The case for the beatification of Michael Jackson has been strengthened by the pop legend's appearance in a California tree stump - the first reported Jesus-like simulacrum of the Man Who Changed the Face of Music Forever™.
Felix Garcia spotted the uncanny likeness of the Man Who Touched the Lives of Millions™ in a birch stump the day after Jacko popped his clogs. He told CBS: "I was standing by that bush, and I looked up and saw that image here."
Garcia has lived in the house for 22 years, but never before noticed the "apparent image". Locals are at a loss to explain why it allegedly resembles Jackson, rather than the traditional Son of God, or indeed "any of the other celebrities who recently passed away", (such as Farrah Fawcett, who to date has sadly not manifested in a Romanian wardrobe or Samsung Flash memory chip).
There may be an explanation, though: Jackson "did visit the city 20 years ago, following the Cleveland School fatal shootings".
A neighbour insisted that the arboreal revelation was "because Michael Jackson was an icon to us". The true believer added: "To Stockton, Michael Jackson meant more to us than Jesus, to some people. I think they're both about even."
Garcia's family think it's unlikely crowds will flock to pay homage to the Sacred Birch of Jackson, but "do hope that nobody tries to cut it down".
Their fears are not unfounded.* Some successful applicants on the online ballot to attend the star's funeral today have attempted to offload their tickets on eBay, amid an unholy rush to profit from his death. ®
*Oh alright then, they are. CBS has a picture of the Holy Stump of St Michael here. We're not convinced.
Thanks to Mike Richards for the tip-off.