There is an indentation in the bark of an oak tree in Houston that residents say looks like the traditional image of the Virgin Mary of Guadeloupe, and many of them are flocking to the image to pay homage.
Kyle Toland noticed strangers coming to a tree at the end of his property, and leaving behind flowers, crosses and candles. When Toland finally asked one of said strangers why they had come, he was told the mark in his tree resembled an image of Mary.
Toland told KHOU News that gatherers have now been coming by once or twice a week for the last two years to praise the arbor aberration.
"There is always someone, either parking here (and) around the curb, bringing flowers. Lots of families," Toland said. "Most of the people that come by keep it in very good condition. They will rearrange everything to make it nice and pretty."
Toland said he didn't mind the attention his tree was getting and took no exception to gatherers expressing religion.
"I think it's wonderful that people come by and pray and believe in their faith," Toland said.
The phenomenon attributed to seeing significant images in otherwise unrelated areas is called pareidolia. The phenomenon has lead to hundreds of people claiming they've seen prominent figures, including religious icons like Jesus, Allah and Mary, in anything from tortilla shells and grilled cheese sandwiches to trees, rocks and the surface of Mars.
Toland did not say whether he believed his tree displayed the Virgin Mary, and claimed he thought the tree had been dented by a previous car accident.
Take a look at the tree and decide for yourself: