Wednesday, March 11, 2009


In case you're wondering, the title of this post stands for "Where Would Jesus Be?" For many, it's on a piece of toast. Or a cinnamon bun. Or a rock. The official term for this phenomena is "Pareidolia."
My sister lives in western Florida, just outside of Tampa. While visiting her a few years back, she drove me past an office building on which the image of the Virgin Mary supposedly appeared on a window. There were people camped outside the building, lighting candles and praying to what appeared to me to be nothing more than a grease stain. My sister (a self-described 'liberal Born-Again') agreed this was nonsense. Since then, I send her links to every pareidolia story I come across on the Net, and we laugh. Honestly, don't you think if Jesus (or the Virgin Mary) was going to make an appearance, it would be in Times Square or Piccadilly Circus or downtown Jerusalem? I imagine They both probably have better things to do than make Their presence known in a bag of Cheetos. As an affirmed agnostic, I can't help but think it's like looking for homophobia where it doesn't exist. (Sorry - I know - I promised to stop carrying on about that. Just couldn't help myself).

Pareidolia is not limited to religious images. Here's a perfect example - a photo pf the surface of Mars in which we can clearly (?) see a face:

Or how about this one, from my Facebook page, in which Godzilla appears in the clouds:

In case you're wondering what inspired this post, it's the video below (via), a hilarious compendium of local news shows who end their broadcasts with stories about miraculous sightings in ordinary objects, aptly titled "Finally Tonight, Jesus..." Enjoy.

To quote Homer Simpson, "Help me, Jebus!"

More, anon.


Anonymous said...

Hey Dude,
Just so you know...........I used to work in Clearwater FL and I drove past the building your sister saw many times and the fact of the matter is that nobody ever mentioned in the newspaper or media is that window with the picture of the "Virgin Mary" was actually painted on that window for xmas one year and I believe when they removed it the image was just burned into the window. I've been an atheist for 40 years and remarked to my assistant when we first drove by it that it was a shame people still believed in fairy tales in the 1980's so that particular piece of "art" was there many years before someone noticed it looked like the Virgin Mary.....................

Prospero said...

At least Marx got one thing right...