Have you ever noticed a cloud that looked a lot like someone you know? Or have you ever thought you spotted an intruder, only for it to be a harmless coat rack? Or maybe you’ve gone to bite a grilled cheese sandwich, only to discover the Virgin Mary staring back at you, like a woman in Hollywood, Florida did? If so, you’re not crazy. (At least not in this instance.) There’s actually a name for this phenomenon: pareidolia.
Pareidolia is a name for our brain’s tendency to interpret random stimuli as something familiar, like a human face. Like many of our behaviors, pareidolia probably comes from evolution. As the theory goes, being able to recognize familiar things, particularly threats, allowed our ancestors to react to danger better.
But today, our pareodolia merely tricks us into thinking things are present when they aren’t. Here are 15 people whose brains played tricks on them. We should all thank our brains for trying to protect us, even if it was a false alarm. (via Bored Panda.)
1. The coatrack of doom.
2. “Had a mini heart attack when I looked up and saw this. The trampoline had developed a hole. My daughter thought it was hilarious.”
3. When you think you found a dead body, but it’s just a mannequin. (pt. 1)
4. “I thought my friend was hanging out of her 11th floor window. She was just drying her boots.”
5. “I thought my packet of walnuts had an uninvited guest.”
6. The Handmaid’s Tale tale.
Today I thought I saw a woman dressed as a handmaid about to jump from a building. I called 911. pic.twitter.com/EIrz6wR0bz
— Casey McCormick (@itsmeCaseyMc) May 21, 2019
7. These peppers were not happy about being chopped.
8. “I hung my hip waders up to dry and freaked out my wife.”
9. If you didn’t have arachnophobia before, you do now.
10. “This shadow from a tree.”
11. “I thought someone was sleeping in my bed. Nope, just the sheets.”
12. “I left my boots outside. When I walked by later I almost had a heart attack.”
13. “How my wife hung a comforter on a chair to dry.”
14. “My lamp made me think we had a giant spider infestation.”
15. “Either my mom hung my Snuggie up to dry, or it’s been possessed by the devil.”
h/t: Bored Panda