A collection of fun things that look like other things

Apophenia is a term used to describe a number of common human behaviors including illusory correlations (the root of much superstition), probability matching, and pareidolia. This term generally refers to the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns in random data, or data which are not consistent with the perception.

Infants will stare longer at the configuration on the left than they will the right (Goren, Sarty, & Wu, 1975)

Infants will stare longer at the configuration on the left than they will the right (Goren, Sarty, & Wu, 1975)

Pareidolia is the tendency to perceive familiar objects or pattern in unrelated stimuli. For example, something as simple as a colon followed by the letter “P” is perceived as a person with their tongue sticking out ( : P ). This tendency develops with experience, but there are some images, such as faces, for which we appear to have an innate preference. Infants exhibit a preference for faces just minutes after birth. They will stare longer at a face-like configuration of dots than they will the same dots in a different configuration.

creepytreeThe phenomenon occurs because humans naturally seek familiar patterns to help us to identify objects in the environment. Faces, for example, are extremely important for the survival of social creatures like us, so we “see” them everywhere. There are several websites with photo galleries illustrating this tendency. One of my favorites is an extremely creepy tree photographed and posted in a forum by Matthew Ward of Cookeville, TN.

On the following pages you will find things that look like other things…

Truly Amazing Faces — A few favorites which are so detailed they seem purposeful even to the skeptic

Holy Food — Jesus, the Virgin Mary, & others appear in edible form

Clouds — Beyond bunnies & duckies

More “Signs From God” — Religious apparitions come in many forms

Miscellaneous — Trees, rocks, flatware, smoke & fire, and even injuries form religious icons and other spooky stuff

WARNING: Items found on these pages may be considered offensive by some. If you do not have a VERY good sense of humor about your beliefs, view them at your own risk!


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