Face of Satan in World Trade Center Smoke on 9/11?
By David Emery
Some television viewers were convinced they saw the face of Satan in clouds of smoke billowing out of the World Trade Center after it was struck by a jetliner on September 11, 2001. Was it really the devil himself?
Above: Actual video footage from September 11, 2001 appears to show the visage of a grinning devil complete with horns forming and then dissipating on the left side of the screen.
Via ClickonDetroit.com, blow-ups of actual news photos of jetliners colliding with the World Trade Center during the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York City show the devil's face emerging from billowing clouds of smoke, some observers say.
Via Associated Press, an actual photo of the burning twin towers includes a column of dark smoke in which "the eyes, nose, mouth and horns of a devil" can allegedly be seen. An AP spokesperson confirmed that the photo has not been retouched in any way.
The vexing question isn't whether or not these images are real; they are. The vexing question is what, precisely, we see in them.
"This was a dream come true for demons," opines the webmaster of the Christian Media home page. "An act of hatred and violence is a thrill ride for a demon, they not only participate, in so far as influencing someone to commit acts of violence, they get a thrill during the act. Demons knew what was going to happen in New York and they gathered there to jump in at the point of the impact, like a human jumping onto a moving train to have a thrill."
Psychologists call this phenomenon i.e., the tendency to perceive human-like faces and forms or other familiar visual patterns in places they don't belong "pareidolia." Vladik Kreinovich and Dima Iourinski of the University of Texas at El Paso Computer Science department conducted a geometric analysis of the billowing shapes some people have interpreted as the face of Satan and concluded "they can naturally be explained by the physics and geometry of fire."
What do you see in the dust and smoke of 9/11?
Sources and further reading:
Angel or Devil? Viewers See Images in Smoke
AP / ClickonDetroit.com, September 2001
Terrorist Attack Photos
AP / Albuquerque Journal, 14 September 2001
Devil's Face in Smoke of 911 at the WTC
Urban Legends Running Rampant
San Francisco Chronicle, 19 September 2001
Was There Satan's Face in the World Trade Center Fire? A Geometric Analysis
Univ. of Texas Dept. of Computer Sciences, 2002
Last updated 09/11/14