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Status: PareidoliaThe latest face of a deity to be seen in a random object is the face of Jesus that some people claim they can see in the trunk of a tree on North Clinton Avenue in Rochester, New York. They're now calling it the Jesus Tree. Most of the time, when people start claiming to see the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich or Jesus in an oyster shell, I can at least make out the outline of a face. But in this case I can't see anything at all. Maybe you need to have more faith in order to be able to see it.
Status: In my opinion, a case of parrot pareidoliaVictor is (or rather was) a budgie that, according to its owner, could speak in context. In other words, Victor could not only mimic words, as many birds can, but also carry on meaningful conversations. Victor has been a topic of discussion on the internet for over four years. However, I just became aware of him thanks to an email from Gretel Shuvzwichinstov. So here are the basic facts about Victor, as I understand them:
Victor belonged to Ryan Reynolds who, as he became aware that Victor was saying intelligible things, began to record him. Victor's conversations go something like this: Victor so cute. What will you do for Victor? Give me some carrot. I get lots of cheese, mmmm, cheese, cheese. So I talk too fast, so whatever! Reynolds has made many audio recordings of Victor available on his website. There are also videos of Victor speaking. Victor died in 2000, so it's impossible for anyone else to study him. Which is one of the reasons why a lot of people suspect Victor is simply an elaborate hoax concocted by Reynolds.
Another reason why this all might be a hoax is that budgies are not generally known for being able to carry on meaningful conversations. Also, Reynolds seems to be one of the very few people who can extract anything intelligible out of the weird noises Victor made. Though I can definitely catch the occasional word, most of Victor's squawks sound like something out of The Exorcist to me. I half suspect that if you played them backwards, you'd discover Victor was muttering Satanic curses in ancient Aramaic. If the Electronic Voice Phenomena advocates (the people who swear they can hear coffee pots talking to them) got hold of Victor, they would probably conclude he was channelling spirits from beyond.
In Reynolds' favor, he seems to passionately believe in Victor and, more generally, in the idea that birds possess the capacity for complex speech. He states that:
A majority of the people that come to this site embrace it for what it really is. A truthful study of a talking parrot that could speak in conversational language. However the claims that some make about it being a hoax are ridiculous and have no grounds whatsoever. Individuals who make these claims should understand that they are slandering me, especially if they say it in an open forum in writing. I do not take this lightly as I have worked very hard on these sites during the past few years to be libeled so unfairly.
So my hunch is that Reynolds is sincere (i.e. this isn't a deliberate hoax), but he's convinced himself there's something meaningful in a bird's random chatter. Making this an example of audio pareidolia.
Pareidolia is defined as the perception of meaningful images in random patterns. In other words, seeing things that aren't really there. For instance, people might see a face in a cloud. Or they might see the Virgin Mary in the window of a Boston hospital. When people start seeing religious images on the walls or windows of buildings, it almost always leads to good business for the business affected, as massive crowds flock there to see the image. So now there's a company calling itself ISeeJesus.com that will facilitate the appearance of religious images at your place of business via 'special prayer techniques.' How you take advantage of the crowds that will then flock to see the image is up to you.
A very extensive collection of Pareidolia data has been collected by a guy calling himself The Folklorist. Pareidolia, in case you don't remember this word from high-school english class, is the phenomenon of seeing meaningful images in random patterns. Examples would include seeing the number 666 on the wall of the Alamo, seeing the figure of the Virgin Mary in the window of a Boston hospital, or seeing the head of an Indian chief in your door.