The Perfect Flower for Halloween (PHOTO)

The entire universe in blog form
Oct. 29 2013 10:30 AM

Death Blossom

You think the world is as you see: Nature wouldn’t try to trick you, would it? Ah, but the treat is in seeing past what you see, understanding what the Universe is actually telling you. Your eyes lie to your brain all the time, and that squishy pinkish mass tries valiantly to interpret images that may not be what they seem. Such is the case of pareidolia, when we see faces in shapes. Sure, you might see a coy smile on your bathroom wall, or the Virgin Mary in an MRI reflection (or is it someone else?)… but this is Halloween, after all. So I’m picking my favorite creepy examples of pareidolia to share with you with this week.

And what could be better than a maniacally grinning skull in the decaying bloom of a flower?

Skull flower
A rose by any other name would smell like … a rotting skull? Click to occipetalenate.

Photo by Todd Terwilliger. Used by permission.

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Yes, this is a real picture taken by Todd Terwilliger in a garden at Notre Dame. You can’t not see a skull there, can you? This is one of the best examples of pareidolia I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot.

But man, just think of how much money you could make selling these for Halloween dates. Or parties. Hmmmm.

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!