Day 961: Pareidolia

My son Aaron, who has a very nice face, tells me that “Pareidolia” is the word for our tendency to see human faces where they do not exist.

For example, when I faced this car, yesterday, in Edinburgh, Scotland …

… it looked, to me, like it had a human face.

We probably see human faces, where they do not actually exist, as a way make the unfamiliar more reassuring.

It’s also reassuring to see actual human faces, especially if they look friendly.

That’s Joanna, who reassured us that the unfamiliar Scottish custom of including white AND pink marshmallows on hot chocolate was actually practiced widely across Europe.

That’s Fearghas, with whom we swapped recommendations about what shows to see at the Festival Fringe.

That’s one of the faces of the terrific improv group Men with Coconuts, whom we’ve faced several times this year and during the Festival Fringe in 2014.

One of the first friendly faces we saw in Edinburgh, when we arrived a week ago, was that of an imposing redhead, named Marc,  from an original play called STYX:

While there are SO MANY choices at the Festival Fringe, we knew we would eventually face STYX, because we kept seeing the faces of Marc and his fellow STYX performers on the streets of Edinburgh. Also, STYX has a really stand-out poster, which our faces have been seeing everywhere. AND, we’ve been facing these neat give-aways in our hotel room, since we first saw the STYX players’ faces:

So, yesterday, we finally faced STYX. Here are two familiar faces I saw, before the show:

Here are faces I saw on stage:


Those are the faces of some amazingly inventive comic actors. I also faced some ridiculous synchronicities with my life in that hilarious play, including :

  • A character with heart problems,
  • Several plot points involving a DEFIBRILLATOR (installed in a phone booth) and
  • A woman hobbling around with a cane.

After we saw STYX, I took these photos of some friendly faces responsible for that fabulous and funny production:


Now,  please face another photo of faces that were on stage AND off stage at yesterday’s great performance of STYX:

There were a lot more faces I faced yesterday, in amazing and beautiful Edinburgh. Let’s see what faces you notice in these photos:

That last photo includes the face of a performer my son Aaron and I have admired since last year’s Festival Fringe: Dr. Professor Neal Portenza,  who also faces the real word as Joshua Ladgrove.

There’s our friend Josh performing on a bus last night, facing another enthusiastic audience. Face it, my dear readers, it was great seeing Josh perform, especially since he asked if any of the people facing him on that bus were able to be in the moment and — when he noticed my face nodding “Yes” — he told the whole audience that he READS THIS BLOG.

You can just imagine my face, when he said that.

Well, we now need to face our last full day in Edinburgh, including an 11 AM performance by this beautiful face we saw on our first day here:

Because I need to get ready to face Sanctuary and the rest of the day, I am going to ask you to face a post here today without any videos. Perhaps somebody who faces this blog can provide some Pareidolia -appropriate music?

Thanks to all the faces that make my life worth living, including yours!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, pride | Tags: , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

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41 thoughts on “Day 961: Pareidolia

  1. There must have been a Pansy there somewhere

  2. How’s the ankle Ann? Your face is certainly showing nothing but smiles so I take that as a good sign. What a wonderfully fun day it looks like. Those pooches have the sweetest faces, I’d like to face them! I had never heard of the term Pareidolia, but also saw a face in that car. Better to see faces than to suffer from Visual agnosia and mistake your wife for a hat.

  3. Ann, how interesting about the word ‘pareidolia’, I had no idea existed. Apparently it applies to not only faces, but simply familiar patterns:
    “Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon involving a stimulus (an image or a sound) wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern where none actually exists.”-Wiki

    This is an interesting example:

    I must be suffering from the pareidolia phenomenon…

  4. Pareidolia is always fun and I love how many friendly real faces you saw, but what intrigues me is the prominence of a call box in STYX. Even as cell phones become ubiquitous there’s something nice about the call box remaining as a way to contact someone when you can’t see their face.
    Why is this appropriate pareidolia music? Use your imagination.

  5. This is a most excellent post!!!! Such beautiful faces you have seen in your travels. I saw your foot in a photo – hope it is feeling better! Here is the only video I know filled with really interesting, talented faces.

    Have a wonderful day!!!!

  6. ~meredith

    Cheers all around for Fringe Festivals. Minneapolis rocks one, too. Meredith

  7. What an absolutely fun time you are having!

  8. I love this! And, you are famous overseas!!!!!!

  9. I always learn something from your blog. It’s all about the nice faces. The Hitler house doesn’t count.

  10. Face it, Ann. Someday Aaron will be performing at Festival Fringe. And his girlfriend will be the woman he’s hugging from STYX. That came to me in a flash as I faced that photograph.

  11. Pareidolia! This is the first time I’ve heard of it. I also noticed how I looked in the background of photos to see if I recognized any faces 😉
    Thank you for a terrific share of places, faces and possibilities from the Fringe!!

  12. What a great time of joy and new adventure Scotland is providing ~ and love that I just learned a new word as well: Pareidolia (just hope I remember it). The faces of the people around you are all so happy and smiling ~ I think that is a testament to you and your character 🙂 Enjoy your final day in Scotland – live it up (which is what you always do!). Cheers ~

    • Thanks for the joy and adventure that you find and bring with you, Randall. I am always so grateful to see you here.

  13. Your son is a ginger, Ann – I just noticed that – do you guys have Scottish roots by the way? This song is not about seeing human faces in strange places. It’s about seeing the face of, and feeling the presence of an old love that is no longer part of your life and also I love Clapton! ❤
    Diana xo

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