Title: "St. Peter Appears in the Sky, 1878 - Exhibit 03.004 from Dr. Hammer's Museum of Curiosities"
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It's been some time since I shared a story from my time with Dr. Hammer and his Museum of Curiosities. As I continued acting as his assistant, photographing the exhibits for a comprehensive inventory, I came across this photo in an album of religious images. To me, it looked like an early cloud study taken perhaps by one of the English photographers of that era. But when I showed the image to Dr. Hammer, his eyes became quite misty and he shook his head vigorously up and down. He claimed that it was irrefutable proof that St. Peter had appeared in the sky to a group of itinerant workers in Lower Saxony. One of the group was an amateur photographer, who recorded this sacred event. I couldn't see the figure of the saint at all, but Dr. Hammer excitedly circled St. Peter's head near the top of the photograph, and pointed out what he took to be the symbol of the cross on his breast plate near the middle of the image. Hammer was adamant that he could also see St. Peter's hands folded together in front of his body. Regardless of the veracity of the story behind the photograph, it was becoming clear to me that perhaps the largest curiosity of this museum was Dr. Hammer's intense, personal bond with each of the dodgy exhibits that it housed. I strangely found myself falling under their spells as well.