I posted this photo to Facebook. It's a photo of a fresco in the Basilica of Saint Francis in Giotto, Italy. The fresco was painted by Giotto in the 13th Century and depicts the life and death of Saint Francis.
Do you see a face? Art historian Chiara Frugone sees a devil with black horns.
The face, or devil as it were, cannot be seen from the ground. Yet for all these years, it's lingered here on the ceiling looking down at everyone.
The article fascinates me for a number of reasons. First, as you may know, I have a fondness for the wacky world of Capuchin Franciscan Friars. Maybe it's a past life thing, maybe it's just a quirk in my personality, but I have, more than once, looked through tourist photos taken of this very fresco and the ones next to it. You see, this church is one that many Friars visit to commune with Saint Francis.
So I've gazed on this fresco and not seen the devil. This fact is not all that surprising since I looked at this photo for more than five minutes and didn't see a devil.
I'm not all that certain I see one now.
Anyway, as Facebook things go, an old Adventure-16 friend, Brett Bigelow, reminded me of the Grilled Jesus. I'm not referring to the one depicted on Glee, but rather this one:
Do you see Jesus?
Do you see a devil?
I see a grilled cheese sandwich.
I know the human brain, much like the honeybee brain, is designed to pick up facial impressions. In fact, our minds will turn almost any random pattern into a face.
Which leads me to wonder, are there more cheese Jesuses? Devils in clouds?
It turns out that I have merely scratched the surface of the Devil/Satan/Jesus foot/cloud/smoke sightings.
Here's Satan in the fire and smoke of the World Trade Towers of 9/11:
To me, the first one looks like something out of the extended directors cut of the Lord of the Rings, the second one looks like God in some Italian fresco and the last one looks like Mr. Magoo. (He's probably hunting rabbits.)
But it's not just the Devil. Turns out Jesus took some time off the grilled cheese appearance circuit to appear in Google Earth. (Click the photo to go to an article about other places Jesus has appeared.)
Why would the devil and/or Jesus spend their time hanging out in smoke, grilled cheese sandwiches or fields in Hungary?
If it's not them, then who? And why do want so badly for a devil or Satan or Jesus or Mary to appear to us?
I'm fresh out of answers. What do you think?