Jesus Stingray: Does Christ Appear On This Dead Fish?

04/03/2012 02:09 pm ET
  • David Moye Pop culture journalist, HuffPost Weird News

When most people think of Jesus fish, they might think of fishes and loaves or bumper stickers.

Erika Scheldt, 24, got a lot more literal when she photographed a stingray last Friday while playing on the beach at James Island, S.C.

When a dead cownose ray washed up on the beach, Scheldt took a photo of it, fascinated by the strange image on its back that looked vaguely familiar.

"I just kind of thought it looked like a bearded homeless man," Scheldt told IslandPacket.com "But when I posted pictures on Instagram, one of my friends was like, 'That's Jesus.' And I was like, 'Oh, my God. You're right.'"

Since encountering this ray of hope, she says she and other members of her family have been trying to come up with a name. So far, the top choice is Ray Rey, since "Rey" means "king" in Spanish.

Scheldt, a Catholic who is getting married this summer, doesn't think the ray sighting has any special message, but does see some interesting coincidences.

"I did think it was interesting, with Easter coming up," she told the Post and Courier. "And it's such a beautiful image on such a harmful thing."

Although almighty images have reportedly been seen on Wal-Mart receipts, the side of a cliff and even a fish stick,
Jim Underdown of the Center for Inquiry Los Angeles, an organization that works to promote reason and science, says that humans are biologically tuned to put meaning to random patterns.

"There is a word, 'pariedolia,' that means assigning meaning to patterns that are actually just 'noise,'" he told HuffPost Weird News in December. "We are hard-wired to recognize patterns in whatever we do. It has helped us biologically, but it can also be a hindrance."

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