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xmag.com : April 2002:Virgin Mary's Face appears in Wet Spot

HUNDREDS OF BELIEVERS SILENTLY HUDDLE outside the Midniter Motel in Troutdale, Oregon. They endure cold rain and high winds, hoping for the Blessed Virgin Mary to appear above the motel again. About three hundred of them--
mostly women, mostly Hispanic--have been flocking to the motel from all over the Northwest since the Virgin Mary's face appeared on a bed-sheet wet spot after a couple's one-night stand here more than a month ago.

A short, squat, brownish woman stands near the motel's front office, leading the group in a recitation of the rosary. Suddenly she stops, gasps, twitches, rolls her eyes in the back of her head, and announces, "The Virgin Mother is
among us!"

The crowd stops, gasps, twitches, and rolls their eyes in the back of their heads, too.

A blue-whale-sized Blessed Virgin Mary hovers above the motel, bathed in celestial light. She seems taller and more attractive than she appears in
pictures. She scans the crowd and begins speaking:


Because of your fornicating ways, your lustful attachment to hot, steaming, heterosexual intercourse, I will crush you under my feet and allow the serpent to drag you into hell with his tail. God will abandon mankind and send down bucketfuls of hot molten lead upon their sinful heads.
He will strike you with his iron rod
and make you drink from the chalice of His wrath. The sinners will cry for mercy, but God will laugh and continue punishing them. God will take great delight in punishing them. He will keep going and going until he's satisfied. Terrible scourges and grave events will befall the Earth. Frogs will rain from heaven. The

genitals of the faithless will shrivel up and fall off. Everyone's cell phones will stop working.

The Giant Blessed Mother vanishes as soon as she finishes speaking.

"Whoa, that was some heavy shit," mutters a man near the back of the crowd.


"WE MUST HAVE FUCKED FOUR OR FIVE TIMES THAT NIGHT," says Gresham resident Steve Plodgett of the one-night stand which has inspired awe, fascination, and a renewal of faith throughout the Catholic world. Plodgett says he met
his sex partner for the now-legendary one-night-stand, Hillsboro native Mary Ellen Mumford, at a Gresham karaoke bar. "She seemed a little shy," Plodgett says, "so I asked her if she'd help me do a duet of 'Islands in the Stream.' After we did the song, we started drinking and talking, and before you knew it, we were at The Midniter, knockin' the boots. I guess we left a little bit of a mess behind." Plodgett and Mumford have hired an agent to negotiate the film rights to their story are still dating one another. "I figure that when the Virgin Mary put her face in our wet spot, she was trying to tell us we should be together," Plodgett speculates.

THE COUPLE'S HOLY WET SPOT was discovered by Maria Conchita Acuña Sandoval, a maid at The Midniter, which is a popular motel for one-night-stands in the Gresham/Troutdale area. Sandoval, a mother of twelve children, immediately notified the motel's desk clerk, who called local news agencies and the Catholic Diocese of Portland. A lab test of the wet spot revealed the moisture to be composed of semen and vaginal fluids, and a photo of the stained bed sheet clearly reveals the Blessed Virgin Mother's face. Crowds began forming while the stain was still wet and have kept a steady vigil outside Room 104, where the miraculous bodily-fluid apparition occurred. Seemingly overnight, "Our Lady of the Holy Wet Spot" T-shirts and key chains were being sold outside The Midniter. The motel's owners are currently charging a five-dollar admission to enter Room 104 and view the Shroud of Troutdale. They plan to change their motel to a "religious amusement park" with Virgin Mary-themed games, rides, and "Catholic-family-oriented


"THE VIRGIN MARY CURED ME OF HERPES," claims an erotic dancer who goes by the name of Swastika, "and I know this other stripper who doesn't get those
little pink razor bumps when she shaves her snatch anymore, and she attributes the miracle to Our

Lady of the Holy Wet Spot." Standing outside Room 104 and fiddling with a shiny black set of oversized rosary beads, Swastika has a pedigree familiar to the Portland sex-industry worker: unhappy childhood, hot body, and bad decisions. "I've had a hard life," she says, philosophically. "There are some nights where I pretty much fall asleep at the rack because nobody's tipping. I've had boyfriends try to break up with me and stuff, so I know what pain is like. I've felt tons of guilt. I've done some bad things. I've hurt a lot of people. But when I think of the Blessed Mother's face appearing in that wet spot, suddenly I didn't feel so dirty anymore. I close my eyes real hard and think of Mother Mary, and I feel clean. It's awesome!"

Swastika claims that Virgin Mary-worship is becoming popular among Portland's stripper community. She says she recently attended an all-girl party which included a clothes swap, a recitation of the rosary, and lesbian group sex.

"The Blessed Mother is emerging as an icon for all the dancers I know," Swastika beams. "Even though she's a virgin and we aren't, she's cool about it. When her face appeared in that wet spot, it's like she was telling us it's OK to have lots and lots of sex with anonymous people." In the Blessed Mother, Swastika sees a New Age pro-sex feminist rather than the submissive homebody which has been the Virgin's image for two thousand years now. "I work in an industry dominated by men. I live in a universe dominated by a patriarchal father-son combo and a sex-neutral white dove. The Virgin Mary comes along saying, 'Girls kick ass!,' and suddenly I feel like I belong to something. Don't be surprised if you see a lot of tattooed strippers up in heaven,

and don't be shocked if the Blessed Mother throws some girls-only parties up there, too."


THE VIRGIN MARY DECLINED TO SPEAK with Exotic for this article, although she said she would have spoken with The T&A Times if they were still around. She also refused a ten-million-
dollar offer to appear naked in Penthouse. Through her press agent in Tel Aviv, she delivered the following statement:


I understand that being a media figure tends to open up one's private life for public speculation, but the media have caused my family and I untold mental distress regarding the Shroud of Troutdale. Once and for all: Yes, that's my face. And yes, I have a "special man" in my life. But the cruel allegations that I'm no longer a virgin and have been spotted in London night clubs disco-dancing with Guy Ritchie are forming the basis of a libel lawsuit which I can and will
pursue. No one has the right to get upset if I choose to have a
little fun these days. It's been a long time coming. Times change. People change. No big woof.




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