Pareidolia. Sounds like an exotic island and a dreaded disease at the same time. But it’s neither!

According to the Skeptic’s Dictionary, Pareidolia is a type of illusion or misperception involving a vague or obscure stimulus being perceived as clear and distinct. In other words it’s the phenomenon whereby your brain tries to make sense of things by recognizing patterns. Or more simply, “that familiar thing you’re seeing ain’t real.”

However the best way to explain it is by way of example. Here is the photograph of the Face on Mars from the Cydonia region, taken during the Viking missions to the red planet.

The “Face on Mars” was one of the most strikin...But there are many examples with a religious theme, this one being the funniest by far:

dogbuttjesusAnd off course the more mundane:

English: Example of Pareidolia in clouds. The ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finally this one, strictly speaking is not an example of Pareidolia, but a head banging song about it.

So the next time you see something on your toast that looks like a deity or Pope WhatsHisFace, don’t go telling everyone you’ve experienced a miracle. It will only be a miracle if nobody laughs.

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