Satan's Face in the Smoke on 9/11?

Real Image or Hot Air?

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 an airplane on September 11, 2001. Was it really the devil himself?

9/11 Media Captures Face in the Smoke

On, 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.

The Associated Press shows an actual photo of the burning twin towers that includes a column of dark smoke in which "the eyes, nose, mouth and horns of a devil" can allegedly be seen. According to Vin Alabiso, an AP vice president and executive photo editor, The Associated Press maintains a strict policy which prohibits altering a photo 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 website Christian Media. "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."

Seeing Faces in the Clouds

Psychologists call this phenomenon pareidolia — the tendency to perceive human-like faces and forms or other familiar visual patterns in places they don't belong. It's an age-old rationalization used to ascribe catastrophes to evil forces beyond our control, especially in relation to scenes of death and disaster, and to put blame elsewhere rather than with the real perpetrators.

Computer Assessment of the Photo

Vladik Kreinovich and Dima Lourinski 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 that "they can naturally be explained by the physics and geometry of fire."

What do you see in the dust and smoke of 9/11?

Below: 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.

More 9/11 rumors & hoaxes:
Did Nostradamus Predict the Attacks?
• The "Tourist Guy" Photo Atop the Twin Towers
The Wingdings Prophecies
• The Grateful Terrorist
Not All Heroes Are People

Sources and further reading:

Angel or Devil? Viewers See Images in Smoke
AP /, September 2001

Terrorist Attack Photos
AP / Albuquerque Journal, September 14, 2001

Devil's Face in Smoke of 911 at the WTC
Christian Media

Urban Legends Running Rampant
San Francisco Chronicle, September 19, 2001

Was There Satan's Face in the World Trade Center Fire? A Geometric Analysis
Univ. of Texas Dept. of Computer Sciences, 2002