Thousands are flocking to see what they claim is the face of Jesus that appeared on a hillside in a small town in southern Colombia, close to the border with Ecuador.
According to the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, believers have declared a formation that appeared in a ravine in the municipality of San Francisco in the province of Putumayo is the face of the Son of God.
ABC News reports that the “face of Jesus” appeared after a minor landslide in the hillside.
According to Time, so many enthusiastic believers thronged the site that police had to be brought in to control the crowd.
Discovery reports that Ximena Rosero Arango, a Colombian visitor to the site, told El Tiempo, “If you believe in Jesus you will see your image.”
But opportunistic capitalists are taking advantage of the miraculous event to do brisk business. Some landowners are reportedly charging pilgrims as much as 2,000 pesos — about 79 U.S. cents — for access to the site of the miracle.
No doubt, many believers would consider the price inconsequential compared with the blessings of the epiphany on the hillside.
Meanwhile, images of the “face of Jesus” on the hillside have gone viral on social media, including Twitter and Facebook, and the miracle is being reported in the international media.
The photos show the “face of Jesus” as it appeared on the hillside after the landslide. The anthropomorphic features are obvious and striking. However, comments on online news sites, such as Discovery and ABC News, are mostly skeptical.
“They see a face and claim it to be Jesus. How would they know if they have never seen Jesus’s actual face? Mostly no one knows but like to think they know.”
“Its called pareidolia – where the human mind takes random shapes and shadows and turns them into an image we recognize. Similar to finding a bunny in the clouds.”
But this is not the first time that believers have seen the “face of Jesus” in nature and on objects in their surroundings. People have seen Jesus’ face appear in a mind-boggling array of objects and in unlikely places, from an underground rock formation in the Philippines to Google Maps, a baking tray, a Marmite lid, a piece of bread, a pub floor, car windscreen, on a beer bottle, sock, skin bruise, on wall decorations, and on an Ikea door.
Skeptics attribute the sightings to the psychological phenomenon called pareidolia, which refers to the tendency of the human brain’s pattern recognition system to perceive significant forms, especially human faces, in otherwise random stimuli. But believers will equally scoff at scientific explanation, concurring with Ximena Rosero Arango that “if you believe in Jesus you will see your image.”