Do You See Faces In The Clouds?

Do You See Faces In The Clouds?image preview

Have you ever seen an angel, a castle, a dog, or a face in the clouds? Or maybe a grilled cheese sandwich that looked suspiciously similar to a celebrity? We’ve all seen everyday things that look like something or someone else. The good news is that it doesn’t mean we’re a little crazy or overly imaginative. Instead, the ability to look at random objects and see familiar things is a perfectly normal phenomenon called pareidolia, a word from the Greek meaning, “resembling an image.”

The Theories and Science of Pareidolia

For many years, scientists had a variety of explanations for this phenomenon. Some thought that seeing faces in the clouds was a symptom of psychosis while others, including famous scientist Carl Sagan, thought that pareidolia came from an evolutionary need to recognize people or potential threats quickly.

In actuality, pareidolia comes from our need to organize random information into patterns. That’s why, when glancing at something simple like an electrical outlet, most people would agree that it looks like a face.

Most people would agree that these looks like faces.

This search for patterns isn’t limited to sight, either. While it’s much more common to see a face or object in a random place, people can hear pareidolia, too. If you’ve ever listened to static or the roar of your vacuum cleaner and thought you heard someone speaking, you’ve experienced auditory pareidolia.

Where To See Pareidolia

Pareidolia pops up everywhere—not just clouds—but in tree bark, among clustered leaves, on a piece of toast, in a cup of coffee, or anywhere else. The best places to look include spots with random patterns, like the grain of plywood or the shapes made by a rock formation.

What do you see in this cup of coffee? Tell us in the comments below.

It’s such a common phenomenon that there are many well-documented instances of pareidolia.

When you look at the Moon, you can see several famous pareidolic images, including the Man in the Moon. The Moon’s smiling face is actually patches of light and dark terrain. Among those spots of light and dark, people have seen a variety of different things, including a man with a rifle and dog, a rabbit, and a woman. There are even some fascinating images of faces on Mars.

What do you see when you look at the Moon?

Pluto on Pluto?

In fact, the images of Pluto from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is another example of pareidolia. Some say they see a heart, others say they see the cartoon character, Pluto! What do you see? Tell us in the comments below!

pluto
Photo by ClassicalAstronomy.com

Examples of pareidolia are all around us. In fact, wherever you are, you can probably look up and seen an object in the clouds right now!

Amber Kanuckel is a freelance writer from rural Ohio who loves all things outdoors. She specializes in home, garden, environmental and green living topics. Her article on woolly worm caterpillar folklore appears in the 2020 Farmers' Almanac.

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Jean
20 days ago

I see the face of our President, Donald Trump on all 3, to the left side.

Cathy
Cathy
21 days ago

I keep a box fan on in my bedroom cuz I’m one of those people that cant sleep in silence but when I lay down I hear voices and sometimes music in the white noise.

Keith Britt
Keith Britt
22 days ago

All the time… enjoy finding designs and faces in different textures.rabbit and a couple looking at each other

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PegiJane
PegiJane
1 month ago

above and to the immediate left of the heart of pluto, I see a bald man’s left face looking downward. Nose, eyse, eyebrow, head, all visible. Look just below that to the lower right of said man’s mouth, I see yet another face of a bearded man. My visions are photographic quality. Call me crazy, but I see shapes in EVERYTHING, even my new shower curtain which in actuality is a tree, but has many many animal shapes, which are not so photographic in quality. I am very artistic and love creating. I get lots of ideas from these sightings and even from dreams.

Antoinette
Antoinette
1 month ago

Clouds come to me everyday. since i nearly dies. I also see orbs people that have passed.

Necia
Necia
3 months ago

I see both

Lorrie b
Lorrie b
4 months ago

Heart

Rina
Rina
8 months ago

Today an Instagram friend posted a beautiful sky video she took and I took a screen shot because I wanted to to “pick at it”. I often do that when I see magnificent, busy, beautiful skies. So I saw what looked like an Egyptian Sphinx. I then put them side by side and showed her. She was like “Whoaaa that’s wiiillldd! I didn’t see it at first, but now I can’t unsee it”. Another time, I saw a big white feather which I associated w/ my guardian angels watching over me and protecting me. I kid you not. It was like a ginormous cloud feather. Then way before that, I took a picture of what to me looked like Virgin Mary.

Sara
Sara
5 months ago
Reply to  Rina

I cant remember seeing cloud shaped of anything. This past tues I was waiting on a ride and looked at the clouds. I was in disbelief when I saw one right after another grecian men on horses,and chariots. Lion with a girl feeding it angel an elephant so many things in a row. My friend picked me up and I asked her to look and she also saw too. Amazing!!!

Magdalena
Magdalena
8 months ago

Not ALL images should be brushed off as being “Pareidolia”. As a spiritual being when I ask for a sign , and one appears in a cloud at the moment that I ask, that is a sign. Not “Pareidolia”. If an angel appears in a cloud at a time that you are upset or grieving that is a sign also.

Pareidolia is indeed true. But don’t let it take away your faith. Namaste

Mike Jaye
Mike Jaye
4 months ago
Reply to  Magdalena

Amen The sky over the street where my brother lives in Chicago was filled with evil flowing faces @ I came to know through my faith in God That city is a very evil place!

Wallace R
Wallace R
3 months ago
Reply to  Mike Jaye

My brother imagined such things also. You might want to get checked out for schizoaffective disorder.

LD
LD
3 months ago
Reply to  Magdalena

Actually, that might be Pareidolia. Your mind so wants to believe that it is a sign, it makes up a perceived image. You are believing in the illusion. Why can’t you allow the cloud to simply be a cloud? Nothing more, nothing less. Ins’t that the path towards clarity and enlightenment?

Michelle
Michelle
10 months ago

I see and smell and hear this constantly people call me a retarded I’m starting to feel that Maby there right I now keep all inside and never tell people nothing now I always feel so alone..

Andi Renee
Andi Renee
1 year ago

I see faces and full bodied people doing different things in clouds and most nature subjects….what I would like to ask is if others experience the picture changing the longer when looked at. More defined, added faces and objects appear??

Laura
Laura
11 months ago
Reply to  Andi Renee

It’s always my deceased father’s face I see in everything clouds nature glass etc

Guest
Guest
9 months ago
Reply to  Andi Renee

Hi Andy, your sentence triggered in my memory lane today how as a child I used to see family scenes being projected in sky. This is different than actually seeing faces in cloud. Did that ever happen to you?

Pooh
Pooh
8 months ago
Reply to  Andi Renee

They change according to what the weather is like therefore creating a different image.

frank mcnutt
frank mcnutt
1 year ago

there is another word for seeing images in clouds. Though, I have NOT been able to find / locate it anywhere. THIS site is the first that may help me.
The word also has Greek origins and contains – as I recall – stems for the word cat(s) and something else, which I can not recall. I do remember that it ends with -ia! So there, can you assist me?

Paul
Paul
1 year ago

me and my mrs sit out in the garden a lot, recently i told her that i see faces in clouds…….that was all i saw, just faces, she burst out laughing when i said that i wondered if there was an name for it.
its a small crumb but a crumb of comfort anyway to know that i was right !

Leshi Buchanan
Leshi Buchanan
1 year ago

Oh my this was so amazing to me I hear and see the images always thought it was a little strange only have discussed it with a few but to know there is name for it that I just discovered today is awsome

Michelle
Michelle
10 months ago
Reply to  Susan Higgins

What do you mean this is no Joke I’ve been living with this problem all my Ffff life…. Article NOT FUNNY…

Pamela Harless
Pamela Harless
1 year ago

When my husband passed away I came home from the hospital there over the house was a beautiful cloud, an angel with wings. I took a picture and showed it to everyone , we all cried we knew he was watching over us may God bless him James Michael Harless.

Jolene Tewalt
Jolene Tewalt
1 year ago

I have my own theory as to why I see faces and images in so many things.. I am an artist. I notice both light and shadows. Shading is just as important as light to form your image perception. I have artist friends that agree with me..

Patricia Gray
Patricia Gray
1 year ago

I saw two images of 2 human clouds and a shape of a horse it was amazing.

Tycene wilson
Tycene wilson
1 year ago

I have been doing this for a long time. Beautiful daytime puffy clouds, sunsets-omg u should see my latest sunset pics taken aprox 2 wks ago, there’s so many different things in this one that its almost like I’m being given a sign, kinda scares me, crazy i know. .one of my long tome friends is amazed at what i come up with and now she’s trying it to. If anyone would like to see some of my stuff let me know, i love sharing , and maybe u could offer me some helpful advise on why i have always been able to do this. Something else that’s always happened to me is that Sometimes i get woke up out of a deep sleep, almost like someone woke me up to advise me that something bad was going to happen. Then in a couple days to a wk Sometimes something bad does happen, every time. Am i nuts?

nathan dunning
nathan dunning
3 years ago

Yes I see them in every cloud,It’s happening now that I have stopped my evil life.I see Evil and peaceful faces,Angelic and demonic especially now the End Times Have Began.

Cynthia
Cynthia
3 years ago

What is it called when three people see the same image? I do not believe that seeing images in the clouds means that there is something wrong with the brain. If you can explain to me how everything that lives was created… and when, and I don’t belive no man alive today can… it’s mere speculation. But to see an image and take a picture of it… for everyone to see… well you can’t say it’s all in the person’s head. I see images a lot. I believe it has to do with what our Creator wants us to see and know.. plain and simple. It’s a gift from above. Jesus said to look for him coming in the clouds. I feel the images people see, are just previews of better things to come.

june rockhold
june rockhold
4 years ago

I took a pitcure of the clouds walking out of HyVee food store on a cloudy day. I am still in loss over the pitcure. There is an actual pitcure of a human face in it. It is even flesh colored.

Joan Wanner
Joan Wanner
4 years ago

Thank you, the article was fun. Its always nice, when we can apply a word, to a thing Basic Human relationship

Amy Rose Gill
Amy Rose Gill
4 years ago

I absolutely love finding shapes in clouds and spend a lot of time doing so! How would you state when asked the question what are your hobbies or interests?

Would you say Cloud Pareidolia?

I see images all the time in the clouds especially when asking for a sign.
I see images all the time in the clouds especially when asking for a sign.
4 years ago

I love to look for images, I see them in clouds a lot and also many everyday objects.

Mari Lou
Mari Lou
4 years ago

I find that I am more tuned into seeing the cloud pareidolia at the oddest times. Never knew it had a name till today. I have a series of photos of a face moving high across the ocean, I watch it travel then fade into the other clouds, a dear friend passed later that day. When mother passed in April it was a rabbit lying on its back, feet up, laughing at a butterfly above it. Her nickname in childhood was Bunny. Life in the clouds..

becky hazlett
becky hazlett
4 years ago

I just enjoy their beauty.see nothing but serenity/peace.

miqui
miqui
4 years ago

I see images in all sorts of things. I thought it just meant I have a wonderful imagination!

Joann
Joann
4 years ago

Looks like knowledge of the scriptures would be helpful in understanding that many images in the skies are actually real images. Yes angels are real, yes, they can be seen.

Yvonne
Yvonne
4 years ago
Reply to  Joann

Thanks for your response. Could you please give me some scripture references? Blessing to you –

Ali
Ali
4 years ago

I think our brains are programmed to see faces. Wish I could post a picture of this. I was burning of a piece of cedar in firepit and there was an image of a dog. Very interesting.

Davina
Davina
4 years ago

Thank you for this article. I have the auditory version. I’m so glad I’m not crazy..

Dr Stanley III
Dr Stanley III
5 years ago

Farmers and all humans are always to plant TREES. Fruits nuts berry all lifelong. Eat a peach bend over plant the seed eat another peach one day…basics…ha

Filomena
Filomena
5 years ago

Thank goodness for this article,I thought I was crazy! See things on the clouds all the time,so funny.

victor
victor
5 years ago

you say pareidolia is an imagined image in a cloud.
i can understand it if I just look at it and pareidolia makes me believe I am seeing a face.
Where it gets odd is the fact that I took a photo on my phone and it is a proper face and everyone I show it to can see it.
Explain please.
Victor.

Kenneth
Kenneth
5 years ago

This is one fantastic articale.I personally see many different shapes in all types of places and things like rocks. I can see an owl wearing glasses and landing with wings fully expanded in the middle top pic of Pluto.Thank you so much for the cool info on pareidolia

Marcia Darsey
Marcia Darsey
5 years ago

Thank you for this article. I have seen images in all kinds of things all of my life. I have often wondered if anyone else did this. I hung a curtain over the window of my front door. When I look at it I see a mouse wearing a bonnet. But on certain days, I see my mother’s face. Neither picture is printed on it, just a swirl of shades of blues and tans.

Dan
Dan
5 years ago

Would you be interested in my art I’m able to display. Since visiting Dali’s art museum I now see detailed faces in all of life’s creations. I’m able to forward an example this in my Mount Everest book.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Many Thanks

Dan

Sent from my iPhone

smoors2007
smoors2007
5 years ago

Very cool article. Lots of great info! Can’t wait to go out and see what I can see in the clouds today! Pluto does look like it has a heart! Have a great day!

Colorado Slim
Colorado Slim
5 years ago

You cracked me up with the smiley electrical sockets, Amber. Strangely, my pareidolia is: when I see your photo I’m seeing Christina Ricci in profile!

Gary
Gary
5 years ago

i have seen clouds resembling different objects but the markings on the planet Pluto, yes it is a planet, doesn’t resemble a heart or a dog to me, just light and dark areas.