Photo: Chris Clor/Studio (Blend Images/Getty Images)

Every once in a while you hear reports about weeping religious statues, and sure, many (most) of them have been revealed to be hoaxes. But this latest report from Las Cruces, New Mexico, appears to have some parishioners stumped at the moment. A Virgin Mary statue in a church in the town of Hobbs appears to be weeping, according to the Las Cruces Sun News. The tears were sent in for chemical analysis, and Bishop Oscar CantĂș of the diocese said the test determined that the substance “was olive oil, a scented olive oil. Some of the witnesses claimed it smelled of roses, so something similar to the oil I bless and consecrate each year that we use for baptism, for confirmations and for ordination of the priests.”

The scent of roses has also come up in previous statue-weeping sightings. Many statue weepings of blood, oil, or tears were eventually revealed to be human-, not spiritual-based. But the inside of this statue was examined and “there’s nothing on the interior that’s not supposed to be there, except for cobwebs.” The fact that the statue is bronze is also a stumper, as the manufacturer of the statue “assured us there would be no possibility of any moisture to remain in the bronze,” stresses Bishop CantĂș.

True believers offer other possibilities, like the fact that the Virgin Mary may be weeping for the sorry state of humanity or (even worse), evil forces may be involved. The bishop says that some people have reported seeing “beautiful, positive fruits” after witnessing the sculpture. Apparently the Pope has to chime in to call something a true miracle, so until then, the church will undergo further exploration to determine the olive oil tears’ mysterious origin.