Pair of wings -eidolia

By Phil Plait | March 27, 2010 8:00 am

I am traveling extensively for my Sooper Sekrit Project™, and staying in one interchangeable hotel after another. But one recent hotel was a bit special: while perambulating to my room down an outside corridor, I spotted this on the floor:

pareidolia_angelwings

As it happens, the town I am in — forgive me for not revealing the location! — is very religious, and in a way that shapes like this would easily be revered as some sort of icon of God’s presence. The resemblance to an angel is obvious.

paredolia_angellungsBut of course, I happened to be walking back to my room from lunch. Had I instead been walking to lunch when I spotted it, I would’ve seen this view on the left. I suppose angels have to breathe, too, so this could be interpreted as a divine pulmonary system, but somehow I doubt it.

What does it look like to you?

Comments (106)

  1. Chaz

    I see a pig and a bird of prey.

  2. Oli

    Looks like someone spilt something over the floor.

  3. MathMike
  4. Cindy

    Chaz beat me to it. I see a hawk coming in to grab lunch.

    As for the religious city: I’m guessing either the Vatican or Salt Lake City.

  5. Todd

    It reminds me of this.

  6. Arthur Taylor

    It looks like a deer’s hoof-print. Odd place for a deer, but then, odd place for an angel.

  7. “Pair of wings -eidolia”

    That would be Zeugoptereidolia.

  8. George Valenzuela

    Looks like pastrami on rye with mustard … and lettuce, yes, there is definitely lettuce!

  9. Sebastian

    Looks more like a hoofprint to me – goat or Satan? The latter one would fit with the depiction of a falling angel in the upper picture.

  10. Trebuchet

    In the inverted version, there’s a cuddly koala on the left. I can’t decide if the right side is a pig or maybe an aardvark.

  11. DrJohn

    Look like Jesus to me.

    Let’s cut it out and put it on Ebay, some sucker will give us a small fortune.

  12. Benjamin

    Looks like some drunk had a bit more then he or she could handle.

  13. Sharku

    The inverse looks like a kitty being pointed at/reprimanded, or maybe even given a treat. Cat sitting in this kind of pose, looking slightly upwards and to the left, with a hand pointing down at it.

  14. The inverted one looks like the Wu Tang Clan’s logo.

  15. jasonB

    I see signs of mental fatigue. :) Phil, get to bed earlier!

    What do I see? Some one wiped something off their foot. Although Todd (#5) may have picked up on a viral campaign of some sort.

  16. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    The first a (desert) fox, the second the popular bird of prey. Familiar animals.

    You were speaking of an “angle” or “angel”? And it’s an icon of local religion? Fascinating! [/Spock eyebrow lifting.]

  17. Aaron

    Looks like a set of lungs.

  18. Remember Castaway? It looks like the Wings logo the artist used. I love these kinds of Rorschachy things. Do more.

  19. jgb

    It’s the hoof print of THE DEVIL HIMSELF!

  20. Someone stepped in some sticky soda pop. Cheap loafers, I would guess. Prolly a man of medium build. Hey, I watch CSI, okay? Enhance!

    And I second the Salt Lake City suggestion. Hope you brought your Moroni-B-Gone spray.

  21. DemetriusOfPharos

    MikeG beat me to it: its the ‘W’ logo for Wu-Tang Clan.

  22. Glenn

    Beavis and Butthead kissing.

  23. Crudely Wrott

    Close, Arthur Taylor. It certainly is a cloven hoof print. But it isn’t a deer; oh, no. It most certainly isn’t a deer. ;^)

  24. Gary Ansorge

    I think that’s the barf I expelled.

    Holiday Inn, right???

    ,,,it was a party night,,,

    First one looks like a bird taking off,,,second one looks like a drunk bird crashing.

    GAry 7

  25. Dennis

    Arthur Taylor sorta beat me to it, but I would go further…

    It looks to me like a cloven hoof print.

    What sort of creature has cloven hooves?

    Angel? Nay – DEMON!

    edit: damn CrudelyWrott certainly beat me to it.

  26. It looks like a pair of human lungs.

  27. Pi-needles

    A stain?

    A Rorschach inkblot test? ;-)

    Majorly religious city eh? Lemme guess .. Vatican? Jerusalem? Mecca? (Y’know the Kaaba is a meteorite apparently off the asteroid Kalliope or something right?) Although, nah, somehow I don’t think you’re allowed to wear jeans in Mecca. Must be Medina then! ;-)

  28. John Paradox

    Hey, I read McCaffrey…..

    J/P=?

  29. timmer
  30. Protological Nazi

    What does it look like to you?

    Well I’d say but .. its too durty! ;-)

  31. Steve-i0

    Looks like a fallen angel. Photobucket

  32. Astroclam

    Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song label’s logo, neh?

  33. Levi in NY

    Right side up, I see an eagle holding some sort of an object, perhaps a fire extinguisher.

    Upside-down, it clearly looks like a pair of lungs.

  34. Patricia

    Looks to me like a moose with big antlers; I can make out an eye, two ears, and also a pair of nostrils at the tip of the muzzle.

  35. Sam

    It looks like you need some new shoes.

  36. Zyggy

    The pic looks like something out of “Animal Farm” to me (let’s mix in some anthropomorphism here (sp?)).

    It looks like two pigs standing on their hind legs and conversing. The one on the right is wearing a top hat.

    …and Phil, if you’re in Salt Lake City and I didn’t hear about it, I’m gonna be pissed!

  37. It looks like your foot. Oh, you mean the spot. It looks like a spot.

  38. Daniel

    I was going to say a pair of distended lungs. But by god, the Led Zepplin cover…

  39. TheInquisitor

    Methinks it is like a weasel.

  40. Lou Albano

    Posted at 8:00 am. That looks like daylight, probably not the Vatican unless he waited a while.

  41. Gary Ansorge

    28. Pi-needles

    “Although, nah, somehow I don’t think you’re allowed to wear jeans in Mecca. Must be Medina then! ”

    I don’t know about Mecca but westerners in the Eastern province wore jeans(Al khobar, Damma, Jubail,etc.).

    GAry 7

  42. Looks like a heart, of the month-late valentine variety.

  43. Nogee

    Lungs was my first thought…

    Although I like Nazgul

  44. I see some sort of fish-eating bird diving downward to snatch its prey from the water.

    In the second picture, it’s heading back upward, talons full of dinner.

    The inverted image also VERY vaguely reminds me of the full moon. I wonder if a Southern Hemisphere person could see the same in the first picture?

  45. I agree with #30. timmer

    That was my first idea, too.
    Maybe you should google for “Even-toed ungulate”… ;)

  46. Messier Tidy Upper

    Mutant butterflies? ;-)

  47. Badger3k

    I was going to say the remains of Tinkerbell or some other fairy or pixie, but the image of Led Zeppelin has convinced me to join their church. The signs are so obvious! They did speak of the “stairway to heaven” after all.

  48. Philip Willey

    It’s a deer hoof print

  49. It looks like two Blue Meanies arguing with each other. The one on the right is wearing a fez.

  50. Leigh
  51. jcm

    Looks like a butterfly.

  52. beachmaster

    To me…. it looks like Phil was short of material for his blog.

  53. It is without a doubt — Jesus’s lungs. A little further down the hallway, you would have come across Jesus’s stomach and kidneys. It was a very disturbing crime site.

  54. Looks like Phil just wanted another reason to poke at people he doesn’t like. :)

    Finding Jesus in your toast or a water stain is silly; making up stuff to make fun of other people is not just silly, it’s rude and counterproductive. Did anyone actually see Jesus in this image? No.

    Respect is EARNED, Phil. You won’t win any converts or make any points by being mean. It doesn’t matter how nasty the other side is — we’re trying to be the good guys, right?

  55. Ben

    It looks like the claw of Lobster Johnson.

  56. walt

    I first saw lungs too, but then again, I’m a funeral director, so everything starts to look like anatomy after a while.

  57. Markle

    A hoof print? As the standard goes, I’d say pick horse before choosing zebra.

  58. naw

    Ok “from lunch” looks like a split open skull

    and the “to lunch” looks like a kitten attacking a horse.

    And now you have had a look into my mind.

  59. Nentuaby

    Looks like a moose footprint to me.

  60. Fahran

    I smell a conspiracy! Why? If the first image is what you saw, then you couldn’t have seen the second image coming the other way because it is a mirror image of what you would see. Unless you saw it in a mirror. :)

  61. Jeffersonian

    I doiled this one as human lungs.

  62. Looks like lungs to me, too.

  63. STRIKE

    Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms

  64. Kimpatsu

    It’s either a vampire bat or a TIE fighter from the original Star Wars.

  65. Franco

    Wu-Tang Clan in the house, son!

  66. Rebel

    Definitely AGW-eidolia, Phil.

    That’s the carbon footprint you leave as you travel extensively.

  67. mueller1000

    I read somewhere there are ways to “cheat” on the traditional inkblot test–is this a test?

  68. Dan

    Yeah, I’d say lungs

  69. Floyd

    Pegasus, but just the head and the wings.

  70. Pi-needles

    @43. Gary Ansorge Says:

    28. Pi-needles – “Although, nah, somehow I don’t think you’re allowed to wear jeans in Mecca. Must be Medina then! ” I don’t know about Mecca but westerners in the Eastern province wore jeans(Al khobar, Damma, Jubail,etc.).

    Okay, thanks. I think from what I’ve heard read somewhere that non-Westerners or non-Muslims are allowed in either Mecca or Medina anyway.

    I’m pretty sure I did read somewhere in, I think, one of Carl Sagan’s (?) books or maybe someone elses that the Kaaba at Mecca that they circle is a meteorite and for, some reason, specifically a fragment off the asteriod Kalliope but I doubt scientists will ever be allowed to test it & confirm or refute it. ;-)

    … unless the Kaaba was just one of *many* fragments from the one fall perhaps?

  71. Pi-needles

    @67. Kimpatsu Says:

    It’s either a vampire bat or a TIE fighter from the original Star Wars.

    I wondered about a TIE fighter at first too but then decided no, shapes not quite right at all.

    However, if you really squint, the second one could be one of those Imperial shuttles – seen underwater as if its lying on a shallow lake or river bed or close to a beach at sea perhaps?

  72. Steve

    ancestor of pac-man

  73. Jya Jya Binks Killer

    @69. Rebel Says:

    Definitely AGW-eidolia, Phil. That’s the carbon footprint you leave as you travel extensively.

    Actually, looks like it could literally *be* carbon-based gunk off someone’s footprint. ;-)

    @57. Scott Robert Ladd Says:

    Looks like Phil just wanted another reason to poke at people he doesn’t like. Finding Jesus in your toast or a water stain is silly; making up stuff to make fun of other people is not just silly, it’s rude and counterproductive. Did anyone actually see Jesus in this image? No. Respect is EARNED, Phil. You won’t win any converts or make any points by being mean. It doesn’t matter how nasty the other side is — we’re trying to be the good guys, right?

    Hyper-sensitive much? :roll:

    I really don’t think Dr Phil Plait is doing this to be nasty or mock the religious or anything like that, just pointing out an interesting stain. I don’t see anything mean about this post any more than looking at clouds or campfire flames and saying “oh that one’s got a funny shape and looks like X, Y, or Z” is mean.

    If religious people have given themselves a bad name by taking such imagined patterns too seriously in the past then that’s their problem NOT the BA’s. They could always, y’know, not shreik that a bit of grilled cheese or patch of salt damp is OMG! OMG! OMG! the Virgin Mary appearing “miraculously” as a some kinda SIGN right? :roll:

    Shouldn’t stop others incl. me, you & the Bad Astronomer idlely imagining pictures or patterns of anything in anything and then *not* taking it seriously should it? Sigh.

    Oh & in case you didn’t notice YES we *are* the good guys! :–P

    @ 55. beachmaster Says:

    To me…. it looks like Phil was short of material for his blog.

    Yeah, it seems a bit of a “slow news day” for him or maybe he’s just too busy with his sooper-sekrit project to post anything more significant. Still it has already got 76 comments so clearly some ppl find it interesting. ;-)

  74. Jya Jya Binks Killer

    BTW. Two punks or an elderly couple in silhoutte (& maybe caricature cartoon?) kissing for the top picture & the silhoutte of a person walking up a hilly landscape as seen from the air with the white area being clouds or mist and the black stuff the landscape and the hiker’s silhoutte for the lower photo.

    But so many other interpretations are also possible as we should all have realised by now. :-)

  75. Michael Kingsford Gray

    A Hog dancing with a Koala.

  76. SkepticPimp

    It looks like a foot.

  77. MadScientist

    It looks to me like some paint lifted off the concrete. Given the shape, there is some chance that someone had something sticky on their shoes and a patch of paint was torn off as they walked through.

  78. I see a Smurf sitting in a chaise lounge, while another Smurf peeks out from behind a tree.

  79. It looks like Jesus playing Nintendo Wii with Richard Simmons on a 40″ plasma TV!

  80. Abdel
  81. Harun Hovind

    Phil wrote: “The resemblance to an angel is obvious. ”

    No Phil, you’re insufficiently pious enough to see THE TRUTH.
    Its obviously a menstruation stain from the Holy Virgin Mary!

  82. Mike C.

    That’s exactly how my lungs looked before I discovered the joys of Camel non-filtered cigarettes. Remember kids, experience is the best teacher in choosing a cigarette. Your T-zone will tell you why.

  83. Gary Ansorge

    73. Pi-needles

    My friend Saib Al Ghamdi told me the myth that is attached to that. Seems Mohammed saw this chunk of rock falling from the sky, held up his hand and said “Stop!” and the rock hung suspended above the ground. It was then moved to the Great Mosque and a granite block was placed under it, just in case the “miracle” failed.

    When I asked him if any scientists had examined the rock to see if it was still suspended, he retorted, “That would be an abrogation of faith, which is not acceptable.”

    Ah, humans. Such an interesting and contradictory tribe of naked apes. Convoluted thinking is not limited to christian fundamentalists. ALL humans are susceptible to imaginary thinking. It’s both a great strength(as in imagining different ways of doing things) and a great weakness(as in adherence to an imagined reality, despite all evidence to the contrary).

    ,,,and yes, admittance to the great mosque is forbidden to non-muslims.

    GAry 7

  84. RMaceira

    You´d better clean your shoes before getting home!

  85. Mike C.

    An eagle of the Misty Mountain battling a fell-beast?

    Nerdiest comment of the day?

  86. I see a teddy bear with a large fez getting in the face of another, hatless teddy bear.

  87. Looks like it’s time for hotel crew to clean that carpet. What gets that stain out? (If you rent your home, then this is something not to ignore.)

  88. clheiny

    I see Audrey Too.

  89. I think it looks like a poorly drawn map of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

  90. Pi-needles

    @ 87. Gary Ansorge:

    Wow, hadn’t heard that story about it – thanks. :-)

    I thought Mecca was already a sacred shrine complete with Kaaba stone before Mohammads day. That’s just .. wow.

  91. fernando

    once more the face of Jesus when he found out about all those pedophilia cases the Pope didn’t care about…

  92. Timmy

    I worry that you think all religious people are gullible morons. I worry more that most religious people ARE gullible morons…

  93. Ryan Smith

    I agree with anyone claiming Wu Tang on this one!

  94. Gary Ansorge

    96. Timmy

    It’s not abut religious people vs the intelligentsia. HUMANS are gullible, to a greater or lessor degree. I remember as an 8 year old, when my contemporaries thought it great fun to shatter my Santa Clause illusions. Their favorite comment was “You’re SO gullible.”,,,and I was,,,still am, to a certain extant, though these days, when I hear something said that is fantastic, it usually illicites a raised eyebrow. I have a tendency to believe people unless there is a conflict between what I’ve learned and what they say. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve learned a lot.

    Zinging people because they believe in an intelligence beyond themselves is, to some extant, just mean. Remember, Muslim means “slave or servant of God”. This is a reflection of our biological urge to conform to tribal expectations and we lived in such tribes for a million years or so. It must have some powerful survival advantage for us.

    The Chinese have an old saying; “May you live in interesting times.”

    That is NOT considered a blessing, for interesting times are times of change and change is stressful. Remember Tofflers book “Future Shock”? We’re in the middle of the most powerful period of change in history. Is it any wonder people world wide are responding to this stress with a clinging to old time values, even to the extent of running screaming from new knowledge, to denying it most vociferously?

    I have my own “little blue blanket”. It’s faith that reason WILL prevail,,,

    GAry 7

  95. JerWah

    I saw the wings from the fed-ex box in cast-away…
    http://i17.tinypic.com/63bpgs7.jpg

  96. Kevyn

    It looks kind of like a flying log…

  97. wye

    #3 nailed it, it’s a near perfect Lord of the Nazgul wearing his crowned helm as portrayed in numerous illustrations. There are even two orange glowing eyes ferchrisakes. His billowing cloak and/or the wings of his Fell Beast drape on either side.

    This is beyond debate.

  98. Faultystring

    The top one is a Moose head, the other a pigeon shaking the dust off its unattached wings.

  99. Crux Australis

    Someone may already have mentioned this, but I see a cloven hoofprint.

  100. Neil

    It’s the opening for a new t.v. show: “Stepped on an Angel”.

  101. Divergence of B

    It looks like someone was running across painted cement on a hot day and some of the paint stuck to the shoe. Alternatively, it looks like someone with a tiny fist punching a cat in the face.

  102. Colin Steadman

    That is a schematic of a set of human lungs done in paint chipping. Release the location, it will be humourous to see how many deluded clown go and worship it.

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