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Tree Said To Contain Religious Image Staying in Oak Cliff

from Dallas News

DALLAS, TX - An Oak Cliff tree that has drawn thousands of visitors because of what many believe is a likeness of the Virgin Mary in its bark has been sold in an online auction.

Gilbert Peña originally decided to sell the 50-foot tree because it was generating so many visitors to his home in the 2900 block of South Edgefield Avenue that his yard was getting damaged and his family felt trapped. However, he said he soon began having second thoughts about losing the leafy icon.

"To tell you the truth, I felt guilty and sad because if it sold, it was going to be gone," Peña said Thursday. "I didn't know how it was going to be taken care of."

Online casino GoldenPalace.com placed the winning bid of $5,000 and has agreed to help fix up his yard and provide new landscaping and a more permanent shrine around the base of the shade tree.

Peña said he believes the agreement to keep the tree in place was part of a higher plan.

"Sure enough, the Virgin Mary did something to them, and this is where she's going to stay," he said.

Peña said officials from the site announced the sale Tuesday at a news conference at his home. They used the occasion to display a glass case containing a grilled cheese sandwich also said to show an image of the Virgin Mary, which the casino bought online in November 2004 for $28,000.


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