Tree pareidolia in Goshen, NH


Greg says:

It's a Flickr set of some trees in my backyard.

It had just rained, the trees were wet, and then from the couch, I saw a face. It was so vivid. Who was it?

I was laying down, and the face was only exactly visible from my spot.

The pics are unaltered.



  1. How this might have played out in, say, 1985: “Oh, hey, that sort of looks like a face. Huh.” [goes back to taking a nap]

    How it plays out in 2008: “Holy crap, I have to take some pictures of that, create a Flickr set, and hopefully get on BoingBoing so thousands of people can see it and go, “oh, hey, that sort of looks like a face” and then go back to taking a nap.

  2. There’s a birch tree on a relative’s property with markings on the bark that look exactly like Bob Marley’s face. As in identical to the picture from his Wikipedia article.

    He’s getting a little worse for wear the last couple of years, though. Kind of creepy.

  3. I have Asperger’s, and while I do have mild synaesthesia, pareidolia I don’t do well.

    Spoiler, please?

  4. Is this going to kick off a trend of pictures that show food, clouds, and fauna that vaguely resemble things?

    I can’t really see the face, but then again I usually can’t see the the pictures in those “magic eye” illustrations either. It’s all so frustrating.

  5. Definitely a Dryad. A young one, perhaps no more than a thousand years old.

    One should beware: they do not like to be photographed. Your life may be in grave danger. You can prevent any harm to yourself by propitiating the spirit with an offering. But, by Zeus, do not show this image to anyone else!

  6. Actually, this post has been brought to you by the National Pareidolia Awareness Foundation — increasing awareness solely of the meaning of the word “pareidolia” for over fourteen years.

  7. That’s a grilled cheese sandwich tacked onto the tree, and the sandwich has a face on it. I know of a casino that will pay $28,000 for it.

  8. It looked like the head of a young 1850’s child with collar, full cheeks and vacant black eyes.

    Or a tree.

  9. I love these things.

    My primate brain is always looking for faces.

    A favorite is the “demon” face that showed up in the backdrop of the candidate debate between Bill Bradley and Al Gore. That one sure got people riled up!

    Of course, that thing that shows up on the front of Dick Cheney’s head always gives me a fright…

  10. >>My primate brain is always looking for faces.<< I swear I first read that as "My primate brain is always looking for feces."

  11. Oh my God! It’s the ghost of Ray Walston! He obviously wants “My Favorite Martian” back on the air.

      1. Mark’s nefarious plan to test the pattern recognition skills of BB readers seems to be working.

  12. Are we looking at the spot on that tree, or some face that is made up of the leaves and branches? Can someone outline what we’re supposed to be looking at?

  13. This discussion is now about how this discussion has more comments than the other story about the e-passport cloning.

  14. It’s French Symbolist poet, Charles Baudelaire!

    La nature est un temple où de vivants piliers
    Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles
    L’homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles
    Qui l’observent avec des regards familiers.

    Nature is a temple where living pillars
    Let escape sometimes confused words;
    Man traverses it through forests of symbols
    That observe him with familiar glances.

    I tried to post the original French but was told my “text is wrong”. The text is right.

    Oops! forgot to type in the Captcha. Never mind!

  15. It’s the guy from the Scream painting. He’s taking a cigarette break.

    Or could it be Jack Skellington? Is that tree the entrance to Halloween Town?

  16. Closing your left eye, the face becomes a little more apparent, while closing your right eye it seems to fade and be not-as-noticeable.

    It’s like those fruit-forming-faces study they did.

    The left side of the brain (which controls the right side of the body) is programmed to readily identify faces. This trait thought to be developed as humans evolved into more and more social creatures.

    The right side of the brain recognizes the elements that make up the photo or face, so it becomes less obvious.

    Hmm, I hope I didn’t get those mixed up. Anyway…

    We are programmed to find faces in everything we look at, no surprise we all see one there.

  17. @51 TX_ROOK

    …The right side of the brain recognizes the elements that make up the photo or face, so it becomes less obvious.
    Hmm, I hope I didn’t get those mixed up. Anyway…

    Unfortunately, friend, you did get them backwards. There is some evidence that the right side of the brain is more sensitive to faces than the left side. Although the evidence isn’t overwhelming, there are some hints from neuroimaging, brain injuries, and neurological/behavioral methods that hint at a right-hemisphere advantage for faces.

    Note it isn’t the left eye per se, but the left visual field, because fibers from each eye bifurcate at the optic chiasm and go to both sides of the brain (in everyone but albinos!)

  18. Hy Bng Bng, nt mch gng n tdy? f y r gng t pst ths, why nt th tns f crp lk t, cm n gys stp by fr gd stff, y hv bttr thngs t snd t t th wrld… hp.

  19. This is really not up to Boing Boing par. Or should we all get a sack of potatoes and see if one of them looks like a famous person from history.

  20. Dewynken: “Anyone can plainly see that it is Alice Cooper.”

    I was trying all day to figure it out…. Jimmy Carter? Ozzy – mmmm, no…. Pat Buchanan? hmmm, nah. Mr. Roeper? heh, nope.

    but you nailed it sir.

    Alice Cooper is exactly who I see.

  21. I instantly saw the face, the chest down to the belt (plaid shirt I think) and the left forearm.
    It actually looks like someone reflected in the windowpane.

  22. The real mystery here is why there is no lol-caption.

    “OMG Face Tree is watching me nap!”

  23. Sure it is not a photo reflected in intervening glass? From say a bookcase or other shelf near the couch?
    Good foto, I’ve never seen such an illusion captured on film.
    It looks to me like a Soviet-style portrait pose, although I think “soviet-style” really means old-fashioned.
    Wait! It looks like an author’s foto from a dust jacket. Yeah, that’s it…a leftward looking face…definitely male.
    Geez i can even make out a shirt collar and tie…
    sure there’s no reflection on intervening glass/

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