Did You Ever See A Face In Your Cup of Coffee? You’re Not Crazy
Have you ever seen a face in the clouds or in your morning coffee? No, you're not crazy. Learn about the phenomenon known as pareidolia.
Have you ever seen an angel, a castle, a dog, or a monster in the clouds? Or maybe a grilled cheese sandwich that looked suspiciously similar to a celebrity? Maybe a face appeared in your morning cup of Joe. 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.
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 on your radio 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.
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.
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!
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.
Five days after losing my labrador retriever his sweet face appeared in my cup of coffee. While sobbing, I looked up and said; “I know that was you.” THANK YOU BRY
I see a monkey when looking at the bubbles the when I looked up close it looks like a evil eye that’s dark on the bottom in between the split on the bottom and on the left looks like a kid with a big eye and two front teeth buck teeth I might be looking hard and a man in the doorway blurred in the back ground
I see faces all the time in objects, clouds, curtains,coffee cups, it fascinates me. I am an artist and have always viewed my world differently anyway, but it’s a nice thing to do in the summer lying on the grass seeing the animals in the clouds passing by….
I see patterns in many things in my house. My entrance door I see a lion, on my granite I see different figures, on my fence sometimes I see fairies. When I explain it to people, they see it too!
Recently I had moved in with my son to help him pay half of his expenses so that he could attend university fulltime. I would share with him various things of my day and one was of a simple quiet time on the porch I would take for myself each day. Sitting on the porch in the countryside I would see many things all around me. I would describe these times and he literally thought I was psychotic and having hallucinations. He suggested that I stay at a Behavior Health Hospital to have a rest and just check medicine I have for anxiety. He talked me into it. Unknowingly to me, he planned to put me away in a nursing home in a locked dorm where all my rights would have been taken away from me. I am 61 years old and I have all of my marbles, trust me.
I had been detecting a sense of uneasiness about him for a while and while at the hospital stay I quickly found out that he did not want me anymore. He had concocted a notion and plan that I should be put away because I told him about seeing images in the clouds, images through the woods.
I have since learned that we are not meant to share everything about our lives with everyone. Some are just not able to hear, understand or receive it. That is all well and good. For me I can always talk to God and the Angels. Again, this is what I have come to know in my life. And my life is not everyone’s journey. It is mine.
Much love to all.
Hi, I’m also one who see’s everything under the sun ? my hubby working on a big greasy rig doing welding job, leaning and getting grease on his jeans, I am spraying them with spray off, as I get to the right lower leg with grease on it, I see a animal face(it’s amazing!) my Daddy said it looks like a cocker spaniel face. Well I’ve got pictures of this unique face and no one can explain how from rubbing up against that greasy rig, this amazing face is there. God works in mysterious ways??❤️ So just know your beautiful and loved by God! Hugz bunches too!
You sound just like my aunt Patricia! Everything is messages from the angels. For a while she was seeing things in everything, glasses of water, all the chicken feathers are an angel each. Most of my family is fed up with her and makes fun of it. I think it’s a bit over the top, but I appreciate her sharing her thoughts with me, so I would rather patiently accept the eccentric things she shares as well. I’m sorry your son repaid your kindness with this situation. Good luck to you int he future. I am also learning that some things you just cannot share, but I hope we both can find who we can have that with in the future.
I have captured many faces and eyes in the clouds including animals daily I know God revealed His Prophet to me even saying so after I took the pictures I dont know many whom had similar experiences earlier today I thought I look
I can see historical & weird images of people in curtains, carpets, tiles in bathroom. I even discussed it with my friends. But they thought i was crazy. But now i have a proper word for it. So f them all.
I have a special repository for Everyone interested in Pareidolia and maybe it will start the much deeper story.
Please, see the https://pareidolion.net – soon – started 21 September !
I always see eyes, animals, people, devil, angels. I’ve seen crosses.Yes, they change for me too. It depends on the way you look at it. The I’mage will turn into something else. I thought it was some kinda video …. My friend asked “ what video”?. Thought I was losin it??
Omg that’s what I see in this cup a evil eye
I saw a bird in the coffee, a bear holding a fish on the moon, the clouds look like a flying bird, and the last one looks like heart to me.
Coffee I see a monkey taking a bite of something. The moon I see a bear and a dog. My girlfriend and I were on our way home and we both saw a perfect image of my face in the cloud it was perfect and we both saw it crazy part both of our phones were dead so we couldn’t take a picture what do you think it means ? It was like a photograph
i have seen an assortment of faces in the clouds where i live, and i have seen shapes on the ground like hearts, 3 times. now in the coffee cup it looks like part of a face of a sad puppy, and on the moon one, it looks like a young boy with a face you can just barely make out. and the upper part of the body,
I thought I was insane I see him too on the left but that evil eye on the right it’s dark
For the cup of coffee, I saw a man playing a piano!!
Looks like a monster with 3 heads. I saw 3 eyes as well
Lmao to me the coffee foam looked like gary from spongebob saying “mew” hilarious
I see the face of our President, Donald Trump on all 3, to the left side.
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.
Yes, same here! It’s fascinating, isn’t it?
I always hear music when my fan is on! Sometimes I’ll hear things like a live baseball game going on,too and the sounds and voices are so clear! I honestly questioned my sanity at times and I have never told a soul about this until right now. I’m so glad I read these comments for now I know I am indeed not going mad and that there’s an actual term for it!! And YES,Susan,it really IS fascinating! Thank you all!
All the time… enjoy finding designs and faces in different textures.rabbit and a couple looking at each other
Yes, we see them. Very cool!
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.
Clouds come to me everyday. since i nearly dies. I also see orbs people that have passed.
Antoinette, I too see faces in the clouds. It started after my son died. I see the faces of those who have passed. I see outstretched arms & hands also. I would love e to talk to you. Marlene Feldstein on FB or messenger. Thank you.
I see both
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.
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!!!
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
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!
My brother imagined such things also. You might want to get checked out for schizoaffective disorder.
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?
well mr or mrs ¨SCIENTIST EXPERT¨—jk….not all of them are pareidolia or illusions…or even hallucinations….and if something appears around u it is 20% a chance that something or someone is telling u something..so go ahead and explore…the timeline for earth is shrinking….no one knows wut would happen even after covid….hence u gotta give a chance upon these images and explore what they are trying to say wut is wrong with taking 5-7 mins of finding out about it?
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..
Hello. You are never alone. Really never. God and the Angels are always with you. You can always speak with them about anything. They are as real as you and I. Blessings dear friend.
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??
It’s always my deceased father’s face I see in everything clouds nature glass etc
Yes i once saw my late Dad sitting in an armchair in a cloud
I just for the second time in my
Life saw my father’s face in the clouds it was as clear as day and looked exactly like him. He passed 11 years ago. I saw a huge image of my mother years ago she had been deceased as well .what does it mean
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?
They change according to what the weather is like therefore creating a different image.
Yes. To me the white or lightest color seems to move through the pixels forming another image .. I’m jus learning what this is… I thought everyone could do it..
I do that’s what led me here
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?
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 !
Yes, Paul! Our brains are always trying to assimilate to something familiar. It happens to all of us all the time.
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
We’re so glad you enjoyed the article, Leshi!
What do you mean this is no Joke I’ve been living with this problem all my Ffff life…. Article NOT FUNNY…
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.
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..
i also agree as an artist. 🙂
I saw two images of 2 human clouds and a shape of a horse it was amazing.
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?
Im getting faces in my photographes before i even really see the clouds. It actually terriefes me. I believe its a spiritual awakening. Seeing guides with our third eye. Gaia is changing and god is waking up choosen ones. Blessed be to you
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.
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.
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.
Thank you, the article was fun. Its always nice, when we can apply a word, to a thing Basic Human relationship
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?
Amy Rose Gill, sure, that sounds about right!
I always say i am cloud watching !!
I love to look for images, I see them in clouds a lot and also many everyday objects.
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..
I just enjoy their beauty.see nothing but serenity/peace.
I see images in all sorts of things. I thought it just meant I have a wonderful imagination!
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.
Thanks for your response. Could you please give me some scripture references? Blessing to you –
If you have the faith of a mustard seed you can say to a mountain “Cast yourself into the sea.” The mountain will cast itself into the sea. Faith. Even that of a pepper grain is very hard to obtain by most but so easy for others. Genesis talks about God walking in the garden with Adam and Eve as a cloud. He led them through the wilderness as a cloud or fire. He comes in the clouds. Several instances where a prophet looked up and an Angel appeared and also where the heavens opened at Jesus Baptism. Read and you will find. Science cannot see Faith.
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.
Thank you for this article. I have the auditory version. I’m so glad I’m not crazy..
Hi Davina, I do too! It’s such an interesting thing.
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
Thank goodness for this article,I thought I was crazy! See things on the clouds all the time,so funny.
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.
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
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.
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.
Sent from my iPhone