Human Nature

In Images: Ghostly Faces in Space

Jesus Toast

Jesus in a slice of toast? This image may be doctored, but plenty of people claim to see holy faces in burnt bread. The phenonemon of seeing faces in random patterns is called face pareidolia. Original Image
Credit: Karl Tate for Live Science

People have always found faces and patterns in unusual places, a phenomenon known as pareidolia. Though this image of Jesus on toast is doctored, a grilled cheese sandwich with the image of the Virgin Mary sold for $28,000 on eBay in 2004.

Shroud of Turin

Full-length negative photograph of the Shroud of Turin. Original Image
Credit: Public domain

One of the most famous examples, the Shroud of Turin is reputed to hold the image of Jesus's face and body

Bucegi Sphinx

The Bucegi sphinx in Romania, which many think looks a bit like a face in profile. Original Image
Credit: Mikadun/Shutterstock.com

The natural rock formation known as the Bucegi sphinx in Romania looks a bit like the Egyptian monuments.

Face on Mars

The original "Face on Mars" image taken by NASA's Viking 1 orbiter, in grey scale, on July 25, 1976. Image shows a remnant massif located in the Cydonia region. Original Image
Credit: NASA

But nowadays, some of the most common places to find these faces is in the shadowy images from space. Here, a photo shows that looks like a face on Mars.

Face on a comet

The European spacecraft Rosetta snapped a photo on Aug. 3, 2014 of a comet in deep space. In the photo, the shadowy right side of the comet somewhat resembles a face. Original Image
Credit: DLR_next (via Twitter as ‏@DLR_next)

The most recent example of pareidolia is this face on the right hand side of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko , which was snapped by the European spacecraft Rosetta on Aug. 3, 2014.

Rabbit in the Moon

In this image, the so-called Rabbit in the Moon is upside-down, with his ears pointing downward. Original Image
Credit: David Matthews

In this image, the so-called Rabbit in the Moon is upside-down, with his ears pointing downward.

Gandhi on Mars

A Martian surface feature that one man says looks like the profile of Mahatma Gandhi. Original Image
Credit: Matteo Ianneo/ESA/Google Maps/Before It's News

A Martian surface feature that one man says looks like the profile of Mahatma Gandhi.

Smiley face on Mars

A close-up view (from above) the Martian Happy Face, Crater Galle, in false-color. Original Image
Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

An image captured in 2006 revealed what looked like a smiley face on Mars.

Hand of God

The stunning space wallpaper depicts a pulsar wind nebula, produced by the dense remnant of a star that exploded in a supernova. What's left behind is a pulsar, called PSR B1509-58 (B1509 for short). Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/McGill

The stunning space wallpaper depicts a pulsar wind nebula, produced by the dense remnant of a star that exploded in a supernova. What's left behind is a pulsar, called PSR B1509-58 (B1509 for short).

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Author Bio


Tia Ghose, Senior Writer

Tia has interned at Science News, Wired.com, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has written for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Scientific American, and ScienceNow. She has a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California Santa Cruz.