Seeing Faces in Clouds, Inanimate Objects, and Other Related Phenomena

Face in the Clouds to the Upper Right
Face in the Clouds to the Upper Right | Source

Seeing Faces in Clouds?

There was a period in my life where I was seeing faces in the clouds quite often. Sometimes the faces were divine and beautiful, other times they appeared menacing...even evil. I don't see so many faces in the clouds now, but I have had periods of synchronicity such as the "faces in clouds" phenomenon. More than one person has emailed me asking my opinion on this phenomenon. To be quite honest, I don't have the cause or even a solid explanation for this phenomenon. And there are many people who experience this, but they also see faces and images in other things besides inanimate objects like the side of a building, in a puddle, on a piece of toast and more.

In this article, I plan on taking a look at "seeing faces in clouds" and other imagery phenomenon that people experience worldwide. We will look at psychological, spiritual, and mental comparisons as to the cause for this phenomenon. Is it synchronicity or simple psychology? Let's find out.

Jesus Toast (not real by the way, there are toasters that do this now)
Jesus Toast (not real by the way, there are toasters that do this now) | Source

Religious Images on Inanimate Objects

Over the past couple decades, there have been random news stories about people who swear they see Jesus or the Virgin Mary in various objects. Two years ago there was a story about a man who swore the Virgin Mary was coming to him through showing her image in a reflected pattern of Christmas lights on his living room wall. Back in 2006, a man in Texas claimed the face of Jesus was etched into the bottom of his frying pan. There was also a woman who believed the Virgin Mary had blessed her grilled cheese sandwich with her holy face.

A reader recently emailed me and was concerned that he was going crazy. He sees faces in inanimate objects very frequently. He even says that many of the faces look demonic faces. Why was he seeing faces everywhere? Was he going crazy? Possessed? These were all questions running through his mind, and they are all very real questions to the people who experience this phenomenon on a regular basis. As we can see, sometimes the faces seen in clouds and elsewhere are saintly or even divine, while other times they are the exact opposite...demonic, menacing, evil. Strange it seems that these faces and images always have some sort of religious connotation. And that's where the idea of apophenia, pareidolia, and schizophrenia come into play...pure psychology?

Scary face or imagination?
Scary face or imagination? | Source

Spiritual Synchronicity

On occasion, I have seen a cloud in the shape of something rather significant to my life and it has given me a message of hope or peace. Essentially, seeing faces in clouds is a rather uplifting experience for the person experiencing this phenomenon. This phenomenon can be linked to something known as spiritual synchronicity. Synchronicity is defined as an experience of two seemingly unconnected messages that when put together are of great significance. This is actually a Jungian concept, but it is something that spiritual people attribute to one's "spiritual awakening." Again, synchronicity could be explained away with pure psychology, but it brings into question "is there any such thing as coincidence or is it actually fate?"

A great example of spiritual synchronicity is the experience of seeing the same number repetitively. The 11:11 phenomenon is a popular one among new agists, and you probably have heard of the 23 phenomenon due to modern pop culture (the movie Number 23, among other works). In fact, there are people whom I am rather close to who hold spiritual significance to certain numbers. If they see this number, this indicates that something good is going to happen or that they are making the right decision. If they do not see the number or see a number opposite to it, they are making the wrong decision. This is a more frequent occurrence than most people even realize. Perhaps you have a favorite number or "lucky number", too? This is merely the same thing as perceiving faces in clouds or seeing messages in inanimate objects. Feeling luck or attributing meaning to a number is the same thing.

But again, it pulls into question - are these experiences simply coincidence or are they indeed a higher power (God, the Divine, the Higher Self) sending messages to us?

Shamanism & Pareidolia

For thousands of years, shamans have walked this earth. There are shamans from pretty much every culture on this planet. Shamans are put simply - wise men and women. They are believed to have spiritual abilities, i.e. they can see into the future or travel to other planes of existence. They can have dreams of the future, but they also employ tools from nature in order to see messages from the spiritual side. This is many times called divination and can be seen in the ritual of "throwing bones", in which a shaman tosses a set of bones onto the ground and "interprets" the images seen in the pattern of the bones.

Tea leaf readings are used in the same manner, and inevitably is the reader's experience of the images seen from the random patterns of inanimate objects. Clouds are also interpreted by some in a manner of divination known as "cloud scrying". So when we see faces in the clouds are we actually calling upon an ancient method of contacting the spiritual plane?

But to play devil's advocate (the psychologist), all of these shamanistic practices could be considered a form of apophenia or pareidolia...seeing significance in otherwise logically insignificant objects.

Is this Jesus' face or a mere random stain on a wall?
Is this Jesus' face or a mere random stain on a wall? | Source

Apophenia & Pareidolia, Schizophrenia?

So are we awakening to our core spirituality or are we losing our minds? Could seeing faces in clouds be attributed purely to psychology? If we look at these faces in the clouds from a logical point of view and through a skeptic's eyes, would we see faces or simply see our own imagination going wild?

Many psychologists explain this type of phenomenon away with the term apophenia. Apophenia is defined as "seeing messages or meaning in random, meaningless objects." To those who do see these faces in the clouds and messages on inanimate objects, these images do not see like purely random or meaningless. In fact, these images seem like divine messages in many ways. That's where the spiritual collides with the psychological. There can be much discrepancy between spirituality and psychology, especially in this type of phenomenon.

But if we were to subscribe to the psychological concept of the "faces in clouds" phenomenon, we might also come across the theory that this experience is a sign that is a precursor to schizophrenia. For example, paranoid schizophrenics are said to experience delusions and hallucinations. These delusions are thoughts that have no real meaning or relevance in reality, but to the person experiencing these delusions...they are quite real and meaningful. So essentially, seeing faces in clouds and attributing a spiritual significance to them could indicate that one is schizophrenic or potentially heading in that direction.

Pareidolia is similar to apophenia, as it again is the experience of a person finding meaning or significance in a random stimulus. Often pareidolia is linked to religious images but has also been linked to dead celebrities (i.e. Elvis Presley seen in the clouds or in other objects in nature).

Even though apophenia and pareidolia are described as an experience that is rather common, they are also portrayed as a psychological concept that could quickly indicate the presence of other problems in one's brain. There is a thin line between a fleeting experience of apophenia or pareidolia and schizophrenia, just as there is a thin line between madness and genius. In observing and researching the artistic aspect of apophenia and pareidolia, we can see that many artists experienced this phenomenon of seeing significance in inanimate objects and meaningless patterns.

Seeing faces in clouds: what do you believe this can be attributed to?

  • Psychology: it's in the person's mind make-up.
  • Science: it's just the way our brains are physiologically programmed to think.
  • Spirituality: this happens for spiritual reasons.
See results without voting
Illumined Pleasure by Dali
Illumined Pleasure by Dali | Source

Surrealism - Pareidolia in Art

Straddling the border between madness and genius is a common occurrence for artists world-round. Think of Vincent Van Gogh. What a brilliant artist - such lovely, poignant work in the world of aesthetics...but what is he mostly known for? Cutting off his ear, of course. And then when he was in his thirties, he died of a gun-shot wound that was assumed to be self-inflicted.

Another artist who walked that border quite often was Salvador Dali. And if you've ever studied Dali's work, you would know that he used surrealism as his main form...employing a style that is known as the paranoiac-critical method. Optical illusions were Dali's favorite piece of the artistic puzzle. He loved using objects and patterns in his artwork that provoked a certain emotional/mental response in the viewer, but these patterns and objects when looked at in their entirety or logically were of no real significance or meaning.

Dozens if not hundreds of other artists utilize the technique that Dali invented in the 1930s in their artwork today, though this technique is by no means a new one. This idea has been around since art has been in existence. Da Vinci even mentions seeing patterns and shapes in things that hold no real significance...seeing the beauty in the world when others cannot. So are these artists mad or are they brilliant? Perhaps Van Gogh's brilliance drove him mad? Does seeing beauty in something that most other people dismiss as trivial and commonplace make a person insane or privileged?

Written and copyright © by KittytheDreamer (May Canfield), 2013. All Rights Reserved.

Seeing Faces in Clouds...


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Comments 17 comments

Smita Amin 8 days ago


I'm indian .around 5 to 6 years back I had an accident after that incident I started noticing a change in me I could see patterns and faces in everything I was scared at first I thought I am going mad but I know now that this is a sign of awakening or your third eye has opened over the past I have seen the spirit world many wonderous and horrific experencies visions etc my strong sense of spirituality and belief in divine has kept me going on my mom was schizophrenic but that was different she believed in hallucination and her own sense of grandeur that she was a queen etc this entire world is a maya an illusion when we awaken we see the alternate reality the diff dimension etc

blubelle 2 months ago

My husband passed away a year ago and yesterday I was on a long coach journey, I was looking into the sky and everytime I saw a cloud I saw his face in it, it was bizzare because it must have been hundred times I saw his face in a different cloud, I even looked out of the opposite window and the same thing happened, I began to think I was going crazy, I would even make a conscious decision not to look out of the window for a period of time but when I looked again I would still see him.I don't know if it was my mind playing tricks on me or something else, either way it freaked me out, x

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Kristen Howe 12 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Interesting hub, Kitty. I would love to try that sometime.

nancy 2 years ago

Tell me where + I will send you photo. I took a photo of a beach I recently visited where I grew up a few weeks ago, where some of my dad's ashes are and possibly sone of my moms recently place there, she passed in April 1, 2014. I was looking at that photo tonight + see 4 faces, left to right a girl, man, man, woman, I didn't recognize them but the 2nd man looks like my brother bob who took care of my mom and took me to the beach that day. The first photo was clear + each faded a bit more looking left to right at them, very clear image when zooming in.

Gods seer Prophet 2 years ago

I thank you for this hub post. Not only have God allowed me to see but also read the future of someones life after they take a picture of the clouds and give it to me. I have had someone take a picture and what I am reading and seeing is the future of a person they are about to see and speak to without me knowing who they are and never met them. People are being saved through this and Faith is building in Christ from this. I have had Cancer for 12 years and been delivered in a coma for 3 days. While in the Coma I have gone to our Fathers house yes I saw Jesus. I was also visited by angels they did not talk to me lol. After this and given this anointing to have divine sight. I was not able to see and I did ask for divine sight with faith. I see images everywhere and I keep everything biblical to not go into error. I also hear the voice of God and he has not said divination he has call me to be a Prophet and the gift of a seer Prophet. Look up Moses, Ezekiel, Elijah,Elisha, Jeremiah. These are some of the gifted before us who have had the seeing prophetic gift in the Bible. God is giving an awakening and he is calling some of us to see to help others believe in the one true God. No one is crazy, schizo, scientifically deranged. You are blessed and highly favored to be given the gift to see in the heavenliness rather it is the 2nd or third heaven please know it is Divine and from God. What you do with it is your free will. If it is not used for the one who is allowing you to use it well consequences can be great. I also want to share with you not to have fear from what you see pray for the deliverance of fear. Fear is not of God and dangerous to possess with anything of God's. why?

2 Timothy 1:7

New King James Version (NKJV)

7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Please I beg you all to read the book Joel. Be blessed if you would like for me to have a free face book page that we can go and talk about clouds and what we see but must keep everything biblical. Look up every image from the Bible.

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go-barbara-go 3 years ago

I think that part of me (seeing faces while lying on the grass staring at the azure skies and while bathing with moonlight during full moons) was the most memorable in my childhood...

Great hub. I didn't put any meaning on those visions but enjoyed them a lot and i think that 's the most important part.

StoneCircle profile image

StoneCircle 3 years ago from Rindge, NH

A very interesting hub. I personally believe that our eyes and minds sometimes need to fill in the spaces so that it matches closer to our own individual reality. I have sat under a full moon and have had 3 people tell me what they see on the moons face. Each is different, but it holds a relevant meaning for each person. Thumbs up & interesting.

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kittythedreamer 3 years ago from the Ether Author

AP - Who knows...maybe she was claiming the sandwich for her own. LOL. Yes, I do believe that much of it is in our minds and the way our minds our trained to think and perceive; however, sometimes I do believe that messages from the Divine are sent in clouds and forms of nature. :) Thanks for reading...and no I haven't read the new book but it DOES sound very interesting. Thanks for bringing that to my attention, AP.

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Alastar Packer 3 years ago from North Carolina

Why in the name of reasonableness would the Virgin Mary appear on a cheese sandwich? Clouds and things like the sandwich are mostly true examples of religious wishful thinking and pareidolia. And Kitty you know this comes from one who knows the super-normal can happen in many different ways. Anyway you've written a very good article on this subject. BTW, have you seen the new book called The Lost History of Little People? Looks very interesting.

kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 3 years ago from the Ether Author

Thanks, lipnancy.

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Lipnancy 3 years ago from Hamburg, New York

The spirits or the universe, no matter what you believe are always trying to send us messages.

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Fossillady 3 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

Well, you know I voted that seeing faces in the clouds or other patterns are spiritual messages. I think sometimes Spirits way of letting us know she's there with us and an invitation to have divine guidance! BTW I have a hub called tree spirits that shows snow faces on the trees from one single day experience. Check it out . . .

ubaidh86 3 years ago

@kittythedreamer: You are simply awesome, such an outstanding hub... Sometimes i see the objects in the clouds of different shapes, and it looks really interesting... In my opinion, it's just the psychological effect that how a person mind is make-up... Voted Up for this wonderful hub, Awesome Work & God Bless U.! :)

kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 3 years ago from the Ether Author

EricDockett - Yes, I have to agree and tell you that I too have seen faces in clouds, etc. my entire life...thank you for reading and commenting. :)

EricDockett profile image

EricDockett 3 years ago from USA

My whole life I've seen faces and forms in clouds, or woodgrains, or shadows, or pretty much anywhere. I always just thought I paid attention too closely, or that because I was kind of artistic I saw things most people don't notice. I never really took them as messages, or thought they had some special meaning. But on the other hand I wouldn't never say that people attach meaning to visions for no reason. The very fact they they are attaching meaning could tell them something important. Whether that message comes from the self-conscious mind or if it's a tap on the shoulder from somewhere else, I do not know. Interesting food for thought, though.

kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 3 years ago from the Ether Author

koffeeklatch gals - Thanks for reading and commenting. You're right, we do tend to see things others don't. Many Blessings!

KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 3 years ago from Sunny Florida

What a fasscinating hub. I do see faces and other objects in clouds. I image it's possibled to see them in just about anything if you look hard enough. As artist and writers I'm sure we see many things that others miss. Great hub. Up and interesting.

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    Author Nicole Canfield (kittythedreamer)1,885 Followers
    440 Articles

    Kitty has had paranormal experiences her entire life. These experiences have fueled her passion to write about all things supernatural.

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