“Zoom in. Now… enhance.”
It has become a trope, and as such, has also been parodied. Amazingly though, even before television was invented, the Catholic Church was already resorting to this plot device to promote a miracle which, incidentally, may have been a complete work of fiction.
It’s all related to the miracle of Guadalupe, a very special Marian Apparition not only because it’s one of the pillars of Catholic belief in Mexico and one of the largest Catholic shrines in the world…
But also because the miracle left a very physical evidence behind, the allegedly supernaturally formed image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Like other relics, all sorts of claims to support supernatural characteristics are promoted by the faithful, and among them is the claim that:
“According to many scientists who have inspected the image, it seems that in her eyes, in both of them and in the precise location as reflected by a live human eye, could be seen many figures that have been extensively analyzed and seem to correspond to the shape and size of human figures located in front of the image.”
This is “CSI: Vatican”, where “zoom… and enhance” works even in an image painted over cloth. As early as 1929 alleged “reflections” in the eyes of the image were already being considered, but as in CSI, it would be only with the aid of computer “enhancement” that such claims would gain greater notoriety.
Nevertheless, this only works that way in fiction. Any image record, in any medium, will have several limitations, and one could consider the impossibility of such feats of “enhancement” both through Information Theory – by defining how one cannot extract indefinite amounts of information from a defined set of pixels – as well as limits related to fundamental physical effects such as the uncertainty principle and Planck’s constant.
What the faithful see in the eyes of Guadalupe is simply pareidolia.
Yeah, I know, terrible joke, but now you know how religion can be stranger than fiction.
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