Saturday, July 28, 2012


Last post I said I'd post some photos of some strange things on the pendant in this necklace:

The metal disc is a lid from some vintage thing I can't recall well.  I oxidized it twice--the first time I left it Novocan for a couple hours because I liked the way it was taking the patina really unenvenly and interestingly.  I rinsed, and air dried it then noticed what looked like a Nefertiti silhouette.  Upon closer inspection, it looked like almost photographic-quality eyes in there.  See it?  it's a profile facing left.  You can see an eye, nose, ear through the rusty blobs.  The only enhancements I made are lightening the non-profile parts away to make the silhouette more apparent.
The weirdest thing is--it looks a lot like my sister.  So that was kind of novel but I really wanted to use it and it was way too uneven and the likeness kind of bothered me a little so I decided to oxidize it again to even the color out and wash away any oddness.

It worked--the metal became much darker and even, so I hammered it a tad and sealed it, incorporated it into the necklace.  When I was working on the photos for the Etsy listing, I noticed a small, partial facial image with an almost photographic quality--couldn't believe it.  I've never seen any such image in the thousands of things I've altered, and now there are two images on the same piece of metal?  Here it is, within the square designation:
It looks like an old tin type style portrait of a man--you can see his entire forehead, both eyes, nose, and a hint of a moustache and the image kind of fades.

Don't get me wrong--I'm not asserting there is anything paranormal--just pretty coincidental and curious. From Wikipedia: Pareidolia ( /pærɨˈdliə/ parr-i-doh-lee-ə) is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon or the Moon rabbit, and hearing hidden messages on records when played in reverse.

I've written a bit about pareidolic things; they really intrique me. The most interesting to me are photographic quality instances and others that seem to have deep meanings attached upon investigation. I just googled the term and one of the first images that came up is this one, first published by my husband on his site and then expounded upon by me at my column, which got picked up by Boing Boing and was a minor web meme for a couple days in certain circles:


Weird, eh? A big face in the middle of the photo--but look again. It's actually just a toddler with a hat sitting on his father's lap. If you still can't see it, put your pinky over the head's 'hair' (which is in reality just foliage in the background) and you'll see it. I was pretty intrigued with this photo and looked very closely at it and found some other strange features which I wrote about here:

Another interesting case of pareidolia I wrote about here, involving a morphing Virgin Mary apparition in Salt Lake City. I was contacted by some local PBS people making a documentary about folklore/religious phenomena and apparitions, but I never heard back after we emailed a couple times. I keep meaning to check to see if that thing was ever produced.

Update: if you still can't see the child-on-knee, the forgetomori person colorized the photo so the figures stand out; the kid is in white:

More of my pareidolia-centered articles: 

Yabba Dabble Doo: How Aleister Crowley Introduced the Iconic grey Alien

Shadow Under this Red Rock: Problems of Pareidolia


  1. In my collection of old photos are many examples of what you describe here...incomplete hints of stories.

  2. Really interesting stuff! Recently I read 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children' and had to buy the book afterwards, I was so fascinated. The story was built around the author's collection of old photographs. Some of them are SO WEIRD.

  3. I do not see a baby but I think I see Ringo.

  4. Old photos are filled with interestingness. Patty; I'd love to see some of yours.
    Juliette, I'll have to take a look at that book!
    Cynthia, I've added a colorized photo that makes the kid easier to see!
    I'm now being reminded of a really weird old photo coincidence that happened to me--I'll write about it in a post soon.

  5. It's such a strong human trait to create meaning from patterns. I remember seeing scary faces in the wall paper when I was little. Took me absolutely ages to find that damn toddler in the photo though!!