(CBS News) WEST NEW YORK, N.J. - Some are claiming that a mysterious indentation in a tree in West New York may actually be the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary.
Crowds gathering to see the sight - which is supposedly is similar to the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe - have grown so large that police have cordoned off the street to protect visitors. The slender tree has now been adorned with flowers, candles and flags from Mexico, whose citizens especially revere this icon of the Virgin Mary.
"Most of the people believe it's a miracle," Eva Copantitla told the New Jersey Journal.
The image was first spotted by Copantitla on Tuesday, and she immediately told West New York mayor Dr. Felix Roque. Roque, who is facing a federal indictment for allegedly hacking into his rivals' computers, told CBS New York the tree was providing him solace.
"I am going through trouble, it is what it is," Roque said. "But I am glad I believe in God."
The image appeared after a Mexican man had been killed in a car crash in the area.
But, local priests are skeptical that the tree indentation is a divine message. Newark archdiocese spokesman Jim Goodness called it "just some discoloration that resembles Our Lady of Guadalupe" to the New Jersey Journal. The Archdiocese added to CBS New York that priests at local churches are ready to council people, but they don't think this is anything more than a phenomenon.
"But if it helps people to be stronger in their faith, then it is a good thing," Goodness said. "I think it's more natural to try to encounter God in church, not by expressing your faith to a tree."