A restoration project at a historic Catholic Church in Rhode Island revealed a pair of puzzling statues that have left parishioners scratching their heads.
The intriguing artwork was discovered when workers removed a massive pipe organ from St. Mary's Church in the city of Newport.
It is believed that the statues, which depict female faces seen from the side, date back to the construction of the church in 1848 and were subsequently covered by the instrument in later years.
The obstruction had to have happened a long time ago as church officials had no idea that the statues were there and, thus, were astounded when the faces were found this week.
"The discovery is shrouded in mystery," Rev. Kris Von Mulaski said, "we really don't know the identity of the woman's face."
The prevalent theories are that the woman is either the Virgin Mary or Mary Magdalene, with the latter being the prime suspect due to the placement of the statues in relation to other artwork at the church.
Seeking to solve the mystery, an area professor has assembled a team of six college students to help try and get to the bottom of just who the woman might have been.
That said, Mulaski conceded that the identity of the statue's subject may never be known, but promised that "she will never be forgotten again."
That would seem to indicate that the statues will not go back to being covered when the pipe organ restoration is complete, meaning that the church may be faced with a second mystery, of sorts, in trying to find a different place in the building to put the giant instrument.
Source: WPRI Rhode Island