V E N T U R A, Calif., Oct. 26 -- Stories of modern-day miracles have captured the attention of both believers and skeptics around the world over the last century.
Among the more recent accounts are the reported sightings of the Virgin Mary in the small village of Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the highly publicized reports of her supposed appearance in a hospital window in Milton, Mass., over the summer.
Since then, Ventura, Calif. — which some might consider an unlikely location for miracles — has made it onto the the radar screen of some true believers. Some say a little gallery and store in the Southern California city holds proof that miracles do exist.
Drug Overdose Turns Spiritual
The story of these so-called miracles goes back to 1985. A man named Andy Lakey says he hit rock bottom that year and thought he'd never come back.
After doing drugs for years, Lakey overdosed one day while free-basing cocaine.
As Lakey lay on the floor of his shower, thinking he was about to die, he says he experienced something out of this world.
"It was almost imprinted in my mind, these seven angels twirling around my feet and spinning toward my chest. And I prayed to God if he'd let me live that I would never do drugs again and I would save the world," Lakey said on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America.
Lakey said the angels told him he would have to paint angels, lots of them, even though he had never picked up a paintbrush.
"The were gonna guide me, and I would learn how to paint," Lakey said.
Today, 18 years after his experience, Lakey is now well-known for his angelic artwork.
Lakey says his works fuse Renaissance art and the ancient and tribal arts of Egypt and Mesoamerica with themes from the 20th century. His fans say they bring peace to those who see them.
Gallery of Miracles?
Lakey's works are displayed in galleries all over the world. His first work, Angel Number One, hangs on a wall in the Vatican.