Crepitus was allegedly the Roman god of flatulence. He was usually depicted as a young child farting.
However, he's only allegedly so because there's controversy about whether the Romans recognized such a god, or whether Crepitus was the creation of early Christians trying to satirize pagan beliefs. According to Wikipedia, there are references to Crepitus in ancient texts, but only in Christian works, not pagan ones.
It was built in 1995 by Steve Thomas, a structural engineer, after he grew tired of being "faced with huge billboards along I-40 advertising XXX pornography locations." He wanted to offer the public something more wholesome instead.
The cross stands 190 feet tall, but as you approach it along the highway it looks disappointingly small because it's dwarfed by windmills in the fields around it. However, once you get right up beside it, it seems pretty big.
Referring to the cross as the largest in the western hemisphere, begs the question of where the largest cross is. According to Wikipedia, it's in Spain and is 500 feet tall.
However, more Internet research reveals that the cross in Groom isn't actually the largest in the western hemisphere, even though it's still being advertised as such (according to the pamphlet I got — see below). It was the tallest when it was built, but there are now two taller crosses in America — one in Illinois (198-feet tall) and another in Missouri (218-feet tall).
The cross is surrounded by "life-size bronze sculptures depicting the steps of Jesus to the Cross." And to the side of the cross is a life-size depiction of Calvary, where Jesus was crucified alongside two thieves.
The depiction of Calvary stands quite close to the highway. You can see the trucks and cars going by in the background. It gives the odd impression of three people being crucified along the I-40.
Overall, given that the giant cross was directly off the highway and very easy to get to, I'd recommend it as being interesting enough to visit, if you happen to be doing a roadtrip along the I-40.
A concept by Diemut Strebe. “The Prayer” is probably the first robot that speaks and sings to God, all Gods. A rough design (inspired to a machine produced by Japanese scientists that replicates the human vocal tract) is combined with a cutting edge neural language model, fine tuned on thousands of prayers and religious books from all over the world. The prayer generates original prayers vocally articulated by Amazon Polly's Kendra voice, and sings religious lyrics to the Divine.
Artist Diemut Strebe offered his 3-D-printed re-creation of the famous ear of Vincent van Gogh for display in June and July in a museum in Karlsruhe, Germany--having built it partially with genes from a great-great-grandson/nephew of van Gogh--and in the same shape, based on computer imaging technology. (Van Gogh reputedly cut off the ear, himself, in 1888 during a psychotic episode.) Visitors can also speak into the ear and listen to sounds it receives. [Wall Street Journal, 6-4-2014]
In both Eastern and Western art of the Annunciation, we often find that the trajectory of the descent of the Holy Spirit is not to the womb of the Virgin Mary, but to her ear. In complete deference to her virginity, the conception had nothing to do whatever with her female sexual organs, which remained forever intact. She did not conceive through her womb, but through her ear (conceptio per aurem).
January 2000: a melted ice cream stain in front of a soda machine in Houston attracted pilgrims when people noticed that the stain kinda/sorta looked like the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Corpus Christi Caller-Times - Jan 14, 2000
Some analysis from an article by J. Rhett Rushing ("Homemade Religion: Miraculous Images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary in South Texas") that appeared in 2001: A Texas Folklore Odyssey.
For more dogmatic Catholics and most Protestants, periodic updates and reminders from major religious figures are just not part of their world. In South Texas, however, the largely Hispanic and Catholic population seems quite eager to accept the near-weekly images, apparitions, and miracles that pop up as reminders of religious intent and markers of faith.
Unsettling to the Catholic clergy and other, more formal religious folks, these widespread images of religious figures are not only immediately accepted by some of the local believers, but in fact, are quite expected.. . .
At a southside Houston apartment complex in February of 2000, I witnessed a "folk mass" of nine women praying, taking a version of communion, and supplicating themselves to an image of the Virgin that miraculously appeared in a melting ice cream spill next to the laundry room's Coke machine. Later interviews confirmed that the group had no leader and certainly no church sanction for their activities, but as Maria B. explained, "When the Virgin comes to see you, you don't wait for the priest."
Maria's remark seems to be the mantra for South Texas Hispanic Catholics. Historically underserved by the Catholic Church, religion for many was learned and practice at the altarcitas and grutas of the family.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.