The controversial installment of Glee that aired last night, the third of season two, centered on spirituality and a very spiritual sandwich.
The episode opened with Finn Hudson's (Cory Montieth) existential crisis, brought on by the manifestation of Jesus Christ -- on a sandwich. Finn comes to believe that the remaining half of his grilled cheese, rendered on a George Foreman grill, is unlike any other sandwich. It has special powers. It is -- a grilled cheesus!
Finn's Grilled Cheesus is an example of pareidolia, a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random image or sound being perceived as significant. It's classified as one expression of apophenia, the experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data (think John Nash in A Beautiful Mind as an extreme example). That being said, if you happen to have a pop tart with the likeness of the son of God awaiting the second coming in the freezer, there's a good chance you're not crazy. Hundreds of allegations of religious figures making house calls are reported every year (and put up on eBay). And when the spirit world gives us a sign, they often choose to speak through our food.
Great Moments in Divine Food Intervention
5. 1977 "The Miracle Tortilla of New Mexico" Maria Rubio's tortilla with the image of Christ has drawn more than 35,000 people over the years.
4. 1996 "The NunBun of Nashville" (aka "The Immaculate Confection" "The Cin-a-Nun") A store manager at the Bongo Java Coffee Shop looked at a pastry and saw the face of Mother Teresa staring back at him. He promptly shellacked the confection for all eternity and the legend of the nun bun was born. Popularity grew even more after the saintly mother's death the following year.
3, 2. 1990, 2003 "Eggplant Allah" In 1990, Muslims in Northern England reported finding "Allah" spelled out in the seeds of an eggplant in Arabic. Thirteen years later a woman in India sliced into an eggplant and found seeds spelling out "Allah," this time in Urdu script. Now, the vegetable is part of a shrine near her home and is treated as a religious icon.
1. 2004 "The Grilled Cheese Madonna" A half-eaten 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich bearing the image of the Virgin Mary sold for $28,000 on Ebay to an online casino.
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For those tired of waiting on the almighty, there are a number of products to assist you in creating your own personal Cheesus. A few we found amusing: