Sunday, January 03, 2016

Angel Or Winged Pareidolia?

© 2016 Ray X  03 January, 2016

Just before midnight mass on Christmas Eve last month Jason Cerone took a photograph.  Nothing special, a balcony view of the altar area inside St. Peters Church, Plattsburgh, NY.  He didn’t notice anything unusual at the moment.  But later…

A mysterious shape popped up in one frame on his computer screen after he downloaded his digital images.  Suggestive of an angelic presence, wings gently flapping, drifting towards the altar.

Now his photograph is embraced by believers and dissed by skeptics since he posted it on Facebook.

The blurring in the photo indicates a long handheld exposure.  Was the apparition someone walking towards the altar, leaving a ghostly presence due to the shutter being open so long?  No, says Jason, no one was present (in a physical sense) when he snapped the photo.

Most comments on Facebook consider the image as reaffirmation that angels exist.  And then there are the Doubting Thomases who imply the image is fake or just a trick of light on the lens.

Jason was quoted in a newspaper article (  ) that he couldn’t say he actually caught an angel in pixels.  He stated: "Regardless of whether there is a logical explanation for the picture or not, I believe it was meant to happen and be seen."

So even if the image was produced by a trick of light, a smudge or water droplet on the lens creating a distorted image, God planned it to happen.

According to Monsignor Dennis Duprey St. Peter’s Church believes in angels.  He wouldn’t say that image was an actual miracle – that required stringent proof – but that was beside the point.  The photo was stimulating a discussion about faith.  Also such signs helped people to see beyond their everyday lives.

One time I took a digital photograph and later I found a subtle rainbow in the image, a rainbow that wasn’t there before.  I checked my lens filter.  There was my fingerprint, ready to create spectral lines under the right lighting conditions.  Nothing miraculous.  I cleaned the filter.  I doubt I was erasing God’s work.

They say the Lord works in mysterious ways.  So a lens smudge is still a miracle?

Addendum:  Bad juxtaposition.  At one point on Facebook the sanctified photo was next to an ad featuring a toilet.

Click on image to enlarge.

The work of Satan?

1 comment:

X. Dell said...

That does it. Facebook is anti-religious.

Hmm. With all the press we've seen on pareidolia in reference to nun-buns, virgin-Mary grilled cheese sandwiches and the like, I'm wondering why this idea never comes to mind.