WILKES-BARRE, PA -- A few people knelt on the sidewalk, some stood with heads bowed in prayer and others simply watched an image on a wall of an empty house that looked to them like the outline of the Virgin Mary.
More than 100 people gathered along Breslau Street in suburban Hanover Township Tuesday night to look at and pray beside the image of what looked like a human shape under an arc of light.
"I think it's the Mother," said Dolores Sincavage. "I think she wants all the people to see her and pray."
Josephine Fedock, who lives next to the vacant house, said the 6-foot image was reflected from a 5-inch ceramic figurine in a window across the street.
When the homeowner moved the figurine, "the Virgin moved to the opposite side of the house," Fedock said. When the figurine was returned to the first window, the image reappeared on the original spot, she said. "It's some kind of miracle."
Township Patrol Officer William Sweeney said the image was created by a reflection from a street light installed two months ago.
But that explanation didn't satisfy some of those who gathered nearby late Tuesday. They said the house and light have been there for years, but the image did not appear in partial form until about a month ago, and did not appear in its full form until Tuesday night.
Maria Orzel, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Scranton, said church officials heard of the image Wednesday and "at this point we have no comment."
Thomas Meyers, 22, said he drove from his home in Freeland to see the image after his mother, who lives in the neighborhood, called to tell him about it.
"I had to see it for myself," Meyers said. "It appears to be the Blessed Mother. Maybe she just came here because she wants people to believe there's something after this life."
Police were summoned by someone who apparently mistook the gathering for a brawl, Sweeney said, adding that he tried to convince some of the people that the image was simply a reflection. He said he demonstrated that the light was being reflected off the window by putting his hand in front of the beam.
"You try to show them, but they won't believe it," he said. "They just believe it's a miracle or something."