Pareidolia – The Phenomenon of the Human Mind

Pareidolia is the “tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful, image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern.” As humans, we have the ability to make something out of nothing. Random shapes and patterns can be optimized in our brains to recognize the significance. Things such as clouds have been globally recognized to stimulate our minds to create pictures, faces, animals or anything as a matter of fact.

Looking back at the top picture. Did you see a hand from what appears to be a photo of space? Well, regardless to your answer, they call this the ‘hand of God.’

The human mind works in strange ways, and there is no denying it.


Do you see the Virgin Mary? Image: skepticalprobe

Under ordinary circumstances, psychology explains to us that pareidolia explains many of the modern day delusions are created within the sense perception of the brain. Things such as UFO’s, Big Foot, The Loch Ness Monster and sightings of religious apparitions, can all be explained by this psychological phenomenon. Carl Sagan an astronomer explains that, As soon as the infant can see, it recognizes faces, and we now know that this skill is hardwired in our brains. Those infants who a million years ago were unable to recognize a face smiled back less, were less likely to win the hearts of their parents, and less likely to prosper. These days, nearly every infant is quick to identify a human face and to respond with a goony grin.”

Like newborn’s recognizing faces, we as adults, recognize faces but in a way that is much broader than one of a newborn. Let’s be honest, we are simply exposed to much more. We have lived life seeing things, learning things and recognizing things. Pareidolia is our minds essentially exercising memory and adding something nonsensical or totally random with a face. Someone that we recognize, someone that has significance to you.


Bacon grease Jesus – Image: jesusroi

This is why the Virgin Mary has come back as many foreign things. This is why people talk about the grilled cheese Jesus.

Logically speaking it seems odd and mundane that someone of such historical significance would come back as inanimate objects. Seriously.

I have no doubt that you have probably had this happen to you. Whether it is religious or not, it just happens. So don’t worry if no one else can see it. You’re not losing your mind, there’s a perfectly explainable reason of ‘why’ this is happening to you.

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