Jesus, Flags, and Water-Park Profits

Courtesy photo / <a href="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/70/Shroud_positive_negative_compare.jpg">Wikimedia Commons</a>

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From New Hampshire, the home of Dixville Notch and the Old Man of the Mountain, comes news of a supernatural sort: Operators of a water park are insisting that Jesus Christ, son of God and savior of mankind, appeared to them in a flag. And boosted business by 200 percent.

It’s all happening at the Liquid Planet Water Park in Candia, where the flag (pictured in this link, with the Shroud of Turin-like stain) was unfurled at the beginning of this season—and where every day’s been sunny and busy since then, say (some) park employees. According to the venerable New Hampshire Union Leader:

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.

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.

Obviously, reasonable people can reasonably disagree about an apparition of the Son of Man in a fluttering banner. But there’s one thing on which we can all agree: New Hampshire has a very active marijuana legalization lobby.

Anyway, as far as the flag goes, that park manager’s brother, Kevin Dumont, has enlisted the aid of a Catholic parish priest, Father Volney “Von” DeRosia from St. Joseph’s Church in Epping, to verify the, um, truthiness of the Lord’s linen likeness.

But Dumont insists the world’s greatest carpenter and resurrector of souls has already worked his magic at Liquid Planet: “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…since the park opened on June 19.”

Which is clearly the work of heaven. Not the fact that it’s summer, it’s a recession, and school’s out. He works in such mysterious ways!

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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