Let’s face it.
Well. These days there is a lot to face. A lot of unpleasantness, if you ask me. But, depending on your glass, there are a million things which are beautiful and good. At any rate, I’m drifting off topic before I start. What I’m really seeing is your face. And you, mine.
Here is the thing. We humans have a tendency to see faces, every where we turn. I read a little story about this. It is one of many along these same lines.
There was a woman, in Florida, named Diane Duyse. One day, she was chomping down a grilled cheese sandwich. She had already snatched one bite, when she noticed something in the bread. Low and behold, to Diane, it looked like the face of a woman. But just not any gal. Nope. This was the grand-mommy of all faces. The Virgin Mary.
Not only that, as Diane gazed at the bread, she later noted that it was “looking back at me.” Holy Swiss Cheese. Good Lady of Lourdes.
Thinking on her feet, as I’m sure she always does, Diane placed the sandwich in a clear plastic box and then she surrounded it with cotton balls to protect it. In reverence, she placed it on her nightstand, where the Virgin watched over her for the next decade. Beautiful. Moldy.
So, as you might imagine, word of this got out. The Grilled Cheese Virgin Mary Face Phenom. And those good people down in Hollywood, Florida, realized that she wasn’t the only one who could see the face. Praise be to Mary, all the time. And with that, the grilled cheese sammy went viral. In 2004, Diane sold it, to a Las Vegas casino for $28,000. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas baby. But I am not sure how Mary feels about being swapped for 28 Grand.
Nonetheless. Diane is not alone.
Here is the thing about us humans. We see faces. We are wired that way. There are Elvis sightings in droplets of water, and in car rust. Someone saw Jesus in a pretzel, and another spied him in a Cheeto. Jesus loves the snack food. Mary loves the sandwich.
There are entire websites dedicated to the faces we see in mundane objects, like mixers, power tools, wall outlets, and even in the grills of our car. Not to mention the expressions and people we see in the big places, like the moon.
But, our tendency — our propensity for this, has a name. It is called pareidolia.
It is our uncanny ability to see faces everywhere — pareidolia. It, mostly comes from the Greek, for “wrong shape.”
Our amazing human brains. So there we are. Incredibly attuned to perceiving faces. And, scooch on over, Temporal Lobe. There is an entire region of the brain called the “fusiform gyrus” that is dedicated to this ability.
Apparently, this starts in us at a very early age. Studies have shown that babies — little newborn babies — see a good face. The babies have more interest in cartoon faces with properly placed features, than they do when the same faces have scrambled-up features.
So, people with healthy brains, tend to see “FACE” where there are no actual faces to be found. Yes. Healthy brains do this. It is like we have some sort of sophisticated face-detection skills. This, coupled with our brains need to extract meaning (from our sensory chaos that we swim in), is why we see faces — where there aren’t any.
People have seen all sorts of faces in cake icing, appliances, rock formations, articles of clothing, and many other unlikely settings. They are everywhere.
So, the next time someone says that you look familiar, you may want to ask them, “Person, place, or thing?”
“The face is a picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter.”
― Marcus Tullius Cicero
“For a moment at least, be a smile on someone else’s face.”
― Dejan Stojanovic, The Sun Watches the Sun
“I will land on my feet with a smile on my face.”
― Diane Cook
“If Elvis had been in the bread, I’d have gotten at least $30,000.” — Diane Duyse