Tortilla Miracle

Jesus on a Tortilla–A Story from the Army of the Strange

Tortilla MiracleAll these stories about weirdness don’t come out of my imagination but from the pages of newspapers, wire services, police reports, and tipsters.

One group of contributors has taken to calling itself the Army of the Strange. Some of the soldiers give themselves fantastical names ripped from the pages of vampire novels. Monikers such as Althan, Amdis, Ambrosia, and Alaric. And that’s just the A’s.

Others are less dramatic—or demonic.

Say hello to our latest recruit—Patricia Freydberg, a contributor to The Strange Files unafraid to use her real name.

Patty wrote the other day to offer this article, a newspaper clipping she had filed away in her own folder of weird news. (And I thought I was the only one who did that).

It’s the story of “The Miraculous Tortilla.”

It tells the tale of Maria Rubio who was in the midst of making her husband dinner when she noticed that the tortilla she was rolling had been burnt on the skillet. And those burn marks resembled the image of the face of Jesus, his head wreathed in a crown of thorns.

When Maria shared this news, it started a stampede of people streaming to her house in Lake Arthur, New Mexico to see this curiosity, some believing it was a sign that “Christ will return to Earth.”

Of course, this wasn’t the first nor last time strange images have been interpreted to have Biblical meaning.

In Clearwater, Florida, the glass on the side of a savings and loan became stained by sunlight creating an image that hundreds of thousands of people believed to be the Madonna. It became a huge tourist destination until some kid with a slingshot busted the window. But you can still see the memorials to Our Lady of Clearwater. It’s right next to a car lot.

Angelica Rubio, writing for EATER, tells the inside story of how her mother’s burned tortilla became such a sensation.

“My mother was the first person to discover the face of Jesus in a tortilla—whether or not it was a sign from God, it changed our lives,” she wrote.

It is a cautionary story that you may wish to heed before claiming you’ve got Jesus on your hubcap or something. Once word gets out, there’s no end to it, apparently, as hundreds of people began pestering the Rubios to see Tortilla Jesus.

This occurred back in ancient times—1989, to be exact—before the invention of Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. The Pony Express was still around, I think, but don’t quote me on that.

Imagine what would happen today if, say, you were to go to your kitchen, find a non-stick frying pan (if they still make them) and set about burning tortillas until you come up with an image you could share. Jesus and Mary are obviously popular. Maybe John Lennon or Kim Kardashian or Hitler. Whatever.

Just be sure to enforce social distancing when the hordes descend. Maybe sell tickets in advance online just to be safe.

And when you get rich, don’t forget where you got this idea.

In the meantime, if you run across anything that strikes you as a potential entry for The Strange Files, send it my way and you, too, can be added to the ranks of the Army of the Strange.

STRANGE FACT: Want to join the Army of the Strange? Write me at











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