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#1 Steph K

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 11:20 AM

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chicagotribune.com >> Local news
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Stephens image lives on, if you get the angle right

By Richard Wronski
Tribune staff reporter
Published June 7, 2007
After 51 years as mayor of Rosemont, Donald Stephens assumed something akin to deity-like status for many people in the northwest suburb.

Now, even after his death, perhaps it continues.


Eerily, a likeness of the late mayor's face has appeared on a tree outside the village-owned health club, according to some people who have seen it. In a town still grieving for the larger-than-life mayor, who died April 18, the mysterious image is sure to add to the Stephens mystique.

Among the believers are Stephens' sons.

"It's unmistakable," said Mark Stephens, who dropped by Wednesday afternoon to study the impressionist-looking image amid peeling bark. "I come here all the time and I never looked at the tree. I never noticed it. It sure is unusual. I'll put it that way."

Bradley Stephens, who was named acting mayor after his father died, also is convinced that the tree bears a rough likeness to his dad. He joked that it may be his father's way of keeping him on his toes.

"He told me, you screw things up, I'm gonna haunt you," Bradley Stephens said. "When it starts talking, we're all in trouble."

The 50-foot sycamore stands outside the entrance to the Willow Creek Club, 10255 Higgins Rd. For the last two weeks or so, health club members and employees have been buzzing about "the face" they see on the tree bark.

At first, several thought it was the image of a bearded Jesus. On Friday night, someone even placed a candle in front of the tree.

But mostly, observers insist it bears an astonishing likeness to the official portrait of the mayor that hangs just inside the club's entrance. In particular, they note the similarity between the tilt of the head and the arch of the mayor's eyebrow.

"It's the way he used to BAD_WORD his left eyebrow a lot. That's the thing that made me think it's him," village spokesman Gary Mack said.

Of course, a lot depends on the lighting and the angle from which it's viewed. The image appears at its best when viewed through the glass doors inside the club's lobby.

Doug DuBrock, executive director of the health club, has worked there for years but never noticed anything remarkable about the tree until recently, when workers pointed out "the face."

"It's all in the eye of the beholder," he said. "If you want to look hard enough at something and that helps you, then so be it."

Cathy Sansone, membership director, said members were the first to spot the image.

"They said, 'Doesn't it kind of look like somebody?' " she said. "Everybody started coming out and looking at it and taking pictures with their phones."

Sansone admitted she could make out the image only after it was pointed out to her.

"Power of suggestion," she said.

Club member Arnold Meisner of Northbrook called it "a stretch" to say it was the late mayor.

"I do see the possibility," he said. "I can see a silhouette, one eye, a nose, a chin. I can see that effect. But Stephens? You can't convince me of that."

As word of the image spread Wednesday, officials put up barricades to keep onlookers from getting too close to the tree.

The club was opened about 15 years ago in a former screw factory. At the time, workers wanted the tree to come down because it was standing in the entrance.

"[The mayor] said, 'Oh, no, you're not. That's a beautiful tree,'" Bradley Stephens said.

A couple of years later, it began to lose bark and show distress. Again, the mayor came to the rescue when some suggested getting rid of it.

"He said, 'Hell, no. We're going to get someone out there to take a look at it,'" Bradley Stephens said.

Arborists examined the tree. Workers cut away a concrete apron around the trunk and gave it more room to grow.

"The mayor worked very hard to save this tree," DuBrock said. "He is smiling down on us. That's one way to look at it."

#2 kithrox

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 11:32 AM

Thanks Steph for the article! That's not too far from where i live. Do u have a picture to go along with the article?
Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?Just because you're paranoidDon't mean they're not after you!

#3 Crone

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 11:43 AM

Here's a link to a picture:
http://www.chicagotr...1,1703852.photo
Still crazy after all these years. ....Paul Simon.... “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” ....Pericles......

#4 Steph K

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 02:16 PM

Thanks Steph for the article! That's not too far from where i live. Do u have a picture to go along with the article?


No kidding.... I am moving to Des Plaines next month. I might grab hubby tonight and go take a pic of it. Granted I dont have a clue what the guy looked like in life... But it definately looks like a face doesnt it? Whirly Dude

#5 Mark London

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    So open minded that his brain has fallen out....watch your step

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 02:35 PM

Weird !!!!! :) Whirly Dude

#6 earth_spirit

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 02:37 PM

OK, it's a face in a tree Whirly Dude Now we need a need a picture of the mayor so we can compare the two!
Posted ImagePosted Image

Well, what do you think? Is it a good likeness, or are we "barking up the wrong tree?"

Edited by earth_spirit, 07 June 2007 - 02:46 PM.

The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit -- Nelson Henderson

Not A Ghost Of A Chance -- The Story Of My Three Years At The Imperial Casino Hotel <-- Click Here For My Personal Website

#7 kithrox

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 02:46 PM

here's a link to a picture of donald stephens...
donald stephens Whirly Dude
Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?Just because you're paranoidDon't mean they're not after you!

#8 kithrox

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 02:48 PM

oops too late....i dunno....it seems like it could resemble anybody or anything if you r really looking for it!
Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?Just because you're paranoidDon't mean they're not after you!

#9 earth_spirit

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 02:49 PM

GMTA - Great minds think alike, kithrox Whirly Dude The only difference is that I reversed the picture so his face was at the same angle as the image on the tree.
The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit -- Nelson Henderson

Not A Ghost Of A Chance -- The Story Of My Three Years At The Imperial Casino Hotel <-- Click Here For My Personal Website

#10 rayzrwyre

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 03:42 PM

Looking at the tree image, is that the mayor, or Jimmy Durnate?? Haaachachacha! Whirly Dude
"Excuse me while I slip out of these wet clothes and into a dry martini!" - Groucho Marx

#11 kithrox

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 05:11 PM

yeah i can see the schnozzzz!
Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?Just because you're paranoidDon't mean they're not after you!

#12 earth_spirit

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 07:09 PM

Let's see . . .
Posted Image
The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit -- Nelson Henderson

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#13 beccaluvsghostsntexas

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    Looking for some frozen butt snowfairies.......

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 10:55 PM

how funny, but how strange that it appeared after he died.....
It's just Becca Posted Image

#14 ravenhecate

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 11:20 PM

It certainly is odd that this did appear after the guy died, but one could think it resembles just about anyone. However as one person stated in the article, if the image helps people with their grief, then what is the harm.
Posted ImagePosted Image

#15 krcguns

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 01:06 PM

I personally think that it looks more like Jimmy Durante by a mile. Ahhhh matrixing is a fun thing.
Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image




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