Pareidolia: Bedside table looking at me

Recognize anyone???

 Writing in his 1995 book The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan theorized 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.”

Seeing Jesus in your morning toast, Frank Sinatra in a cloud or even Captain Spaulding (you should know him) in a tree stump.

But why does the pareidolia phenomenon occur? The scientists believe it’s a product of evolution since previous studies noted the phenomenon among monkeys, suggesting the brain function has been inherited from primates. Thus, for survival purposes, the human mind is wired to read information from people’s faces such as recognizing who they are, whether they’re paying attention to us or whether they’re upset or happy to see us or intend harm. It’s better to have a neural mechanism that has evolved to be expert at detecting faces especially those that reflect threat—even if it’s overly sensitive than one that is not sensitive enough.

For example, this mechanism might lead to a false positive as when your boss throws you a look while you’re speaking in a meeting, and you interpret that she’s displeased with something you said. Later she remarks how pleased she was with the point you made in the meeting. The next time you see a ghost staring back at you from your vegetable soup, don’t fret. It’s not sending you a covert message or out to get you. More than likely it’s just the activation of a neural mechanism in your brain overprotecting you from threats, keeping you safe, and helping you face life’s challenges.


You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep seated need to believe.

“If the string breaks, then we try another piece of string.”

How do you spell ‘love’?”
“You don’t spell it…you feel it.”


“Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.”
 For me, it’s driving over the Sagamore Bridge in an unusual heavy snow storm to reach Chatham a drive of over 90 miles, before a special store closes .  The owner, a pleasant women,  was getting ready to secure the doors over an hour early due to weather, when I explained what I was here for. She smiled and whispered with a friendly grin, “come in”.  You must have someone special at home to drive in this weather under these circumstances and for so many miles. I didn’t have to answer, she saw my reply in my eyes.  As she packaged my treasure, she wished me a safe trip back.  I said Happy Holidays, and she replied back the same. As I was walking out the door, she explained how she was suppose to close earlier in the day but lost track of time.  I was glad she didn’t.

December 25th. “A hug is always the right size.”