Pareidolia, That Thing Has a Face (I Saw Bob Marley In a Tree)

Pareidolia - Is the perceiving  faces or patterns where none really exist. 

Rorschach Black Cats

Rorschach Black Cats

Without pareidolia Rorschach Tests use this phenomena to evaluate the subjects psychological state of mind, by evaluating the subjects perceptions of  insignificant blotches.


birds with happy face






The Pareidolia Game we have all played - Finding shapes in clouds.


We see a lot of faces by looking up. There is the face on surface of Mars and of course the Man in the Moon which spurred these monstrosities. 

I always saw faces in things, too many things. I like to think that it was because I had such a vivid imagination. Probably it had more to do with me being a excessively paranoid and anxious. The faces I saw were rarely happy, they were usually horrified, anguished or mad.

Most faces that I see are renditions of Edvard Munch's The Scream. If it's not a completely accurate depiction of the painting the feeling is definitely there.  Then there was the biggest culprit in scaring the living daylights out of me during my childhood, the wood panels! 

Once I saw the pattern in the wood I couldn't un-see it. And the worst part is how the patterns repeat so they were always there and always watching, from all angles. It became a tortured game of hide-and-seek. Sometimes I'd inadvertently find another scary face hiding behind a table or the couch. It was an exercise in self control not to look for them even though they were watching you, watching you, watching you.

So my experience with facial pareidolia has not been stellar but  it is positive for most people. Many see religious and spiritual figures and take this as a sign to the faithful.

Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese
Jesus Christ

So while the rest of the world is seeing the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich...

(although I think it looks more like Greta Garbo)


...or Jesus Christ on a piece of toast...

...or the Mother Teresa Sticky Bun...

...I saw Bob Marley in a tree.

Yes that's right! As an adult, I've learned to ignore the faces and block the mental game of looking for them. But every now an then I see one that is too awesome to ignore.

While traveling in Costa Rica my friend showed me a picture he took of a tree.  He said he thought the tree was cool and that's wh he took it. I took one look and immediately saw Bob Marley. The colors of the lichen and moss covered tree made it perfect. 

Tell me what you think?