Stone Panels of Clover Hollow --Wondrous Freaks of Nature or Cryptic Messages from the Ancient Past?
A paradox of unparalleled proportion is coming to life on the side of Clover Hollow Mountain. The first clues suggesting an ancient civilization might have once existed here comes in the way of high resolution photographic evidence of stone panels that are abstract, creative, unique, artistic, clever, crumbling, and alien in nature. The conundrum we are faced with here is whether we recognize these numerous stone panels as one-hundred percent natural and just randomly occurring in this one spot, or are we looking at bizarre and cryptic pieces of art created by an ancient culture of unknown origin?
To get a clearer picture on what might be happening in Clover Hollow, we need to understand the phenomena of pareidolia. Wikipedia defines pareidolia as follows: ‘Pareidolia (parr-i-doh-lee-ə) is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant, a form of apophenia.’ A common example includes seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the Moon, the Moon Rabbit, and hearing hidden messages on records when played in reverse.
Pareidolia is a type of apophenia -- seeing patterns in random data. This definition implies that the phenomenon of pareidolia is a delusional behavior. You are not really seeing these images; they are just figments of your imagination made from random data. There are a number of theories as to the cause of this phenomenon. Experts say pareidolia provides a psychological determination for many delusions that involve the senses. They believe pareidolia could be behind numerous sightings of UFOs, Elvis, the Loch Ness Monster, and the hearing of disturbing messages on records when they are played backwards. Pareidolia often has religious overtones. A study in Finland found that people who are religious or believe strongly in the supernatural, are more likely to see faces in lifeless objects and landscapes.
Example of Pareidolia from the Galapagos Islands
Falkor over Saksayhuaman
Carl Sagan, the American cosmologist and author, made the case that pareidolia was a survival tool. In his 1995 book, ‘The Demon-Haunted World – Science as a Candle in the Dark,’ argued that this ability to recognize faces from a distance or in poor visibility was an important survival technique. While this instinct enables humans to instantly judge whether an oncoming person is a friend or foe, Sagan noted that it could result in some misinterpretation of random images or patterns of light and shade as being faces.
Sagan claimed that the human tendency to see faces in tortillas, clouds, cinnamon buns, and the like, is an evolutionary trait. He writes: ‘As soon as the infant can see, it recognizes faces, and we now know that this skill is hardwired in our brains. Those infants who a million years ago were unable to recognize a face smiled back less, were less likely to win the hearts of their parents, and less likely to prosper. These days, nearly every infant is quick to identify a human face, and to respond with a goony grin.’
Leonardo Da Vinci wrote about pareidolia as an artistic device. ‘if you look at any walls spotted with various stains, or with a mixture of different kinds of stones, if you are about to invent some scene, you will be able to see in it a resemblance to various different landscapes adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, wide valleys, and various groups of hills.’ He’s talking about using your mind as a tool to increase your imagination and creativity. This may be sage advice when taking a look at what is going on in Clover Hollow. Try to imagine each of the following panels as creations of art with images within images. Start with the entire image and break it down into smaller components each telling their own story. ‘It’s all about faces.’
Rock cuts or possible petroglyphs
Clover Hollow is mostly limestone karst jutting from the ground and covering the steep mountainside. Karst is a landscape formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks including limestone, where the hardest of the lithographic rock remains. The first rock megalith that stood out in Clover Hollow was on the cliffside standing there as if it were a sentry or guard post for the ancient Native American trail that passes in front. You could stare at these rock formations twenty-four hours every day, from every angle, and never see the artistic masterpiece that lay in front of you. The secret was to capture a single moment of time on a photograph, from the exact point of view when the sudden thrill of understanding slaps you across the face. Once you experience this moment of revelation, all the pieces of art distributed across the mountainside sharpen into focus. Also noticeable is the crumbling effect of erosion that has taken place since the Appalachian Mountain building process began millions of years ago.