It’s said that God works in mysterious ways, and perhaps his only son does, too. After all, Jesus seems to have made appearances in a host of unusual places, including windows, kitchen countertops, clouds, the fur of animals, and – as demonstrated below – food. It’s still debated as to whether these occurrences are miraculous, coincidental or simply a case of people reading too much into the shapes and scorch marks that appear in their snacks. Whatever your perspective, though, here are ten strange supposed appearances of Jesus in food items.
In 2002 Bangalore local and ardent Catholic Shella Anthony made a chapati for her daughter, who rejected it for being burnt. However, when Anthony took a closer look at the burn mark, she realized that she’d baked no ordinary flatbread, as on its surface was what appeared to be an image of Jesus. Parish priest George Jacob concurred with her suspicions and branded the chapati a miracle. The holy food was then placed in glass casing at the city’s Renewal Retreat Center, to which almost 20,000 Christian pilgrims – but also Hindus and Muslims – came to encounter it. “We believe in miracles,” Jacob told the BBC. “Devotees are feeling blessed on witnessing it.” One doubtful journalist even admitted to a change of opinion, saying, “After a couple of visits, I experienced a different feeling.” Some, however, were less certain about the blessed bread, reportedly dubbing the display “anti-Christian.”
Posh Pizza in Brisbane, Australia had the honor of a supposed Jesus sighting back in 2011, although the medium in which Christ apparently chose to reveal himself was somewhat out of the ordinary: none other than a three-cheese pizza. Still, according to the store, the extraordinary meal brings good luck; on the pizza’s eBay auction they wrote, “After discovering it, the owner of the store parked in a loading zone and didn’t get a parking ticket.” It was eventually sold for AU$153 ($143), and all money raised went to charity. However, some were skeptical about whether the pizza was a miracle. Patrick McArdle, the director of the Institute for Catholic Identity and Mission at the Australian Catholic University, said that the Catholic Church tended to acknowledge exclusively “medical miracles,” since they can be assessed via scientific method. He added, “You have to understand we can’t apply that kind of rigor to a piece of cheese.”
In 2009 one woman from Rhondda, South Wales came face-to-face with what has been dubbed “the Marmite messiah” while she was making some toast for her youngest son. Upon opening a jar of the yeast extract spread, mother-of-three Claire Allen was immediately taken aback by what she saw to be the visage of Jesus peering back at her. The sighting was confirmed by her eldest boys, who apparently thought it resembled “the images of Jesus you see in paintings and on stained glass windows.” It wasn’t the first time that Allen had seen a vision of Christ in an everyday object, either; as she revealed to the Daily Mail, “I often see Jesus’ face in a lot of things I do. And there are a few times I can think of when I’ve seen the face of Jesus in a window… But he’s never appeared in my food before.”
Appearances of Jesus in food items are far from a recent phenomenon. In 1977 Maria Rubio from New Mexico noticed that a tortilla she was using to make a burrito seemed to feature an image of Christ. What’s more, the apparently miraculous snack soon had its own shrine, which within two years had been visited by more than 35,000 people. Then on Ash Wednesday 2012 the Son of God appeared to pop up again in the same U.S. state – once more on a tortilla. However this time the discoverer, Albuquerque local David Sandoval, had a much more modern way of spreading the word about his edible artifact: he posted a picture of it on Facebook, where comments and “likes” started rolling in. Sandoval also told local station KOAT-TV of both his and his mother’s reaction to the tortilla, saying, “I passed it to my mom and the same response came from her, ‘Oh my God.’”
6. Naan Bread
In 2009 English plumber David Howlett was out for a meal with his wife at an Indian restaurant in Surrey when he spotted what he perceived to be a detailed image of Jesus in his naan bread. According to The Daily Telegraph, Howlett said, “My wife and I were about to tuck into our food when I spotted Jesus looking right back at me. Needless to say I chose not to take a bite, and photograph it instead.” The timing of the incident also spooked him, “given how close we were to Christmas Day.” Asad Khan, the owner of the restaurant, Indian Dining, explained that there had been nothing different about the preparation of this particular holy bread compared to that of others made in the establishment. However, he joked, “Perhaps my chef has a direct line to the man upstairs.”
Toledo, Ohio woman Donna Lee was blessed with a whole heap of cash for her remarkable discovery after she sold one divine dumpling to online casino GoldenPalace.com. In Easter 2005 Lee was cooking some pierogi when, upon finding an apparent image of Jesus on one of the dough dumplings, she placed the unusual food item into her freezer. She thought no more of it, however – until her sister and brother-in-law encouraged her to put it on eBay. The pierogi received over 44,000 hits before finally selling for $1,775 that August. At the time, Lee said her windfall would be donated in part to the local hospice where her late mother resided during her final years. Highest bidder GoldenPalace.com added it to their collection of unusual items, which also includes a cheese sandwich carrying the image of the Virgin Mary and a pregnancy test purportedly once owned by Britney Spears.
In August 2012 one man in Texas got quite a surprise while eating his first meal of the day. Ernesto Garza was tucking into his regular breakfast taco at La Amistad Adult Daycare in Beeville when, upon investigating the food, he discerned what seemed to be a face looking back at him. After Garza had gazed in disbelief at the image for five minutes, a flabbergasted friend confirmed what the 80-year-old suspected: the face appeared to be that of Jesus. At the time, Angie Rodriguez, the director of the daycare facility, said of the unusual vision, “I consider it a blessing because it’s unique.” Rodriguez had been experiencing tough times and revealed that she had asked God for some sign; the next morning, it came in the form of Garza’s taco. As for the holy foodstuff itself, Garza put it in a fridge for safekeeping.
3. Potato Chip
Around Memorial Day weekend in 2005, Rosalie Lawson was watching TV and at the same time eating a bag of Lay’s when she lifted out a potato chip apparently featuring Christ’s face. The St. Petersburg, Florida woman immediately notified her husband, and then the media, regarding her surprising find. Some have chalked up the discovery of familiar faces in everyday objects to a phenomenon known as pareidolia. Pareidolia encourages the beholder to interpret an image (or sound) as something significant, when it is likely to be just a random pattern – not a sign or anything caused, say, by a divine presence. Nonetheless, members of Lawson’s church were similarly astonished by the likeness. And interestingly it wasn’t the first time that something peculiar had been found in Lawson’s family’s snack foods: her brother had stumbled upon a potato chip shaped like a heart one Valentine’s Day.
2. Cheese Toast
Linda Lowe’s friends are reportedly divided on whether or not the apparent image of Jesus found in her piece of cheese toast has an element of the divine. The sacred snack was prepared by Lowe’s boyfriend Dupree Gilbert at his home on Lake Bowen, South Carolina just prior to Christmas 2008, and Gilbert admits that he “didn’t do anything special” that may have led to the vision. “I wouldn’t ever want to say I think it’s divine or anything about it is magical,” Lowe said. “It’s just an image. But when I do look at it, it does make me feel tearful. That there is a Jesus and he is real.” And perhaps just in case the slice of bread does have some spiritual significance, Lowe placed it in a plastic container with a paper plate on top of it for safekeeping.
1. Fish Stick
In 2003 Fred Whan from Kingston, Ontario burnt a fish stick as he was cooking it. After seeing that its surface was charred with what appeared to be an image of Jesus, Whan put the fish stick in the freezer to keep it preserved. Then the following year – perhaps inspired by the tasty $28,000 sale of a grilled cheese sandwich apparently bearing the face of the Virgin Mary – he announced his intention to auction the fish stick on eBay. It’s unknown whether Whan sold the fishy artifact for a similar sum. What is certain, though, is that other foodstuffs featuring religious icons have also sold for a song on the auction website; for example, a Funyun ring in the shape of Mary and the baby Jesus raked in $609 in 2005.