Hidden images and the question of Room 43 and the Minotaur

There has been some skepticism about the inclusion of a bull’s head within the sly face in 43. Did Manson really intend it? We’ll assume for the moment that he did. There are plenty of examples of hidden images within images, some of the most classic being Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s heads composed of fruits, or a librarian made of books, etc.

Arcimboldo Fruit Man

Mad Magazine’s Al Jaffee, on the other hand, hid images using the omission of the centre of the image.

MAD Magazine Fold In

The most common (and boring) example is the old/young woman used in 1950’s TIME book sets while explaining psychology.

Old or Young Woman

In all cases, the interplay between the two images remains the same. There is the issue of dominance, which image will give way to the other? In every case, one of the images is slightly concealed within the other. Arcimboldo’s fruits are realistic, it is the face that only appears from their ordering. Al Jaffee’s hidden picture of Nixon is comprised of the parts of the main picture, not its own entity. For the young/old woman, focusing on the young woman reveals her dimensions are more realistic than the old woman. While the point of this drawing is to determine whether the viewer sees the young or the old woman first, MY exercise is to establish that one of the perspectives of these types of drawings is always dominant.

If Manson means that there is a hidden bull in the sly face, how are we to establish that hidden bull face means Minotaur? Sure, you could say the horns in 9, the painting of Theseus in 7, the references to half animals, are all clues to back this up. But shouldn’t the solution be self-contained? A bull head without a man component is just a bull. Here is an example of an image of a man’s head, that when turned upside down, is bull-like. I can justify turning the image upside down because we just came from an upside-down room (29), and there are 9 amphorae here, 6 becoming 9 when looked at upside down. By the way I’m not saying any of this is true, or even good. It makes a bit more sense than trefoils.

Minotaur in 17

Another problem is that you cannot reverse engineer the solution already assuming the Minotaur (or a bull head) is the Guide because it skews yours judgement, you can see minotaurs anywhere, as is demonstrated by this random session on an inkblot test. This was the very first slide.