The Virgin Mary has been spotted in an image in a tree trunk in suburban New Jersey, and has now become the center of much interest as people flock to see the image.
"It's amazing," one onlooker testified to WABC, which is a local ABC affiliate, on Friday. "I cannot explain because that's God's work, but I know how I feel and what I've seen people feeling here for three days. It's amazing. It is amazing."
Mayor of West New York, Felix Roque, has been amazed by the attention that the tree trunk has been getting, and has already touted plans to make the attraction and permanent feature to attract visitors.
West New York is a city of about 49,000 population across the Hudson River from Midtown in Manhattan.
The mayor has reported that he has received phone calls from across the globe with people interested in the "miracle" image.
The image is embedded in one section of the bark where visitors have described a "scar" which perfectly matches the image of the Virgin Mary.
Such is the interest that local police have erected barricades to protect the tree from increasingly large crowds. People have been bringing flowers, candles, flags, and other religious items to place at the tree, and it has become a real-life shrine in recent days.
Local residents have described that the image appeared only recently after a car crash in which one man was killed. One local resident saw the image following the accident and reported it to the mayor, according to the Jersey Journal.
Though many have been excited and spoken about a miracle, others have been far more skeptical, saying it is just a "discoloration." A spokesman for the Newark, N.J., archdiocese, Jim Goodness, spoke to the Journal saying, "If it helps people to be stronger in their faith, then it is a good thing. I think it's more natural to try to encounter God in church, not by expressing your faith to a tree."