This story was provided by wildhog001 on the Yahoo! message boards. The author is not an atheist.
"Just a few miles from where I live is something that many call a miracle and thousands flock to see. On the side of a building, an image of Mary has appeared. The image is 2 or 3 stories high, and appeared in large sheets of glass window. The image has been on national news and is world famous among "Mary freaks". During the Christmas season, the crowds get so large that the city has to assign police officers for crowd control. There is even a row of porta-potties set up in the parking lot for all who come to witness it and pray.
Ive seen many of the people who visit on the local news. (and in person; i drive by that way at least once a week.) Many are crying from the emotion from seeing this "miracle". They pray and give money, and thank God and all that.
One of the funny things about it all is that the building that "Mary" has chosen to appear on is not on a church or cathedral, but the Ugly Duckling Finance Building, where you can get a low interest loan on a used car. Right next-door is a Jiffy Lube, with a big sign that says "Oil and Lube $19.95. Virgin Mary T-shirts $14.95." I laugh at that one every time I go by. The believers are completely sincere in their belief that they are seeing a miracle. No doubt they pray for better health or whatever and then convince themselves that Mary healed them. Then they tell all their friends about the miracle of how Mary appeared on the building and healed all who approached, and as time goes by, the "miracle" story gets more astonishing every time its told. I wonder how tall the tale will grow before the original teller has passed away and the story is being told second hand. The crippled were made to walk? The blind were made to see?
...Its an upsidedown horseshoe shape (like a woman wearing a hood) with 2 smaller but similar shapes on either side (like shoulders). It does look a lot like a Mary (no facial features though). I once saw a potato chip that looked exactly like Milton Berle. I guess that was a sign from heaven too. I guess this is how the miracles in the bible got started. A little bit of desperate people, overeager to believe; and a lot of creative license in the years of retelling."