Talk about the Spirit in the sky!
A mysterious image from Google Street View shows what some people think is Jesus and Mary sauntering through the clouds above a highway in Switzerland.
The pair appears to be floating over a highway to heaven, better known as the A5 highway near Walensee, Switzerland.
The figure thought by some to be Jesus is draped in a dark cloak, while his walking companion looks to be clad in a white and pink gown, with hands folded in a prayer position.
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Facebook and Twitter users are going gaga over the image, sharing it hundreds of thousands of times across the social networks.
But not everyone thinks it’s divine in nature, suggesting possibilities from smashed bugs to a Google software glitch to Photoshop fakery.
“As much as a Christian I am, I will never believe anyone has or will be greeted by any vision of Jesus or God or whoever. It’s probably a smudge on the lens. Please don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s anything more,” wrote one commenter.
But another was not so instantly dismissive: “Who is to say yay or nay? If it is: Amen. Fantastic.”
Many skeptics think the phenomenon is merely a glitch in Google’s imaging software, though Google hasn’t commented on the matter.
Jesus sightings have become common place in recent years.
In March, Jim Lawry of Brooklyn, Ohio, believed a bird turd on his windshield had a striking resemblance to the Son of God.
“It’s like a perfect portrait,” he said in a YouTube video, which has since been deleted.
“It’s like Jesus staring right at me.”
In May, a Connecticut family got excited after finding what they believe is an image of the Messiah splattered in a blob of ink in their local newspaper.
“I didn’t see it at first, but as I was reading the paper, I said to my wife, the movie section is blotted out with ink and held it up for her to see,” Joseph McCaffrey told the Hour of Norwalk, Conn. “And she shouted, ‘It’s Jesus!’”
Eager to spread the good news of the discovery, McCaffrey took a photo of the May 2 edition of the Hour and then passed it on to friends to solicit their opinion.
“Some see the image, some don’t, but the overwhelming majority said they could definitely see Jesus,” McCaffrey said. “But, if Jesus is really trying to send me a message, I wish he popped up in the Lotto section instead. Does he want me to see a movie?”
McCaffrey’s wife, Wendy, told the paper that she and her husband attend Mass at the Church of the Good Shepherd, and consider themselves spiritual, but not overly religious.
“It’s like the ink-blot test, everyone sees something different,” Wendy said. “Or like looking at a cloud. You can see all sorts of images if you let your mind wander.”
Perhaps the most delicious one appeared inside this Kit Kat bar in 2009:
Is the face of Jesus shrouded in chocolate?
“I was amazed. I just took a bite and then I saw the face of Christ in it,” the finder told the Dutch website NU.nl. Other witnesses were less impressed, with one noting, “It looks more like Darth Vader.”
Meanwhile in Jonesborough, Tenn., all eyes in 2009 were on a pickup truck belonging to Jim Stevens.
Jim Stevens gazes at an image of what some say is Jesus, or perhaps 1970s singer Dan Fogelberg
It seems every day when morning dew would appear on his vehicle’s window, a clear image of a man would appear. The image would disappear when the moisture was gone.
“However, when the dew returns the next morning so does the image on the window. Even rolling the window up and down has not stopped it from reappearing,” noted the Johnson City Press.
“Of course, I’m not going to wash it,” said Stevens, whose vehicle could now perhaps be classified as a holy roller.
Dr. Paul Lakeland, director of the Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield University, says visualizing the Creator of all things in everyday objects has become a way for people to bring their beliefs to reality, as they desperately want to see signs and wonders.
“Everyone’s religious life is connected to their imagination,” Lakeland told the Hour. “But I’ve seen this before. Someone has a bagel that looks like it has an image of the Virgin Mary on it … I do scoff at the sort of thing, but it doesn’t do anyone harm. However, they (the McCaffreys) shouldn’t have people line up at their home to see the ink blot.”
He indicated the Catholic Church often downplays any credence to similar sightings.
“There is a reason to be a bit skeptical because there are very few (images) that have seen the level of credibility as say, the Shroud of Turin,” Lakeland said. “But, it’s all in the eye of the beholder.”
Irrespective of people seeing Jesus in the newspaper, McCaffrey said he’ll continue to believe faith can be found in many locations.
“It’s definitely interesting,” McCaffrey said. “I’m not going to make a shrine for it, but we do plan on holding onto it. We’ll see how much notoriety it gets first.”