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 Pareidolia keeps me laughing
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dimossi
Skeptic Friend

USA
141 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2002 :  13:33:07  Show Profile  Visit dimossi's Homepage  Send dimossi an AOL message Send dimossi a Private Message
This most recent news story of people flocking to see an image of the Virgin Mary in a tree scar, got me laughing...again. For those that didn't already know, there is a whimsical word for this freaky phenomenon. It's called pareidolia". What a great word for such a weird thing. And there never seems to be any lack of it.

Pareidolia has to be one of the funniest things on this planet. It is amazing what people will consider a miracle. I used to shake my head in disbelief when I found out about a recent case of pareidolia. I now find that it is so extremely bewildering that I simply laugh.

A couple weeks ago I decided to have some extra fun with pareidolia...

Just about every day at lunch, I play a little game of "spot the pareidolia". My co-workers and I go to lunch and I point out pareidolia that can be "seen" in random patterns in food, walls, floors, etc. Then I tell the waitress/waiter to look and see the "miraculous image" I found. It sometimes causes quite a stir as they run and tell all the other credulous workers about the image. We never have a boring lunch hour; that's for sure. ;-)

I have come up with my own word to describe these super credulous believers who always seem to "see" this pareidolia and equate it with being a miracle. I call them pareiholics! :D

Anyone got any pareidolia pics, stories, or comments to share?

Here is my favorite:


Description of image from the site:
quote:

In May of 1996 my landlord stopped by my apartment to share with me, something, that I would have to call a true miracle! In his hands was a blood stained plastic bandage strip that had been covering a small scrape on the knee of his young niece. When he showed me the blood stain I could hardly believe what I was seeing! The blood stain on the bandage clearly showed the image of a face! I asked him if I could take a scan of the bandage so that I might share this vision with the world. He agreed, and I now present the scan of the bandage for you to witness. ( http://mind-site.com/jc )


"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." [Philip K. Dick, science-fiction author]

[Fixed your URL tags]

Edited by - tokyodreamer on 07/22/2002 06:28:26

filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2002 :  14:07:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
A couple of weeks ago, I found a rat at the pet store that had a marking on it's back that looked for all the world like a crucifix. Excited, indeed thrilled by this obvious miricle, I bought it, brought it home, and, with due ceremony, fed it to the mocassin.

f

Evolution is such a simple idea, almost anyone can misunderstand it. -- Theodore Dobzhansky
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dimossi
Skeptic Friend

USA
141 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2002 :  19:07:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit dimossi's Homepage  Send dimossi an AOL message Send dimossi a Private Message
quote:

A couple of weeks ago, I found a rat at the pet store that had a marking on it's back that looked for all the world like a crucifix. Excited, indeed thrilled by this obvious miricle, I bought it, brought it home, and, with due ceremony, fed it to the mocassin.

f

Evolution is such a simple idea, almost anyone can misunderstand it. -- Theodore Dobzhansky





That's classic.

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." [Philip K. Dick, science-fiction author]
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Boron10
Religion Moderator

USA
1265 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2002 :  19:18:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Boron10 a Private Message
Filthy, did you name it Martyr Mouse?

-me.
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The Rat
SFN Regular

Canada
1342 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2002 :  19:26:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit The Rat's Homepage Send The Rat a Private Message
quote:
Anyone got any pareidolia pics, stories, or comments to share?


Back in the late sixties a branch on the birch tree in my parent's yard started to display a classic 'madonna' image. Full body, long hair, flowing robe, the whole bit. It finally grew unrecognizable about 15 years ago.

DAMN! Coulda milked that sucker for years! But the parking on their street is already tough enough.

;^)

Bailey's second law; There is no relationship between the three virtues of intelligence, education, and wisdom.
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2002 :  22:57:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
Ah, that mocassin (Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti)! He's about 4 feet long, weighs about 9 pounds, and will eat anything you throw in his cage. My favorite snake, therefore, he gets the special rats. His name is Anthrax, due to his evil disposition. I keep another: Goblin. She's the same thing, but more polite. Next year, I'm going to put them together, and in due course, we will be blessed with yet more mocassins. Can't have too many mocassins.

Anyhoo, I find all of these holy sightings utterly ridiculous. I've read of them drawing crowds to do no more than look at a dirty window with an odd patten in the grime. Yeesh!

Maybe I should've kept that rat. Might could have ripped off the faithful with it.

Ah well. The mocassin was hungry.

f

Evolution is such a simple idea, almost anyone can misunderstand it. -- Theodore Dobzhansky
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dimossi
Skeptic Friend

USA
141 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2002 :  06:22:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit dimossi's Homepage  Send dimossi an AOL message Send dimossi a Private Message
More pareidolia in the news:

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_635332.html?menu=

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." [Philip K. Dick, science-fiction author]
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gezzam
SFN Regular

Australia
751 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2002 :  10:12:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit gezzam's Homepage Send gezzam a Private Message
I remember seeing a really attractive blonde at a nightclub once, but luckily my friends reminded me that I had my beer goggles on.

I would rather be the offspring of two apes than be a man and afraid to face the truth.
-- Thomas Huxley
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dimossi
Skeptic Friend

USA
141 Posts

Posted - 09/07/2002 :  11:14:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit dimossi's Homepage  Send dimossi an AOL message Send dimossi a Private Message
Pareidolia from other cultures:

Muslim pareidolia:
http://www.einterface.net/gamini/miracleislam.html
(Allah's messages in a tomato, an egg, and some beans)

Hindu pareidolia:
http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_663962.html
(Hindu Lord Ganesha in a potato)

And a recent news story about a CATTLE FARMER WITH CHAINSAW vs. PAREIDOLIA IN A TREE:
http://www.fresnobee.com/local/story/4304560p-5324338c.html

and the winner is....

CATTLE FARMER WITH CHAINSAW


Pareidolia is proof - not of miracles - but that credulous people are prone to interpreting vague or obscure stimuli as miracles.

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." [Philip K. Dick, science-fiction author]
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Physiofly
Skeptic Friend

USA
90 Posts

Posted - 09/07/2002 :  16:26:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Physiofly a Private Message
quote:
Pareidolia is proof - not of miracles - but that credulous people are prone to interpreting vague or obscure stimuli as miracles.


Pareidolia works for the same reason visual illusions work - the visual system is cued to recognize shapes, lines and other patterns and will fill in missing details in an attempt to create a pattern that the viewer can compare to memory and recognize. It's useful for identifying the leopard in the grass or the pope in the pizza (with due credit to Father Guido Sarducci).

"Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs that a
deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions." - Niccolo Machiavelli
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Slater
SFN Regular

USA
1668 Posts

Posted - 09/07/2002 :  18:11:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Slater a Private Message
Has any one here read Lamb by Christopher Moore (one of the funniest writers ever) the subtitle is The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal.

One of the scenes in the begining of the book happens in Nazareth when Jesus is eight. One day at lunch everybody in town starts complaining "Hey! There's a picture of some kid on my bread!"

-------
My business is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves to fact, not to try and make facts harmonize with my aspirations. ---Thomas Henry Huxley, 1860
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dimossi
Skeptic Friend

USA
141 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2002 :  23:12:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit dimossi's Homepage  Send dimossi an AOL message Send dimossi a Private Message
Wow....pareidolia or just plain silliness? LOL:

Thousands in Thailand are worshipping puddle shaped like Buddha's footprint -

http://www.thesentinel.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=67725&command=displayContent&sourceNode=67252&contentPK=2602650

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." [Philip K. Dick, science-fiction author]

Edited by - dimossi on 09/16/2002 23:14:03
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dimossi
Skeptic Friend

USA
141 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2002 :  23:18:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit dimossi's Homepage  Send dimossi an AOL message Send dimossi a Private Message
Wow....this one is classic:
(Jesus on a NO PARKING sign)
http://www.alpineobserver.com/topnews/stories/121202_jesus.html




"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." [Philip K. Dick, science-fiction author]
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PhDreamer
SFN Regular

USA
925 Posts

Posted - 12/25/2002 :  12:48:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit PhDreamer's Homepage Send PhDreamer a Private Message
So any dark thing with lighter area in the middle is an image of Jebus? This is getting ridiculous. I can't see anything in that sign.

I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through suffering and misery.
-Agent Smith
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moakley
SFN Regular

USA
1886 Posts

Posted - 12/25/2002 :  15:27:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send moakley a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by PhDreamer

So any dark thing with lighter area in the middle is an image of Jebus? This is getting ridiculous.


I see Frank Zappa.

A couple of years ago my wife and I were talking a boat tour (a 3 hour tour) along Pictured Rocks shore line on Lake Superior. Pictured Rocks are sand stone cliffs where minerals leach out of the rocks. Through the light and dark and tan of the sand stone you could, from these stains, imagine just about any image you wanted to. I badly wanted to scream histerically about having seen Mary in one of the mineral stains, fall to my knees, etc. etc.

Life is good

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. -Anonymous
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Infamous
Skeptic Friend

85 Posts

Posted - 12/26/2002 :  11:31:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Infamous a Private Message
Same type of phenomenon as the face on Mars, or the Satans seen in the smoke from the World Trade Center during 9/11 attacks.

There is an entire section of the human brain devoted to recognizing faces. The right combination of light and dark areas will cause the brain to say "Aha! That's a face!" in places where no faces actually exist.

Then there is the lack of proper brain function, which causes some people to see these "faces" as miracles, instead of recognizing that they're just illusions.
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