The New York Daily News Reports:
Elephant-shaped Ganesh growth cured my ills, Queens man says
To most people, the purple flower that sprouted between two concrete slabs in a Queens backyard would be just a hardy vestige of summer.
The Jamaica man is convinced the mysterious blossom is an incarnation of the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh - and neighbors and friends are flocking to see it.
The nearly 4-foot-tall flower grew in June and began to resemble an elephant's head and trunk in August. Lal said that the ailments that had plagued him for months disappeared.
"This formation came to heal my illness," the 60-year-old Hindu man said of his relief from pain due to a bone spur near his spine and bulging discs in his neck.
"They say God comes in many forms. I figure this has taken the form of a plant to come into my yard to bless me," said Lal, who immigrated from Guyana three decades ago.
Experts at the Queens Botanical Garden identified the plant as a member of the amaranth family, which is native to Africa, India and southern Central America but not the U.S. Horticulturalists at the garden have never seen an amaranth take an elephant-like shape, garden spokesman Tim Heimerle said.
"For it to have that long trunk like this is not a natural thing," he said.
Lal believes the flower's position - growing through concrete, facing a garage he converted to a prayer space - is evidence of a connection to Ganesh, revered as the Remover of Obstacles.
"I felt that healing power that came with it," he said. "I've lived a religious life all my life. I feel my prayers have been answered through the deities."
Friends and neighbors have already streamed to his 90th Ave. home to see the flower, and Lal said he'd welcome pilgrimages by Hindu faithful.
He knows some people will be skeptical and insisted he did nothing to sculpt the flower.
Heimerle said that wouldn't be possible anyway, because the plant is too fragile.
"Nature is a strange thing, and it's possible it may have just done that spontaneously, but who's to say," Heimerle said.
With the fall chill in the air, Lal fears the flower may die like other amaranths, which are usually killed by winter frost.
"It's a little upsetting," said Lal, who covers the flower with plastic at night to protect it from cold. "It hurts me to know I'll lose it."
BY NICHOLAS HIRSHON
NY DAILY NEWS WRITER
Oh, and if that's not enough, President Sarkozy is fighting against a company making a Voodoo doll of him which comes complete with a manual of how to use it. Click here.