Thursday, July 8, 2010

At Candia water park, some see Jesus in a flag

Union Leader Correspondent

Liquid Planet Water Park has been waiting more than two years for a miracle.

Since Kevin Dumont and his family opened the park in 2008, Mother Nature has sent far too many rainy days.

But this year, just after opening, water park staff members saw an unexpected sight as the lifeguard flag was unfurled. In the middle of the red cross was a shadowy face that resembled images of Jesus Christ.

Since the face on the flag was revealed, the weather has been more than perfect, Dumont said. Business is up over 200 percent from last year.

Today, Father Volney "Von" DeRosia from St. Joseph's Church in Epping will be visiting the park to take a look at the image.

Kevin Donovan, spokesman for the Diocese of Manchester, said it can take years for the Vatican to confirm such phenomena.

"If a priest is able, he will take a look. At this stage, there is nothing more to it," Donovan said.

DeRosia will primarily be looking to see if the image could be intentionally fabricated.

Lifeguard manager Sara Schlachter said as soon as she saw the flag, she recognized the image as Christ.

"I'm not religious at all and I'm not much of a believer," she said, adding that she thinks the discovery of the image and the arrival of good weather are pure coincidence.

100707jesusflag_426px (THOMAS  ROY)

Liquid Planet Water Park has seen fair weather since the flag in question was unfurled. Click on the photo to see a larger image. (THOMAS ROY)

Kevin Dumont's sister, park manager Kelly Dumont, is also a skeptic.

"I think they're all a bunch of nuts. It looks more like a gladiator, or the Beatles," she said of the image on the flag.

To Dumont, it looks like an image of Christ, flanked by two other faces, with a starburst over their heads.

Dumont said he was born and raised Catholic, but is not practicing the faith now. He said he is spiritual, but doesn't believe there is a vision of the Virgin Mary or Elvis in every potato chip.

"This is a little more than that," he said. "We asked for a miracle."

Dumont said staff members have not mentioned the image to customers, of which there have been thousands since the park opened on June 19.

"I don't want to turn this into a freak show -- but if it is something, I don't want it to be ignored," he said.

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