[Paleopsych] AP: Some see Virgin Mary in underpass salt stain

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Thu Apr 21 22:50:41 UTC 2005

Actually, there isn't much today that's science-related. So here's 
something exactly the opposite. Enough for today.

Some see Virgin Mary in underpass salt stain

    Associated Press
    Apr. 20, 2005 08:30 AM

    CHICAGO - A steady stream of the faithful and the curious, many
    carrying flowers and candles, have flocked to an expressway underpass
    for a view of a yellow and white stain on a concrete wall that some
    believe is an image of the Virgin Mary.
    Police have patrolled the emergency turnoff area under the Kennedy
    Expressway since Monday as hundreds of people have walked down to see
    the image and the growing memorial of flowers and candles that
    surround it. Beside the image is an artist's rendering of the Virgin
    Mary embracing Pope John Paul II in a pose some see echoed in the
    "We believe it's a miracle," said Elbia Tello, 42. "We have faith, and
    we can see her face."
    Tuesday morning, women knelt with rosary beads behind a police
    barricade while men in work shirts stood solemnly before the image,
    praying. A police officer kept the crowd of about three dozen from
    getting too close to the traffic but didn't stop them gathering around
    the stain.
    The stain is likely the result of salt run-off, according to the
    Illinois Department of Transportation. The agency does not plan to
    scrub it off the wall.
    "We're treating this just like we treat any type of roadside
    memorial," said IDOT spokesman Mike Claffey. "We have no plans to
    clean this site."
    The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago had not received any
    requests to authenticate the image as of Monday, spokesman Jim Dwyer
    "These things don't happen every day," Dwyer said. "Sometimes people
    ask us to look into it. Most of the time they don't. (The meaning)
    depends on the individual who sees it. To them, it's real. To them, it
    reaffirms their faith."
    But onlooker Victor Robles, 36, said he was skeptical about the
    stain's Virgin Mary resemblance.
    "I see just a concrete wall and an image that could happen anywhere,"
    Robles said. "If that image helps more people feel closer to God than
    maybe that is a good sign."
    Worldwide, people have been drawn to images believed to resemble the
    Virgin Mary seen on windows, fence posts and walls.
    Among the best-known in the United States was an image seen in office
    windows in Clearwater, Fla. Within weeks, a half million people had
    been to the site. Glass experts believe the image was created by a
    chemical reaction and corrosion of the metallic elements in the glass
    coating, but they could not explain why it took the shape it did. The
    windows were broken last year.
    [69]Enlarge Image
    Bette Shober, left, and Joanne Vrablik take a closer look at what some
    people believe to be an image of the Virgin Mary under a freeway
    underpass in Chicago.


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