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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.

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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Insiya Nalwala

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.

Marat Dakunin

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 !

Sherry Simmons

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🙄😁

Monique Chancellor

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.

Roger

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

Gail

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,

berries

For the cup of coffee, I saw a man playing a piano!!

Kimmeco B Spencer

Looks like a monster with 3 heads. I saw 3 eyes as well

schlongmaster69

Lmao to me the coffee foam looked like gary from spongebob saying “mew” hilarious

snipingvenom

same

Jean

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

Cathy

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

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

PegiJane

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

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

Marlene Feldstein

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.

Necia

I see both

Lorrie b

Heart

Rina

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

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

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

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

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

LD

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?

snipingvenom

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?

Michelle

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

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

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

Dave

Yes i once saw my late Dad sitting in an armchair in a cloud

Guest

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

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

Sherry Simmons

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..

frank mcnutt

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

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

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

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

Pamela Harless

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

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..

snipingvenom

i also agree as an artist. 🙂

Patricia Gray

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

Tycene wilson

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?

Ash marie

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

nathan dunning

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

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

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

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

Amy Rose Gill

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?

Dave

I always say i am cloud watching !!

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

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

Mari Lou

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

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

miqui

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

Joann

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

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

JMR

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.

Ali

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

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

Dr Stanley III

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

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

victor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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