Wary Had a Little Lamb or “Peruvian Pareidolia”

Thanks to Foolmewunz on the JREF forums for this beaut of a BS History story. An “archaeoastronomer” named Bill Veall claims to have found an ancient temple in the Andes. But not just any temple. This one is LAMB SHAPED, baby!

This has to be textbook pareidolia. Think Jesus on a skirting board, the Face On Mars, that sort of thing. So far, this guy is keeping his cards close to his chest – when and if he releases the location, we can check for ourselves just how lamb-like this “feature” is. I suspect that is the real reason why he hasn’t yet done so. To quote Veall himself;

“I have a very simple explanation for those who don’t believe me,” Mr Veall says. “If I gave you the co-ordinates of the site, a million people would find it immediately. When you know where it is, it’s obvious. But we want to secure and preserve the site until we can get a scientific team to have a look at it.”

Last time I heard evasion like that, the earth-shattering discovery in question turned out to be a monkey-suit covered in offal. Then (assuming it is our chum) we have the rather childish retort on the Sky comments page;

“To all those disbelievers in what is surely a momentous and historical discovery- please keep your inane rubbish off SKY NEWS;I know for a fact that the images are absolutely genuine and the whole site will be filmed at close quarters in April/May 2009Habasha”

I really hope that isn’t you, “Bill”, for your sake. The internet doesn’t give a fig for your ego.

William J Veall’s only internet presence prior to this story was the Nascodex site a bounty of speculative online archaeology. See what you think of an earlier discovery of his – an, erm, “owl”… Neither can I find any academic or other publications under his name. Aside from “Nascodex”, we do have the website of the company that produced his promo video (as featured in the Sky News link).  There’s some lovely self-publicity and handy press contact details on the  bio page, but precious little of substance re the actual “discovery”.

Shadron of the JREF Forums has whipped up a nice little analysis of one feature – the so-called “language” on the so-called “altar”. You can see it in the link above, but for reading ease (and because this entry lacks piccies!) I reproduce it here;

“OK, just for grins I did a little analysis on the pics on Bro. Veall’s images on his web page. On the first page he shows “altar” with the supposed writing on it; for those who are blind to his imagination, he shows another image on a “more…” page. The two are obviously extracted from the same image (first of all, no maps service is going to update some forgotten crag in the Andes very often, and for he second, all the snow patterns are identical). Now, Veall states at the bottom of the page that the images have been “lightly retouched to enhance definition for transmission over the Internet”. Indeed. Unfortunately, the point of this all is in that “definition”.

After rotating one image and then resizing it downward to match the other in resolution, here are the two images side by side:

peru-pareidolia1

The one on the left is the enhanced image on the second page. The enhancements include:

  • Touch up on the “letters” on the stone (apparently done in snow on the altar), particularly the first and third characters, but including all.
  • All the surroundings except the altar are grayed out.
  • The color on the altar is played up, particularly the green, which is only hinted at in the right image.
  • The pic is stretched in the vertical direction about 12%, giving more room for the letters to be better depicted.

Now, NASA photo users enhance some of NASA’s astronomical photographs (over and above the fact that many are false color images anyway) for more spectacular results in public consumption, but that’s not really an attempt to deceive.

This does appear to be. Why am I not surprised?

Shame on him for trying to con a poor country like Peru, anxious to get some tourist attention. Shame on them for believing him, if they bite.”

Shame indeed, Shadron, if it is indeed a hoax.

Update – the rather good Museum of Hoaxes has similar feelings.

Update #2 – still no proof offered by Veall, but another counter to the original claim that I can’t believe I didn’t think of myself – THERE WERE NO SHEEP in Peru until Europeans introduced them, well into recorded history. Needless to say, there were therefore no lambs, sacred or otherwise, to serve as models for any carved feature.

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One Response to “Wary Had a Little Lamb or “Peruvian Pareidolia””

  1. Andrew Lai Says:

    I also wanted to dig some dirt up on this pathetic attempt and the language he mentioned (I believe he says its muslad used in southern arabia in the 9th century bc extensively, or something similar)
    I found no such language, there were many many others.It was done extremely quickly though so i may have missed out on a few languages.

    “If I gave you the co-ordinates of the site, a million people would find it immediately. When you know where it is, it’s obvious…”

    Only issue with this quote was…I still couldn’t see it after looking at a clearer image myself.
    I had to struggle to see it and I have a very good imagination.
    This was just awful!

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