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.

PPA 9: Halloweenscapes

Happy Halloween, dear readers! Brianne here, introducing a special Halloween Pareidolia Play Along by Ellen Bulger. I see a craggy, alien landscape, a breeding ground littered with the eggs of the land’s greatest predator. The time is ripe; this evening the hatchlings will emerge and a frantic stampede over the treacherous, uneven ground to nearby shelter will begin. Many will fall; only the toughest, the strongest, the meanest and most wily will succeed. Beware those who survive this first foray; they will grow to become great terrors to the human race.

Enjoy this Halloween offering – IF. YOU. DARE!!! Mwahahaha!

The following is a post by guest blogger Ellen Bulger.

Oh one can get up to all kinds of things this time of year. Where are we? What do you see?

Pareidolia 9

Pareidolia 9 © Ellen Bulger

PPA 8 Reveal: Jack Shellington?

This is a post by guest blogger Ellen Bulger.

In this installment, Ellen reveals the answer to Pareidolia Play Along 8.

Last Light and Shells

Last Light and Shells © Ellen Bulger

“Crassostrea virginica” while otherwise drab (and delicious) gets a little nuts when it makes a shell. This is a quiet beast, hiding under sediments so as to avoid the attention of carpenters and their tusked pinniped companions. It has the same dreary daily schedule filtering the water as the tide rises and falls. But while most other mollusks follow a set of blueprints very carefully when they grow their shells, the eastern oyster does some freestylin’ and expresses some personality. This bivalve tells you, “I would have been the belle of the ball, given the chance.” or “I am indeed a quiet sort.” or “I can’t possible have enough ruffles” or even “I don’t give a fuck all for your aesthetics, for your symmetry because I am a wild and crazy guy if only, only, only I had legs or fins or wings, damn it all!”

[Read more...]

PPA 7 Reveal: A Net of Fear!

This is a post by guest blogger Ellen Bulger.

In this installment, Ellen reveals the answer to Pareidolia Play Along 7.

Grapevine Bride © Ellen Bulger 2011

Yep, it’s just netting in a vineyard. It’s supposed to keep the birds from eating the grapes.

Emu San: That’s the spirit! I like the fear & blackmail angle. I like the murky depths. These things work best when they generate nightmares for small children. Works for the Jesuits, eh? I shouldn’t mess with a sound plan, but I wonder if there’s a possible tie in with Cthulu? Hmmm. The only substantial improvement I can think of is to throw in some guilt. But nice, nicely done!

Nepenthe: I like it. It’s simple and elegant. But will it sell? Elegant low-key religion just doesn’t have the marketing/profit potential of ridiculous, awkward, intrusive ones such as Catholicism, Mormonism & Scientology. It’s a grand foundation, but for maximum returns, weird it up. Maybe throw in some sexual guilt, that always works.

peicurmudgeon: Points for both making me laugh and reminding me of my No-prize. It was awarded by Stan Lee at Marvel Comics back in the day if you noticed a mistake in their comic books. They didn’t have the budget to send you anything real, so they gave you a No-prize. I have one. How’s that for old-school nerd cred?

My no-prize was not for Swamp Thing, but for Man-Thing. Man-Thing was not sentient, just a shambling quasi-vegetative amphibianish biped who oozed acid when occasion demanded such. The tag line was something like “Those who know fear, burn at the Man-Thing’s touch!” He was like that a twitchy uncle at the family reunion, the one your mother hisses at you and says, “Whatever you do, DON’T start talking about the election!” If you were in the swamp and up to no good and got very emotional in a negative way, it would disturb the creature from it’s daily schedule of photosynthetic communion and mycorrhizal meditation. Then it would come and put a hurt on you. Best to walk on eggshells around Man-Thing.

He/it wasn’t so much a character as a plot device. Swamp Thing, which came almost immediately afterwards, was arguably (If anyone cared enough to argue, which I doubt.) more successful for a certain kind of standard comic book narrative. Swamp-Thing was weirder. I always opt for weirder, given the choice.

In the first issue, there was a biography of the ill-fated main character and how he became Man Thing. He’d had bad luck from birth, we were told. The doctor had dropped him on his head right after he was born. The illustration showed the doc holding the infant by his ankles and winding up to give him that old-school slap that was supposedly administered to get sluggish babies breathing. However, the baby was drawn facing the viewer with the doctor’s hand in the foreground, a fig leaf for modesty’s sake. Perhaps, being dropped was good luck. Perhaps, if the doctor’s slap had connected, it would have been a harsher beginning than being dropped. It’s the backside that traditionally receives the blow, not the family jewels. For pointing this out, I was awarded a no-prize. Now I have taken it off the shelf of my memory and I would like to pass it along from Stan Lee to me to YOU. Take good care of it.

Susannah: I took the shot at a research station. I’m sure the scientists there could cook up some fancy herbicide that would defoliate triffids in a trice. What it would do to the grapes,  however, is the worrisome part. Perhaps we should lay in a stock of flamethrowers. Anything that works for Ripley…

Yellow Thursday: Oh yes! I can see it. Gah, I was walking those rows! I don’t usually have a problem with snakes. I kind of like snakes, to a point. I think you’ve found that point! Allow me to award you an Oh-No! Prize.

Pareidolia Play Along 6: The Reveal

This is a post by guest blogger Ellen Bulger

In this installment, Ellen reveals the answer to Pareidolia Play Along 6: Creation Myth.

Old with Rivets © Ellen Bulger

Rivets on the vertical supports for a rusty old railroad bridge. I thought they were quite handsome. I did not stand, however, under the bridge when there were trains going over it.

Trestle-Xs © Ellen Bulger

machineintelligence – I’ll search the area for petrified squirrels and get back to you on it.

lochaber– Solid plan except for the soap-in-a-sock slings. Rocks would be available. Socks, not so much.

peicurmudgeon – Looks like a ruin, but still in use. I’ve never seen anyone do any maintenance on it. This, in the land of the Mianus River Bridge, worries me.

Emu Sam – Good, good! I was going to ask about the paper, but you’ve thought of everything. Do you make your paper like this?

Susannah – Bridge not track, but close enough.

maddog1129 – And you know the thing about crocodilians is that they can just lay there and wait, quiet as death, until something tasty comes in range.

sheila – If you ever decide to start up a matriarchal religion franchise, I think the folks at Scientology Inc. would be sweating the competition. Allow me to present you with a fine pair of granite ovary totems, or maybe they are Neolithic bowling trophies, I’m not sure.

Good Name for a Bar © Ellen Bulger

Pareidolia Play Along 6: Creation Myth

This is a post by guest blogger Ellen Bulger.

In Pareidolia 5.0, I’m ramping it up a notch. The game has changed:

YOU are a fast-talking wannabe shaman in a not-as-distant-as-we’d-like future that is straight out of a Paolo Bacigalupi novel. That is to say, the petrofuels are gone, the climate has degraded and civilization as we know it is hanging on by a thread. Safety nets are no longer an issue, because save for the few whose ancestors were Bushes or Romneys or the likes of the Koch Brothers (Did those guys breed? Can creepy fucks with asbestos hearts actually reproduce?) everybody is at goddamn rock bottom. At least Mad Max had a dog. You had to eat yours.

[Read more...]

Pareidolia 5: The Reveal

This is a post by guest blogger Ellen Bulger

In this installment, Ellen reveals the answer to Pareidolia 5: Your Results May Vary.

Pareidolia 5 Reveal: There’s a Light at the End of the Tunnel!

Most of you literal folks could tell it was food, something of a flat and grain-flour based and fried nature. It is not a tortilla or a cannoli. What it is, is a dosa, which is kind of an Indian crepe, but huge. What you are seeing out beyond the dosa is another table full of happy diners, gobbling up all kinds of good breads and fritters and snacks and washing them down with cold beer and cocktails and lassi.

Delicious Dosa © Ellen Bulger

I took the shot a couple of years ago. I was on Broadway in New Haven, waiting for a friend. We had plans to get some shawarma. You know how good a Connecticut autumn can smell? Even in the city, it makes you flare your nostrils and take deep breaths.

[Read more...]

Pareidolia Play Along 5 – Your Results May Vary

Okay, you can guess what this is and I will certainly tell what it actually is. But gee whiz, the theists can look at at ketchup stain on a t-shirt and see the face of Zeus himself, or whatever their frenzied suggestible brains desire. Can’t we be as creative? C’mon stare HARD at this sucker.

What do you SEE?

Pareidolia 5 © Ellen Bulger

Pareidolia Play Along 4: The Reveal

This is a post by guest blogger Ellen Bulger.

In this installment, Ellen reveals the answer to last week’s Pareidolia Play Along.

Hey, careful, man, there’s a beverage here!

Coffee © Ellen Bulger

I simply love this early morning light.

Last week’s Pareidolia Play-Along was indeed a beverage. It was not booze. It was not whisky or rum or anything of that sort. It was merely coffee, Ethiopian Yrgacheffe, to be exact. Coffee in the Pareidolia, Coffee in Brianne’s Cross Country Connections. We’re waking up and smelling it.

wanstronian, Jesus supposed healed the sick. And coffee can cure all manner of ills. It is a MIRACLE!

Pareidolia 5 will be up later today.