Rorschach Mind: the faces in the stones

June 25, 2009

When I think of Rorschach I think of that fantastic character from The Watchmen comic and film, however, it was the less than fictional Dr. Hermann Rorschach who invented the famous psychological inkblot test in 1921. Why am I telling you this? Because it prefaces the idea that human beings have a tendency to distinguish facial features in seemingly random or natural patterns and textures.

Recently Kal and I have been noticing that particular stones in stone circles have almost human features, faces that can be made out of the undulations and imperfections of the rock. Here are some examples for you to consider that come from our recent excursions to megalithic sites.

Nine Stones Close


In the rock pictured above I can see the right-facing profile of a bearded man. The man is wearing a skullcap-type helmet not unlike the one worn by Nicol Williamson in his depiction of Merlin in John Boorman’s Excalibur film – a picture I have featured in previous posts, but here it is again:

Of course it’s nonsense. However, this is not the only face in the rock we have seen recently. We don’t take pictures of all of them because they appear so regularly. Here are a few interesting ones to compare.

Stanton Drew

If you let your eyes un-focus you can clearly see a well-defined face in the lichen. When you catch it right you’ll see a skull facing to the right with head slightly tilted down. Another face with down-turned eyes and an open mouth can be seen facing you as well, but this is more contrived than the skull, which just pops out once half-focus your gaze.


Lligwy Chamber

I’ve posted this photo before, but now I can put it in context with others too. Here’s one from last year. He’s cute!

Black-eyed face
Black-eyed face

Glastonbury Abbey

Even in the hallowed sanctuary of this ancient abbey lurks a face in the rock that is possibly the easiest one to distinguish, but that many tourists seem oblivious to. If only they could make their gaze less intense, widen the searching beam of their stares, then perhaps they could also see the face of Gog in this stone in the Abbey’s museum:

Abbey Museum - Glasto09 (11)

Can you see that one? No? Ah, it must just be the cider or the summer heat affecting my tiny brain!


Facing up to the fact that it’s a rock. Nothing but a rock.

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