Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pareidolia

It’s a normal human response, which is why you have people who see the Virgin Mary in their grilled cheese sandwich or portents in tea leaves or even just pictures in clouds. But she couldn’t turn it off.

As a little girl, she couldn’t read expressions on human faces, but she saw worlds inside every irregular surface: wood grain, the green vinyl covering the seats on the school bus, the dots on acoustic ceiling tile, tree branches, the shadows on her bedroom wall at night. She might see children playing ball, or birds chasing dogs, or snow-capped mountains, or desert islands where X-marked-the-spot to buried treasure, or genies in bottles, but often, she didn’t.

Often, especially when the lights were out or the girl was alone, she saw demons. Fang-toothed, horned monsters with hideous, child-eating grins leered down at her from wooden cabinets or up from the speckles in the sidewalk pavement. Often, she kept seeing them after she closed her eyes. Often, they seemed more real than the people she met.

As she grew older, she could control it a little better. Mostly, she didn’t see demons anymore. Mostly.

1 comment:

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