August 08, 2008

For Daily Jesus on Your Cell Phone Text 5378

Jesus has popped up again in Florida, this time as a blurry photo on the cell phone of a Pensacola woman, Linda Square, who volunteers at a laundromat (?) Reported in the Pensacola NewsJournal, this one seems to have all the usual elements of a Daily Jesus sighting. You can click on the link for the story, but here's video of Square telling the story in her own words and some commentary from a friend of hers.

I'm not sure why she had to ask if the photo was a text message. They're generally easy enough to tell apart... aren't they?

Looking carefully at the photo printed with the article, though, it's easy to see what happened here. What we've got is a shot of the side of a woman's head against a window while silhouetted by the headlights of a car traveling toward her. The reflections of her head and the headlight are not in proportion, of course, but if you look carefully at the illuminated part of the image you can see a straight line in the left side of the glow that may be a curb to the right of the car. The part of the image that Square thinks is Jesus is actually the back of her cell phone as she holds it to her ear and accidentally clicks to shutter button, thus producing the image. In the image below, I've highlighted the outline of the cell phone in red and included an arrow pointing to the curb line that runs through the "halo."

Image from Linda Square's cell phone with phone and curb highlighted
The "face" in the image is the product of JPG artifacts that always occur in under-illuminated images taken with digital cameras and become chunkier when the camera's resolution is particularly low.

While I find it amusing that Square is selling t-shirts featuring the phrase "Jesus & Me" (grammar police take note), I don't think she's intentionally fabricating her story. My impression is that she really believes that she's snapped a photo of Jesus hovering by her ear. From the video, we also get the story from her friend that she's been "going through some things." What those are isn't specified, but it's in keeping with the general trend for these apparitions to appear to people who have some ongoing or recent emotional distress. From her interview, I think it's fair to see that Square is likely to be someone who regularly undergoes financial hardship. As she states in her interview, though, she believes that "Jesus loves everybody" but his appearance on her cell phone indicates to her that she is of special interest to him. There's ego asserting itself; call it a hunch, but I'd bet that Square hasn't felt special to anyone in a long time, if ever.

I have to admit that this Daily Jesus wasn't undertaken lightly. After watching the video, I came away with the feeling that the person who is feeling "special" now hasn't had it easy. She's lived in Pensacola all her life and from her employment situation and use of language probably isn't well-educated. There's a great deal of disadvantage at work; it's too bad that someone would need to believe that a mythological being was hovering around her head in order to feel that they meant something. Blurry, ambiguous photos aside, though, we each have to create the meaning in our lives for ourselves. Believing that one's own significance must be assigned by someone else, particularly when that someone else is some supernatural entity, is part of why there are so many sad people in the world — like Linda Square — to begin with.

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