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World & Nation

Another tree, another Virgin Mary; is this latest New York trend?

NEW YORK -- Money doesn’t grow on trees, but images of the Virgin Mary apparently do. The faithful in two New York-area suburbs say they’ve seen the image of the mother of Jesus in the bark of neighborhood trees.

The latest sighting comes from the town of Sleepy Hollow, in Westchester County north of New York City, where on Sunday someone spotted the Virgin Mary in a tree directly across the street from a local church. 

Patch.com recently reported that a nurse named Juliette Bosquet was among those visiting the tree, which has become a destination for pilgrims leaving candles and snapping photographs of the supposedly holy hole in the trunk.

“This gives me a lot of hope,” Bosquet said. “I’m from Haiti. You know what my country’s about. With all the things going on in Haiti, I should be the first one to believe.”

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Jennifer Carchipulla, who lives in a neighboring town, said she came to check out the tree after news spread of the image. “It’s actually pretty interesting,” she said, according to the Daily Voice. At first, she didn’t see what others claim to see. Then she leaned in closer. “I could kind of see the resemblance,” Carchipulla said.

All of this raises the question: Is there something in the air or water that’s turning the trees of suburban New York into places of worship?

Just two weeks ago, faithful in the city of West New York, across the Hudson River from Manhattan, began flocking to a tree on a busy avenue there after someone spotted a knot that resembles the image of the Virgin Mary. Crowds continue to visit that tree, which is now protected by metal barricades erected by police.

Neither knot has been officially endorsed by local religious leaders as icons worthy of worship, but even skeptics concede that, if they give some people a reason for optimism, they’re not doing any harm.

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Nonbelievers, meanwhile, have been offering various opinions on what they think the different tree knots look like. Among the printable suggestions: Darth Vader and Gregg Allman. 

Whatever you believe, Gothamist.com says it’s hoping for a third local sighting, “to make this the trend of the summer!”

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Batman actor Christian Bale visits Aurora, Colo., shooting victims

 

tina.susman@latimes.com

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