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Sandwich's journey gets a little eerie in Big Easy
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Sandwich's journey gets a little eerie in Big Easy

JIM DEFEDE
jdefede@herald.com


NEW ORLEANS -- In a town that has seen it all, heard it all, done it all, the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich still manages to create quite a stir.

A psychic named Reese, who works at Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo on Bourbon Street, examined the VMGCS and concluded that its image was not of the Virgin Mary, but rather the face of a child who was trying to contact the sandwich's maker, Diana Duyser of Hollywood.

''It definitely is a child,'' he says. ``It is trying to come through and tell her something. She may have lost a child at one time. But that child is OK, that's what I am getting. It is definitely a child's face.''

He slowly moves his hand over the grilled cheese.

''I think it is a child she always felt sad about,'' he says. ``It could also be somebody in her life who passed away around her and is trying to get her attention.''

''So it may have been a child around her?'' I ask. ``A sibling or someone?''

``Yes.''

(My entire session with Reese is available in my weblog at www.herald.com. Turns out, I'm a very old soul who needs to get off the pity pot.)

I call Duyser to share the psychic's impressions.

''He thinks it's a child,'' she says skeptically. ``I don't think it looks like a child.''

Soon, however, she confides something she hadn't told me before.

Although she has always described herself as an only child, she did, in fact, have a sister.

Her name was Joyce, and she died when she was just 9 days old.

Could this be Joyce, trying to contact her from the other side?

Duyser doubts it. ''I still think it is the Virgin Mary,'' she says.

Did the folks at GoldenPalace.com in Las Vegas spend $28,000 on eBay to buy a Joyce Grilled Cheese Sandwich?

I walk down the block to the Krazy Korner bar, set the VMGCS on the stool next to me and order a Hurricane. I decide to take another look at the face.

When I pop open the briefcase, the bartender, Windy Pierre, looks and says, ``Oh, my God!''

Goose bumps and chills run through. She refuses to touch the case.

This is not her first supernatural experience. When she was 12, her cousin died trying to save a boy from drowning in a nearby levee.

''They got tangled up in the weeds and they both died,'' she says. ``At the wake, everybody was over at the house screaming and crying and that's when I saw him, my cousin. He was just leaning over there by the kitchen table, like he always did, waving to me.''

The bouncer, Chad Phillips, then taps me on the shoulder.

''When I was about 14,'' he says, ``me and my brother got into a fight in the backyard, and I pushed him through a glass window. I got a pretty powerful ass-whupping from my dad. And he replaced the glass with a board, a piece of plywood.

''One day we had bad weather and the board fell out,'' Phillips continues. ``And the weather-beaten side of the board was warped and in a few days my mom noticed a face beginning to appear. It turned into the face of Jesus. And then Mary appeared as well. On this one piece of plywood they found over 30 different images.''

Who did?

''We had our priest come over and other family members,'' he says. ``It actually went on a little tour. My family was blessed and it really changed our life. We started going to church.''

Are they still religious?

''We kind of got away from it,'' he says. ``When it first happened, everyone was all religious and all happy, but as the attention went away it kind of faded and they just stopped going to church.''

And where is the Jesus Plywood today?

''It's in a utility closet in our house,'' he says.




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