Take the Iceberg Pareidolia Test

A Miami woman who sold a grilled cheese sandwich on eBay for $28,000 USD probably had pareidolia. She believed she saw the face of the Virgin Mary grilled into the bread. To her it was a miracle and somewhere out there in eBay land a buyer agreed.

Pareidolia (pronounced per-ˌī-ˈdoh-lee-a) is the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern. There are plenty of famous examples of this phenomenon – from the Shroud of Turin to the Face of Mars. The Rorschach ink blot test used by psychologists and psychiatrists is an example of directed pareidolia. In the test, a doctor holds up a random ink blot and asks the patient what the image looks like to them. The test itself implies that it can be quite normal to see the specific in the ambiguous.

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Related: Check out our post about Ilulissat, Greenland – Birthplace of Icebergs. 

Do You have Pareidolia? Take the Iceberg Pareidolia Test

Anyone who has seen a man in the moon or a familiar image in a cloud formation has experienced pareidolia. On a voyage of the northwest passage between Greenland and Arctic Canada, I developed a severe case while photographing the many icebergs we passed along the way. If you have this condition, you might be able to see them too.

Cool Pareidolia Collectible: Want a pareidolia T-shirt? It isn’t iceberg pereidolia – it’s music pareidolia and it’s less than $7. Check it out!

Faces

Image of a iceberg that looks like a face - iceberg pareidolia test
A human face looking off to the left.
Image of an iceberg that looks like a face - iceberg pareidolia test
A human face looking towards the right.

Animals

Image of an iceberg that looks like a camel - iceberg pareidolia test
A camel with four seagulls on its back.
An image of an iceberg that looks like a woodpecker - iceberg pareidolia test
A woodpecker looking to the right.

Buildings

Image of an iceberg that looks like the Parthenon - iceberg pareidolia test
The Roman Pantheon.
Image of icebergs that look like pyramids - iceberg pareidolia test
Two Egyptian pyramids.
Image of an iceberg that looks like the Sidney Opera House - iceberg pareidolia test
The Sydney Opera House.
Image of an iceberg that looks like a sphinx - iceberg pareidolia test
An Egyptian sphinx looking to the left.

Random Structures

Image of an iceberg that looks like a grand piano - iceberg pareidolia test
The top of a grand piano.

What to do if you have Pareidolia

Don’t panic. The good news is, pareidolia is not a disease, it is a psychological phenomenon. I like to think it occurs in people who are especially intelligent. If you have some images of pareidolia, please share them in the comments. We’d love to see them.

Where can I see Icebergs?

There are several places in the world where you can see icebergs. I saw hundreds on an Arctic Safari sailing with Adventure Canada.

Check out our post about Ilulissat, Greenland -Birthplace of Icebergs

6 thoughts on “Take the Iceberg Pareidolia Test

  1. Joanna Reply

    I see faces all the time, my question does this go with letters and words on rocks trees or is that something different I have always been able to see words or letters in trees, rocks, anything really I look at I see a lot of numbers and arrows

    1. wanderwoman Reply

      Thanks for the comment, Joanna. Seeing recognizable objects (faces, numbers, letters, arrows etc.) in otherwise random or unrelated objects or patterns is pareidolia. At one time pareidolia was considered a symptom of psychosis, but it is now seen as a normal human tendency. It’s interesting that some people have a greater tendency towards it than others. We kept seeing familiar objects in the icebergs when we were in the Arctic. -Debbie

  2. Johanna T. Reply

    since i was young i’ve always seen faces on random things. i’m 44 years old now and nothing’s changed. i was going through instagram the other day and found the hashtag #iseefaces. i searched online and that’s what i have. pareidolia. i only see faces. like all the time. in shadows, trees, scratches on walls and doors, floors. everywhere at random times and no one i know sees it unless i actually point it out to them. thanks for your article.

    1. wanderwoman Reply

      Thanks so much for the comment, Johanna. Seeing faces is the most common form of pareidolia. When we were in the Arctic, I kept seeing faces and other familiar shapes in the icebergs. It’s nice to know that pareidolia is normal. Some people seem to be more prone to seeing faces or other familiar shapes in random data than other people do. I guess we both fit into that category. Thanks for reading the article and giving feedback. All the Best, Greg.

  3. Mandy Ditto Reply

    Nice article. I live in Brazil and I’ve been reading that seeing faces is common, but I see animals all the time. Friendly ones. 😀 I usually see dogs, cats, horses, pigs and even monkies on the patterns of the tiles in the kitchen. Thanks for all the insights. The article is very interesting.

    1. wanderwoman Reply

      Thanks so much, Mandy. Interesting that you see animals. Good thing they’re friendly. Sometimes I see buildings. I saw one iceberg I thought looked like a sports complex near where I live. I like sports though. Another one looked like an Egyptian sphinx to me. Pareidolia is an interesting topic. Thanks again for the feedback. Greg

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