Recently, an eagle-eyed UFO aficionado using Google Earth spotted what looked like a gigantic “alien” head sticking out of the Antarctic wastes.
I was skeptical of this entire (now-viral, natch) story, I decided to download the Google Earth app (pretty sure this isn’t all a stunt by Google) and check for myself:
But let’s first cover the most probable Occam’s razor level explanation for this phenomenon: pareidolia.
Pareidolia is the tendency of humans to see humanoid faces in abstract images or images of nature.
The most famous “out of this world” example of pareidolia is, of course, the so-called “Face on Mars.” In 1976, the Viking 1 orbiter recorded an interesting image (#035A72) in the Cydonia area of Mars…it looked like a humanoid Face:
Explained away as a trick of light and shadow, a 2nd image of the “face” was subsequently taken (#070A13):
It was significantly less “facey” than the first photo…but still a bit facey.
The fact that this image was released in the mid-1970s (you know the mid-1970s, correct?) dovetailed nicely with UFO lore of the time–specifically, that of the Ancient Astronauts. And this to this day, there are those who believe the “Face on Mars” to be a genuine Sphinx-like construction by the planet’s original inhabitants.
Now, obviously Antarctica isn’t on another planet…but it is also been the focus of a lot of UFO lore. It’s beyond the scope of this article to go through all of them…but a number of them involve Nazis surviving WW II in secret underground bases and whatnot. In some of this lore, the UFOs are just literally unidentified flying vehicles made by said Nazis, and in other stories there is talk of actual “alien” contact.
(Oh…and then Antarctica is also the locale for John Carpenter’s The Thing, innit?)
If you have made it thus far in the post after “pareidolia,” perhaps such far-out and kooky topics interest you. You might even be wondering if “aliens” indeed have a secret base in Antarctica…
But despite the fact that the region, much like the deepest part of the oceans, is still not fully understood by scientists…that “face” was most likely, pareidolia.
Postscript: since I first researched this story earlier today, Google has apparently done a very good job at burying search results for it (you ever heard of the Streisand Effect, guys?). But I did personally find the “face” on Google Earth, pareidolia or no pareidolia. Here are the coordinates, which might help in deeper online search efforts: Google Antarctic 72°00′ 36.00” S , 168° 34′ 40.00” E