It looks like Raleigh has its own permanent and three-dimensional example of pareidolia— the phenomena of seeing something significant (usually a face or religious icon) in an inanimate object. This one is visible from the Boylan Avenue Bridge.
While discussing the topic of local railroading history with Raleigh Boy and Craig on the Boylan Avenue Bridge, a patron from the Brewpub asked if we had noticed the figure with outstretched arms giving a blessing to passing trains. I was immediately interested, as the topic of pareidolia was the subject of a research paper and presentation I made for a class at State.
Chances are you’re familiar with perhaps one of the first examples, the “Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese” which was auctioned off on eBay for $28,000. This and several other examples provided for some interesting reading, but I can’t say that I formed an opinion on either the people who found them or those who expressed a fervent interest in the artifact. I was and continue to be fascinated by the phenomena, however.
The example cited above is merely a coincidental growth formation on power lines, but can still be an interesting topic of conversation.
You can see more on the Pareidolia flickr group.