2011: The Year in Pareidolia

In any given year, you’ll find news stories about (usually religious-themed) images appearing in unlikely places. 2011 was no exception. Buzzfeed was kind enough to compile a list, including a description of what’s supposed to be in each image. Of course, I see things a bit differently…


Scar from The Lion King

Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock

John Lennon

A wizard in a floppy hat


A sleeping ibis

Sirius Black

The genie from those Bugs Bunny cartoons

Doctor Who credits circa 1970

Billy Baldwin in a Slanket, smelling his hand. I mean, it could be Alec but Billy seems more the hand-smelling type. Definitely not Stephen, though.

Timothy Spall in blue overalls, holding a mug of tea. Or possibly Nick Frost dressed as Princess Leia.

Jason Lee grudgingly signing a contract for “Alvin and the Chipmunks 4: More of the Same Old Chip”, while Rupert Murdoch dances with glee in the background.

Naw, it’s really just a sunset.

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Steve D

Steve D

Steve consists of approximately 60% water and 40% organic molecules, arranged in a configuration that is, among over things, capable of describing itself in this manner.


  1. December 29, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Steve, this cracked me up. Nick Frost dressed as Princess Leia all the way.

    Do you know if there is a special term for pareidolia when the image seen is religious iconography?

  2. December 29, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    If there isn’t, there ought to be. The term “simulacrum” comes up now and then, but I don’t think that covers it.

  3. December 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Yeah, looks like “simulacrum” is often used to refer to the likeness of a god but not exclusively and I think is more often used to describe intentional likenesses.

  4. January 2, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Definitely Nick Frost as Princess Leia. No doubt.

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