleaning rotas, no-one has admitted to scraping away the wax image.

“I felt really disappointed actually and I wished I’d done more about preserving it,” admitted Mrs Irwin.

Nicky Irwin’s sad little picture of it looks more like somebody’s barf so I can see why she’s bummed.

Ah well.

I suppose we can wax philosophical over it, how all things must end, or how we only appreciate things once they’ve been lost, or what have you. I’ll never understand why it qualifies as news, though.


Holy Soles! Jesus on a shoe.. who’d believe it?

May 2, 2011

Not me, that’s for damn sure. The Mail Online is feeturing (har har) a sandal the owner’s boyfriend claims has been imprinted with the face of Jesus.

Leon Thompson, 25, noticed the stain on the sole of girlfriend Jenny’s shoe after a long walk in the bank holiday sunshine.

Mr Thompson, from Southampton, said: ‘My girlfriend has had these sandals for months.

‘As I was leaving the house, I just happened to look down and thought there was a weird stain on her shoe.

‘But when I took a closer look, I couldn’t believe it – Jesus’s face was staring back at me!’

Mr Thompson, who is an atheist, added: ‘I couldn’t explain it but it must have somehow arisen from the sweat staining on the leather of the flip-flop.

‘She walked around all day with Jesus watching over her.

One would hope that as an atheist Thompson was talking tongue-in-cheek here and hasn’t converted to whatever faith would buy this as a real sign from God. It’s bad enough that eBay users want to buy it.

Do the journalists believe this bunk or do they merely report it because they know others will? According to the article, this was made “spookier” by happening on Easter Sunday. Really? Spookier? What is this, a Jesus haunting? If that’s the case, did Jesus cursed her with a plague of blisters for walking on his face all day? That’s the kind of proof of God a die hard skeptic requires…


Holey Swiss Cheese, a Jesus pizza!

March 30, 2011

This slice of hot bubbly goodness from Brisbane, Australia could also be a cheesy John Lennon but people were more likely to bid on a three cheese Jesus so that’s what the owner of Posh Pizza told bidders it is.

The shop, in the city’s Fortitude Valley, has put the slice on eBay, and as of this morning bidding was up to $65.

All proceeds raised will go to a charity to be decided once the pizza is auctioned.

Posh Pizza’s Maree Phelan said her pizza oven was seemingly blessed with the presence of Jesus Christ, who chose a three cheese pizza as his medium.

Phelan isn’t convinced it’s the son of God, but she’s certain it got there on its own.

“I can definitely say this isn’t a fake,” she said.

Apparently her Cheesus has already stopped her from getting a parking ticket, that’s how she knows. One would hope she was joking, but the Herald Sun still went to check on the nature of miracles and quotes somebody official.

Australian Catholic University associate professor and director of the Institute for Catholic Identity and Mission, Patrick McArdle, said the pizza was “almost definitely not a miracle” and would be hard to prove.

”There are a lot of misunderstandings in the making of saints and miracles,” he said.

He said generally only “medical miracles”, such as healings, were accepted by the Catholic Church because those incidents could be tested using scientific means.

“We often rely on medical miracles because there is scientific proof it can’t be explained by conventional science, that’s where the validity comes from,” he said.

“You have to understand we can’t apply that kind of rigour to a piece of cheese,” he said.

And you can’t really prove it tastes heavenly if you’re scared of offending Him by eating it.

The winning bid was $153 and they’re taking suggestions at Facebook for what charity to spend the money on.


edit March 31/10: The winning charity was Mummy’s Wish Inc, a “a not-for-profit charity focusing on supporting mothers diagnosed with cancer while either pregnant or with young children in South East Queensland.” Posh Pizza matched the bid, giving the group $306.


Jealous of pizza tray jesus, other family claims he’s really in a tree

March 11, 2011

I make that up. Oh, not the pizza tray part, or the tree part. Just the jealous part. I doubt they announced their “discovery” just because the bar guy is getting lots of attention right now. (Even I wound up writing about him.) I think they just wanted some attention, too, and the media is enabling them.

So anyway, this tree in McLean, Virginia. The Nortons had a limb removed from a tree in their yard weeks ago and as the wound dried, it created a pattern reminiscent of a faded Victorian portrait.

“I noticed the hair and then the beard and then it came together,” said Bella Norton, 12 Years Old.

“I think that is Jesus,” said Lamya Norton, mom.

Because everyone knows images of hair and beards can only be images of Jesus. Like no one else in history ever had hair and a beard…

I think they’ve been sitting on this “news” until they could spring it on a receptive audience, and what better time than Lent, eh?

She said her husband noticed it first weeks ago. She didn’t want to believe it, but on Ash Wednesday, she looked out her dining room window and saw it clear as day.

“It was a little emotional for me,” Lamya said.

Lamya’s mother, Marion Alany, used to own the house before selling it to her daughter. Alany said the tree has always been there, and now she believes Jesus has too.

“I had breast cancer,” said Alany. “But everything is fine and I’m doing well… There are bigger things in life, and just to go with the flow.”

Leading the overly gullible to think maybe Tree Jesus cured her cancer? Don’t think that won’t occur to some of them. Lamya certainly seems willing to make that bizarre connection:

Lamya is now sharing her discovery with her six children.

“It’s a sign that we’re all safe and it’s, everybody is loved in our family,” said Bella.

It’s a sign that people will see what they want to see. Nothing more.


Bless this pizza, Mary, Jesus…

March 10, 2011

You can’t set your watch by them, but stories about seeing religious figures in ordinary things is such a regular occurrence in the field of journalism, I guess they can’t not report on them.

Josh Mather, of Mansfield, couldn’t believe his eyes.

Me neither. Looking at the image provided with the article, it’s clear he’s completely mistaken and this is a sign that George Lucas really wants us to believe in Jawas. What kind of religion did they have? Sign me up! May the force…

Mather is pre-socialized to see religious iconography instead of homages to film, I guess. I saw Gandalf giving the ring to Frodo on a slice of French Toast once, too. I took a picture of it and then I ate it.

Anyway, back to what passes for news in this world:

He closed his bar in Plainville and was sifting through his equipment when he made this discovery. He says he found an image of Jesus and Mary on a diffuser for the pizza oven.

I’m surprised they didn’t throw the name of his bar in here as well. Unless Plainville is so small he has the only one in town?

Josh has walked by that oven for years and says he just happened to notice the image today: Ash Wednesday.

Josh says believe it or not the counter of his bar was actually made out of church pews and today is the first time he’s been to church in 20 years.

Yes, sure. Is he trying to imply that remains of church pews would make the place holy enough for the finger of God to come down personally to trace some imagery in a grease stain? Just noticed this.. in time to make headlines on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Mentioning it on Fat Tuesday just wouldn’t have had the same effect, eh?


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