By Phil Plait | November 2, 2009 12:00 pm

Hey, it’s been a while since we’ve had some good ol’ pareidolia — seeing faces in random patterns — here on BA, and since Halloween just passed, here’s a goodie: a demon in a door’s wood grain:


Hmmm, not bad. For what it’s worth, the father doesn’t claim it’s actually a demon, though he does claim it wasn’t there before Halloween and now it is. I suspect it’s more likely due to no one noticing it before, but hey! That’s just me.

And the instant I saw the face I knew it wasn’t a demon. There’s a far more likely explanation:


Better call Ahnold.

My favorite part was the father saying the face didn’t freak out the kids. I’m not surprised, since clearly they’ve gotten used to Bambi’s dad hanging on the wall.

Tip o’ the demonic alien cornrows to Fark.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Humor, Pareidolia
MORE ABOUT: demon, Predator

Comments (36)

  1. Dude

    You won’t get Arnold, he’s too busy Governating. Better call Danny Glover!

  2. Blondin

    It’s not the predator, it’s Gene Simmons!

    Okay, now panic.

  3. Sili

    That’s a pretty damn good one.

    I actually thought this was gonna be about the African-American T-rex on Strange Maps.

  4. I wonder if they never noticed it before because they never took a lit-from-below photo before? The angle of lighting could affect the shadows in the wood grain.

    Or maybe it was that possessed Kit Kat that he threw at the door earlier that night?

  5. Chris A.

    Umm…and we know what demons look like how, exactly? Last I heard Moses, the Apostles, et. al. wrote the Bible with words, no illustrations. And the descriptions of demons therein are, ahem, sketchy at best, n’est-ce pas?

    (n.b. No reporter bias here, what with the spooky uplighting on Dad’s face. All I could think of it when Stephen Colbert sticks the flashlight under his chin and apes the Crypt Keeper.)

  6. Oh my god! It’s Gary Busey!

  7. Nope… it’s John Travolta in Battlefield Earth!

  8. David

    Well, he did say it wasn’t a hoax. So I guess it couldn’t have been one, because, you know, hoaxers always admit they are doing it.

  9. Sam

    That looks a little too good to me. I’m calling ‘shopped.

  10. dhtroy

    Emmm, kinda looks like … nah … couldn’t be … Whoppie?

  11. Gary

    Looks kinda like Strong Bad…

  12. lawman

    I actually thought it was Gene Simmons

  13. llewelly

    It looks like the mean old lady who lived down the street from me when I was 5.

  14. JoeSmithCA

    Gotta love lighting and the human imagination. If you flip it upside down it looks like a barnicle.

  15. bigjohn756

    Bambi’s dad! Whimper, whimper…

  16. DennyMo

    I love how it’s from the town of “Erie”, IL. Coincidence? BTW, it’s a real town, “so small they have a town triangle instead of a town square”.

  17. Rory Kent


  18. llewelly

    Umm…and we know what demons look like how, exactly?

    We have many sculptures and drawings of the gods of competing religions.

  19. jenn

    It looks more like a cuddly little owl to me. I wonder if the Halloween season primed him to see something “demonic.”

  20. Demon? Predator? Nonsense!

    The marking on the door is obviously the image of Gene Simmons. The proof is here:

  21. Bill

    I’m with dhtroy. The symmetry in the image is a tad too perfect. Either the photo has been manipulated or the wood is an artificial laminate so that each piece has the same grain patterns, and the ‘face’ is formed by the join of the grain patterns…but in mirror image.

  22. TheBlackCat

    It actually looks much more a predator with its helmet on than one with its helmet off.

  23. I'd rather be fishin'

    Many years ago, the design of the Canadian $1 bill had to be changed slightly. Apparently the hair-do of Her Majesty was such that some people saw the image of a devil in the Royal Coiffure.

    Public pressure forced the Royal Canadian Mint to change the hair. Not a bad idea since the Tower of London is still officially a prision…

  24. Beryl

    Bill, “book-matching” veneer on doors and panels is common. This is done precisely to create symmetry in the grain. I was looking for the seam at the axis of symmetry, but the resolution isn’t high enough.

  25. Mark Hansen

    Bill, I would go with the simple explanation. The image looks like it is of the center line of the door which is where you’d expect to see the division in the laminate. The reason they haven’t seen it before? Well, I think Phil covered the most likely reason. That, or it wasn’t “convenient” to notice it before then.
    I think the family is safe though – at least until they start noticing a group of three red dots…

  26. Crudely Wrott

    The able duo Beryl and Mark beat me to it but, yes, this is book matched veneer and it’s a common and wonderful way to exploit the beauty of wood.

    Take a wide board and cut it edge to edge across it’s thinnest section. Along the grain, of course. Open the board like you would open a book. Sand, polish, apply finish and presto! Stunning Graphics ™ with amazing symmetry!

    Ok, not perfect because the cutting and sanding and all remove some of the wood that used to be between the final two surfaces but what is not perfect to the eye is conveniently, if misleadingly, made to appear so in the brain.

    Also, when you first slice that wood open and look at it you are the only one in the entire universe that knows what it looks like. Makes me chuckle every time I do it. Small things bring great pleasure.

  27. Crudely Wrott

    It should go without saying that it’s not just wood that works this way. If you can halve it and keep the two halves oriented around one hinge side the same effect is evident. Large pieces of Crazy Lace Agate work very nicely. Very.

    Book matching is even more common; open a loaf of bread and remove two adjoining slices. Compare their adjoining faces. They are near mirror images, no? Then how come we never see two mirror images of Jesus on the Toast?! That’s might suspicious right there, innit?

  28. Reader5000

    Oh, come on. Isn’t it obvious? It’s Frank from “Donnie Darko”!

  29. Mathamatical Mystery

    Looks like Frank to me as well!

  30. Strangel

    The little girl and her dad are creepier looking….

  31. Bill Roberts

    That’s one ugly mudda$%#$%.

  32. mike burkhart

    Look out they may have an alien hive some were in the house the predators bread the aliens for hunting its a right of passage thing also look out for the wrist nuke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. Gary Ansorge

    Ah yes. I remember Baal the Magnificent, where women were payed a few coppers to offer up their new born FEMALE offspring to propitiate the god. It was the only birth control technique they had that actually worked(well, there WAS the Greek method).

    Ah, the exigencies of ruling a vibrant, growing city-state. Will religion(and its adherents) never cease to amaze? or, for that matter, our ability to fool ourselves,,,

    GAry 7


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