Respectful Insolence

A little pareidolia, anyone?

Ya gotta love it. Whether it be the Virgin Mary under a freeway overpass on W. Fullerton Avenue in Chicago or on a window in Perth Amboy, NJ, or the face of Jesus on a shell, on the wall of a shower, on a sand dune, a potato chip, or (my personal favorite) a pierogi, it would seem that human capacity to attribute miracles to the tendency of the human brain to see images in patterns is never-ending.

This time, Jesus has appeared to a man in Connecticut, who, according to this story, is selling holy hardware on Ebay. (Where else?):

MANCHESTER, Conn. Feb 26, 2006 (AP)– Thomas Haley was unloading supplies for his job at Hardy’s Hardware when he said something odd caught his eye: the face of Jesus Christ on a piece of sheet metal.

Now, Haley and a co-worker are hawking the holy hardware on eBay, hoping potential bidders will agree that the blurry oil stain on the sheet metal does, indeed, resemble Jesus.

“I mean, it hasn’t done anything miraculous as of yet, but seeing it is kind of groovy,” said Haley, 23. “Just seeing it brightens people’s day.”

Haley said he was unloading a supply truck two weeks ago at the Manchester hardware store when he turned a corner and was awe-struck by the holy likeness gazing back at him from the $15.49 piece of sheet metal.

Since then, Haley and 18-year-old co-worker Jonathan Jackson have shown the piece to a few other workers and customers, and even took it on a short pilgrimage to a nearby hair salon. They say several people agreed with their assessment, although a few suggested it looks more like legendary rock singer Jim Morrison of The Doors.

“Some people said, ‘Are you sure it’s Jesus?’ and I think, ‘Who else would come to give us a sign, Groucho Marx?’ ” Jackson said. “I think it’s a good thing. Maybe it’s trying to give some people hope.”

Apparently so much hope that these guys are trying to get a “buy now” price of $10,000 on Ebay.

Sadly, the link to Ebay wasn’t in the article. I looked for it on Ebay and was surprised to see just how many things with a purported face of Jesus are for sale there. However, I think I found it here:

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I can sort of see a face there, but have trouble really seeing Jesus. It is rather psychedelic-looking though.

Maybe my faith just isn’t strong enough.

(Hat tip: Big Heathen Mike.)

Comments

  1. #1 tim gueguen
    February 27, 2006

    Personally it looks more like Frank Zappa to me than Jesus.

  2. #2 outeast
    February 27, 2006

    You haven’t yet heard about the Mohammed fish? (Links to pictures ‘clarifying’ the miraculous script – and disagreeing over where it is! – may be found in the comments.)

  3. #3 bad Jim
    February 27, 2006

    For a randomly stained piece of sheet metal it’s not a particularly poor work of contemporary portraiture, but I seem to see a third eye and a second left cheek.

    How is anyone supposed to know whether a given image actually represents anyone whose face we’ve never seen? Jerry Garcia I’d recognize. Perhaps even Lincoln, Washington, Voltaire or Diderot. Carlos V, from his many portraits and his most memorable jaw, certainly.

    But Jesus or Mohammed?

  4. #4 Ali
    February 27, 2006

    I think it looks more like James Dean with spindly arms raised:

    http://i23.ebayimg.com/03/i/06/5a/25/57_1.JPG

  5. #5 a schaefer
    February 27, 2006

    now that they are selling holy hardware it can’t be long before we get the “holy handgrenade”.

  6. #6 Qalmlea
    February 27, 2006

    I forget what animal it was, exactly, but it was something with a shell that lived off the coast of Japan. Peasants would throw back any of them whose shell looked like Samurai helmets…so now they ALL have shells that look like Samurai helmets. :^) (Just think of the selective breeding possibilities for religious icons… Keep it quiet, release them one at a time onto the market… ;^)

  7. #7 DJ
    February 27, 2006

    Hey, it’s David Hasselhoff!

  8. #8 BronzeDog
    February 27, 2006

    Qalmlea: It was a species of crab, and they tended to have shells that looked like puckered samurai faces. I think the scene was near an old battlefield, so the crabs were supposedly reincarnated samurai who died in the battle.

    As for the specific pareidolia du jour, I see Mr. Fantastic and Clint Eastwood merging with a moai.

  9. #9 Eight Tons of Geese
    February 27, 2006

    Extract from the memoirs of Madeupname Notreal,

    I first realised I was blessed when, one day stepping out of the shower, I noticed what I took to be a birthmark on my left buttock. Upon closer examination with the help of some mirrors and my neighbour’s young daughter, we discovered that it was actually the face of Mother Teresa.

    We thought little of it until, several days later, I was sitting on a horse riding to the local stoat polishers convention. Imagine my surprise when the elderly horse suddenly developed great youth and vigour, running and jumping in fright at the sight of a UFO landing.

    I thought it might be the flying saucer having the rejuvenating effect upon my equine steed, but Jesus appeared to me in vision when I fell off the horse and landed headfirst on a passing police car.

    Jesus told me (in a Texan accent) that my buttocks were blessed with the holy sign of Teresa, and that any living thing – such as the horse – coming into contact them would be healed with the quantum energy of the Lord.

    That night, I experimented by placing my buttocks on the chest of my asthmatic mother as she slept. A holy light flowed from them into her, and the next morning she awoke, magically relieved of her malady.

    Over the next month, I healed many people in the same way, by the laying on of buttocks, and soon aquired a reputation. One doubter challenged me to sit upon his nose to cue his cold. Although the symptoms persisted, the deeper sickness was cured when, after just one face sitting session, he pronounced himself spiritually enlightened and rushed off in great haste to spread the news.

    All that was mere months ago, and now I help millions by having them send their problems to me by email, and for a small charge I effect a healing by sitting on the computer, pouring forth my energy therefrom into the internet. Personal sittings can be arranged, and I have placed my orbs at the disposal of many famous politicians and film stars.

  10. #10 BigHeathenMike
    February 27, 2006

    Much kind thanks for the hat-tip! The image looks WAY more like Wally from Leave It To Beaver, if you ask me. Wally or perhaps Boon from Animal House wagging his finger at Flounder and Pinto…new pledges, man. You can’t trust ‘em.

    I’m also reasonably certain Jesus was in the cafeteria food fight scene.

  11. #11 clone3g
    February 27, 2006

    They say several people agreed with their assessment, although a few suggested it looks more like legendary rock singer Jim Morrison of The Doors

    Of the sheet metal riders on the storm Doors, no doubt.

    Here’s another good Ebay auction:Howard Stern Grilled Cheese

  12. #12 G. cuvier
    February 28, 2006

    Qamlea, BronzeDog,

    The species you’re discussing is known as the Heike Crab. It is common to the area around Dan-No-Ura, Japan. This was the site of a famous battle in which the last samurai of the Heike (alternately, Taira) family were killed. Due to the selection pressure of local fisherman, the crab population ended up with a carapace that resembled a stylized facemask.

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