‘Neptune’ appears in the waves during storm

So, have you ever found yourself staring at the clouds and spotting faces or animals? Perhaps one looks like a dolphin! Or, you may have seen what looks like the face of an old lady. I have even found myself noticing faces inside planks of wood and I have even seen a bunny rabbit in the form of a mud splatter! We are sure you have seen these too! Turns out, this is called pareidolia, and, recently, the face of Neptune was spotted and photographed appearing in the waves of the ocean!

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Seeing familiar objects or patterns in otherwise random or unrelated objects or patterns is called pareidolia. It is a form of apophenia, which is a more general term for the human tendency to seek patterns in random information.

Earthsky

The face of Neptune

BBC photographer, Jeff Overs, recently snapped this photo of a wave of the harbor. Yes, it eerily resembles the face of the Roman God, Neptune! The image was taken at 09:00 BST at high tide in winds of more than 50mph (80km/h) in Newhaven.

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It has become a popular location for photographers because the sea ‘boils’ in high wind against the sea wall. The waves splash into the high wind and when blown back occasionally make patterns that look like (pareidolic) ghoulish faces. It is a straight shot and I haven’t manipulated the image at all.

Jeff Overs – BBC

Take a look at the incredible picture!

Neptune appears over Newhaven harbour wall
Jeff Overs

Have a look at some of these awesome images of pareidolia

But first, why does pareidolia happen? Well, just like in the image above of the God Neptune appearing in the waves, this sort of thing happens thanks to Pareidolia. According to Professor David Alais:

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We probably evolved to do this because the danger of not spotting a face was greater than occasionally mistaking something else for a face. It happens lightning fast in the brain, taking only a few hundred milliseconds. We know these objects are not truly faces, yet the perception of a face lingers. We end up with something strange: a parallel experience that it is both a compelling face and an object. Two things at once.

Professor David Alais. CNet

Green-haired man?

Rock formation in Ebihens, France, looking exactly like a man's face in profile.
Rock formation in Ebihens, France. It’s reminiscent of a green-haired man, known in the area as an Apache. Photo by Erwan Mirabeau via Wikimedia Commons.

Face of Jesus?

Smudgy antique photo.
The “face of Jesus” in this photo is actually a child with a bonnet, and the hair is vegetation in the background. Anonymous Swedish photograph from the late nineteenth century via Wikimedia Commons.

The internet had something to say about the image of Neptune in the waves

Well, it would seem that not everyone thought the picture of Neptune in the waves was real, Twitter user @marktheangry said: “I think this is photoshopped. I think they doctored the eyes, under the nose, the mouth. There are no other areas that are that dark. It’s a great image, but I believe it’s fake.” and another user, @Bob_Frapples__ , agreed, saying “Zoom into the face, the sky color behind is off. It’s too light where the pictures been altered.”

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A few others online had some funnier comments. @XBLAion replied to the image saying; “First corona, now the Old Gods are returning. What’s next?” User @Talkie86 had a similar opinion, saying that; “This is giving me an “end of times” vibe”

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Keep Reading: Who planted a giant smiley face of trees?

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Jade Small
Freelance Writer
Jade is a freelance writer and content creator from South Africa with over 7 years of experience writing and creating. She's also a proud single mom to a super 13-year-old boy.
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