Regular readers know that I’m a bit of a connoisseur of pareidolia, so much so that I even have a category devoted to it. For those not familiar with the concept, pareidolia is nothing more than seeing patterns in things. One of the most famous examples is seeing faces, animals, or other objects in clouds. Among the religious, a particularly common strain of pareidolia is to see Jesus or Mary in patterns on anything from pancakes, to sheet metal, to windows, to trees, to doors, to MRIs. Even Ikea isn’t immune. I’ve even seen a story of Satan appearing on a bathroom tile and wondered if it was the lamest pareidolia ever. No, perhaps Jesus’ recent appearance on a toilet was. Or maybe the Virgin Mary’s appearance in a Lava lamp.
Or maybe it’s this:
Many Christians believe Jesus can be found anywhere. In southern Lenoir County, he may be found on a utility pole.
The pole, about a mile south of Kinston, has attracted attention of some area residents. Some say the kudzu-covered post bears a striking resemblance to Jesus’ crucifixion.
The pole, which is the only one nearby covered in “the vine that ate the South,” is at the northwest corner of Tyree Road and U.S. 258 S., in the Jackson Heights neighborhood.
Kent Hardison, who runs Ma’s Hotdog House less than a half mile from the pareidolia, rides by the Christ-resembling post each day. He said when he first saw the kudzu growing he almost sprayed it with herbicide.
“I glanced at it, and it looks like Jesus,” Hardison said. “I thought, ‘You can’t spray Jesus with Roundup.’ “
No. No, I guess you can’t. Who can argue with logic like that?
Naturally, believers take it as a sign from God:
Michelle Davis, who lives in Sandy Bottom, said she first noticed the pole last Thursday, after her husband told her about it.
She called the kudzu Jesus “ironic,” considering crime levels throughout the county.
“Maybe it’s a sign of the times,” she said while picking up lunch at Ma’s. “There’s been a lot going on in this area.”
Hardison agreed, “Maybe he’s looking out for us.”
You know, this kind of reminds me of the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where a peasant tells King Arthur, “Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.” The difference is that I’d say that Jesus, if he exists, must surely be able to come up with a better way of looking after his followers than showing up as a bunch of kudzu hanging from a telephone pole in a shape that only vaguely resembles his crucifixion.