As It Happens

Newfoundland man finds 'praying hands of Jesus' in rock

"The symbolism behind this, I think, is monumental," Barry Gillingham said. "I mean, I think it's huge."

Some see the hands of the Pillsbury Doughboy, but Barry Gillingham says the rocks 'have great symbolism'

Barry Craig Gillingham says these rocks looks like the praying hands of Jesus. (Submitted by Barry Gillingham)


When someone says they've found Jesus, they usually mean they've come to some sort of spiritual awakening.

But when Barry Gillingham says it — he means it a little more literally.

The McIvers, N.L., man recently discovered a pair of rocks that he says look like the praying hands of Jesus. 

"The praying hands of Jesus, fossilized in a rock," Gillingham told As It Happens host Carol Off. "I'm not a staunch Christian or anything like that. But it really do resemble." 

Gillingham found the rocks, which are now up for sale on Facebook, while he was working on a job site as an engineering inspector on an access road in McIvers.

An excavator was digging away at a roadside when the rock fell down in front of him. 

"When it split, I seen this quartz-like structure in each of the two halves that was there," Gillingham said. 

Gillingham is hoping to sell his discovery through a local classifies site. (Submitted by Barry Gillingham)

He thought it might be a fossil and put the rocks aside. After his shift, he started thinking about his discovery and how the quartz-like structure resembled a pair of hands. 

When Gillingham went back to the site the next morning he found the rocks and cleaned them. 

"Those rocks, when they're opened up, you can clearly see the resemblance of two hands, like praying hands," Gillingham said. "It's very symbolic, I must say."

Gillingham posted a photo of the rocks online and says many people agree with him.

But there are some naysayers, as well — who Gillingham says compared the rocks to "the Pillsbury Doughboy hands and sock puppets and so on."

Gillingham said he thinks the rocks have great symbolism and says he can picture them on display in a church or museum.

That said, he says he already has offers in the "lower five digit" range for the pair.

"The symbolism behind this, I think, is monumental," Gillingham said. "I mean, I think it's huge."

There's a long history of people finding images of Jesus in everything from a grilled cheese sandwich to a cappuccino — and then selling those items online. But Gillingham says his rocks are in a league of their own. 

"I think there's a big difference in this rock specimen than a piece of grilled cheese that's probably going to rot over time," he said. 

Despite the handsome offers he says are already coming in, Gillingham says he will sit tight for now.

"There's only one like it in the world. I mean, if this was a painting that was found by Michelangelo that was painted 300 years ago on a piece of canvas, it would probably be worth millions."

Written by John McGill. Interview with Barry Gillingham produced by Morgan Passi.


  • An earlier version of this story referred to the man who found the rocks as Barry Craig. In fact, his full name is Barry Craig Gillingham.
    Apr 26, 2019 11:48 AM ET


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