Or a grilled cheese sandwich? Or a porch door? (Warning: Do not continue reading if you’re the casino owner who paid $28k for that sandwich!) Turns out there’s a term for these sightings of faces or shapes in mundane objects: Pareidolia. David McRaney gets a little cynical about belief in things seen, writing:
Carl Sagan was one of the first scientists to suggest the reason for seeing faces where they aren’t is a survival mechanism.
In an environment like a jungle or a forest, you need only a few details of the face to fill in the rest and see another human being.
When people experience pareidolia in which they believe they can see a religious figure, it’s called simulacra.
It happens fairly often, and sometimes leads to fervor, like the water stain under a bridge in Chicago which has become a beloved shrine.
But we forgive him: his site is tag-lined “a celebration of self-delusion”; and he hasn’t yet explained the Sacramento Mary crying blood tears….