Stories of simulacra — religious imagery in natural phenomena — have been around for centuries. The Shroud of Turin, the Veil of Veronica, the image of Jesus in an oat cake — all ancient examples of images that people see in everyday objects that seem to be miraculous appearances.
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Every year, miraculous images surface on unmiraculous objects and lend themselves to plenty of ridicule from some and veneration by others. Jesus’ image has been seen in cloud pictures, Cheetos, tortillas, dental x-rays, tree trunks, rocks and on the backs of walls. When the Hubble Space Science Institute published photographs of the Cone Nebula in 2002, they received a record number of requests for the nebula photos that some people had dubbed the “Jesus Nebula” for the image of Christ that seemed to be captured in the swirling gases.
It’s not just Jesus and Virgin Mary that people see. Mother Teresa’s image was sighted in a cinnamon bun in Nashville. It’s not just Christian images either because Islamic religious writings and images have also been seen.
Wendy Schultz is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. Her column appears bi-weekly.