Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nissan Saves

Nissan Altima Rapture Car  01 - copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2009

I was baking in the heat, (got to see what it would cost to get the AC fixed) and praying for the light to change so that some air would begin moving through the windows, when I saw Jesus. Actually, I saw His car.

Nissan Altima Rapture Car  02 - copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2009

This didn’t appear to be a storefront church, really. More of a shrine. The front window, facing the corner of the intersection, was dominated by a soft Shroud-of-Turin kind of image of Jesus, mounted on some kind of gold metallic foil.

Parked on the side street was a “warning from God” in the form of a 1993 Nissan Altima. I am not mocking anyone’s beliefs - this is, literally, what I was told by the man who drives the car and rents the store.

Nissan Altima Rapture Car  03 - copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2009

Nissan Altima Rapture Car  04 - copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2009

Nissan Altima Rapture Car  04a - copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2009

“Is this your car?” I asked when he appeared.

“Well it all belongs to Him, doesn’t it? Let’s just say He’s letting me use it.”

I learned his name is Jeff and he was very anxious to talk about the image of Jesus, which was reproduced in a variety of media, including on the postcards he took out of the Nissan and handed to me. “I took this picture with a Polaroid camera”, he exclaimed, “It’s an apparition!”

Nissan Altima Rapture Car  05 - copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2009

Jeff is a missionary of sorts who evangelizes a Catholic cult (I think that’s an appropriate use of the word) that is all about “miraculous” images of Jesus. He testifies that he was at some kind of a rally and snapped the Polaroid in which Jesus made His appearance.

Start Googling this and you will find that there is a whole Catholic sub-culture that is centered around apparitions of Jesus and Saint Veronica. Veronica is believed by some to have offered a cloth for Jesus to wipe his face, which miraculously produced an indelible image.

Nissan Altima Rapture Car  06 - copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2009

Apparently, (a deliberate choice of the word) the apparition of Jesus, Veronica or Mary has evoked a primeval reaction in some people who see the meaning of life in images which to the rest of us seem to be pictures that “didn’t come out”.

The particular image of Jeff’s that clearly shows a face is no photographic aberration. In my professional opinion, it’s a picture of a physical object – apparently (there’s that word again) a statue that Jeff didn’t see when he pointed the camera.

Nissan Altima Rapture Car  07 - copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2009

Nissan Altima Rapture Car  08 - copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2009

Jeff says that we are headed for WWIII followed by a comet smashing into the Earth (the comet is actually good news as it incinerates the poisonous nuclear residue from the war) and that those who are right with Jesus will be tucked away while all this happens. Then they will be put back on the cinder that is the Earth, where God will give them another chance to get it right.

Just as abruptly as he had appeared, Jeff told me that he had to go, and began an intense conversation with some people who I would describe as his followers.

Nissan Altima Rapture Car  09 - copyright Jeffery Blackwell 2009

All words and images copyright 2009 Jeffery Blackwell


  1. Great photos! One of the more visually pleasing vehicles that I have seen pressed into religious service: those colors are fresh. Perfect for attracting crowds in the summer months.

  2. Lauren -

    I agree! There are some very subtle touches to the paint job including some convincing dimensional techniques, and an unusual combination of spray and brush applications.

    So nice to hear from you.


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