Thursday, February 27, 2014

Animal Planet

There is a word for animal heads sitting on human bodies (and no, the word isn't "gross" or "surreal").

Wikipedia describes theriocephaly (from Greek therion ‘beast’ and kefalĂ­ ‘head’) as the condition of having the head of an animal - commonly used to refer the depiction in art of humans (or deities) with animal heads.

In Hinduism, the god Ganesha (also known as Ganesa, Ganapati and Vinayaka) is depicted with an elephant head. He is known to represent the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the benevolent supernatural being of intellect and wisdom.

While some find it fun to fill their blog posts and pin pictures of people with animal heads onto their pinterest pages, it's a very real phobia for others who are very fearful of seeing animal heads on people's bodies. I have not been able to find a name for this phobia. But if you're one of these fearful people I apologize.

And you shouldn't be surprised to find there are artists who paint animal faces onto people's portraits. They do this, they say, to reveal something about their personality or to explore their animal nature.

Not that I'm doing this here, of course.


There have been print ads and television commercials and commercial videos done using this technique. So, the technology exists. Here I've fooled around in Photoshop (using three photos manipulated in layers to make one image – two in the last one) but there is a free image authoring/manipulation software called Gimp that you can download if you want to give it a try. (I haven't used it so you'll be exploring untested waters.)


  1. This looks fun. I almost feel like putting animal heads on people too -- but that Indian god with too many arms makes me feel creepy. There's probably a word for that too? :)