It has been reported that after a landslide in Colombia last week, the appearance of Jesus’ face has caused euphoria in the region. The landslide occurred in San Francisco in the Putamayo province of Colombia. The human face-like impression came into view on the side of the hill and according to the residents of the region it is the face of Jesus. The site is being treated as a holy site and pilgrimage expeditions are being undertaken to visit the place. The locals have gone on to argue that the face of Jesus will be revealed to an onlooker only if the person has faith and believes in Jesus. Many people are said to be rushing to the place of landslide and the mountain to click pictures.
A few people who own land close to the site have hit upon the highly ingenious idea of monetizing the apparently extraordinarly rare occurrence. They have started charging the supposed pilgrims close to 2,000 pesos which is close to 80 cents in U.S. currency for access to the site. The miraculous phenomenon is being highlighted extensively in global media. The news has gone viral with photos being shared across the world.
A similar mass hysteria was witnessed when NASA had shared pictures of the Martian surface sent by its Vikings 1 spacecraft more than 25 years ago. It had led to various conspiracy theories with people claiming that NASA was trying to hide the discovery of alien life on Mars, or them getting into an agreement with the aliens. People had gone so far as to claim that the pictures were bona fide evidence of alien life on Mars.
The rock formation at the hillside in Colombia joins a long list of such structures and other naturally occurring anthropomorphic scars, or figures that roughly look like a human face. However, due to hype and its connection to a religious entity like Jesus, the hillside of Colombia has become the center of attention of believers as well as global media. Another example of a similar rock formation is found in Philippines. Many people believe that an underground structure in the country is an exact replica of the image of the face seen on the Shroud of Turin. In the year 2010 it was reported that an overhead photo of a field near the Hungarian town of Puspokladany, visible through Google Maps showed the image of Jesus’ face.
It is not uncommon around the world for people to see these natural formations as miracles and connect them to their religious beliefs. However, scientists have time and again clarified that the human brain has evolved over thousands of years of learning and experience and is likely to find such resemblance in images. However, the euphoria over the appearance of Jesus’ face after a landslide in Colombia refuses to deter many people with strong beliefs and faith.
As explained by neuroscientists, the area in human brain which is involved in visual processing gets activated when a person looks at shapes or figures that resemble features of human beings. This region in the human brain is called fusiform gyrus and deals with facial recognition. It tries to find similarities in the designs and details even if they do not have a real human origin.
People’s personal beliefs also play a huge role in their perception. A study conducted by Finnish researchers found that religious people or people who believe in the paranormal were more prone to seeing things like human faces in paintings and other relics. In the meantime, people of Colombia especially the landowners close to the site are euphoric over the occurrence of Jesus’ face after the landslide.
By Ankur Sinha