We see faces and familiar shapes everywhere we look. In clouds. In the bark of trees (or Ents as they prefer to be called). In the brick wall in the office kitchen. And just glancing at a car, we can tell that some of them are happy (or less than enthusiastic) to see us.

If you tend to see inanimate objects with faces, too, then you’ve encountered the wonderfully weird phenomenon known as pareidolia! It’s an experience a lot of human beings share because we’re wired to look for familiar patterns in random streams of information.

Bored Panda has collected some of the most interesting photos showing things with faces, so scroll down, upvote your faves, and let us know which of these cool photos you liked the most and why. Oh, and let us know if you can’t spot a funny face in any of the photos! We spoke with professor Kang Lee from the University of Toronto about seeing objects with faces in detail, so be sure to read on for the full insightful interview.

And when you’re done with this list, have a look through our earlier posts about pareidolia right here and here. And let’s not forget about this one right here - it's filled with interesting things!

#1

This Is Why Literal Fairy Tales Exist

This Is Why Literal Fairy Tales Exist

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Chancey
Community Member
7 months ago

These are adorable!

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#2

I Thought That Lady Was A Muppet

I Thought That Lady Was A Muppet

brockomaba Report

Slinkman
Community Member
7 months ago

Elmo's cool albino cousin ;)

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#3

What The Hell Is So Funny Steve?

What The Hell Is So Funny Steve?

CloudyAero Report

Hans
Community Member
7 months ago

Neither of the two do approve.

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"Pareidolia illustrates the interaction between the visual cortex and the frontal cortex of the human brain. It suggests that our brain is highly sensitive and expecting to encounter and process some special classes of objects in our environment because they are biological and socially important to our adaptions to the environment," professor Lee explained to us.

"For example, when you are walking in a dark street in the evening, your brain is on high alert to detect whether any threat will jump out any moment. In this case, you are more likely to have face or human pareidolia because it is important for you to err on the side of caution if you mistake a tree as a human being."

The professor pointed out that this is the reason why pareidolia often occurs in ambiguous situations. "However, for some people, their frontal cortex’s expectation for certain objects (e.g., faces) become so high that they see faces in many situations where no faces exist."

"Even in this kind of situation, it is normal. There is nothing wrong with these individuals," he stressed. "Pareidolia is different from paranoia or delusion or abnormal vision of individuals with psychosis. In fact, a recent study shows that those people with pareidolia tend to be more creative. Also, people who are religious may be able to see religious icons in non face objects as well."

#4

These Two Rocks Look Like A Mother Breastfeeding Her New Born Child

These Two Rocks Look Like A Mother Breastfeeding Her New Born Child

xaeminn Report

K2D2
Community Member
7 months ago

Mother nature at its finest. :3

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#5

I Want To Believe

I Want To Believe

mattythedog Report

aglmdo8
Community Member
7 months ago

pareidolia or not, this pebble is amazing !

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#6

Let Us Out

Let Us Out

kabloona Report

Francis
Community Member
7 months ago

What have you done to Frank, the Tomato? :O

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Professor Lee highlighted that pareidolia as a phenomenon shows how powerfully our imaginations (which comes from our frontal cortex) can affect our perception (which takes place first in the visual cortex which is located in the occipital lobe in the back of our head).

He added that pareidolia also tells us that "what we see are not things over there in the world but actually the co-creation of what is out there physically and what is in our mind mentally through our expectations and imaginations."

"Pareidolia is a broader phenomenon as it extends to touch and sound and other sensory channels. For example, you sometimes sense your phone vibrating when it is not, it is a tactile form of pareidolia. When you hear voices in a noisy environment, it is an auditory form of pareidolia."

#7

Dragon Tree

Dragon Tree

nelad1234 Report

Alex Harris
Community Member
7 months ago

I see Charizard.

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#8

Pulled The Door Handle Off And He Was As Shocked As I Was

Pulled The Door Handle Off And He Was As Shocked As I Was

MonsterPooper Report

Ola Polowczyk
Community Member
7 months ago

Hooman, why?!

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#9

Pigeon Poops Portrait Of Itself On A Leaf

Pigeon Poops Portrait Of Itself On A Leaf

Koda_Has_A_Top_Hat Report

Danieletc
Community Member
7 months ago

Shit knows their shit!

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“If someone reports seeing Jesus in a piece of toast, you’d think they must be nuts,” professor Lee previously told BBC Future. “But it’s very pervasive. We are primed to see faces in every corner of the visual world.” According to him, our imaginations exert a very powerful influence over our perceptions.

(On a semi-related note, no wonder we keep bumping into things—we're too busy imagining what it’d be like to fly on the back of a fire-breathing dragon.)

#10

Whatever This Chair Is Going Through I Can Relate

Whatever This Chair Is Going Through I Can Relate

thirddegreebernie Report

Steve
Community Member
7 months ago

I think this chair is my spirit animal...

Marceline
Community Member
7 months ago

You mean, your spirit furniture!

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Aldhissla VargTimmen
Community Member
7 months ago

It looks so sad; I'm feeling for it

tuzdayschild
Community Member
7 months ago

This level of exhaustion doesn't have an English word.

Slinkman
Community Member
7 months ago

I'm done with everyone turning their backs to me daily, sitting on all a stand for...'

AndersM
Community Member
7 months ago

I feel sorry for it. In some weird way?

Raine Soo
Community Member
7 months ago

The chair looks completely defeated.

BusLady
Community Member
7 months ago

The love seat just ended their relationship. Now she's dating the couch.

Mariam Lacey
Community Member
7 months ago

Anyone else notice the pile of leaves behind it that look a person being pinned down by the chair? Lol

Liam Walsh
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

How I feel on waking...

Susann Campbell
Community Member
7 months ago

This is how I feel right now, but no on has put me on the street yet.

Amy Broderick
Community Member
7 months ago

I feel this one to the bones

Ashley Wright
Community Member
7 months ago

Defeated.

Sheryl Thompson
Community Member
7 months ago

I know that feeling HaHa

Renee Schreader
Community Member
7 months ago

I love this one.

azalea bunny
Community Member
7 months ago

i love this chair.❤❤❤

Maggie Dougherty
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

So do I. All of it, the design, and the color, the legs, how high the back is. Like I said, all of it!.❤❤.❤❤

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Nancy Saunier
Community Member
3 months ago

kicked to the curb

Dajana Jovanovic
Community Member
3 months ago

This chair seen some stuff....

Janice Chainey
Community Member
5 months ago

Laughing all the way through these pictures. Pareidolia New word to me, but Have experienced thousands of times in life. (I'm an 84 year old Great Grandmother. ) Janice Burns Chainey. Such a relief from politics!!!

Jamie S. Martindale
Community Member
7 months ago

If Eeyore were a chair...

Chrissy272
Community Member
7 months ago

The lighting of this photo is so nice????

Amy Miner
Community Member
7 months ago

To me the Chair looks like it is on someone. That persons head is on the ground by the tree

Marina
Community Member
7 months ago

poor thing, looks like he woke up with a hangover and doesnt know where it is and what to do xD

Alyssa Linder
Community Member
7 months ago

beauty and the beast: the curse forgot something

BusLady
Community Member
7 months ago

The love seat just ended their relationship. 😢

lorrie rothstein
Community Member
7 months ago

its kind of creepy. it really looks like its done with life

Frank Spencer
Community Member
7 months ago

I KNOW the feeling...

Id row
Community Member
7 months ago

This makes me feel sad.

Azsha Lindsay
Community Member
7 months ago

alice in wonderland

nala simba
Community Member
7 months ago

Tired like an old woman!

Mya Lugar
Community Member
7 months ago

Now maybe he'll believe he needs to lose that weight!

Stacie Wyatt
Community Member
7 months ago

i feel this chair, every holiday break

Mary Ciulla
Community Member
7 months ago

There is a body lying behind the chair. And a skull and dog in the leaves on the tree.

Katie
Community Member
7 months ago

Maybe it's a real person who has turned into an armchair. It could've escaped from the Beast's castle.

Carol Renee Allred
Community Member
7 months ago

Lol

Gabi
Community Member
7 months ago

My heart 😢😢😢😢😢

Donovan Strader
Community Member
7 months ago

after the movie beauty and the beast it just couldnt find another acting gig

Geoffrey Holland
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

It was once a proud and happy new chair sitting in it's new living room and now it's just sad and broken.

Andrea Luann
Community Member
7 months ago

I had to hunt down my favorite illustration from FML and found it not there but a kind soul had a copy. SBR7UC4.png SBR7UC4.png

Emily Karl
Community Member
7 months ago

Eor from Winnie the Poo!

Hieden
Community Member
7 months ago

This ladies and gentlemen is a chair protesting about being sat on. It kind of makes sense as chairs never get any take a load off.

Nandy Nam
Community Member
7 months ago

Hung over :P

Zarih Sundberg
Community Member
7 months ago

Looks tired

PjandBolt
Community Member
7 months ago

The chair is sitting

theXliner
Community Member
7 months ago

It's pooping

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#11

There Is A Lion Wearing Sunglasses On The Belly Of This Grasshopper

There Is A Lion Wearing Sunglasses On The Belly Of This Grasshopper

opi_q Report

Hans
Community Member
7 months ago

Cool lion

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#12

A Cute Dog But Actually Just Rust

A Cute Dog But Actually Just Rust

XiaoRJ Report

Nickitams
Community Member
7 months ago

Looks like a watercolour painting!

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According to Live Science, people who are religious or have very strong beliefs about the supernatural see faces in objects and landscapes more often. Cosmologist Carl Sagan thought that pareidolia is a survival mechanism that helps us recognize faces from a distance and determine whether we’re being approached by an ally or an enemy.

Meanwhile, legendary artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci saw pareidolia as an artistic device: “If you look at any walls spotted with various stains or with a mixture of different kinds of stones, if you are about to invent some scene you will be able to see in it a resemblance to various different landscapes adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, wide valleys, and various groups of hills.”

There’s also something called the electronic voice phenomenon, aka auditory pareidolia, where people hear hidden messages that were supposedly placed there on purpose by songwriters. And that… that’s given rise to plenty of conspiracy theories, like the one that began circulating in 1966 that musician Paul McCartney had supposedly died and been replaced by a lookalike. Conspiracy theorists looked for clues in The Beatles songs and album covers.

#13

The Snow On Top Of This Mountain That Looks Like A Lizard

The Snow On Top Of This Mountain That Looks Like A Lizard

mcspecies Report

Hans
Community Member
7 months ago

Behold, the great white Lizard.

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#14

I See Sid

I See Sid

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Iris
Community Member
7 months ago

Where have I see this dude before ? Was it Ice age ?

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#15

This Overflowing Cupcake Ended Up Looking Like An Elephant

This Overflowing Cupcake Ended Up Looking Like An Elephant

Skyblue_Monty Report

FULL_EFFECT
Community Member
7 months ago

An elephant in a barrel bath

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#16

I Found A Piece Of Driftwood That Looks Like A Dragon's Head

I Found A Piece Of Driftwood That Looks Like A Dragon's Head

MarliePwns Report

Hans
Community Member
7 months ago

This is almost too perfect

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#17

Scared Switches

Scared Switches

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Ronel du Plessis
Community Member
7 months ago

The poor things

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#18

This Ashy Potato That Looks About Done With Life

This Ashy Potato That Looks About Done With Life

meebit Report

Francis
Community Member
7 months ago

does it burn when harry potter touches it?

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#19

This Boiled Egg Exploded While Cooking And Looks Like A Snail

This Boiled Egg Exploded While Cooking And Looks Like A Snail

monkeyman9608 Report

Nea
Community Member
7 months ago

Oie this is so cute

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#20

Chomp

Chomp

mok525zy Report

DforDorothy
Community Member
7 months ago

Cool pic!

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#21

Looks Like There's A Goddess In This Orange

Looks Like There's A Goddess In This Orange

theone1221 Report

Danieletc
Community Member
7 months ago

Kist the Sun goddess

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#22

I’m Flying

I’m Flying

claporga Report

Don Golosso
Community Member
7 months ago

Why did I hear this in Ralph Wiggums voice?

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#23

My Car Seems Pretty Happy About The Snowstorm

My Car Seems Pretty Happy About The Snowstorm

nearpractical Report

Daria B
Community Member
7 months ago

Looks sarcastic to me.

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#24

"Yer A Hazard, Harry"

"Yer A Hazard, Harry"

tiatiaaa89 Report

Nicole Blomkamp
Community Member
7 months ago

It's the boogey man from nightmare before christmas!!!

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#25

Bubbles That Form A Little Cat Shape

Bubbles That Form A Little Cat Shape

HowAboutNo69 Report

Danieletc
Community Member
7 months ago

The breed is ... let me guess ... a teacup?

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#26

This T. Rex Shaped Cactus

This T. Rex Shaped Cactus

P10_WRC Report

Shawn
Community Member
7 months ago

The Cactasaur Rex aka the Derpasuar

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#27

This Shadow Looks Exactly Like A Man’s Head. Lone Peak, Big Sky, Montana

This Shadow Looks Exactly Like A Man’s Head. Lone Peak, Big Sky, Montana

clarkbarniner Report

Kesyra
Community Member
7 months ago

I see another face in the back of that face.

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#28

I Wonder Which Song Was On

I Wonder Which Song Was On

Axel-Magoche Report

Danieletc
Community Member
7 months ago

Pole dancing

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#29

Dog Stick I Found

Dog Stick I Found

AidanOrsargos Report

Daria B
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

It is the old wizard's magic staff and at the same time his summon creature.

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#30

The Pattern On My Dog's Chest Looks Like A Cat Mid Sneeze

The Pattern On My Dog's Chest Looks Like A Cat Mid Sneeze

VintageRice Report

Lee roberts
Community Member
7 months ago

Such a cute dog

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#31

She’s Having Twins

She’s Having Twins

plazma421 Report

Slinkman
Community Member
7 months ago

Britknee and kneemo

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#32

This Orchid Really Looks Like An Eagle

This Orchid Really Looks Like An Eagle

kYlejAEnz Report

Potterhead Unicorn
Community Member
7 months ago

These are called pink moth orchids if anyone's interested!

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#33

What Did He See

What Did He See

HashTheDankEngine Report

DforDorothy
Community Member
7 months ago

I don't know,but he's having a running nose ever since.

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#34

Alien Pickle

Alien Pickle

MaxMelisson Report

Tee
Community Member
7 months ago

The bottom picture messed up pickles for me

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#35

My Drink Looks Like A Crocodile Is Looking At Me

My Drink Looks Like A Crocodile Is Looking At Me

wikings2 Report

Nea
Community Member
7 months ago

Are you sure this is pareidolia and not real something inside?

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#36

The Ice In My Glass Sort Of Looks Like A Face

The Ice In My Glass Sort Of Looks Like A Face

HOOKMAN-BUTTZ Report

Hans
Community Member
7 months ago

Creepy!

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#37

This Pure-Bread My Friend Got At A Restaurant

This Pure-Bread My Friend Got At A Restaurant

HolyCoconuts Report

Slinkman
Community Member
7 months ago

Well this is a unique bread of dogs.

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#38

Found A Rock That Looks Like A Shark

Found A Rock That Looks Like A Shark

gdarb Report

glowworm2
Community Member
7 months ago

It looks like a Bullet Bill from Super Mario.

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#39

Stupid Sexy Flanders

Stupid Sexy Flanders

abdlforever Report

Troux
Community Member
7 months ago

Hahah perfect Simpsons reference!

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Note: this post originally had 107 images. It’s been shortened to the top 39 images based on user votes.

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