The images below
are of a Marian apparition that appeared in Clearwater, Florida in 1996.
News coverage of the event follows the images.
The Virgin Mary Does Windows?
A strange, rainbow-colored image
appeared on the mirrored windows of a Florida office building just before
Christmas 1996, leading many observers to declare it a manifestation of
the Virgin Mary. Hundreds of thousands of believers have traveled
from across the country and around the globe to view the alleged miracle.
The owner of the building has announced plans to turn the property into
a shrine, although a recent bout of vandalism has partly damaged the image.
(Click here for a high-resolution view before it was defaced.) The
Marian apparition occupies about a dozen glass panes of a large office
building in Clearwater, Florida, which at the time of the image's appearance
housed the Seminole Finance Corporation. The stained area, about 50 feet
tall and 35 feet wide, suggests the curves of a hooded head and shoulders
surrounded by an ethereal glow. Analysts believe the colorful streaks were
created by mineral deposits left behind by spray from nearby water
sprinklers. The image was first noticed after palm trees in from of the
windows in question had been cut down, and the palm leaves washing the
glass probably helped shape the stain. This explanation has not deterred
an estimated 1.5 million sightseers from flocking to the building. A great
number remain convinced that the image is the form of the Blessed Virgin
Mary, or perhaps Jesus, as some have suggested. Crowds are persistently
gathered outside the building, where it is common to see people praying
and weeping at the supposed vision. The resulting pilgrimages have meant
headaches for the Clearwater city council, which has had to take measures
to accommodate new levels of congestion and pedestrian traffic in the area.
Mike Krizmanich, the building's owner, counts himself among the faithful.
Saying that the image is a gift from God to be protected and shared, he
announced in early May that he would turn the office building into a permanent
shrine. Krizmanich was also the owner of Seminole Finance Corporation,
until he sold the business earlier this year to Ugly Ducking Car Sales
Inc. Ugly Duckling has been running its collections department out of the
building temporarily. When it finds a new location, Krizmanich will presumably
set about converting the office space into a house of worship. In late
May, an unforeseen development entered the picture. An unknown assailant
defaced the revered image by splattering several of its panes with a corrosive
chemical. The image is still readily recognizable, but the damaged areas
are apparent and irreversible. The attack has rekindled public interest
in the apparition, just as the novelty seemed to be wearing off.
"I thought she was crying when I first saw it," said Sandi Christian, a
spectator viewing the damaged glass. "Then someone told me it was vandalism."
It has not yet been determined what method was used to deface the image.
Speculation has run from high-powered water guns filled with acidic chemicals
to ammonia-filled water balloons. A television reporter suggested that
the windows may have been pelted with tomatoes, whose natural acids could
have caused the damage. It also remains unknown what impact, if any,
the vandalism will have on Krizmanich's plans to officially enshrine the
by D. Trull
Sources: FATE, April 1997; Nando Times; Electronic Telegraph; The
Tampa Tribune; John Lockhart's "Apparition of the Virgin Mary" web page.
(c) Copyright 1997 ParaScope, Inc.
Well, this really
isn't a Marian apparition, but it is the same genre.
The History of The
On October 15, 1996, a cinnamon
bun bearing a striking resemblance to the Holy Mother of Calcutta, Mother
Teresa, was discovered in Nashville, Tennessee by Bongo Java™ Coffeehouse
employee Ryan Finney.
horrified because I almost ate this religious piece of dough,"
The bun -- now referred to as
The NunBun™ -- was shown to several employees and customers to verify the
likeness. It was then stored in a freezer at the Nashville coffeehouse
for nearly a week until purchased by Bongo Java employee Todd Truley for
dollars; keep the change," said Truley.
Truley then teamed with another
employee, Russ McGarry, and director friend Michael McNamara, to produce
a nine minute documentary about the now famous bun titled; "A Music City
Miracle: The Story of The NunBun™." The documentary premiered December
17, 1996 to a capacity audience at Bongo Java™. To complete the event,
the first public presentation of The NunBun™ was made before the awed faces
of thrilled audience members.
completely amazing...the audience reaction to the film, The
don't know what to say." -- Bun Manager/Promoter
McGarry, apparently at a loss for words.
Immediately following the premiere,
Truley, McGarry, and Bongo Java™ owner Bob Bernstein decided The NunBun™
was in need of management and representation. They formed a side business
to the coffeehouse, Global Pastry Management (GPM), and began to field
phone calls and inquiries about the NunBun™ and developed Bun souvenirs:
T-shirts, bookmarks/prayer cards, coffee mugs, and copies of the documentary.
Then, December 28, The Tennessean,
a Nashville newspaper, published a cover story on The NunBun™ and the local
attention being given to it.
that day, all hell broke loose," says McGarry.
And indeed it did: All three local
network affiliates and Reuter's News Service interviewed the three founding
members of GPM. The story then hit the news wires, which made The NunBun
an international sensation.
day, we were interviewed by more than sixty American radio
half a dozen Canadian, The BBC, and did three radio spots
Australia," Bernstein said.
The flurry of attention didn't
stop then. Featured in Jay Leno's monologue on New Year's Eve, and on David
Letterman (Friday, January 3), The NunBun™ continues to grab the public's
love and attention. Additional appearances on late-night talk shows may
be on the horizon.
thrilled here at GPM and hope to continue to bring The
to the masses." -- Todd Truly, Bun Manager/Promoter