|In Chapter Three of Tamper, Whit tells his psychiatrist, Dr. Carnes, about weird
childhood experiences like seeing a face in the Formica counter top of his parents'
kitchen; hallucinations involving the Seven Dwarf pictures on his bedroom wall,
induced by paregoric, which his mother administered to ease the pain of teething;
and the faint sounds of clanking and rumbling from deep underground, which may or
may not be mysterious miners. That the Seven Dwarfs were miners is not specifically
mentioned in the text, but one might conclude that the pictures influences Whit's
interpretations of the noises he hears. There is also a suggestion that the sounds
might have been vibrations common in any house, travelling up to Whit when he
presses his ear to his pillow, but contradicting that theory, Whit tells Dr. Carnes that,
one night, someone or something actually entered his room.
|The above NASA photo of the surface of Mars was widely published in tabloids,
magazines, and on the Internet because it looks like a face, but another photo of
the same area, below, show that the face is an illusion created by shadows.
|Potmodern novelists and film-makers have reflected on apophenia-related phenomena,
such as paranoid narration or fuzzy plotting (e.g., Vladimir Nabokov's Signs and Symbols,
Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 and V., Alan Moore's Watchmen, Umberto Eco's
The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum, and William Gibson's Pattern
|Pareidolia is a psychological
phenomenon involving a vague and
random stimulus (often an image or
sound) being perceived as significant.
Common examples include seeing
images of animals or faces in clouds,
the man in the moon, and hearing
hidden messages on records played in
reverse. The word comes from the
Greek para- ("beside", "with", or
"alongside"—meaning, in this context,
|something faulty or wrong (as in paraphasia, disordered speech)) and eidolon ("image";
the diminutive of eidos ("image", "form", "shape")). Pareidolia is a type of apophenia.
Apophenia is the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or
meaningless data. The term was coined in 1958 by Klaus Conrad, who defined it as the
"unmotivated seeing of connections" accompanied by a "specific experience of an