Still more weekend pareidolia: Lookin' for Jesus in all the wrong places

When it rains, it pours (so to speak).

Not wanting to be upstaged by that upstart Sarah Palin making an appearance on a piece of toast, prompting the observation that Sarah Palin is toast, the One True God has decided it is time to show who's really the King of All Pareidolia. I have to admit, though, He's chosen a strange way to do it and a strange place to appear:


That's right. It's Jesus on a ceiling tile:

ARKANSAS CITY, Kan -- He's popped up on trees, sandwiches and even a Cheeto and now Jesus is leaving his mark, so-to-speak, on a ceiling in Arkansas City, Kansas.

The image appeared at the One Stop Body Shoppe, a low-impact weight loss clinic for women, after a rain storm.

"A client was laying here looking up and told me, Michelle, you have Jesus on your ceiling. I just kind of looked at her, and she said you do, Jesus on the ceiling," said Michelle Beech, Manager.

"I think its the silhouette and kind of a partial beard," said Dominique Sartin, Body Shoppe staff member. "She said if it had leaked a little more it would be a beard on the other side too."

So is seeing believing?

"Believing is believing. Regardless of what you see," said Sartin.

Actually, Sartin is correct. Seeing is believing regardless of what you see. That's exactly the problem. So is the fact that people who see these images as signs from God don't realize that it's a problem.

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Would a helpful Xian please tell Jesus to heal a sick tot for once as the tortilla and ceiling panel appearances are starting to wear thin.


Looks to me like Jesus is missing an eye. And possibly a chin. And armpits. And... uhhh... basically all the stuff that lets one identify it as a certain person.

If we have to have pareidolia, why can't someone say they saw a picture of Cthulu on their pet cat or something? That would actually be funny instead of kinda scary. (If you don't get how it's scary, think about it; people are worshiping pieces of toast and stains on the wall. When you're praying to your breakfast cereal, you've got to be a bit wrong on the head.

Looks more like Snake Pliskin to me. I could have sworn he was dead...

While I find a lot of things to admire in some religion and religious people, I gotta say that this particular aspect of it makes even less sense to me than snake-wrangling.

By wolfwalker (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

The choice by so many around the world to remain ignorant despite the opportunities they have to be educated and gain knowledge is at the basis of religion today. Religious belief that leads to pareidolia must be some kind of a mental disorder (a type of schizophrenia?) that needed to be investigated so a cure can be found.

By S. Rivlin (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

The same type of pattern recognition that causes people to see Jesus everywhere is the exact same phenomena that cause people to observe God's intervention in every day events.

Pareidolia is exactly the same phenomena. It shows that humans are really good at finding what they want to find, really good at seeing what they want to see. It is what makes "the secret" work. Wishing for stuff doesn't cause the universe to grant your wish, what it does is distort your thinking such that you think the universe has granted your wish.

This is the same basic phenomena behind all religions.

The Perky Skeptic:

Wow... so I wonder what makes some folks see Jesus in that water stain while others (like, say, me) see a giant set of male genitalia?


I figured if the Christians believed in this all powerful Christ that he would at least show up in better places than a stain! I mean, come on....a stain?

By Craig Willoughby (not verified) on 21 Sep 2008 #permalink

Hm. Me, I see a place where water dripping from above spread out and saturated a piece of ceiling panel.

But, the thing is,humans evolved the ability to recognize patterns as a survival trait. Nowadays,when it's less necessary to notice a bush with it's leaves subtly out of place, people's brains interpret all manner of things as being patterns, where there really is none.

How does anyone know that that stain looks like Jesus?

Are there photos or videos that were taken during Jesus' lifetime? I'd even settle for a portrait painted by someone who actually saw the living Jesus.