It's amazing the way the human brain creates order out of disorder. Take Led Zeppelin's lyrics to Stairway to Heaven played backwards. Some people think it reveals a hidden satanic message. You can listen to it here. Play the backwards clip first without the subtitles and see if you can pick up the message. I couldn't. Click to read the subtitles and then listen to the song again. Suddenly the satanic message comes through. (Queen's Another One Bites the Dust is great too.)
This is a now classic textbook example of top-down processes, or rather the idea that our previous experience and expectations affect our perceptions - especially of ambiguous stimuli.
Almost any ambiguous stimulus can be primed.
Images in clouds.
An old woman -or- a young girl?
A duck vs. a rabbit.
The letter B instead of a 13 when it's embedded in ABC vs. 12 13 14.
The Virgin Mary on a piece of toast.
((Before eBay stopped the bidding, the toast was up to $22,000)).
All are classic examples of perceptions distorted by higher cognitive processes.
My favorite one:
The face of satan in the smoke of one of the World Trade Center towers.
This was news to me, but evidently old hat to people who took it as a sign of the end of days. A taste of the strangeness can be had here. Scroll down to the "The Apocalypse of St. John the Apostle Re: The WTC Collapse" near the end for a great example of the human brain in action on Revelations 17:15-17.
Can you hear the hooves of the four horsemen yet?