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

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
4 months ago

Oh hell No, damn fractals!

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#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
4 months ago

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

Sawdust
Community Member
4 months ago

Looks like a couple of Groots making out.

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#4

Is It A Man Running Or?

Is It A Man Running Or?

ClarkpDavidson Report

Fred and George Weasley
Community Member
4 months ago

took me a minute to see the dog

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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

Angela B
Community Member
4 months ago

Atomic Kitten.... bwahahaha

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#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

Little Ms. Quirky
Community Member
4 months ago

...is it just me or did I see Shakespeare?

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#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

Raine Soo
Community Member
4 months ago

It's the polar bear's seal of approval.

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#8

This Rock That Looks Like A Severed Head

This Rock That Looks Like A Severed Head

VVHYY Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
4 months ago

Yeah, that's creepy.

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#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

Eva the Egg
Community Member
4 months ago

the dog with the spirit of a cat...

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#10

This Jalapeño Looks Like A T-Rex

This Jalapeño Looks Like A T-Rex

AberrantDevices Report

Vic
Community Member
4 months ago (edited)

It's a T-Mex..

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#11

Donald Trump Found In A Dogs Ear

Donald Trump Found In A Dogs Ear

BanksyBhoy Report

ingolf kircher
Community Member
4 months ago

muaaahahahaaa

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#12

My Brain MRI Looks Like The Grinch

My Brain MRI Looks Like The Grinch

indiaisthebestalways Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
4 months ago

Oh, Jesus. Now I can't unsee that.

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#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

Vic
Community Member
4 months ago

Woke up.. for the last time, I thought..

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#14

Cat Formed By Cracks Above My Light Switch

Cat Formed By Cracks Above My Light Switch

spedzop Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
4 months ago

Aww, that's very cute.

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#15

My Potato Looks Like It's Trying To Escape Itself

My Potato Looks Like It's Trying To Escape Itself

Moonri Report

Little Ms. Quirky
Community Member
4 months ago

YASSS! Freedom! I'm no longer a potato~

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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.

#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
4 months ago

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

Paizleypie
Community Member
4 months ago

Awww, now you HAVE to keep it!

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#18

Whilst Walking Into A Kitchen I Saw This Guy

Whilst Walking Into A Kitchen I Saw This Guy

teamoth Report

River Webb
Community Member
4 months ago

it disapproves of your dinner plans

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#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
4 months ago

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

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#20

Release Me

Release Me

TickNut Report

ZombieGirl
Community Member
4 months ago

That coffee is strong, lol

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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.

#21

Kawaii Gourd

Kawaii Gourd

Report

third molar
Community Member
4 months ago

Is that bitter gourd?

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#22

There’s A Sid On My Sister’s Floor

There’s A Sid On My Sister’s Floor

DuckRubberDuck Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
4 months ago

Yep. Where's the rest of the "Ice Age" gang?

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#23

Miss Piggy

Miss Piggy

jxdeholly Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
4 months ago

Dogwood strikes again

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#24

I Thought This Gourd Looked Like A Snail

I Thought This Gourd Looked Like A Snail

snaz27 Report

The 5-star rated 5-star rating system
Community Member
4 months ago

Sid the sloth got stuck in a gourd.

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#25

Godzilla Cloud

Godzilla Cloud

willgravedigger Report

Fidgets McGee
Community Member
4 months ago

Complete with fire breathing...incredible

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#26

Best Eggplant Ever

Best Eggplant Ever

stormrazor2 Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
4 months ago

It looks like a boxing glove.

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#27

This Tree Looks Like Swamp Thing

This Tree Looks Like Swamp Thing

arkan01d Report

Eva the Egg
Community Member
4 months ago

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

Raine Soo
Community Member
4 months ago (edited)

This dachshund even has its own leash.

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#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
4 months ago

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

River Webb
Community Member
4 months ago

put it in the guest room

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#31

Happy Water Buffalo I Found

Happy Water Buffalo I Found

Harcourtfentonmudd1 Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
4 months ago

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

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#32

Oh The Horrors

Oh The Horrors

_AlexHirsch Report

River Webb
Community Member
4 months ago

possessed tomato

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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

Shazz Winchester
Community Member
4 months ago

Some Studio Ghibli snowman

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#34

Butterfly Looks Like An Animated Fox

Butterfly Looks Like An Animated Fox

Kachowski_god_666 Report

YoyoSthlm
Community Member
4 months ago

More like a Ruskiy Toy (dog breed)

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#35

This Knot In The Wood Looks Like A Frog

This Knot In The Wood Looks Like A Frog

____Io_oI____ Report

Mina Minx
Community Member
4 months ago

At night it comes out to play.

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#36

Dog In A Dog

Dog In A Dog

jacobyh7 Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
4 months ago

Two doggos for one. What more do you want?

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#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

AnimalsRuleHumansDrool
Community Member
4 months ago

Slug not snail

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#38

5 Minutes Into Photosynthesis And Chill

5 Minutes Into Photosynthesis And Chill

reddit.com Report

Mina Minx
Community Member
4 months ago

Tree love.

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#39

Ice Ghost Inside My Water Bottle

Ice Ghost Inside My Water Bottle

oddball2194 Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
4 months ago

It wants to be released.

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#40

This Grumpy Pie

This Grumpy Pie

Niyi_M Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
4 months ago

"Damn it! Who put those vegetables there?"

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#41

Blanket In My Dog's Bed Looks Like A Dog

Blanket In My Dog's Bed Looks Like A Dog

emopriest Report

Raine Soo
Community Member
4 months ago

? I thought that was your dog!

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#42

My Blankets

My Blankets

not_at_all_wise0 Report

ADHORTATOR
Community Member
4 months ago

Looks like a Sultan

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#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

Raine Soo
Community Member
4 months ago

It reminds me of a mandrake.

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#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
4 months ago (edited)

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

Raine Soo
Community Member
4 months ago

Hillside hippo.

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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

River Webb
Community Member
4 months ago

its a universal feeling

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#47

This Sweet Potato Flower Looks Like Little Groot Heads

This Sweet Potato Flower Looks Like Little Groot Heads

bayrho Report

River Webb
Community Member
4 months ago

the groots have multiplied

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#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

Johnny Rodriguez
Community Member
4 months ago

Who's a wood boi?

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#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
4 months ago

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

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
4 months ago (edited)

Hello...is it grease your looking for?

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