COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A northern Idaho man who tried to auction off a hand-shaped rock formation in his backyard he calls the "Hand of God" has come up empty handed.
But 52-year-old Paul Grayhek of Coeur d'Alene still gives a thumbs-up to the rock that is 9 feet tall and 4 feet wide because he now says he realizes it was meant to help him spread the word of God.
"I'm convinced now that's why the hand showed up in my backyard," he told the Coeur d'Alene Press. "It wasn't just a symbol for me to strengthen my faith, I was supposed to share it."
Grayhek said he discovered the rock in March after a small landslide and determined it was a message from God for Grayhek to follow his dream of becoming a counselor for troubled youth, and that selling the rock would help him pay for school.
But he said he "muddled" the auction, though the top bid on eBay was about $16,800.
"I'm not sophisticated at eBay," he said. "I had some people kind of playing me. The first person backed out, then the second person backed out, and the third backed out."
But he said putting the rock up for auction helped it receive worldwide publicity from news outlets. He said his eBay auction drew 5,000 hits per hour at one point.