The Sky Dragon

While taking photographs of the sky on a partly cloudy day, I started seeing mystical creatures being formed!

This was not the first time that I have witnessed animals appearing in the sky disguised as clouds.

Going through my photography archives, especially the oldest CDs there are hundreds of pictures of the sky with clouds.  These are photos that were taken in adulthood. 

Evidently I have not outgrown the practice of looking up, noticing and studying cloud formations.  Actually I hope I never do outgrow that habit.

Pareidolia is the scientific name for seeing or hearing objects or words in patterns or images that aren’t really there.  For example, seeing animals or faces in clouds, on rocks or other material objects is pareidolia.  It can also mean hearing messages in musical compositions.

This phenomenon has been seen and written about in art.  Leonardo da Vinci wrote in his notebooks that it would be a useful device for painters.  Salvador Dali intentionally used pareidolia in his works, more often than not using faces.

In architecture, building details have been designed to cast shadows that will resemble people or animals, such as several mosques in Turkey.

The Shroud Of Turin is likely the most famous example of pareidolia known around the world. Not only does the shroud have the image of the crucified Jesus Christ but words and symbols have also been seen on the shroud as it has been studied.

Pareidolia has even found itself in literature.  Hamlet has a conversation with Polonius about what he saw in the clouds.  Was it a camel, a weasel or a whale?

Pareidolia.  A scientific word.  A scientific explanation for the phenomenon of seeing or hearing objects in or on other objects.

Honestly, I only want to believe it’s the best of our imagination and I’m glad that my imagination is still as strong when I gaze up at the sky as it was in my childhood.

Has adulthood weakened that childhood practice of imagining in your life or is your imagination as strong as ever?  Be sure and share the answer to that question in the comment section.

To view a larger version of today’s featured image and to read the back story to the image click here .


Dyke Fuller
10/19/2023 at 7:14 am

I learn everyday and this was great! Thanks for teaching me there is a WORD for that other than imagination!

Melvin Hancock
10/19/2023 at 7:07 am

I do that all the time. I see images in clouds, in the pattern of rugs, in tile, and other things. Also, when there is a constant, continuous sound (like the stove exhaust fan, or when taking a shower), I hear music as if it is playing in the distance. I rather like it and like to think it is the sign of a creative mind.

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