It’s not as famous as Grilled Cheesus or the Nun Bun, but the image a James Island woman found Friday on the back of a dead cownose ray may be one day.
“I just kind of thought it looked like a bearded homeless man,” said Erica Scheldt, 24. “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!’”
Scheldt and family members have been trying since then to name her find. So far, they’ve come up with Ray Rey. “Rey” means king in Spanish.
Over the years, images of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, Mother Teresa and Buddha have been spotted on everything from baseballs to lava lamps, cinnamon buns, beehives and grilled cheese sandwiches. Or at least they have in the eyes of some people.
Coincidentally, or maybe not, one of the most recent sightings of Jesus on an inanimate object came on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22, when a man in Espanola, N.M., found Christ on a tortilla.
But as far as it’s known, never has such an image appeared in Charleston, sometimes called the Holy City. Until last week.
Scheldt, a graduate student, was swimming at Sullivan’s Island on Friday while baby sitting Gloria Orvin, 5, and one of her friends. Then, some men warned her about rays in the water.
When Scheldt and the youngsters exited the ocean, the men showed her a dead ray that had washed ashore.
“The girls and I were looking at it, and I thought it looked like a homeless man on its back, so I snapped some pictures,” Scheldt said. “It was dead, and I would have taken it with me, but I had no idea how to pick it up.”
Cownose rays have toxin-laden stingers (or spines) high on the tail, close to the body.
She said others on the beach saw the face, but nobody else identified it as Jesus.
“I feel like if I did notice it and told people who were walking by, they would just think I was kind of weird,” she said.
Scheldt, a Catholic, said she didn’t read anything into it, but she did see some coincidences.
“I did think it was interesting, with Easter coming up,” she said. “And it’s such a beautiful image on such a harmful thing.”
Scheldt said she is from Nashville, home of the Nun Bun, a cinnamon roll with a strong resemblance to Mother Teresa.