Seeing familiar objects or patterns in otherwise random or unrelated objects is called Pareidolia. Etymologically speaking, the word derives from the Greek words pará, “beside, alongside, instead [of]” and eídōlon “image, form, shape”.

Pareidolia is something most of us experience but few of us know how to pronounce.

For the record, it’s:
(This according to my phonetics, the real sites offer pronunciations like, pæɹ.aɪˈdəʊ.li.ə. You’re welcome.)

Familiar examples of Pareidolia include:
The Man in the Moon – a human face smiling down at us from the lunar surface. The fact that the “face” is an illusion created by the shallows and depths of the surface does not preclude us from seeing it. And I’m pretty sure we’ve all seen it.

Not THIS man, but none of the moon photos I found made the ‘man’ easy to identify.

Shapes in Clouds – different combinations of groups and types of clouds lead to the different formations our minds identify. A favorite lazy summer day pastime.

We saw the most beautiful cloud formation Sunday. It was a giant, detailed wing. Maybe belonging to the bird in the previous photo, maybe belonging to an angel in the skies. The photo does not do it justice, it was truly majestic.

Faces in inanimate objects – called Facial Pareidolia, not only do humans recognize faces in objects, but we tend to assign emotions to them, as well.

One of my favorite examples of Facial Pareidolia, lol.

I know there’s a lot going on, still, again, whatever, but I’m asking you to please take a moment to find familiarity, comfort, and joy in your surroundings. Up in the sky! In the face of a meter, the shape of a bud, or the back of a spider.

The signs* are there, you just need to see them.

*Every time I drive past this repaired fence line on Cherry Valley Road, I wave and return the greeting. Such a friendly fence. Really makes my day. 😀

About Mary Fran Says

I am an artist, crafter, designer and writer. I enjoy working with mixed media-- applying visual and tactile manipulations to telling a story. Not a lot of market for that, though, :), so I'm focusing on short story submissions and novel completions. Yes, plural. Lots of beginnings, too many ideas, not enough focus.
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