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By on October 24, 2010, with 62 Comments

I usually ignore the cloud/water illusions which supposedly resemble angels, faces, aliens….etc. It’s simply because they are too big of a stretch, at most of the times. Here and then something passes my filter, and in those rare cases it’s questionable if there was photoshopping involved. However, Ricardo Carvalho’s submission intrigued me. Perhaps the story behind this photo made it look even more interesting. Apparently, on 15th February 1986, on a Saturday between noon and 16 hours, the Azores suffered the greatest storm of the century, with wind reaching velocities of nearly 250km/h. Jose Henrique Azevedo took photographs before and after the storm. Waves reached heights of between 15 and 20 meters and, when they broke, as high as 60 meters. Two years later when Jose wished to show proof of this event, to visiting yachtsmen, he printed two of the photos. Having done so, he discovered that at the moment when he had photographed a particular breaking wave it had taken on human form – and thus became known as Neptune at Horta. Can you see the Neptune’s face? What do you think of it?

  • Z2d4th

    Ya I see the image very clearly. I think it’s Poseidon the Greek god of seas.File:Poseidon_sculpture_Copenhagen_2005.jpg

    • johnny D

      No, it’s not Poseidon. It’s Neptune. That’s kind of the whole story. Neptune was lord of the seas as was Poseidon though they were very separate religions. Greek and Roman

    • Riccardo

      well the Romans pretty much took most of the greek gods and gave the majority of them different names so “Neptune” is really Poseidon. But Im just saying so you think that Poseidon and Neptune are 2 different gods. Just the same god but two different names

    • That’s the point! It *is* supposed to look like the god of the sea! That’s why it’s called ‘Neptune at Horta’. Neptune is the Roman name for the god of water and the sea… ;)

      Nice natural illusion, Vurdlak!

    • Cree

      It may be two different religions, but I know for a fact that they were the same person. They just simply had separate names. Hence the “different religion” bit. Plus none of that mythology crap is real, so get over it. BTW, there is no such thing as gods.

    • Pods Of Bob

      I Sea Him. He’s Sorta On His Side. Look At The Photo On A Diag. It Tealy Helps.

  • i dont see it

    i dont see anything but land, water and sky ! you guys have a good imagination.

    • Janessa

      I can see it perfecaly fine. That was just great timing too!!! ;] :]

    • josephine

      It’s at the tip of the rock. A beard at the bottom, a pointy nose in the middle, and a mermaid tail looking tuft of hair at the top.

    • Dr.T

      If you look from left to right it appears as if he is coming up for breath. From left to right you have his hair, eyebrows, nose and beard but you do have to look closely.

    • Mikki Ho

      it’s the biggest wave you see, its a shape of the God’s face

    • ohmygosh

      he is facing NOT in the direction of the land but kind of in the sky. And Z2d4th, you can’t read. It’s already stated its NEPTUNE not Poseidon.

    • unanimous

      he’s using the rock for a pillow!!!

  • Slammer

    That’s pretty cool. Not often do you get an illusion in real life that is this easy to see. Neat pic!

  • JN

    I think it’s on part of that wave hitting the rock. I see a face profile looking to the upper right of the screen. He has a big chin.

  • This is an awesome turn of events and I say so as well due to the fact that the next day the love of my life was born and so I interpret this photo as a water baby bearer and a a happy or somewhat jubilant one that it reached sad to say storm proportions…Any way awesome shot & water babies are the best =)

  • Cherry Blossom

    yeah, i see it. that’s pretty cool!

  • Laina

    It’s a cool picture and because it’s a real photo taken at the right time makes it even more awesome. Neptune is the roman name for Poseidon btw.

  • Scuter

    I see several things. I see a wolf. I see a ‘monster’ type thing, but nothing that I would say “hey, there’s Neptune”
    Would be nice to have a link to another pic that might “outline” the illusion.

  • Fried Calamari

    Awesome Picture!

  • Katherine Kirk

    That’s Neptune taking a break!

  • Florette

    Neptune is the Roman name of the water god. Awesome picture!

  • Marci

    Excellent pic, great timing! And yes, it does take a touch of imagination to see it…

  • t00tall10169

    yea definitely see it. cool how some things work out to be so neat and interesting without trying to be

  • josephine

    I wonder if it’s photo shopped, even just a little…

  • first

    i can’t see anything….. could anyone help me?

  • anon

    I don’t see shit. Don’t ever post an illusion like this ever again

    • Merrick

      “anon says:

      I don’t see shit. Don’t ever post an illusion like this ever again”

      You’re in the minority. Everyone else seems to like it. It’s not all about you, so get over yourself.

  • Gregory Padilla

    That’s clearly King Triton from Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

    • Dedge

      Looks like he’s resting his head on the rock and poking his tongue out.

  • Dominik Urbaniak

    Left-upper corner/part of biggest wave clash even looks like a lion or dog head to me. ;d

    • May

      I can’t believe anyone else saw the dog/wolf/dragon thing besides me. I thought that was me having an active imagination xD

  • Braedon James Poole

    all i can see is a wolf coming out of the waves

  • Fred

    If it’s not cleverly shopped it is a good image capture. Although much like capturing a cloud formation, It is much harder to capture such an image in a wave since it comes and goes very quickly. It would be a rare coincident indeed to snap a picture at just the right moment to produce the effect. In the event it is in fact legit, it may be a frame of video. It would be far easier to flip through frames and catch just the right one with a recognizable image. It could be any number of likenesses. One would need only to be looking for a suitable frame.

  • Dave

    Mighty Optical Illusions is really one of my favorite features in this vast world of the web; it’s the first thing I check in my daily surfing.

    This one is fun (all be it frightening) as a visit from the watery god in the 80’s.

    I suppose since it is from the pre-digital photographic world, Carvalho’s print could always be proven if ever in question. It was much harder to fudge negatives.

    Thanks for another great one

  • Dr.T

    That is a really cool pic and does look like Poseidon. Normally you would expect something like that to be pretty heavily photoshopped but it looks pretty natural to me.

  • qwertyuiop

    he looks like santa

  • earthling

    What of the wolf’s head behind the face? There is a wolf climbing the rock behind the face, or if you look at the shadows a different way, is it the face of a Chinese dragon?

  • youssed

    i cannot see it, how we can see it?

  • Linda Walter

    Wow, I saw the profile of Neptune right away! Cool! Even looks like his eyes are wide open!

  • Blair

    can someone tell me where the face is?

  • zeg

    if this is not PS then im a carrot.. looks kewl tho

  • Kathryn Thompson

    That is definitely Neptunian. Very Kewl. I love seeing things in rocks or waterfalls, ocean waves, mountains, etc.

  • Seb Coco

    For me, it’s poseidon too :).

  • That was submitted by the Portuguese footballer? :)

  • Psychodad

    Took me a minute — I was looking in the right place but reading it way different — I see Godzilla! (The face is G’s back spikes, and G’s face is to the left, with the mouth open.)

  • Cadbury-monster

    I agree that it could be either gods, they are both gods of the sea, but in different religions. I would prefer it to be Poseidon though, but that’s just what Rick Riordan does to your brain.

  • SnowBerey


  • Care Bear

    What’s he doing? Tell him to get back in the ocean where he belongs!

  • Sebastian

    I see the face, but also if you look closely the upper lip could be his face while the lower lip is his sholder, his nose looks like an arm up with a fist about to pound the sea shore.

    But maybe I have a very vivid imagination.

  • Natalie

    I had trouble seeing it at first, but now I see it.

    I you’re having trouble, this might help. . .

    Imagine the brown rock as a pillow. Neptune is lying on that pillow with just his head out of the water, and from the neck down is still in the water. So he is lying on the far right side of the pillow. Neptune’s head is the wave that is crashing into the brown rock. He is lying on this pillow looking up into the sky at the top right corner of the photo. There is a white bit of the crashing wave that is touching the rock, that’s the back of his head and his white hair. His face is a little darker gray. You will see his profile and can see a tuft of hair on his forehead, an eyebrow, an eye, a pointy nose, a cheekbone, some lips, and a puffy beard on his chin.

    A profile of Neptune:


    • Dolphin

      If you look at this comment(Natalie’s comment),the profile looks a lot like the wave…

    • Dolphin

      Also,I’m talking about the profile of Neptune(who,by the way,is the same as Poseidon),and the beard especially looks that way.

  • ali

    For those who can’t see it, here’s an outlineNeptuneOutlined.jpg

    • ali

      (Oops, hit submit too soon)

      So, he’s laying on his back with his head resting on the rocks. I’ve outlined his forehead down to his chin, beard is just below where the red line stops.

  • Marcus

    I see the silhuette of someone running inside the small water-splash-thingy :)

  • jusin

    yep, that is definitley poseidon. i love greek mythology….

  • Morph

    If you look left it appears a girl is laying down on the shore. In the lefter side, like she need to breth!

  • Madmax

    there are so many faces in this image. zoom in and look at the dark blue inside of the wave. and see him riding with his arm in the air at the top of the wave

  • spyra78

    ant there is bear, wolf and the guy standing with one orm rised up! can u see them too??
    great photo!

    • Matjl

      If you look carefully you can see a guy holding a dagger riding the wave on the opposite diagonal to the face.

  • Zeb

    its Aqua Man the true king of the sea, not that sissy Marine Boy with girl friend Neptuna