Liberty Cap, Yellowstone National Park

I wasn’t crazy about this travertine formation, but the Big Guy said to get its picture, so I did. Apparently the explorer decided it looked like hats worn by French peasants and named it Cap of Liberty. I understand that the locals had a cruder name for it.

Liberty Cap formation at Mammoth Hot Springs.

But when I saw the photo at home – Hey! Whaddya know? – a face, albeit a sleeping one, to my eye. And so begins a new category of photographs for me – Photos of Phaces. (OK, OK, Fotos of Faces.) I’ve been waiting to start this since I saw a link on Facebook to a photographic collection of these.

Bottom half of Liberty Cap, showing a face in the rock

Gandalf snoozing?

It turns out it’s a condition – facial pareidolia – and the sign of a well-wired brain. Of course, I expect you’re supposed to see it at the time . . . But once you’ve seen it, it’s hard to unsee, isn’t it?


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8 Responses to Liberty Cap, Yellowstone National Park

  1. Judith Umbach says:

    Definitely Gandalf. Great new category! I prefer photos of phaces. After all, they won’t be obvious – at least not all the time.

  2. Marion says:

    It looks a little like the Hogwarts sorting hat to me.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Marion – I haven’t seen the movies (or read the books, for that matter), but at least the wizardry theme is similar. I wonder why we put witches and such in tall, peaked hats.

  3. Jim Taylor says:

    What did the locals call it? (I can probably guess, but I won’t)
    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim – The sites I used were too coy to come right out and say it, but I, too, think we can both guess.

  4. Laurna Tallman says:

    As a child, I saw wizardly faces in the swirling wood patterns of my parents’ “waterfall” bedroom suite of furniture. They haunted me into my teens. I was happy when they replaced the 1940s furniture with faces I could not unsee and feelings I could not unfeel — until they resurfaced at the cottage to pester me for another few decades. I suppose it’s nice to know this somewhat paranoid affliction has a label, although I am not sure about the “well-wired” classification. I do look forward to seeing more of your visage images.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – I can understand a kid feeling uneasy at being watched by faces frozen in furniture – it makes me feel a bit uneasy just thinking about it! It sometimes surprises me how persistent those childhood feelings are, lending credence to my view that we have all our former selves (at least) inside us somewhere.

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