This Batman iceberg is a perfect case of pareidolia

25 Aug 2015

‘Contemplating’, a photo of a face in an iceberg that looks strinkingly like Batman. Photo via Mike Parsons/Facebook

Some men just want to watch the world burn — or warm up through climate change. But this stoic iceberg will protect us, or die trying.

Is this what happens when Mr Freeze finally gets the better of Batman?

Most people around the world can look at clouds to find interesting shapes, but residents of Newfoundland and Labrador have iceberg formations to excite their eyeballs.

Like Mike Parsons, who shared the photo he titled Contemplating to the Facebook page, Growing Up In Newfoundland back in July 2014.

Batman iceberg by Mike Parsons

‘Contemplating’ by Mike Parsons. Photo via Mike Parsons/Facebook

Though he did see a face in the ice, Parsons told the National Post that he didn’t make the Batman connection until Buzzfeed picked it up and the rest is viral history.

Batman becomes Batberg

The resemblance is uncanny as is, but, if you’re struggling, Reddit user stealthtrojan has helped by colouring him.

Batman iceberg

Iceberg Batman in colour. Image via stealthtrojan/Reddit

Buttermynuts goes one step further to prove that this is the hero Newfoundland deserves.

Batman iceberg

Batberg vs Joker. Image via Buttermynuts/Reddit

This summer, Parsons shared a second photo of the ‘Batberg’ from a different angle on Twitter, and followed it up the next month with another stunning iceberg image (though no hero lookalikes this time).

But it was the perfect backstory provided by Reddit user H3adOrAliv3 that has propelled the Batman iceberg back into our viral consciousness. You see: its parents melted, so now it fights global warming.

Iceberg pareidolia

The iceberg photographed by Parsons was about the size of a small bungalow and it was floating near his home in Little Bay Islands.

These large icy masses are primed for pareidolia – the psychological phenomenon wherein the human mind sees familiar images, such as faces, where they don’t exist.

This misperception is shared by many of us, and CBC News Newfoundland & Labrador collected a gallery of iceberg pareidolia from readers who saw seal pups, Angry Birds and faces in the icy masses.

It’s the same phenomenon that leads to observers spotting strange bodies on Mars and Reddit has an entire subreddit dedicated to pictures of pareidolia.

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Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic