Woman claims to spot Jesus in photo of flaming Notre Dame Cathedral roof

A woman who was reading about the Notre Dame Cathedral fire on Monday couldn't believe her eyes when she spotted a religious figure in a photo of the historic church's flaming roof.

Lesley Rowan, a 38-year-old mother from Alexandria in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, took to social media to share the photo, which she believes depicted Jesus Christ.

"I may be letting my mind play tricks on me here, folks take a close look at this picture and what do you see," she wrote on Facebook, the Daily Mail reports.

Getty Images
Getty Images

By the looks of it, many social media users agreed with Rowan's belief.

"Looks like a figure of Jesus, or I am tripping?" one person wrote.

"I can see it pretty clear, gown and all," commented another.

In an interview with the Daily Record, Rowan said she was "astounded" by her own observation.

"I really see a vivid image," she continued. "I shared it and asked for people's opinions - even my brother in Australia said it looks like Jesus."

She added that she hopes the religious symbol "will bring comfort to people in Paris and all over the world at this sad time."

Observing message or human faces in the world around us is actually a known phenomenon called pareidolia.

Pareidolia is the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image — particularly those of religious icons — in a random or ambiguous visual pattern (i.e. spotting the Virgin Mary on a piece of toast).

A 2012 study from Finland showed that those with strong religious or paranormal beliefs were more likely to identify figures in random patterns than skeptics or atheists.