|Ghostly Image in window has Church exultant
'Not Virgin Mary but close' says prelate
By Scott Upchuk, Staff Reporter
Home near Halifax where mysterious image of woman appears in upstairs window next to the chimney. Photo 'Better Homes in Halifax Than in Dartmouth'
HALIFAX (NP) As this Easter season gets underway, Notional Pest sent me out to the home near Halifax (pictured above) where there have been sightings of a ghostly apparition that appears periodically at an upstairs window.
The home's owner, self-described as a cantankerous, over-the-hill, scene-chewing trash bag, says he usually sees the apparition usually around Easter but also around other dates on the Christian calendar.
At the man's request I will not reveal his name or the location of his home, because he is terrified that "all kinds of religious nutballs will be camped out on my lawn hoping to get a glimpse of the apparition and turning it into the Holy Mother of Christ or whatever. " The man apparently has had other quasi-religious 'happenings' in his home and is scared "s-------" mobs will again be camped out on his lawn.
As I drove towards my assignment, I mused on the significance of religious sightings in general. That very morning some guy in Pittsburgh, PA, had claimed to have spotted an image of the Virgin Mary on a wall facing a bedroom door in his home. The TV shots of the man's home made me suspicious because I noticed that in the hall, close to where the Virgin's picture was supposed to "come and go", were several artist's canvasses and a nearby table laden with brushes and paints. That's all you'd need to paint a "holy apparition" I thought. Was I being too cynical thinking that maybe this guy I was to interview in East P------ was a hoaxer too?
As I drove south from Halifax through Harrietsfield along the Old Sambro Road towards Sambro, I was soon in the man's driveway. Just as he'd described over the phone and the map he faxed me, it was exactly 19.76 km south of Halifax, on the shore of Pennant Cove (I almost made a wrong turn into Crystal Crescent Beach and also into the driveway of a certifiable narcissist, but that's another story).
The man, whom I shall call Mr. X, met me at the foot of his driveway. As we chatted, I happened to look up. At an upstairs window (next to the chimney, photo above) appeared the figure of a woman looking out. She was hatless, had yellow hair, and wore a white shawl. The face was ghostly white and the figure with both hands resting on the sill was utterly motionless. It was looking in my direction but I had the eerie sensation that its dead eyes looked right through me. I quickly hoisted my Leica to get a shot.
Mr X told me that my picture would not turn out. He has taken the only known shot of the apparition and that was on Good Friday in 1991. He said that soon after the picture was developed, the image in the window turned green and mouldy and eventually disappeared altogether. Mr. X also said that he and his wife had made several attempts to corner the wraith, but 'she' had always vanished before they could touch her. "My wife and I are rather found of the 'old girl' and we have taken to calling her 'Maxine.' "
He was right. When the shot was developed later, I was dumbfounded to find that I had a beautiful shot of his house, but there was no woman at the window!
I'm convinced there's more to this story. I was intrigued by the ghostly 'Maxine' and I was sure that Mr. X's reference to other quasi-religious 'happenings' in his home was worth investigating. As everyone at the Pest knows, I didn't get The Notional Pest Silver Rooster Medallion for Investigative Reporting by sitting in my NP cubicle playing Nintendo games on my laptop. When I got back to Halifax, after lunch and a sherry, I headed for the newspaper archives.
In the dusty basement archives of The Halifax Daily News,
I came across the following mildewed item from the 1 April, 1985 edition
(To protect Mr. X's privacy, I have 'whited out' or used ellipsis ( ...
) to disguise place names and persons' identities).
Miracle near H ... ! (from Issue of 1 April, 1985)
By F. W. Lipschitz, Staff Reporter, Halifax Daily News
(blanked out), Ladies of Columbus Award winner,
HALIFAX, N.S. (NP) Residents of nearby ... are reeling today with news that a genuine miracle has occurred today in this tiny community 15 miles south of Halifax on the shores of the A ... O ...
At a hastily-called press conference, arranged by H ... County Diocese, District 5, it was announced that a statue of the Holy Virgin in Mr ....'s home, has been leaking tears over a period of several weeks. Monsignor Gascon Lamerde, Bishop of District Five, has declared the lachrymose statue to be a "genuine miracle" and one that will soon receive Papal sanctification.
Huge crowds from all over are creating pandemonium and demanding they be allowed to worship the phenomenon. Mr ... told reporters that he finds it necessary to charge a small admission fee for would-be worshippers to gather on his lawn but only for purposes of crowd control. "Without a small donation these people would crowd me into the sea. It's only $49.99 and that barely covers expenses. Besides, children in arms are free!"
Mr ... told me that he has undergone many religious experiences during his colourful career. A professed born-again Creationist, and twice winner of the fabled "Good Man of The Year" Award from The Ladies of Columbus, Mr ... explained what has been happening in his sprawling shoreline residence. "Nearly every morning, at the base of the small statue, my wife, M (blanked out), finds a glass of Virgin's tears."
I and other reporters were not allowed within fifty feet of the statue, but I think I could see a faint track mark starting at the corner of The Virgin's right eye and running down her white, plaster cheek. Mr ... held up a large shot glass into which he said the tears fell. "I leave the glass at the base of the statue every evening before I retire, and M ... every morning, without fail, checks it for Our Lady's Tears."
Mr ... refused to answer when asked whether a sample had been sent to H ... for analysis. But reverentially, he passed around for the reporters' examination a small vial of what he said contained the holy tears.
When one reporter commented that the liquid looked more like gin than tears, Mr. ... became visibly shaken. Another removed the cork, sniffed, and said he smelled gin. Still another wondered out loud if perhaps Mr ... had left a few fingers of gin in the glass before he went to bed at night and that he had been 'too tired' to remember the next morning. At that, Mr ... became extremely angry and abruptly declared the press conference to be at an end.
We reporters were then unceremoniously hustled out onto the lawn
where we mingled with the crowd of would-be worshippers. Archbishop Lamerde
when contacted later said that the lack of faith implicit in the reporters'
questions reflected very badly on the newspapers they represented. He would
not comment about the possibility that either The Church or Mr ...
would be laying charges against the two reporters who had asked the cheeky
and provocative questions.
Well, that's where it stands right now or, as we say in the journalism business, at this particular juncture of time. I will continue to follow up on this story for the Pest. To do this, I will periodically re-visit Mr. X at his home, unannounced, and if conditions are right try to capture a shot of the apparition at the window should it happen to appear during my visit. Keep tuned. Scott Upchuk for the Notional Pest