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The cross chasers:
19 hours in Knoxville, Tennessee

by Buddy Piper

Media personality Piper relates the extraordinary experience of visiting a small church with huge crosses of light shining mysteriously in every window. 

Since reading Benjamin Creme's book The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, in 1981, I have been in 100 per cent agreement with its message, as I understand it: Maitreya, the Christ, has returned to the world.

Recently, drawing on my 50 years of experience in broadcasting, I decided to try to help publicize some of the "signs" that Maitreya and the Masters are placing in the world, specifically the crosses of light, to awaken humanity to the truth that He is here. The crosses have appeared around the world, most often in the windows of peoples' homes, exerting a healing influence on the entire community where they exist.

"I can't get the hair on the back of my neck to do anything but stick straight out these days. The crosses are indeed in the windows at the Copper Ridge Baptist Church. That is a fact. It doesn't matter if you believe it or not....
"There at first, I was a bit skeptical myself. But now that I've seen the crosses of Copper Ridge with these two eyes, I'm a believer...."  (From: The Greenville Sun; columnist Bob Hurley)

With the dedicated help of a network of volunteers around the United States who inform me of new manifestations of Maitreya's work, I have become known as the "Cross Chaser" from having appeared on scores of radio and television shows explaining who placed those crosses in windows, and why.

I recently returned from spending a day in the cross-saturated fundamentalist Copper Ridge Baptist Church of Knoxville, Tennessee, USA.

The sighting

On 5 January 1996, at 11 pm, a member of our group of observers called me in Los Angeles. "Quick! Catch CBS-TV. There is going to be a report on the crosses of light appearing in a tiny church in Knoxville, Tennessee."

As the small, 135-year-old church, seating only 60 people, appeared on the television screen it seemed to be on fire as a beautiful glowing cross shone from each of its five windows. I had never heard of a group of crosses appearing in a church; they generally appear in the homes of poor people, shining in a bathroom window. I believed this tiny church might offer an ideal opportunity to put Maitreya's story before the entire United States, especially when Joe Bullard, the minister, said openly and honestly: "I don't know what to say about these crosses. I can hardly keep from believing it's a miracle!"

I could hardly wait until morning to call him and affirm his belief.

The contact

On 6 January, 1996, I called Joe Bullard at his home in Knoxville: "I work with a group of people around the world who follow these sightings. I can tell you who put those crosses in your church and why. Do you want to know? I wish to respect your theological viewpoint. That's why I'm asking if you wish to know."

He responded: "I'm trying to learn as much as I can about this. It's a beautiful mystery. Let me tell you a little bit about what happened. I've been in the ministry for 51 years and I decided to relax a bit and take on this small church part-time. It has only 14 members and most of them don't come regularly. One evening last November my wife, Mildred, and I drove by this lovely church as we thought about giving it up. We stopped the car in amazement when a radiant white light seemed to surround the entire building for a short time. We went home wondering what that meant. Could this be a sign that we should stay? We didn't have long to wait for the answer. On 8 November 1995, the next time I spoke to the congregation, a bright light hit the side of the church and, as we looked out of the window, we saw our first cross of light. We could hardly believe it, but as they continue to appear, we know they are real."

I said: "Keep those church doors open to all people, believers and non-believers alike, because healings will come to many who view them. Watch for that to happen."

Joe replied: "Although some of our people don't like the idea of non-members coming here, we just voted to keep the doors open as much as we can. Thirty or 40 people a day of all kinds of beliefs are coming to see them. We put a little collection plate out for those who wish to contribute to keep the lights on, but we may not be able to afford to keep the doors open long."

I said: "Hold on as long as you can. Our group will do what it can to help publicize what is happening there. I'll get a media list of all the radio, television and newspapers in your area and see if I can arrange to get some interviews for you and me. You can tell them about the crosses and healings that may have taken place and that we believe the crosses were put there by the Christ, as each understands him, as a sign of hope for the future and to heal many people.

"You can disagree with me if you feel it's necessary, and I'll respect your right to your viewpoint. We'll work together to try to get as many people as possible to see these crosses. I will start the publicity immediately, as I am interviewed on three or four radio shows weekly around the nation. I'll suggest that people come to Knoxville to see the wonderful works of art which God's Representative has created in your church. I'll send you our literature and I'll be in touch with you soon. Keep track of the people who experience healings so that we can get their testimony later."

The progression of events

I contacted every newspaper, television and radio station in the Knoxville area and experienced stiff resistance to covering the crosses. However, they said they'd think about it. One radio station, the most powerful in the area, contacted me and said they had visited the church, saw the crosses, and were fascinated by them. They wished to have Mr. Bullard and me on together to discuss what or who we believe might have caused the crosses. We were set for an interview on 10 April, 1996. I called Mr. Bullard to see how they were doing.

Joe told me: "My board members and I have had some strange assurances that something is really going on. One night, before people came to see the crosses, we were sitting on one side of the church, when several of us saw a tall man wearing a turban appear on the opposite side of the church and walk slowly forward next to the wall. He was absolutely perfect in form. Two other people then appeared who had more of a cloudy appearance and they followed him forward. Every couple of steps the last person in line turned slightly toward us and waved in a friendly manner. When they reached the front of the church, they turned around and we expected to see the two followers leading the way back, but the first man was again in front and the others followed, as before. When they had made the walk three times,  they disappeared. That certainly caught the attention of some of our members. They're still telling everybody about it!

"And then I got another experience. I had to go to the bathroom one night and on my way back to bed a small cross appeared in the room and I heard a voice say: 'Keep those church doors open and it won't be long till I (or we) will be back'. I said: 'Who are you?' Then the cross and the voice disappeared. I thought I was losing my mind for a minute."

The radio interview

Sixteen weeks after I first contacted Mr. Bullard, I heard him describe, during our radio interview, what had happened at his church. "We have had 29,000 people come to see the crosses and several miracles so far. The first miracle happened when 1,200 people were lined up inside and outside and a blind man was brought into the church. We faced him toward the crosses, with his two elderly attendants on each side. Suddenly, he jumped up screaming that he could see, throwing down his cane and dark glasses, and rushed out of the church and down the road. His attendants frantically tried to get their car out of the parking lot to follow him and we haven't seen any of them since."

My trip to Knoxville

I visited Knoxville to see the crosses for myself. I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of the energy of love in that tiny chapel. Children and adults alike were glowing with joy at the phenomena they experienced there. I was astonished to see the size of the crosses which appear as you look out of the church windows at night. Having seen many crosses in bathroom windows which seem about four feet square, I was shocked by the beauty of the crosses which stretch from the ground upward for at least 40 feet!

After my arrival in Knoxville, I appeared on the local ABC, CBS, and NBC television newscasts, and Joe and I had a 60-minute interview on the most powerful radio station in the area. When I visited the church, it was packed with people eager to tell me how the crosses had affected their lives. It was early evening, so the crosses weren't visible yet -- it takes the combination of the sun going down and the street light coming on. I had time to listen to people's stories before Mr. Bullard started his pre-manifestation explanation.

Sometimes the crosses which appear in the daytime, during the winter, are so bright people have to wear sunglasses to keep their eyes from hurting.

Some children and their mothers pulled me over to one window and explained that when the sunlight hits just right some mornings you can look out of that window and occasionally see some baby "angels" playing on the grass outside the church. "And, look over here," one of the children called as she ran across the church to the front window. "Sometimes a baby sits here in the window but it goes away if you try to touch it. Look on the window. You can see it's bare footprints." I looked and in the glass two tiny baby's footprints were clearly visible.

"I wash those windows. They won't come out," an elderly woman volunteered.

It was now about 8:35 pm and Joe asked the happy group of people representing several states to sit for just a few minutes so that he could prepare them for the appearance of the crosses.

"Dear friends," Joe graciously said, "we welcome you to our church. I know we have some Presbyterians, some Baptists, of course, some folks who say they don't believe in any religion, and even some Catholics here tonight. Thank you for coming. I hope you wrote down the names of people you wish us to pray for to be healed. We're mighty pleased to be able to do that for you and we hope some of you here tonight will get help from those crosses. Many people have had healings, some right away, and some later on, but I have never met anyone who has come back (and many do) who hasn't been helped in some way. The crosses have been here only about six months and we have reports of over 100 couples whose marriages were failing and who have patched up their differences after coming to see these crosses a few times. This is 28 May and I'm happy to report over 35,000 people have come through here since last November.

"It doesn't always happen, but when the crosses appear you can sometimes see stairs appearing from the ground up to one of the arms. I don't know why, but it's pretty. (The stairs did not appear this evening, but many people told me they had seen them.)

They wouldn't fit!

"You may have noticed the big box of sunglasses by the door as you came in. Sometimes the crosses which appear in the daytime, during the winter, are so bright people have to wear those to keep their eyes from hurting. You won't need them tonight, but the crosses will still be so bright, a sort of reddish gold color, that you will have a hard time believing what you are seeing. The windows you are looking through are only six feet high and about three feet wide so it will be easy to see why the crosses can't be in the glass as some people say. They wouldn't fit!

"The crosses should be here in just a few minutes, but I have time to tell you about a healing that happened here. A lady came in with her thick glasses on one day. She sat there looking at the crosses and suddenly told us she couldn't see. We took her aside and told her to relax and gradually her eyesight came back. I asked her if she wanted us to drive her home and she said she'd be all right. I called her the next morning and asked: 'Are you sure you're all right?' She said: 'Am I all right? I should say so. I just read the entire Knoxville paper, without using my glasses, for the first time in 20 years.'"

Just then, Joe looked dramatically at the windows and said: "Here they are!"

The congregation stood up and gasped in amazement as the fiery crosses appeared 30 yards from the church, rising 40 feet or more into the air!

"That was an angel, mother"

Before I left that night people told me many stories of healing miracles, but this is my favorite: Joe received a call one Sunday about noon from a lady who said she had two young children, five and six years of age, who had been given the wrong medicine by a doctor when they were six months of age. Both children became deaf and could not speak. The mother said she had been in the grocery store in Knoxville a couple of weeks ago with her children and a tall man wearing a nice light suit and a wonderful smile walked up to her children and gently touched each one on the head as he said: "You won't always not be able to hear. Take your children to the church in Knoxville with the crosses of light." The mother asked the children in sign language who that man was. The children answered: "That was an angel, mother." She turned to talk with the man, but he had disappeared.*

Joe waited at the church from noon until 6 pm when the mother called again. "My children are both in the hospital. They had convulsions, but I've just been told they will be released later this evening.

A surgical nurse who was getting off duty at the hospital brought the mother and children to the church. As soon as the children got to the front of the church, one started excitedly signing and pointing out the window. The mother said: "He says Jesus is just outside that window. Now he's saying Jesus has come into the room and is walking down the stairs and he is going to follow him." The congregation followed the mother and child down the stairs and watched while the child signed to everyone that Jesus was standing there, but no one else could see him.

Two weeks later the mother and her children came back to see the crosses again and while they were there a jet plane flew over and both children grabbed their ears and told their mother the sound hurt them.

She said both children were now hearing just enough to be aggravated that they couldn't hear everything well yet and they'd be back regularly to see the crosses. She said she was sorry she couldn't get to the radio broadcast. We substituted her with a former motorcycle gang member and cocaine addict who lost all craving for drugs when he saw the crosses the first time. His testimony was quite convincing.

After a much too brief stay, I reluctantly left the small Copper Ridge Baptist Church, where, for just a few hours, I had watched the magic of Maitreya's unconditional love transform a diverse group of seekers into One.

*(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms that the "Angel" was Maitreya and that these crosses were manifested by Him.)

From the July/August 1996 issue of Share International

Articles on crosses of light

FAQ on crosses of light
Signs and miracles

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First published April 1999, Last modified: 15-Oct-2005