Virgin Mary Pareidolia


From AsiaOne.com: 

Malaysia – Hundreds of Catholics have gathered in prayer and worship outside a Malaysian hospital after seeing an image said to resemble the Virgin Mary on one of the windows.

Those assembled Sunday maintained they can now also see an image of an adult Jesus Christ just two windows away from His mother.

Nearly 100 Catholics were still at the hospital Sunday, lighting candles, singing hymns and saying prayers. Several tourist buses added to the congestion.

Some have come from as far as Singapore, over 300 kilometers (187 miles) away, to see the image on a seventh-floor window, which they describe as a miracle.

“We believe Mary, mother of God, has a message for us, as she is looking down on us and then at a Malaysian flag. We can also see Jesus and He is also moving, they are not static,” Eunice Fernandez, who lives nearby, told AFP.

The 54-year-old housewife dismissed claims the image could be a hoax.

Ellen brought this phenomenon to our attention and we’d both like to say a few words.

Me first:

So…people in Malaysia are seeing the Virgin Mary. Even though we all know this is a water stain or something similar, I thought you might want to have a look at the miraculous revelation for yourselves. I can’t find any photos that aren’t copyright-protected so I drew one for you. If you think my version isn’t awesome enough, you can click on the image below to be taken to an original source.

Watermark...errr...Virgin Mary

My rendition of the water stain…errr…Virgin Mary apparition in Malaysia.

I don’t have too much to say about this. The Virgin Mary doesn’t show up on walls. This is a case of pareidolia, plain and simple. Since I don’t tend to think of Mother Mary very much, she wasn’t even the first thing I saw when I laid eyes on the image. My first thought was vulva. But then that’s me.

From Ellen: 

This is just it, isn’t it, what I was talking about regarding Mary being gagged? The poor woman is reduced to communicating in code, in mildew and condensation. It’s like one of those coma victims in a horror movie who manifests a dire warnings spelled out in sans serif prickly heat on their torsos.

I guess I can squint and sort of see a figure and even a halo kind of thing. It isn’t exactly in proportion, but then neither is a lot of religious art. I fear I also see nipples and, what’s worse, it looks like the unhappy soul has bladder control issues. Perhaps she’s angling to become the spokes-apparition for a line of incontinence products. It may be the only way she gets a voice.

It’s easy to laugh. It is ridiculous to see magic in a stain. But think how desperate you have to be to find this wonderful. Certainly some of these people are desperate. They want something uplifting. They really want that miracle. You don’t convince folks to drop absurd belief systems by sneering, you do it by offering a better option. I’m thinking if they thought somebody gave a damn, they’d be more interested in looking through the glass to see what is really there, than looking at the grime on it.

Comments

  1. ericblair says

    It legitimizes their belief in imaginary things. Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer, once posted a picture of condensation on his shower curtain that looked like the face of Lenin. Big deal – it was a coincidental image, but at least we do know what Vladimir Ulyanov actually looked like. All that can be said about these things is that they vaguely resemble some of the depictions of religious characters that have been made throughout history by artists using their vivid imaginations.

    As far as I can see, there isn’t much difference between those images of “Jesus” and any random ayatollah or imam – except the ayatollahs and imams usually look angrier.

    Oh, and I’m really, really getting tired of going to the trouble of composing a comment and then being flagged as an “imposter” and losing my post while the system forces me to log in all over again.

    • F says

      I’ve never known a comment system that did not fail or err, nor power or internet or servers that did not fail, etc. Using a text editor can mitigate these circumstances.

    • says

      Hi ericblair. Here’s an explanation of why the “imposter” thing started coming up for comments recently, and Jason’s recommendation for avoiding getting the imposter screen: http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2012/09/10/trolls-are-spoofing-commentariat-and-authors/

      He also recommended elsewhere to “get the Firefox plugin Lazarus, which lets you recover form input no matter how you lost it”.

      I’ve never used Lazarus, and I don’t usually have a problem with sign-in (because as a blogger I’m always signed in). I have gotten caught a couple of times when checking FTBs from different computers where the imposter thing has bitten me in the ass and I’ve lost comments, so I can offer a sympathetic “grrrrr”. But I do hope you’ll keep commenting!

  2. F says

    The comments on the MSN article are… predictable and stupid. Always with the, “Why do you need to be so mean and attack people’s faith?” Well, I hadn’t seen much in the way of an attack on faith (which is OK by me), but a mild suggestion that every thing you see that might resemble another thing is not a bloody miracle. (No miracles at all, but I’m not attacking faith here, just the interpretations of things people think they see.

    The pattern does look pretty cool, but the window (or whatever it is – that’s a window?) above it is even cooler, as seen in the source link given in the MSN article. [source larger version] I wish these were larger images. Lovely water stains running down the concrete surrounding these windows as well…

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