Va. photographer to display haunting religious apparitions

The "white horse" image. (Courtesy Athalyn Rose)
The "Virgin Mary" image. (Courtesy Athalyn Rose)

Neal Augenstein,

WASHINGTON – A Virginia photographer says her quest for a neutral background brought her face-to-face with Jesus.

In 1998, Athalyn Rose needed a black backdrop, so she painted one herself.

“I used a brand new 9-foot-by-15-foot muslin cloth, which I had in my cellar,” says Rose in a recent interview with WTOP.

Rose brought the cloth inside, and draped it over boxes to dry.

As she set up the backdrop in her living room, the sunlight streaming through her sliding glass doors illuminated the cloth.

She describes what she saw as “my miracle.”

“I was completely shocked when I saw the Virgin Mary, the white horse and the Eye of God embedded in the fabrics of the cloth,” Rose says.

"Eye of God"


Virginia resident Athalyn Rose calls this her "Eye of God." (Courtesy Athalyn Rose)

Rose says she didn’t paint the religious apparitions — they’re embedded in the fibers of the cloth.

On her website, Rose says some of the images — which depicted a white angel on a white horse accompanied by three black angels — correspond to verses in the book of Revelation in the Bible. The verses speak of a rider on a white horse and are thought to refer to Jesus Christ.

She says the image of the Virgin Mary appeared after the white horse image was photographed, and the Eye of God appears as a watermark.

“The images are definitely there,” says Rose. “And you can only see the images if the cloth is backlit.”

The cloth is part of an exhibit, called “Materializations: Uncanny Images,” on display at the Rosenberg Gallery at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore through March 17.

MICA professor Mikita Brottman has called the cloth “strange and extraordinary,” according to Rose.

Rose will take part in a reception and discussion from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 8.

For more information, visit Athalyn Rose’s website The Miracle of 1998.

Follow @AugensteinWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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