Sometimes people look at stains, burns, lines, or other marks on objects and believe that they can discern faces in them. On rare occasions, such images seem to bear a striking resemblance to a particular person; when that image is of a religious figure, such as Jesus or the Virgin Mary, witnesses often believe that the image was sent by God. In fact, even when the image only vaguely resembles Jesus or Mary, an extremely religious person might see it as being a true and divinely caused phenomenon. In such cases, believers sometimes flock to view the object, even if the object itself is quite ordinary. This was the case, for example, at various times in 2005, when people thought they saw the Virgin Mary in the scorch mark on a tortilla and Jesus in a scorch mark on a grilled cheese sandwich. Skeptics call this tendency an illusion or perceptual error based on an irrational need to believe in a particular religion.
- weeping images;
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning