We’ve all been there. You see a lone trash bag on the corner of a street, waiting for the salvation of being taken out of sight, and for a moment, you’re like 99.9% sure it’s a dog. In fact, a dark-haired Australian shepherd. It’s still a bag, but you’d bet on your soul it’s not.

First, you’re not going mad and second, the chances are, you have just experienced a phenomenon known as pareidolia. It happens when you see inanimate objects with faces or bearing some human-like appearance. And it’s something our crazy brains were wired to do and that’s looking for familiarity in virtually everything, even the most random and strange stuff.

So fasten your seatbelt, we’ve got you a fresh batch of hand-selected examples of pareidolia as compiled by Bored Panda to feast your eyes on. Psst! Check out more of this amusing stuff in our previous posts here, here, and here.

#1

Sometimes Mother Nature Can Be Creepy (Chesaning, Mi)

Sometimes Mother Nature Can Be Creepy (Chesaning, Mi)

Jennifer Yanik Hall Report

#2

I Found A Mushroom That Looks Like A Little Owl

I Found A Mushroom That Looks Like A Little Owl

miss421 Report

Sawdust
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Looks more like an owl than it does a mushroom!

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Previously, Bored Panda spoke with professor Kang Lee from the University of Toronto about seeing objects with faces, a phenomenon which has a perfectly scientific explanation.

"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.

In fact, our inner intention to detect things and patterns familiar to us is so strong that we often see them where no such thing could possibly exist. And we’re aware of it! "However, for some people, their frontal cortex’s expectation for certain objects becomes so high that they see faces in many situations where no faces exist."

#3

I Have This Trunk Knot On A Tree In My Backyard That I Always Thought Looked Like A Regency Era Couple Kissing. Today, I Decided To Bring Them To Life

I Have This Trunk Knot On A Tree In My Backyard That I Always Thought Looked Like A Regency Era Couple Kissing. Today, I Decided To Bring Them To Life

chiquitamichi Report

Although seeing things where they don’t exist, and especially human faces, may sound and feel like you’re going mad, Professor Lee assured us the phenomenon is totally normal and happens to many of us.

“There is nothing wrong with these individuals," he stressed. Turns out, “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,” the professor added. Also, some people can be more prone to seeing things than others, like those who are very religious, since they “may be able to see religious icons in non-face objects as well."

#5

Cat Is Surprised By The Atomic Explosion

Cat Is Surprised By The Atomic Explosion

smartyy Report

#6

Turtle With A Reflection That Resembles A Face Of A Man

Turtle With A Reflection That Resembles A Face Of A Man

Gatimon Report

#7

The Way My Ice Pack Is Defrosting Looks Like A Polar Bear

The Way My Ice Pack Is Defrosting Looks Like A Polar Bear

EricDangerRose Report

#8

This Rock That Looks Like A Severed Head

This Rock That Looks Like A Severed Head

VVHYY Report

#9

The Pattern On My Dogs Chest Looks Like A Cat Mid Sneeze

The Pattern On My Dogs Chest Looks Like A Cat Mid Sneeze

VintageRice Report

#10

This Jalapeño Looks Like A T-Rex

This Jalapeño Looks Like A T-Rex

AberrantDevices Report

#11

Donald Trump Found In A Dogs Ear

Donald Trump Found In A Dogs Ear

BanksyBhoy Report

#12

My Brain MRI Looks Like The Grinch

My Brain MRI Looks Like The Grinch

indiaisthebestalways Report

#13

Woke Up And Discovered My Wife Moved Our Coat Stand Yesterday

Woke Up And Discovered My Wife Moved Our Coat Stand Yesterday

gruesomeflowers Report

#14

Cat Formed By Cracks Above My Light Switch

Cat Formed By Cracks Above My Light Switch

spedzop Report

#15

My Potato Looks Like It's Trying To Escape Itself

My Potato Looks Like It's Trying To Escape Itself

Moonri Report

“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.

#16

You Know You're In Trouble, When Your Mom Strikes This Pose

You Know You're In Trouble, When Your Mom Strikes This Pose

EvansBrad Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I stand like that a lot. I must be perpetually pissed off.

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#17

This Blob Of Hand Cream I Squeezed On My Hand Looks Like A Kitten

This Blob Of Hand Cream I Squeezed On My Hand Looks Like A Kitten

yum_disc Report

#18

Whilst Walking Into A Kitchen I Saw This Guy

Whilst Walking Into A Kitchen I Saw This Guy

teamoth Report

#19

Sun's Reflection On My Drinking Glass Creates Bart Simpson’s Skull

Sun's Reflection On My Drinking Glass Creates Bart Simpson’s Skull

0zymandias21 Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

And, Bart has his arms up, trying to conjure up something.

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Another theory about why we see faces in random objects and places has to do with the belief that we developed pareidolia as a survival mechanism. For example, Carl Sagan, an astronomer, suggests that pareidolia helps us recognize faces from a far distance and determine whether it’s the enemy or an ally we’re looking at.

He also believes that the feature was more prominent in babies. “Those infants who a million years ago were unable to recognize a face smiled back less, were less likely to win the hearts of their parents, and less likely to prosper." Some even claim that therefore, this survival allowed pareidolia to go through generations.

#22

There’s A Sid On My Sister’s Floor

There’s A Sid On My Sister’s Floor

DuckRubberDuck Report

#24

I Thought This Gourd Looked Like A Snail

I Thought This Gourd Looked Like A Snail

snaz27 Report

#25

Godzilla Cloud

Godzilla Cloud

willgravedigger Report

#26

Best Eggplant Ever

Best Eggplant Ever

stormrazor2 Report

#27

This Tree Looks Like Swamp Thing

This Tree Looks Like Swamp Thing

arkan01d Report

Eva the Egg
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

just imagine looking out of the window at night and seeing that monster...

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#28

The Piece Of Paper That Is Frozen To The Back Of My Fridge Looks Like A Wiener Dog

The Piece Of Paper That Is Frozen To The Back Of My Fridge Looks Like A Wiener Dog

nighteeeeey Report

#29

Accidentally Created A Porcupine By Pouring Instant Coffee Over An Americano

Accidentally Created A Porcupine By Pouring Instant Coffee Over An Americano

fishdust Report

Paizleypie
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It looks like he's drinking your coffee through a straw.

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#30

After My 17th Near-Heart-Attack, I Realized- I Really Need To Move My Lamp

After My 17th Near-Heart-Attack, I Realized- I Really Need To Move My Lamp

5_Frog_Margin Report

#31

Happy Water Buffalo I Found

Happy Water Buffalo I Found

Harcourtfentonmudd1 Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If this is a dentist's office, this might be the only happy thing you'll ever find.

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#33

This Snowman Air Bubble In My Soy Sauce Packet

This Snowman Air Bubble In My Soy Sauce Packet

WillBrozInc Report

#34

Butterfly Looks Like An Animated Fox

Butterfly Looks Like An Animated Fox

Kachowski_god_666 Report

#35

This Knot In The Wood Looks Like A Frog

This Knot In The Wood Looks Like A Frog

____Io_oI____ Report

See Also on Bored Panda
#36

Dog In A Dog

Dog In A Dog

jacobyh7 Report

#37

Recently Made Cupcakes And This Piece Of Snail-Looking Burnt Dough Scared The Hell Out Of Me

Recently Made Cupcakes And This Piece Of Snail-Looking Burnt Dough Scared The Hell Out Of Me

hjvpp Report

#38

5 Minutes Into Photosynthesis And Chill

5 Minutes Into Photosynthesis And Chill

reddit.com Report

#39

Ice Ghost Inside My Water Bottle

Ice Ghost Inside My Water Bottle

oddball2194 Report

#40

This Grumpy Pie

This Grumpy Pie

Niyi_M Report

#41

Blanket In My Dog's Bed Looks Like A Dog

Blanket In My Dog's Bed Looks Like A Dog

emopriest Report

#43

This Purple Carrot Looks Like A Bartender Ready To Take Your Drink Order And Listen To Your Troubles

This Purple Carrot Looks Like A Bartender Ready To Take Your Drink Order And Listen To Your Troubles

nancyxxu Report

#44

This Chip In My Window Looks A Bit Like A Cat

This Chip In My Window Looks A Bit Like A Cat

andysschlong Report

Mina Minx
Community Member
1 year ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It stopped a bullet and now has only 8 lives left.

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#45

This Rock That Looks Like A Hippopotamus

This Rock That Looks Like A Hippopotamus

ME_2017 Report

See Also on Bored Panda
#46

My Stapler And I Feel Similarly About Conference Calls

My Stapler And I Feel Similarly About Conference Calls

erineestevenson Report

#47

This Sweet Potato Flower Looks Like Little Groot Heads

This Sweet Potato Flower Looks Like Little Groot Heads

bayrho Report

#48

The Way This Knot In My Wall Looks Like A Dog

The Way This Knot In My Wall Looks Like A Dog

DooberSnoober Report

#49

A Girl In My Class Looks Like A Dog In This Angle

A Girl In My Class Looks Like A Dog In This Angle

falakro25 Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
1 year ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yep, that was pretty much all I saw for the longest time.

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#50

My Bacon Grease Looks Like Lionel Richie

My Bacon Grease Looks Like Lionel Richie

Nongfuspring07 Report

Note: this post originally had 141 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.