Hundreds of people traveled to the small northern Michigan town of Petoskey for the chance of catching a glimpse of an extraordinary sight – a life-sized statue of Jesus Christ on the cross submerged in Lake Michigan.
Unfriendly weather has prevented anyone from seeing the 11-ft., 1,850 lb. religious symbol made of marble since 2015, when a record-sized crowd of 2,021 people stood in line for hours in frigid temperatures to see it.
Lake Michigan is currently frozen and workers had to cut a hole through the ice so that about 1,200 sightseers could see the giant crucifix submerged under the water. The colossal crucifix features a 5’5″ sculpture of Jesus on the cross. It is believed to be the only statue of its kind in the world that is submerged in freshwater.
The sculpture is located about 1,200 feet from the shore at the bottom of Little Traverse Bay, which has a maximum depth of 151 feet.
According to Inside Edition, the story of this statue began in 1956, when a 15 year boy died in a farm accident near Bad Axe. His grieving family ordered a 1,850 lb. marble crucifix from Italy, but refused to have it after they got word that it was damaged during shipment, and demanded a new one.
The crucifix they had rejected was put up for sale and purchased by a member of a local diving club, who had it placed at the bottom of Lake Michigan in remembrance of a diver who drowned in nearby Torch Lake, Michigan.
The first public viewing of the crucifix took place in 1986. In 2015, a record-number of 2,021 people stood in line to catch a glimpse of the rare sight. Since then, thin ice and bad weather has caused the event to be cancelled.
With time, the statue became a shrine to honor all those who died on the water. Dennis Jessick told The Detroit Free Press. “You can see when they look down in there, (and) when you talk to them and they don’t answer you, it’s a special time for these people. It’s an emotional thing for a lot of people.”