It’s a Miracle! Tree Weeps ‘Tears of God’ (That Turn Out to Be Insect Poop)

If you’re tired of the Virgin Mary appearing in burnt toast and the Lord Jesus materializing in bird shit, here’s a little variety: a tree that weeps “tears of God.”

But ask an arborist or an entomologist and the story is a little more prosaic. The liquid falling from a Crape Myrtle tree in Fresno, CA is louse poop. The plant lice that have infested the tree are known as aphides, explains an expert:

“The aphides will suck the sap, the sap goes through the aphid and then it is a honey dew excrement from the aphid, and it gets so heavy in the summertime that it will drip down.”

Watch the sick, the gullible, and the deluded gather around the tree to try to catch some insect excrement. Fun for the whole family!

If that’s not enough for you, there’s more religious poop appreciation here.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • Paula M Smolik

    Comment? What IS there to say? hahahahahaha

  • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

    Seriously? Oh My Godel (yea its a pun) “I can seriously say from a scientific standpoint and a religious standpoint it’s a work of gawd.” Somebody please gift that woman with a free education. I just can’t fathom how religious nuts like this continue justifying their campaign to make their beliefs into a total joke. More wasted air and water.

    • baal

      Regardless of the appearent credulity of that crowd, they are still people and entitled to such air and water as they need. Less concretely, they are still people and as such have a value that’s greater than the space they occupy.

    • OutruntheWind

      Cognitive dissonance and indoctrinated confirmation bias.

  • Timmah

    People are so stupid… Even after telling them “Uh yeah no thats Aphids pooping on you.” they still insist “Oh no no no this is the work of God!”

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

      people smear feces on themselves, we call them insane, people stand under tree of weeping aphid poop and they get called religious, um…??

      • EvolutionKills

        One man’s insanity is another group’s faith…

        “Now, I’m obviously not saying that all that Dr. Craig, or all religious people, are psychopaths and psychotics, but this to me is the true horror of religion. It allows perfectly decent and sane people to believe by the billions, what only lunatics could believe on their own.”

        -Sam Harris, Notre Dame debate with ‘Dr.’ William Lane Craig

      • wombat

        At least aphid poop smells better.

    • SeekerLancer

      I don’t often like using memes but…

  • Spazticus

    There are far too many puns I could make in regards to this story. Instead of that, I’ll settle for a sigh, and hope that fewer people on this planet will be as gullible.

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

      This is not gullibility but self imposed ignorance. More to the point it’s more likely a shared cognitive bias and a bad case of cognitive dissonance.

      • Spazticus

        You’re not wrong in that assessment; my thought is that it takes some degree of gullibility to fall for it in the first place…and all of the rest (cognitive dissonance, mental gymnastics, skewing of personal morals, etc.) in order to perpetuate it.

        • OutruntheWind

          The gullible ones are the ones that convert into religion as adults. Most of the rest of them are just unfortunate children how had the fear of god pounded into them when they were still to young to know any better.

  • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

    Who needs George Carlin when…

  • SeekerLancer

    “Human beings need to hope for things, things they can’t understand, things they can’t see.”

    Except this can be understood. You shouldn’t encourage people to “interpret” something they could find the answer to as an unexplained miracle. You shouldn’t encourage people to be ignorant because they so badly want confirmation of their beliefs.

    People shouldn’t attribute anything they don’t immediately comprehend as magic. This is not the dark ages.

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

      Yes but the foundation of all the religions is the ignorant people who accept the lies they are being told. If they choose to deny a scientific explanation for the phenomena then who are we to try to change their minds. I say let them remain ignorant, the intelligent people of the world will march bravely into the future and the ignorant will be left behind.

      • baal

        TBJ….
        No, the only rightful thing to do is educate as many people as possible. You cannot escape from ‘the ignorant who are left behind’ and it’s not moral to do so.

      • OutruntheWind

        The God of the Gaps. Every day science closes more and more gaps. That won’t stop people from closing their eyes and plugging their ears and pretending that there’s still gaps though!

    • Agreed

      I agree.

  • GodlessPoutine

    I’m surprised the Catholic Church hasn’t bottled the poop and tried to sell it as “Holy Poop” yet.

    • Len

      Don’t give them ideas.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Why spend resources? They already have a product like that, it’s called Holy Water. Of course, it’s just tap water, but you don’t have to go outside for it.

      • GodlessPoutine

        Holy Sh*t! :-)

  • dandaman

    I think aphids are technically in the class Insecta, while lice are the class Isopoda, correct me if I’m wrong.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      You are wrong. Lice are also Insecta, according to the prominent entomological authority Wikipedia.
      Perhaps you were thinking of woodlice, which are of the order Ispoda, class Malacostraca.
      Meanwhile, “plant lice” is a common (i.e. informal) name for aphids.

      • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

        Parasitic lice used to belong to two insect orders, Anoplura and Mallophaga. Then it was found that Anoplura were just derived Mallophaga, so both then were combined into the order Phthiraptera.
        Which in turn is probably just derived members of a related order , Psocoptera (known as booklice and barklice)

        • Tainda

          Am I the only one that feels itchy?

          • Mario Strada

            Fuck, they are crawling all over me.

  • http://confessionsfromthepeanutgallery.blogspot.com/ YankeeCynic

    I’m amazed that when they were told it was aphid poop they didn’t go all bug-eyed.

  • Baby_Raptor

    /head-desk

    Excuse me while I go get some aspirin…

  • Tainda

    As I so love to say, Holeeeeeee shit people are stupid

  • GubbaBumpkin

    There’s no conflict here. Aphid poop is the mechanism through which God cries.

  • GubbaBumpkin
    • Mario Strada

      Now Zimmerman is in Mexico?

  • Greg G.

    Scientist: This is shit.
    Religious people: This is Shinola.

    • Mario Strada

      Scientist: This is shit.
      Religious people: This is Holy Shit.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    Hey, at least its sweet shit. It’s mostly sugars and water. Aphids, scales and related insects have a strange gut. Since, the food they eat is basically sugar water with very little other nutrients, so they have part of there hindgut connected to the foregut, bypassing the midgut. (in humans, it would be like your colon hooked up to your stomach.) This allows the aphids to shunt most of the excess water and sugar, and concentrate the rest of the nutrients.) It’s also why certain species of ants have evolved to herd species of aphids and scales

    • Fedos

      Ants treat aphids as cattle so they can collect this shit.

  • EvolutionKills

    Angel – What about all those millions starving in Africa?

    God – Sorry, but getting those bugs to poop on those people in Fresno was way funnier. Did you see those people? ‘God’s Tears’ indeed, I’m crying from laughing so hard!

    Angel – But why?

    God – Why not? Can you believe just how silly they are? Who wouldn’t want to mess with them! They are so gullible…

    Angel – But if you have time for that, surely you could cure some cancer patients, stop a war, or end a drought or two…

    God – But where’s the fun in that? If it all works out, I’ll get the credit for it anyways, and if it all goes to hell then it’s all a ‘divine mystery’. I don’t need to do anything for them to think I’m doing things all the time, so why bother?

    Angel – God, I’m getting really sick of your shit…

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

    Cleveland Brown sums up how I feel.

  • Gus Snarp

    I feel so sorry for those poor, deluded people.

  • C Peterson

    It’s like history repeating itself…

    While the whole “Israelites wandering in the desert” schtick in Exodus is historically discredited, the story obviously descends from genuine cultural references. And one of those may surround manna, the food God sent down each night. It is thought by many that this was a reference to a kind of louse secretion (not technically “poop”, but it comes out the same hole, so close enough).

    So the same natural phenomenon that tribes of stone age and bronze age nomads took as divine magic is still seen that way by some people in the 21st century.

    • cipher

      I’ve read it’s believed by scholars to have been a secretion of the tamarisk tree.

      • C Peterson

        Yeah, that’s one suggestion. Another is aphid honeydew specifically from aphids of the tamarisk. Nobody will ever know for certain, of course, there’s just something interesting about how this seems to have come back around again.

        • ~SoACTing

          Yah, this is going to sound stupid, but here it goes:

          Did any other ex-Christians out there ever think that “manna” referred to something related to bananas??

          ~ SoACTing

  • JET

    California central valley = West Texas

    • WallofSleep

      Not entirely, but it’s in the same neighborhood.

  • Bob Carlson

    …is louse poop

    Even though aphids are referred to as plant lice, calling it “louse poop,” rather than plant lice poop, is a trifle odd. The account reminds me of a time in college (well before most of your readers were born) when I pointed out the aphid or scale excretions dripping from a tree to a coed friend, and her response was wait till I tell Mary [I don't remember the actual name] what’s been falling on her. In fact, aphid and scale honeydew is an important source of food for ants, wasps (both social and solitary of many kinds), flies, and some other insects, as it contains a lot of undigested sugars. In fact, some kinds of ants have a symbiotic relationship with aphids and essentially milk them for it and, in return, afford the aphids protection from their natural enemies.

  • Jeff Levy
  • Carpinions

    So much reporting win and so much human fail all in that little video. For once the news reporting is tight: They get an expert in, expert explains, expert shows, expert provides another example a few feet away that none of the religious are paying any attention to. Case closed.

    This is probably not the first time, but it is the most recent example of the sick, unwitting joke of pareidolia: the religious will literally find their religion in feces.

    • WallofSleep

      “So much reporting win…”

      I’m not sure what news station that clip comes from, nor what part of the country that news crew was from, but I can guarantee you that they were not a local Fresno crew. If they were, the scientific bit would have been left out completely.

  • WallofSleep

    Ah yes, Fresno California. Home of the website known as “Free Republic”. I’m not surprised.

  • Darren

    Ah, Catholics’ won’t bat an eye at this one: clearly the substance is the tears of God, it is only the accidents that are aphid piss.

  • Mick

    Did you notice the nun scuttling about under the tree. Probably looking for somewhere to put the collection tin.

  • la bibliotequetress

    It’s a crap myrtle!

    (Sorry, I just had to)

  • SansDeus

    Amazing that it’s literal and allegory. Since god is thanked for all manner of absurd and/or horrible situations. Like those idiots who put their trust in god (and not mariner knowledge) and almost died at sea.

    People actually thanking god for getting shit on…

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Funny how you never see Joe Klein helping to feed aphid shit to sick people.

  • Sue Blue

    Remember the guy that practically got burnt at the stake for investigating a religious statue that supposedly wept real tears and discovered it was actually getting dripped on by a leaky water pipe or some such thing? People don’t like to have it pointed out that their bullshit (or bug shit) stinks because its…well, shit. Like a fart in an elevator, they all just pretend not to notice and would rather no one said anything, so they could go on pretending that everything smells like roses and there really are miracles…no matter how stupid and useless those “miracles” are.

  • Mario Strada

    Just too easy.

    By the way, just last year I had to hire an arborist to fix my tree for the same reason. I park my car under this tree and in a single day I’d get it covered in sap.

    I love in the video when the lady at the end says “Looking at it scientifically [..] it’s the work or God”.

    Good thing she looked at it scientifically. You would not want your religious bias to inform your scientific discoveries.

  • Loren Petrich

    Aphids also have an interesting way of reproducing: parthenogenesis or virgin birth. They reproduce that way during their plants’ growing season, and when that season ends, they reproduce sexually and their eggs then wait for the next growing season.

  • Kimpatsu

    I always said religion was shit…

  • Robster

    So, it’s not excommunication, it’s excrement! They could collect it up and serve it in the nearby church along with the red wine and crackers normally offered on Sundays. Improving the menu, it’s wine and crackers every fu*kin time, may get more bums on seats for the preaching personage.

  • Jason Hayward

    Some are sheep, some are intelligent…

  • mr.aamer

    Thank you for the information helpful

    http://www.bibsonomy.org/user/aameer

  • Ramiro De La Garza

    Holly insect sheet¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡

  • Ian Hare

    Let’s face it a prerequisite for most religions is a lack of basic education and ability to think and reason for yourself hence they keep on being capped upon figuratively and literally! Mind you I know highly educated people who love their invisible God.


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