Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 4, 1969
NUMBER 18, PAGE 2b-3,5b

That Screen Door Shrine

Donald R. Givens

The following is copied from the front page of the PORT ARTHUR NEWS of June 17, 1969. Names are withheld:

Throngs Attracted by Image on Door

PORT NECHES — Hundreds of persons, young and old, are making their way to the backyard of the C. P. B... residence, XXX Avenue C. to view an image which some say is a likeness of Jesus on the back screen door of the home.

Mrs. B..., a long-time resident of Port Neches well-known for her Christian devotion, discovered what appears to be a profile of Jesus Christ visible on the plastic coated screen door on the back of her house.

Word Of Image Spreads

Upon discovering the image, Mrs. B... notified a neighbor, and word quickly spread over the area, causing more than 1,000 persons as of Monday to make a pilgrimage to the B... backyard to view the image. People have come from as far away as Houston and cars with Louisiana license plates have been seen.

Mrs. B... said, "It's not painted or drawn and in no way does it appear to be a fake. When viewed at the correct angle of vision and with the sun shining through the fig tree to the door's left, there is visible an image similar to the widely marketed portraits of Jesus Christ."

According to W...B..., son of Mr. and Mrs. B..., viewers have arrived shortly after dawn and stayed as late as 1:15 a.m. since Thursday trying to catch a better view of the image.

Police Keep Security Watch

Port Neches Police Chief C...R. B... said the lawn is littered with lunch bags, ice cream and beverage cups, Polaroid camera discards and other debris. Police are keeping the area under security, he said, and although most people are observing traffic and parking regulations, traffic has been blocked several times. No tickets have been issued he said.

A steady flow of onlookers crowded the backyard Monday, climbing trees and walking through flower beds trying to get a better look. Many touched and rubbed their hands across the indented portion of the screen door. Several persons have tried to carry the door away.

The question many people who have viewed the image are asking is, "What does it mean?" The Rev. S...N..., pastor gave his feelings and definitions of the apparition.

"If you will notice, the image is looking toward that fig tree, which is approximately 10 yards to the left of the door. It is not looking straight out or to the other side. It is looking at the fig tree, which is figurative of the Jewish nation," he said.

"I feel the image is predicting the second coming of Christ and his change from a Gentile to a Jew," the pastor said. He referred to a passage of Scripture from the Bible in St. Matthew 25:32-35 in which Jesus foretells the destruction of his temple.

Many other interpretations have been heard from bystanders. M...B..., a Port Neches student, said, "It's weird" Other comments heard were, "I can't see it. I guess I'm just not religious enough." A woman was heard to say, "You can see it if you look long enough and tell yourself it's really there."

Although the presence of so many people resulting in strewn litter and trampled flower beds and grass may be somewhat annoying, the B... family said they welcome all who want to view the image." (end of newspaper article)

The town of Port Neches, Texas is about five or six miles north of my house. Two days later, on June 19, 1969 the following item appeared in the PORT ARTHUR NEWS:

Christ Image Still Draws Big Crowds

PORT NECHES — A constant stream of curious sightseers continued to overflow the area around the C.P.B... home here today to glimpse a profile image of Jesus Christ as seen by many since it was discovered last Thursday.

Several thousand persons, some reported to be from other states, have viewed the plastic screen door at the back of the B... home, XXX Avenue C. Estimates of the number have been as high as 30,000.

A large number of photographs of the image have been taken by amateur photographers and professionals with varying results. Some have been color pictures showing different appearances and different colors.

Port Neches police officers have had problems with the traffic congestion and the necessity for keeping fire lanes open. Officers have been on duty at the scene most of the time with visitors present at most hours of the day and night." (unquote.)

Thus we have a modern day "shrine," and thousands of people have made their trek to the "holy land" of Port Neches, Texas. It is fantastically unbelievable. Then today (June 21st) in the PORT ARTHUR NEWS, there appeared two large ads by denominational preachers advertising their sermon topics for Sunday, June 22nd. One "pastor" was to speak on: "Signs of Jesus Coming," and "Screen Door Picture: Fact or Fiction?" The other sectarian evangelist was going to discuss: "Image on the Door...Is it Bible? Why did it appear here? When will it go? What God told me!" And then this "pastor" was leading "a pilgrimage to the B... residence to see the Image of Christ and talk to the people," between 3 and 4 P.M.

I knew that there were many gullible and superstitious people in this world, but this amazes me to the extent that I just do not know what to say. (But I will try to pen a few words anyway.)

Let me describe a little of what I know about this "screen door image of Christ." I speak from the standpoint of an eye-witness and bear first- hand report, because of the thirty or more thousand people who have seen the "image," I was one of them. Yes, yesterday (June 20th), out of curiosity I viewed the famous screen door. What did I see? Well, I viewed the screen door from the left side, and then from the right side, and then from a distance, and also up very close. And what I saw was a rumpled plastic screen door with light and dark reflections. I saw nothing unusual. I saw nothing that was remotely similar to a thirteenth cousin of any kind of image. I found myself studying the reactions of other people rather than the simple reflections on the screen door.

There were approximately one-hundred people standing there in that backyard viewing that "image." Another forty to fifty were either on their way to view the screen door or just coming away. Automobiles crowded the streets and were parked for blocks around. The lawn and flower-beds around the home were utterly ruined. Many persons were taking flash pictures of the supposed "image of Christ." The grass in the backyard was beaten away by the trampling of multitudes of people and the yard was strewn with litter such as literally hundreds of Polaroid camera discards.

On the steps beneath the screen door, people had brought vases of flowers and placed them there at the "shrine!" Women were standing in front of it weeping and mumbling prayers and others were "crossing themselves." One woman said she saw the "image of Christ" actually move and she could see the "crown of thorns" on His head.

As I was approaching the house, I overheard one man say as he was leaving: "a wonderful vision." As I was leaving an emotionally over-wrought lady in a car stopped a pedestrian who had a camera and wanted to know if she had any "pictures of the image" that she could buy!

The thing I found hard to understand is how anyone could see ANYTHING on that screen door. The woman "hit the nail on the head" when she said: "You can see it if you look long enough and tell yourself it's really there."

But those who think they see some kind of image, how do they know that it is truly Christ? We do not know what the Lord Jesus looked like in the flesh, so maybe it is the devil they are seeing!

One individual said that it meant the world was going to end on Friday (June 20, 1969). In case you haven't didn't.

I do not know what the pastor meant when he said it predicted "the change of Christ from a Gentile to a Jew." Perhaps this is just one more indication of Biblical ignorance along with religious superstition. And his reference in Matthew which he so strangely interprets is chapter 24 and not 25.

It is just such nonsense as this event that discredits TRUE and GENUINE CHRISTIANITY! No wonder level headed and right-thinking people reject counterfeit religions. The sad thing about it is that many reject what they think is true religion, when they have only seen the ridiculously false. So many people who are "fanatically religious" have never taken the time nor trouble to read, study, and rightly divide their own Bibles. The Bible still says: "My little children, guard yourselves from idols."

When John said: "we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him even as He is," I do not believe he was referring to a screen door.

— 4349 Vassar, Port Arthur, Texas 77640