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Pareidolia
Hudson Pace writes: "I was scraping out a baking tin when I discovered this Face of Jesus on the bottom! I thought of putting it on Ebay, but then I thought, I don't need the money, so why not cut out the middleman and send the picture straight to the Museum of Hoaxes? Hope you like it."

Very nice. Thanks, Hudson. And it's made me think that I really should create a Pareidolia Gallery to better categorize all these image-bearing baking tins, trees, pieces of toast, etc.

Categories: Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Wed Apr 09, 2008
Comments (20)
More tree pareidolia. But this time, it's not the Virgin Mary. It's a naked lady. In theory, it could be a naked Virgin Mary, but no one has made that claim.

The tree, which is over 100 years old, stood on a corner in West Chester, Pennsylvania. It was going to be cut down. After its branches were removed, local residents noticed the woman. It wasn't enough to save the tree. They chopped it down anyway, but the owners are planning on making a statue out of the wood.
Categories: Pareidolia
Posted by Alex on Mon Apr 07, 2008
Comments (12)
John Ordover sent this in. He was looking at a picture of Jesus (or rather, an artist's interpretation of what Jesus might have looked like) when he realized a piece of toast had miraculously appeared on it. I think this must be a message from John's toaster! But can we be sure that actually is a piece of toast? It kinda looks like a granola bar to me.
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Sun Mar 30, 2008
Comments (64)
Two examples of religious pareidolia have made headlines recently. The first is "Cheesus" -- a Jesus-shaped Cheeto found by Steve Cragg, a youth director at Memorial Drive United Methodist Church in Houston. He actually found it a couple of years ago, but decided to unveil it recently in honor of Easter.


The second is the Virgin Mary on an Easter egg. KGBT reports: "Veronica Cervera said she was making "cascarones" by dyeing hollow eggshells on Good Friday when an image suddenly appeared. Cervera is convinced it's the Virgin Mary." I can't see the image at all. It looks like a white smudge to me.
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Tue Mar 25, 2008
Comments (9)
And now for your daily pareidolia. (Well, weekly pareidolia, at least.)

Manny Duenas of Sacramento was cutting down some old palm leaves in his yard -- on Palm Sunday, no less -- when he happened to look at one of the leaves in his hand and saw an image of the Virgin Mary cradling baby Jesus in her arms.

Duenas says: "God is out there and maybe these are one of the messages that they send."


Actually, I don't so much see the Virgin Mary figure, but I definitely see an outline of the state of Illinois. Maybe it's some kind of message being sent to us by the Illinois Cornflake.
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Thu Mar 20, 2008
Comments (7)
Ten years ago Wendy Divock felt a touch on her cheek. She thought it was her husband touching her, but when she turned around, he wasn't there. What she saw instead was an image of a face in her closet door.

Initially Wendy and her husband called the image the "guy in the door," but after doing some research on the internet they decided that it was Jesus. The pastor across the street assures them that the image is "very significant and that it's authentic."

The Dovicks have created a site, jesusinthedoor.com, to publicize their door. They're selling 8x10 glossy photos of it for $13.50. Whenever you click any link on their site, a pop-up screen alerts you of this. They've also got a creepy animated figure that introduces people to the site.

They don't say if Jesus-in-the-door still "touches" Wendy when her back is turned. (Thanks, Bob)
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Tue Mar 18, 2008
Comments (23)
According to the website dnaindia.com, 50 people in the Kottayam district of India have lost their vision after gazing into the sun for hours trying to see an image of the Virgin Mary:
Though alarmed health authorities have installed a signboard to counter the rumour that a solar image of Virgin Mary appeared to the believers, curious onlookers, including foreign travellers, have been thronging the venue of the ‘miracle’. St Joseph’s ENT and Eye Hospital in Kanjirappally alone has recorded 48 cases of vision loss due to photochemical burns on the retina...
There are quite a few people still seeking the miracle, despite the experiences of their unfortunate predecessors and strict health warnings against gazing at the sun with the naked eye. “The patients show varying degrees of severity. They are mostly girls in 12-26 age group. Our youngest patient is 12 and the oldest 60. Most of them were looking at the sun between 2 and 4 pm, when UV1 and UV2 rays are harshest,” Dr James Isaac said.

If people feel compelled to see an image of the Virgin Mary in something, it seems much safer to stick with things like grilled cheese sandwiches or tree stumps.
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Tue Mar 11, 2008
Comments (1)
Donna and Frank Pascariello have a tree on their property that has a light patch on its bark. Of course, the patch MUST represent a religious figure of some kind. This is the rule whenever trees display any kind of discoloration. However, in the case of the Pascariello's tree, no one is sure exactly which religious figure it is. Jesus? Mary? A saint?

I think it looks like a generic ghost.
Categories: Pareidolia
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 27, 2008
Comments (15)
Here's another "Jesus Image in a Tree" for my collection. This one was found by Pennsylvania resident Craig O'Connor. MyFoxColorado.com reports:
By counting the tree rings, O'Connor believes the tree was at least 40-50 years old. As a furniture maker of 25 years, O'Connor has worked with wood and seen plenty of different stains and marks. He says this one is radically different from all the others. O'Connor is a Catholic and believes it's a sign from God. When asked what the message is, he replied that it's like Jesus saying, "Believe in me. I'm still here.  Have faith in me."

This image is a lot easier to see than many of the Jesus-in-a-tree images. But it looks like Jesus has lobster claws.
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 12, 2008
Comments (10)
With the Martian Bigfoot recently making headlines, Dr. Charles Lintott wrote an article for the BBC that traces the long history of Martian pareidolia.

Something about Mars makes us see things that aren't really there. It began with early astronomers believing that the surface of Mars was covered with canals. During the 1960s, some astronomers reported seeing signs of vegetation on the planet's surface.

The image below shows (on the top row) the Martian canals. The bottow row (from left to right) is the "face on Mars" taken by NASA's Viking spacecraft in the 1970s; the fossils that NASA researchers claimed to have found in a Martian meteorite in 1996; the recent Martian bigfoot; and the Martian smiley face (also recently photographed).

Categories: Extraterrestrial Life, Pareidolia, Science
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 11, 2008
Comments (14)
Bob (aka Cranky Media Guy) sent me a link to an article about "Scientific Hoaxes" scanned from the Dec. 1931 issue of Modern Mechanix magazine. I love old popular-science magazines like this. They're a great source of strange information.

Unfortunately whoever scanned this article missed two pages, so you skip from a discussion of the Central Park Zoo Escape straight into a discussion of the Cardiff Giant. Nevertheless, the image of a "petrified foot" on the front page caught my curiosity. The caption reads: "A water-worn stone was once offered to the Smithsonian Institute as a petrified foot. Note the striking resemblance."

The article offers no more information about this unusual gift to the Smithsonian. So I did some research in the Google News Archive and was able to find a reference to the petrified foot in a July 18, 1908 Washington Post article titled "Nature as a Faker":

To the Smithsonian Institution not long ago somebody sent from the Bad Lands of Nebraska what purported to be a fossil ham. It did in very truth look like a ham, and, to render the verisimilitude complete, the bone was actually sticking out at one end of it. Nevertheless, an investigation showed that the alleged bone was in reality a "vaculite" -- an extinct mollusk's shell, rodlike in form -- and the rest of the "ham" was a mere accidental agglomeration of stony stuff.

One day, quite recently, a young man walked into the National Museum at Washington and presented to the anthropologist in charge a petrified foot. It was received with many thanks, though recognized at a glance as a water-worn fragment of rock which had accidentally assumed a shape resembling a foot.

Such chance imitations as these frequently occur in nature. Another one, deposited in the same institution, was supposed by the finder to be a petrified oyster. It looks as if on the half shell: all its parts are wonderfully distinct, and there is even a small pearl in it seemingly. Yet it is not an oyster at all.

Nineteenth-century newspapers were full of reports of animals and body parts found petrified in their entirety, perfectly preserved, which reflected a popular misunderstanding about the process of petrifaction. Soft tissue is almost never petrified, because it decays long before the petrifaction process can occur.
Categories: Pareidolia, Science
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 04, 2008
Comments (12)
17-year-old Matthew Summers used his mobile phone to take a picture of his sister and some friends as they were preparing to go out. Closer inspection of the photo revealed a ghostly face floating near the floor.





Thisislondon.co.uk writes:

His photo joins a long line of apparently paranormal snaps. The most memorable in recent times was a cloaked figure photographed standing in a doorway at Hampton Court Palace in 2003.
However, Ciaran O'Keeffe, a parapsychologist on Living TV's Most Haunted show, has a more down-to-earth explanation for the "child" in Matthew's photograph.
Dr O'Keeffe said: "As human beings we're very good at finding a pattern in randomness and related to that we're good at finding faces in randomness. The term for this is pareidolia.
"First it was ink blots, then things like clouds in the sky and now mobile phone pictures.
"There is no ghost in this picture, just the coincidental effect of pixelation and darkness and light which combine together."

Sure, it's pareidolia. But it also looks like something was either superimposed on the original picture or smudged the pixels. I'd guess it's an artifact created by the software used to compress the size of the image. (via spluch)
Categories: Paranormal, Pareidolia
Posted by Alex on Fri Jan 25, 2008
Comments (27)
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