Monday, September 22, 2008


pareidolia - a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon, and hidden messages on records played in reverse. The word comes from the Greek para- —"beside", "with" or "alongside"—and eidolon—"image" (the diminutive of eidos—"image", "form", "shape"). Pareidolia is a type of apophenia.
I was pleased to find a word for this condition, one I've had all my life. Visually that is. I've never heard messages on a record or tape played backwards, although I have heard my name called by barking dogs and the wind. (We prefer to be called 'differently lucid', thank you very much).

Yesterday was Sunday, and while I was driving through the mountains and hiking around Lily Lake, I felt the beating heart of Nature and the Presence of the Divine so strongly, and I wondered...why does anyone in Colorado need to go to church? Why wall oneself up in a building when all of outdoors is right there waiting?

The leaves are turning here, and for the first time in the fourteen years I've lived here I appreciate the aspens. Having dismissed them as 'just yellow' , yesterday I really saw them. A rich gold, that turns to molten glory when the sun shines through them. Wow. It also rained a bit, at it always seems to do when I go up to Estes Park. And now, a couple of photos, just because I like to share them.


Jenn said...

That is cool! I actually count on pareidolia in my daily job and never knew it before. (Faux finishing definitely makes use of this!) I went to the wiki but can't find if it only applies to some people. They had a clock with a perceived sad face for example. Can anyone see this or do some people need to be told that is what "is there" to see it? Never knew there was a term for it either, thanks for the learning lesson! Great photos, Estes is so beautiful & I'm glad you enjoyed the fall scene this time around :)

Ginger said...

oh differently lucid one.....i see faces in textured walls and tiles trying to escape and angels show me pictures in the clouds to amuse me.
i hear the wind say my name a lot too. i didn't know i was differently lucid, i thought i was just...a tad touched.

i was thinking about the aspens today. we seem to have a lot more color around here this fall than normal. must be all of the heat and moisture we got this year.

kate said...

'Touched' is good. Anyone can be a pareidoliac (possibly not an actual word, but Shakespeare made up words, we still use them, so there ;) ) - I think it's part of how the brain works.

Bridgete said...

I do this all the time too. I found an almost perfect image of the shape of Texas on my ceiling the other day. Interesting.

I like new vocabulary. It's fun to have a word for something. =)