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Once again, it's time to play spot the blurry face resembling the iconic image of Jesus (or the Virgin Mary, or whatever).

Cat Fur Jesus
The Johnson family of Indiana recently adopted a kitten. To their surprise, they discovered that the fur on its side contains a pattern that looks like the face of Jesus. They admit that people who don't see it "might think we are weird crazy or something," but they're fine with that. I'd say they haven't quite reached the weird crazy stage yet. Maybe just a bit weird cuckoo.

Kelly Ramey of High Ridge, Missouri found Jesus in a bag of Cheetos. "I looked at that and I thought, 'Oh my that looks like Jesus on the cross.' It was just like wow," she says." Wow is right! Her friend, however, thinks it looks like a horse's head.

Virgin Mary in Sink
Found by a plumber working in a Salinas, California restaurant. "The new owner of the restaurant says the building has housed several different businesses and he sees the image as a blessing of hope for the new restaurant." I don't know about blessings, but they definitely need some bleach cleanser.

An Angelic Image
Recently an "angelic image" (left) was spotted in the window of a Color Tile store in Porterville, California. Huge crowds started turning out to see it, but within a few days the image was gone. Luckily, someone else spotted an image of Christ on the cross in a nearby palm tree (right). "To have two sightings in the same place — it confirms that the image on the window was not fake," said one onlooker. You can't argue with logic like that.

Allah Meat
A diner at a restaurant in northern Nigeria was about to sink his teeth into a piece of gristle, when he noticed the Arabic word for God in the meat. The restaurant then found three more pieces of gristle that also bore the name of Allah. The owner of the restaurant says, "When the writings were discovered there were some Islamic scholars who come and eat here and they all commented that it was a sign to show that Islam is the only true religion for mankind."
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Thu Jul 31, 2008
Comments (12)
Not to be outdone by Christian fundamentalists, Islamic fundamentalists have come out with their own anti-evolution treatises. Among the most prominent of these is the Atlas of Creation by Harun Yahya. It's a long work (and more is on the way) consisting primarily of page after page of examples showing that modern-day species can be found in the fossil record. This is supposed to demonstrate that evolution hasn't occurred.

Volume 1 contains the example of the Caddis Fly. The illustration in the book shows the modern-day fly in the foreground. Circled in red in the background is the fossil analogue, preserved in amber. (No, they don't look similar to me either).

But look again at the modern fly. Skeptics noticed it had a steel hook coming out the bottom of it. In fact, it's not a Caddis fly at all. It's a fishing lure created by Graham Owen. Harun Yahya lifted the image (right) from Owen's site, apparently not realizing it wasn't a living creature, and pasted it into his book. Other fishing lures by Owen are scattered throughout the Atlas of Creation.

You can download the entire text of the Atlas of Creation, free of charge, from Yahya's site. So I did, but I couldn't find the Caddis fly in there. (It's supposed to be in Vol 1, p 244). I'm assuming Yahya must have removed it. However, I did notice that in Part 2 of the pdf (page 282 of the text) the Mayfly has a steel hook coming out of its belly. (Thanks, Jona!)
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos, Religion, Science
Posted by Alex on Thu Jul 24, 2008
Comments (6)
The New York Times debunks the myth that "If you get a tattoo, you can’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery":

The eight rabbinical scholars interviewed for this article, from institutions like the Jewish Theological Seminary and Yeshiva University, said it’s an urban legend, most likely started because a specific cemetery had a policy against tattoos. Jewish parents and grandparents picked up on it and over time, their distaste for tattoos was presented as scriptural doctrine.

But even if the cemetery thing is a myth, some scholars believe that tattooing itself is against Jewish law:

Rabbi Alan Bright, a spokesman for the Jewish Funeral Directors of America, dismissed the cemetery adage as “a load of rubbish,” but he said that tattooing was a no-no. He quotes Deuteronomy 4:15, which commands Jews to take care of their bodies, as evidence. But he noted that Jewish law prohibits many things that secular Jews do without a second thought. “The Torah prohibits anything negative that affects the body,” he said. “Smoking is more of a violation of Jewish law.” As are drinking alcohol in excess and overeating.

Not being Jewish, Jewish law has played little role in the fact that I've never gotten a tattoo. Though I have considered getting a small jackalope tattooed on my ankle.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Religion
Posted by Alex on Fri Jul 18, 2008
Comments (7)
I've been falling behind on my pareidolia updates. So I'm lumping all the recent sightings together in one post:

Spumoni Jesus
Some patrons of Hatch Family Chocolates in Salt Lake City claimed to be able to see the image of Jesus in a 3-gallon bucket of spumoni ice cream. Me: I can't see it at all. Spumoni Jesus started to melt, so they ate him. (Thanks, Bob!)

Face in Log
This one has been getting a lot of attention. Ernest Ward, a groundskeeper at Magnolia Cemetery in Maryville, Tennessee, cut a tree limb, revealing a discoloration that looks like a human face. (What, not Jesus?) The Telegraph thinks it looks like the Queen.

Palm Tree Jesus
A family in Margate, Florida spotted Jesus on a palm tree outside their home. The guy gets around. To me that face doesn't even look vaguely like the traditional, iconic representation of Jesus.

Texas Virgin Mary
The Herrera family of Midland, Texas spotted the Virgin Mary on a tree trunk outside their home. Many locals gathered at their house on the fourth of July to see it for themselves.

Winter Park Jesus
Joe Lewis, a resident of Winter Park, Florida, claims that shadows created by street lights outside his home form an image on a tree that looks a lot like Jesus.

Virgin of Guadalupe Found on Rock
California-resident Jaime Garcia says he was down-on-his-luck until he found a rock that seems -- to him at least -- to show an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe appearing before Saint Juan Diego. In the thumbnail, Garcia's rock is on the right, and on the left is a representation of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Finding the rock inspired Garcia to quit drinking and smoking. He says: "People used to think I'm crazy. Now, they're thinking different." Cranky Media Guy says: "Yeah, now they think he's out of his f---ing mind!"
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Sun Jul 13, 2008
Comments (12) allows you to check the probability that the rapture has happened -- just in case you look out your window, see no one there, and get worried. Right now the rapture is listed as "Getting Close." Here's how it determines the imminence of rapture:

I made an assumption that the people who would regularly check RaptureCheck would be dispensationalist Christians concerned about the rapture. I further assumed that many, if not most, of these people would be raptured when and if the rapture occurred. RaptureCheck tests for the 100 most recent accesses from unique IP addresses of the above image. The rate at which the accesses are increasing or decreasing determines what it displays.

If I understand this correctly, it means that the more unique visitors receives, the less likely the site is to think that rapture has occurred. This logic seems questionable. After all, if rapture does occur, and all the sinners start checking rapturecheck to find out what's going on, the visitor rate will increase dramatically, causing the site to think that the rapture hasn't occurred.

Rapture Check is the creation of Cindi Knox, who writes that she's also a member of the band Terrycloth Lobster, "the greatest band you've never heard" (because it doesn't exist).
Categories: Religion
Posted by Alex on Wed May 21, 2008
Comments (6)
Cranky Media Guy wants to know "Who in the press can we implore to PLEASE MAKE THIS NONSENSE STOP?"

He's referring to the most recent finding of a holy potato. From

A potato destined for the fryer has become a holy relic to some Berliners after a woman cut it open only to find an image of a cross inside.
Birgül Balta, 49, was cutting potatoes for French fries at her home in Berlin's Charlottenburg district when the cross-shaped cavity inside one of the spuds stopped her cold.
"There was a strange sort of crackling sound like pressure was being released. When she opened it she found that - two perfect crosses," Balta's husband, Robert White, told The Local.

Of course, I assume Cranky knows the answer to his question. There is no one we can appeal to. The nonsense will never stop. Ever.

Related post: some other holy spuds
Categories: Pareidolia, Religion
Posted by Alex on Thu May 08, 2008
Comments (11)
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)
Father Francesco Saverio Bazzoffi, a priest in Florence, is being investigated for fraud for performing "fake exorcisms." From the Catholic News Agency:

Prosecutors alleged that Father Francesco Saverio Bazzoffi would “stage shows” before crowds of more than 400 people at the House of the Sainted Archangels, an organization he founded.
According to prosecutors, the priest’s associates would “pretend to be possessed by demons” and Father Bazzoffi would allegedly exorcise them using obscure rites.
The priest would then offer to heal members of the audience who were sick and solicit donations to his organization.
“During Mass, the priest spoke in Aramaic, and strange things happened. I do not know if it was group hysteria or our suggestibility, but I remember one old woman screaming in a man's voice while five big guys held her down,” one witness told police, according to the Telegraph.

So as long as he can prove that his associates really were possessed by demons, he should be able to beat the charges.
Categories: Religion, Scams
Posted by Alex on Mon Apr 07, 2008
Comments (7)
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,, 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)
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