Giant, barnacle-covered cross washes up on Florida beach

The beach next to a resort in south Florida has been blessed with an unusual sight: A giant cross, delivered by the sea.

The painted wooden cross, covered in barnacles, washed up at the Ocean Manor Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday.

It quickly attracted a crowd of tourists and other onlookers who wondered where the 20-foot-tall cross may have come from.

“People have suggested possibly Puerto Rico. Others have said the Keys,” onlooker John Moschella told CNN affiliate WSVN. “It’s really unknown where it has come from.”

Frank Talerico, the resort’s owner, said he was “astonished” at the sight of the cross and considered it a sign of protection. He also felt it was a sign of divine intervention, because before the cross appeared his sister had been at the beach that day, praying because she’d had a bad dream.

“She’s like, ‘You know what? It’s not that big of deal. I just had a bad dream and a bad feeling, so I wanted to come here and pray,'” Talerico told WSVN. “I said, ‘OK, thanks for doing that.'”

Talerico said the resort is going to keep the cross and that people are welcome to come see it and take pictures with it. He did have it dragged away from the water’s edge — but it took seven people and two all-terrain vehicles to move it higher up on the sand.

Some commenters on the resort’s Facebook page also interpreted the cross as a divine signal. Others offered more prosaic theories.

“Probably from an old pirate ship. That’s what held up the sails,” said one man. “Believe in something real people…”