Do You See What I See?

As children, many of us took great pleasure in laying on the grass searching the passing clouds for animal shapes. Pointing to a particular cloud, we’d excitedly call out, “Look! I see a bear.”

“That’s not a bear,” our cohort would reply, “It’s a dog.”

At night, we argued whether we saw a man or a rabbit in the moon.

Some believe they see religious images in common objects such as trees, rocks, or even a slice of bread. Shrines are built and thousands flock to view these sacred icons .

The hall and staircase walls in the house I grew up in were highly textured, two-toned, tan and brown plaster. I used to sit on the stairs and look for familiar shapes or images on the walls. Faces, animals, and various commonplace objects reveled themselves to me.

Finding patterns in randomness is called as pareidolia. Wikipedia describes, Pareidolia as a psychological phenomenon in which the mind responds to a stimulus, usually an image or sound, by perceiving a familiar pattern where none exists.

Over the years, I’ve come across many of these patterns or images. I started taking photographs of them several years ago. So, let’s see if you see what I see.


The photo above, of a ghoul peering out of an old oak tree, was taken on a hike at Pinnacles National Park in California. When I first came upon it, this phantom actually scared me. Now it just creeps me out.

Man of the Trees-Pt Lobos

Old Man of the Trees, is an optical illusion in a Monterey Cypress tree at Point Lobos, California.


When I first saw this image, I thought it looked like an ox, chewing on tree leaves. My daughter sees a hippo. Now, I can see both. Really, it’s just an odd tree root growing out of some rocks along the De Anza Trail in California.

Norbert 020517

Disguised as an ancient oak, Norbert, the dragon, is my favorite illusion. He presides over the De Anza trail, keeping hikers safe.

Once thought to be the sign of a neurotic personality pareidolia is actually fairly common. It is now associated with a positive mood and perfectly healthy  Scientists believe observing random patterns in the world around us helps us to make sense of our day to day experiences.  I’m  sure glad they discovered that.

What did you see in my pictures? Do you experience pareidolia?


“Smiles are contagious; let’s start an epidemic”     -Laura Smith

Smile of the Week

Yoshi and Me 010318



10 thoughts on “Do You See What I See?

  1. Those are great examples of pareidolia (I like the dragon best too). I do this all the time with the various swirls in the stone tiles in our master bathroom. This would be a great topic for a link-up… we could all share our favorite pareidolias now that we know it’s not indicative of a neurotic personality disorder :).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Janis
      Yes! Granite and tile counter tops and floors are perfect places to look for and find random objects. Great idea for the link-up. I’ll put one together. I have several more photographs I could share. I will have to dig them out of the archives, but that would be fun.
      Several months ago, when I first thought about sharing my pareidolia photos I was afraid some might think I might be a little on the neurotic side and was glad (maybe a little sad too) to find out I’m just normal.
      Thanks for the link-up idea

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this post and your various creeps! I notice that trees often evoke gnarly images–lots of those in children’s books–never heard of one of them being anything but friendly or well-intentioned, so I think you are safe! Just last night my fan was singing to me…I have auditory visitors as well as seeing things. xoxox

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Susan
      Great to hear from you. Thanks for bringing up the auditory form of pareidolia. Remember back in the 60’s when everyone was all up in arms after playing the Beatles Revolution 9 song backwards and thinking Paul McCartney had died. I believe that is classic auditory pareidolia.
      You’ve been in my thought this week.
      Thanks for listening


  3. Hi
    If you come to the Monterey Bay in California I’d love to take you to see some of these trees. Obviously, I still enjoy searching for the not so obvious in the commonplace. Nature serves up the perfect recipe


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