Pharyngula

Ribbed for your partner’s pleasure!

i-5bfa56fb7bdaf635ff234496502a3c57-virgin_mary_turtle.jpg

Am I some kind of preeevert or something? Because when I see this turtle’s plastron, which some say has an image of the Virgin Mary, I see something completely different. When did a featureless tube with a nipple-like bump at the top acquire this peculiar association with virginity, I wonder?

Comments

  1. #1 Steve_C
    August 30, 2006

    Sweet Jesus. Why? Why? Why? What’s the fricking point of a “virgin” Mary appearing miraculously on a turtles belly? Are butt plugs ever ribbed?

  2. #2 beajerry
    August 30, 2006

    Looks like an arrowhead to me.

  3. #3 Chris Clarke
    August 30, 2006

    That’s not the gender of human-genital-region-associated-imagery that visual representations of the canonical Blessed Virgin generally call to my mind.

  4. #4 CJ
    August 30, 2006

    Looks like a headpiece for a suit of armor to me.

  5. #5 Steve Watson
    August 30, 2006

    The Virgin Mary wears hoops under her robe? (That’s what the lower bumps look like) Staying with the hooded-figure motif, I’d say it looks like a Muslim woman in traditional head-to-toe cover-up. So maybe God does have a message for this turtle’s owner — but it’s not the one she’s thinking…..

    Seriously: the owner says the patch appeared recently. What would cause a turtle to develop that sort of marking? Disease? Age? Change of diet?

  6. #6 JbCharleston
    August 30, 2006

    I remember a Carl Sagan TV segment where he’s describing a ancient and very bloody battle on a Japanese bay. Hundreds if not thousand of Samurai died and sank in the bay. Occasionally a fisherman will bring up a crab with a perfect image of a Samurai on its back. Locals believe it to be a soul of a Samurai who dies there. Sagan asks how such a crab could be created without some divine intervention. His answer is simple and correct – we did it. Whenever a fisherman hauls up a crab that vaguely looks like a Samurai, they throw it back. Over hundreds of years, only the crabs that have the image survive. And evolution selects those with the best image. It was a beautiful and simple example of the power of evolution.

    I think you should put that turtle back and spread the idea more widely. Wait a few hundred years and the turtle will have a very clear, distinct, and voted-on image of the virgin. And people will still think it’s a miracle. Sigh.

  7. #7 ekzept
    August 30, 2006

    said holy interpreter of turtle bellies has named one of the poor things “Mary”, the other “Joseph”. if they are truly female and male (how would the holy interpreter know?), what if they mate? will holy interpreter toss ’em both into the fire because they’ve violated the direct Will of God?

    seems extreme, but, then, asking for your kidney back because the recipient converted to Hinduism is extreme, too.

  8. #8 Michael Kremer
    August 30, 2006

    If you do a google images search for “Our Lady of Guadalupe” you will perhaps understand better what’s going on here. The icon of Mary as she is said to have appeared at Guadalupe is well-known to Catholics and famous in Mexico. (I am not endorsing the idea of miraculous images in tree trunks or on turtle’s bellies, or in water stains on highway overpasses — as happened in Chicago last year — just trying to explain the resemblance some are seeing in the turtle case…)

  9. #9 Ethyl
    August 30, 2006

    I have a problem seeing simulacra. They almost always look just like random blobs to me. I wonder if there’s something wrong with my brain…

  10. #10 Steve_C
    August 30, 2006

    Koo koo koo. We understand what they think they are seeing.
    Still don’t know what the point would be.

  11. #11 Aerik
    August 30, 2006

    Are butt plugs ever ribbed?

    Why, yes. All you have to do is google image search butt plugs and voila! Plugs of all shapes and sizes. Why’d you even bother to ask?

    Here’s your Carl Sagan video, JbCharleston.
    YouTube: Carl Sagan on Evolution – real PBS feel to it.

  12. #12 Steve_C
    August 30, 2006

    I had no doubts. I was being facetious…
    I’m sure there’s even one shaped like “Our Lady Of Guadalupe”.

  13. #13 Comstock
    August 30, 2006

    SteveC says

    Sweet Jesus

    And I say, Sweet Mary. Here’s a chocolate cond–er, holy image from a couple weeks back.

  14. #14 Steve_C
    August 30, 2006

    I saw it. Looks like a chocolate stalagmite.

  15. #15 Bronze Dog
    August 30, 2006

    No, it’s a naked Ted Nugent wearing a collapsed poor barrel. You know the guy. Looks kind of like GeeWhiz.

  16. #16 ekzept
    August 30, 2006

    ah, there’s an opportunity here! after all, the shapes of virgins, holy or otherwise, are a body plan.

    i wonder what the actual mechanism on turtle bellies is that gives it differential coloration?

  17. #17 Narc
    August 30, 2006

    Just another example of confirmation bias. They see the Virgin Mary because they want to see the Virgin Mary. The undeniable truth is that that image is obviously Stevie Nicks.

  18. #18 Theron
    August 30, 2006

    Ethyl: My thoughts exactly. And this woman lives in Burbank, so even with her Anglo-sounding name, she’d be well aware of Guadelupe imagery, even if she’s not Hispanic.

  19. #19 Rowan
    August 30, 2006

    I dunno…it looks more like making me believe in Druids or the Nine of Mordor…

  20. #20 Carlie
    August 30, 2006

    Seriously: the owner says the patch appeared recently. What would cause a turtle to develop that sort of marking?

    My guess is this was the first time she actually turned it over and looked.

  21. #21 Mena
    August 30, 2006

    Theron, I think that it’s Burbank, IL. Zheesh, is there something in the water in the Chicago area? First the vulva, er, virgin Mary under the overpass and now this!
    “I said it’s the truth, so now they all believe it,” said McVane.”
    Sigh.

  22. #22 say no to christ
    August 30, 2006

    Cheeses crust people see that woman and her son anywhere and everywhere.(shaking my head and laughing)

  23. #23 Michael Kremer
    August 30, 2006

    Mena:
    There is a large Hispanic population in the Chicago area, so that it’s Burbank IL rather than CA doesn’t matter as much as you think. Hispanic population of
    Burbank, IL: 11%
    Cook County: 20%
    Chicago: 26%
    (Wikipedia)

  24. #24 Manduca
    August 30, 2006

    Male turtles have fatter tails, longer toenails on their front feet, and a more concave plastron (lower shell) than females. See illustrations here. Kinda hard to tell from the virgin mary turtle’s picture, with the owner’s finger on the tail.

  25. #25 Manduca
    August 30, 2006

    *!#@%&*! HTML tags

    here are the turtle sexing pictures.

  26. #26 Mistinar
    August 30, 2006

    I think it’s one of the Daleks. We should pobably be concerned about this.

  27. #27 meridian
    August 30, 2006

    Back in the winter, my bf’s recently-converted-to-fundie sister saw “Jesus” on her TV screen while the power was off. (Yes, it was a shadow created by the tree outside the window. Yawn.) Well, the family was all over her about it, and later that night, as we were cooking dinner, we discovered a cremini mushroom that looked like a pair of buttocks.

    Took pictures of it and was going to send it to her. Look, we’ve got Jesus’ butt on a mushroom!

    Then we decided it’s probably just better not to play those games …

  28. #28 Theron
    August 30, 2006

    California, Illinois, what’s the difference, really? Completely arbitrary geographic designations, random lines on the map. I can’t be held responsible!

  29. #29 dinogami
    August 30, 2006

    Yet another (sadly unimaginative) person suffering from pareidolia which, if it isn’t already, should be a diagnosis in DSM IV.

  30. #30 Mena
    August 30, 2006

    Michael Kremer, there is a large hispanic population all over the Chicago area. I’m in the western suburbs and a good percentage of the signs are in Spanish and English. I just didn’t think that that’s what Theron thought.
    Theron, California had the chocolate Jesus/Mary/whatever, Illinois had the underpass fiasco. It matters to us! ;^)

  31. #31 HP
    August 30, 2006

    Images of the Virgin Mary have always looked like vulvas. Her robes are the labia and her head is the clitoris. It’s not an accident — it’s part of the way that Christianity spread by co-opting the symbols of earlier pagan religions.

    For bonus yonic fun, rotate the Jesus fish so it’s standing on its nose. Remind you of anything?

  32. #32 Babbler
    August 30, 2006

    Seriously: the owner says the patch appeared recently. What would cause a turtle to develop that sort of marking? Disease? Age? Change of diet?

    I guess God made the miracle go away since all us secluarist were asking to many questions.

  33. #33 Ethyl
    August 30, 2006

    Re: “Why, yes. All you have to do is google image search butt plugs and voila! Plugs of all shapes and sizes. ”

    There’s a website called something like Divine Interventions (??) that has all manner of dildos, butt plugs, and various other accourements shaped like all sorts of religious personnel.

  34. #34 Ick of the East
    August 30, 2006

    …..For bonus yonic fun, rotate the Jesus fish so it’s standing on its nose. Remind you of anything?

    What, you mean this?
    http://img75.imageshack.us/my.php?image=0ichty0vw6.gif

  35. #35 Ichthyic
    August 30, 2006

    as to the whole virgin mary/xian fish imagery…

    anyone interested might want to investigate the adoption of such imagery from pre-existing secular and pagan sources:

    http://www.halexandria.org/dward097.htm

    http://altreligion.about.com/library/glossary/symbols/bldefsvesica.htm

    It never ceases to amaze me how many xians I meet who are completely ignorant of the source of much of the imagery, symbolism, and ritual that has been subsumed into their religion.

  36. #36 raindogzilla
    August 30, 2006

    I wonder if anyone will ever find an image of Mary’s Joseph, history’s most oblivious cuckold?

  37. #37 Keith Douglas
    August 30, 2006

    dinogami: If it occured persistently and with unusual frequency, I agree. But if it was just “happened once” I dare say it would be require all of us to be so dagnosed. I remember waking up early one morning and the shadows in my bedroom produced a very face like appearance on my bedsheets or something and I remember part of my brain insisting that there was a face there and another part going: no, you silly brain-part, you sleep alone, that can’t be a face! (The same sort of “divided consciousness occurs in peripheral vision in my experience too.)

  38. #38 ts
    August 30, 2006

    My god always talks to me thru turtle plastrons.

    Think I Ching.

  39. #39 RavenT
    August 30, 2006

    That’s an interesting anecdote about what you called “divided consciousness”, Keith. Years ago, I had a patient who had been a soldier on the losing side of a civil war in his country. He insisted in perfect seriousness that one side of his body was missing. We’d show him the X-rays in an attempt to reassure him that everything that should be was present; I’d massage and carry out passive exercises on his arm and leg on that side, and he’d agree that I was touching him on a body part that was present. The minute I stopped touching him, though, he’d be back to insisting that side of him was missing.

    I don’t believe he was faking, either; as far as anyone could tell, he seemed to be truly experiencing both states sequentially or simultaneously. I’ve always been curious about how that kind of divided consciousness could possibly work. Our best guess was that he felt he had lost a part of himself in the territorial loss of the civil war, and was somatizing that in some way. Of course, as plausible as that sounds, we had no way to verify or disprove it.

  40. #40 yiela
    August 31, 2006

    When I was a teenager I slept in a room one time that had varnished plywood walls. I woke up in the morning and low and behold, there was the face of Peter Frampton there in the plywood pattern! It was so cool and would you believe it, I really liked Peter Frampton back then. I’m not sure what he was trying to tell me but it was a powerful experience.

  41. #41 Chelydra
    August 31, 2006

    The dark plastral spot is perfectly normal for a painted turtle (Chrysemys picta), and that particular shape is to be expected in the Chicago area- an intergrade between the pattern of the western and midland subspecies (bellii and marginata). As for gender, it’s way too young to be showing the elongated claws of a male, and the tail looks like it’s been bitten off down to a stub, probably by “Joseph.”

  42. #42 Krystalline Apostate
    September 1, 2006

    Looks like the head of some obscure deep-sea cephalopod to me, but maybe I hang out on this site a little too much?

  43. #43 say no to christ
    September 1, 2006

    Holy shit! I took a good look at my hooch and found the virgin Mary mother of god down there. I have a devine twat. Of course my husband will only allow women to come worship with him as we all know his testosterone will not tolerate other men. Lol

  44. #44 Finback
    September 3, 2006

    [Sauron]: I SEEEE YOUUUUUU.

  45. #45 Keith Douglas
    September 3, 2006

    RavenT: The philosopher Dan Dennett sort of calls the unity of consciousness the “user illusion”. Basically, that usually everything is stimulated about the same way, and all our systems can reach a settled agreement about what’s out there. But sometimes, due to disease or stroke or just plain weird situations (like maybe in the case I described only half my brain was awake or something) this “agreement” breaks down, and wackiness ensues.

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.