Tens of people have flocked to the house of Joe Novark to see an image of John Paul II . in an aubergine!
The self-proclaimed medium and unemployed chef, Joe, said, "I was preparing a ratatouille, a traditional dish from Provence in the South of France. I had already skinned, de-seeded and chopped some fresh plum tomatoes; the tinned variety makes the dish too soupy. As I sliced the aubergine in half I couldn't believe my eyes as the face of the former pontiff appeared smiling up at me!"
Joe called the local free newspaper who sent a reporter and photographer to his maisonette to investigate. "It was just as Joe said," stated journalistic underachiever, Mark Woncortina. "A portrait of the Polish Primate perfectly portrayed in the pulpy, pithy part."
The press's presence aroused intense curiosity among local residents as well as some people waiting at a nearby bus stop. They were invited into Joe's bed-sit where Joe had erected a makeshift shrine for the evangelical eggplant using a foldaway chair, a bed sheet and an angle-poise lamp. "I don't have any candles," mumbled Joe apologetically.
One of the pilgrims, Sue Chorself was sceptical at first. "I'd read about this kind of thing before in the tabloid press and have always thought there was an element of jiggery-pokery involved. As a non-Catholic, if I hadn't seen it for myself, I would never have believed it!"
Religious investigator, Rev. Pete Boggs, urged caution. "It is very easy for people to declare these types of phenomena as miracles. It would be prudent to obtain confirmation jumping to conclusions." Treasurer of the local Tenants' Allotment Committee, Len Danneer, confirmed that it was indeed a solanum melongena or aubergine. "That's settled then," beamed the converted cleric.
Neighbour, Marge O'Reen, dispelled Joe's claims. "That man'll do anything for publicity. Last week he claimed to have seen the late Prince Rainier of Monaco in a slice of marble cake, before that it was Fred Dibnah, the steam engine enthusiast and steeplejack, on the crust of a Beef Wellington.
The Vatican was unavailable for comment. "We are not available for comment," said an elderly German spokesman.