So, our senses can be trusted, but optical illusions trick us into thinking we see something else. It’s actually our brain that is fooled. Our eyes see something that doesn’t line up with reality, and the visual illusion confuses our brains. But why does this happen? To this day, no one knows. Let’s take a look at some of the freakiest visual illusions out there. See if your brain and your eyes can discern the reality in these real-life photos that have not been altered or photoshopped in any way.
Skyscrapers in Perspective
Try to guess which building is in the foreground. Good luck, because we have been trying to decide for the better part of the last hour and have so far not come very close to a verdict. The certain answer might only be given by the photographer.
Did you decide? The light brown building seems to pop out as if it’s in front, but then, once we look at the gray building, that one seems to be closer. For now, we are going to go with the gray building since its edge seems to block the rest of the brown building. Playing with perspectives is such a trip!
A Desert Arch Plays with Perception
Look at the Delicate Arch, located in the Moab area of Utah. Which leg of the arch do you think is closest to our view? Did you choose the smaller one? You’re right! But don’t look at it too long. If you look at it again, it might flip and flop.
The largest leg is furthest away, but the smaller leg seems like it should be farther away because it is smaller. And to add a layer of illusion to the whole thing, the arch looks like a seahorse trying to eat something! Go out to the Moab desert one time and see for yourself.
It sure looks like this twig is hovering several inches over the sand. Although scientists insist levitation is nothing more than magic or illusion, some people claim supernatural powers or psychic energy can and has resulted in levitation.
What we have here is an illusion. What at first seems to be a shadow created by levitation is really a twig floating above a very clear pond in Surrey, UK. It’s amazing how our minds and our eyes can “see” something that is not there and then just as easily see reality. It's also amazing how clean and clear the water in that pond is!
Stairway to IKEA
What do you do with all those little Allen Keys or hex wrenches that come with every “some assembly required” purchase? Like many, we have wondered too. And while we are sure not everybody goes down the road we see in this picture, it's definitely an option to consider.
What looks like a bright and shiny stairway is actually a collection of those wrenches neatly lined in rows. Would they all come crashing down if Barbie stepped foot on the lowest stair? Or did the creator hold it all together somehow? Some things we will never know, but we do see some adhesive strips in the bottom corner.
A Whimsical Illusion
This may be the most playful apartment building in the world. The illusion of people and shops just being a lively part of the street makes you happy just by looking at it. And if you pay really close attention, you will see that this three-building complex is really just one building.
Believe it or not, this is not the only amazing mural artwork in Sherbrooke, Quebec. The town has a total of 16 murals all around Sherbrooke, complete with a self-guided mural tour. All the other artworks are equally fun. Some contain quirky scenes with hidden shapes. Kids can point out the silliness.
A Herd of Horses
In most business parks, one does not expect a herd of horses to go galloping by. Not these days, anyway, as most people commute to work with a car or some other means of public transportation. Nobody takes their horse to work anymore. The stables are not big enough. We kid, obviously.
These beasts, wild and free, are kicking up a splashy path, racing to wherever they are off. But really, these ponies are permanent installations of sculpted bronze, decorating a commercial property water fountain. The splash feature near their hoofs and legs sure gives it the look of motion.
This illusion takes "on top of the world" to a whole new level. French artist François Abélanet constructed this green globe outside of Paris City Hall for a 2011 art presentation. He called it “Qui Croire?” or “Who to Believe?”
The massive project required 90 people and five days to construct it. It’s actually 100 meters long and not a sphere at all. From one angle, it looks like a perfect globe. But from the side, it is revealed to be a long stretch of 1,200 square meters of lawn patched together. If you’re curious how this 3D anamorphosis artwork works, check out “Qui Croire?” on YouTube. It’s amazing!
Trip Out on This Hallway
Don’t trip! It is entirely flat, actually, so tripping should not be a problem. Looking at this hallway floor might have you thinking there is some quicksand involved or that it was made by people who usually build waterbeds. In reality, however, it's a perfectly solid, walkable floor. To create the effect, the tile company laid the floor in a curved pattern.
Each tile was not square-shaped but rather cut into various shapes to create a trippy design. This artistic walkway was installed by the British tiling company Casa Ceramica. The warped-looking floor serves as the entrance to their Manchester showroom.
A Waterfall Under Water?
This colonial island nation located southeast of Africa in the Indian Ocean offers a spectacular sight from above. This view is possible from the southeastern tip of the island of Mauritius. The waterfall illusion in Mauritius is created by the runoff of sand and silt instead of water.
The clarity of the water brings to light those deposits. Directly above, it almost looks like an underwater vortex. After all, it’s just natural beauty. It also makes you sort of understand why ancient civilizations hundreds of years ago used to think that the earth was flat. Those who think it today have no excuse.
Look at one set of eyes and mouth or, rather, try. Easier said than done. This image makes it almost impossible to focus on just one set of facial features. This is why we are so happy the artist also included the mask on the side — it's the one focal point in this painting that helps us not get dizzy.
It’s an optical illusion that makes us think we have double vision. Since the face is one of the most recognizable images that our brain processes, the distortion causes confusion. A similar image has been used in a drunk driving awareness advertisement. Do you feel intoxicated looking at his face?
The Classic “Café Wall” Optical Illusion
The Café Wall optical illusion falls under the category of distorting illusions. Similar to the artwork of Peter Kogler, it tricks the eyes into believing a flat surface has different characteristics. We know it’s hard to believe, but all these horizontal lines run parallel to each other. It is difficult to tell from the angle of this photograph, yet it’s true; the tiles are square.
What causes visual and cognitive confusion is twofold. First, it is the way the tiles do not line up exactly at their corners; each corner is off just slightly. Secondly, the use of visible mortar lines completes the illusion. The original locale, this pattern, was identified as an optical illusion that occurred at a local UK café in St. Michael’s Hill, Bristol.
What Is This?
We are going to go with an accordion selfie. An accordion selfie may be a selfie pose you have never heard of because we have never heard of it, either. But we feel like it's going to become a trend so watch out. The guy in front obviously told each guy down the line to progressively bend slightly toward the camera.
The effect is nothing short of spectacular. The head of the guy in front seems to replicate like some kind of self-replicating sci-fi creature. If they all sat straight again, his pose would return to a normal selfie, but where is the fun in that?
This photograph is a good example of a literal optical illusion. These types of illusions create an image of something that is not reality. It plays with perspectives. It appears that a guy with a large head and small body is reaching over to hug his girlfriend. However, just the opposite is true.
The person standing is actually the girl. Her body is leaning over and wrapping around the right side of the guy who is sitting in the chair. Her head is completely hidden from view, except for some long hair and a peek at her nostrils, which you can see if you look closely. Do you see her?
Whatever Floats Your Boat
This boat doesn’t even look like it’s afloat unless it is floating on air! It’s a whole new level of levitation. Or it’s just an optical illusion? The shadow under the boat is cast at the angle of the sun, while the water is so crystal clear that the surface level becomes invisible.
But, if you look at the rope that moors the craft, you will see it disappears into the water at the proper distance from the bow of the boat. Or, check out the guy at the back of the boat with his feet dangling in the water. Suddenly it all makes sense.
A Veil of Marble
Does this look like the work of one of our modern visual illusionists? Quite the opposite. This is a sculpture by Italian Rococo artist Antonio Corradini. He devoted years to this marble carving during the early 1740s without commission. The final work never even sold. What an incredible example of a finely-honed craft!
And to think that this was all carved out of marble by hand! Called The Vestal Virgin Tuccia, or Veiled Woman, it is now permanently housed in Rome at the Palazzo Barberini. His subject was an ancient Roman Vestal Virgin who was wrongly accused of lacking chastity.
The Hidden 8 of Diamonds
Here we see a great example of use in negative space. It's one of those things that might take a while to realize but once you see you can't unsee. If you stare at this one long enough, the numeral eight begins to reveal itself in a new way.
It must have been someone very bored with a card game who figured this one out. Look at the eight diamond shapes. Then focus on the negative white space between them. Suddenly, a large figure eight in the center of the card appears. It’s a clever bit of detail, isn’t it?
I Got My Eyes on You
It's kind of creepy to feel so many eyes staring at you. So many eyes, so many noses, so many mouths. We need a second here to decipher which features are actually hers and which were painted on. After careful examination, we think it's the bottom ones.
This makeup artist, based in Vancouver, B.C., has an Instagram page full of these types of illusory looks like this. Her name is Mimi Choi, and She was inspired by another artist called Alex Garant. Having smaller versions of your face on your face! It's almost all a little too real-looking. Is that really makeup?!
Jupiter’s Long-Lost Cousin
Do you see the resemblance? Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, and this perfect circle of wood looks exactly like it. Right? Anyone who has ever looked at space or galaxy-themed pictures knows that this is what different stars and planets can look like from a distance — ethereal, wavy patterns on a perfect sphere.
Just like this piece of wood, which has no business looking like something NASA would find interesting, and yet here we are. It looks like it is being used as a tabletop. One that would be criminal to cover with a map.
There are 12 black dots on this grid. The crazy part is you cannot see them all at once. It’s neurologically impossible. Instead of seeing all 12, the dots seem to twinkle on and off. Scientists invented the Scintillating Grid Illusion in 1997. They say the grid tricks your brain into seeing a pattern that doesn’t exist.
The internet went bonkers when game developer Will Kerslake tweeted the Scintillating Grid in 2016. Part of the reason the illusion works is that humans do not have the best peripheral vision. When you focus on one dot, the others seem to disappear. This happens because your brain mistakenly fills in the rest of the pattern.
We have all done this before — stared up at the sky and tried to make familiar shapes out of cloud blobs. Boy, how we miss that kind of free time! In some cases, we would have to really strain our brains to see something other than a shapeless mass of cotton candy, and in other cases, the shape would reveal itself quite easily.
This is what happens when your cloud storage gets overwhelmed with too many pet photos. A big cloud comes over your house and rains cats and dogs. But seriously, it’s quite a cloud form. When does a puffy cloud appear to be cat-shaped and dog-shaped at once? Probably never.
A Lakeside Mirage
Although it looks like a nice strip of white sandy beach at the base of rolling green hills, don’t bother pulling over to take a dip. Tell your brain that the green sea that spreads out before you is not real. Insist it is just an optical illusion.
Look at it again and try to visualize, instead, a concrete barrier on the side of a highway what it is. The shrubs obscure the concrete barrier, and the shadow on the side of the wall appears to be a lake, while the sunshine on the top of the wall looks like a long strip of beach.
Watch It Wiggle
Here’s a fun little distraction to make your brain freak. This one is a little more interactive than the other illusions in this article. Looking at it as it is will not be very entertaining, but if you put a tiny little work into it you'll see what we're talking about.
Assuming you’re viewing this image from your phone, shake it up a bit. When you’re done shaking the device, look at the Oreo cookie in the center of the cake and watch it dance! The jiggling effect sort of turns the cake into Jell-O. It’s like the cookie is still shimmying and shaking even after you’ve stopped moving the phone.
What Kind of Swimming Pool Is This?
Why do the people inside look totally dry? And how does that man’s hat stay on? Shouldn’t their hair be floating upward? Do we see someone using their phone? Mystery solved! This swimming pool is actually a very special pool that contains no water.
It’s an art installation at the 21st Century of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan. There is a hallway and a door to enter the pool from the bottom, while a glass plate covers the surface of the pool with a foot of water on top, giving the impression of a filled pool. Now all they need is a pretend swimmer at the top.
An Impossible Repair Job
A clever Reddit user captured this scene at just the right angle to drive us bonkers. It looks like these repairmen are defying the laws of physics by reaching across to this side of the bridge from the distance of the street, where their lift vehicle is parked. How could their lift stretch so far?
Well, for starters, their lift has horizontal motion as well as vertical. So, the reality is those workers are repairing the bridge from where their vehicle is parked. As a bonus optical illusion, check out that orange safety cone that seems to levitate above the worker on the ground.
A Real Illusion With a Scientific Explanation
This is an actual photo of a boat that seems to be floating in the air. The image was not tweaked with photoshopping, and it was not taken from a strange angle in order to create the illusion. It even has a name. It’s called the Fata Morgana, named after the Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay. Italian shipman superstitiously believed it was she who lured sailors to their deaths by tricking them with a mirage of land.
Fata Morgana is a rare phenomenon that occurs when there is an inversion layer. Warm air is usually nearest to the Earth. When it inverts and colder air is close to the sea, it causes the atmospheric illusion. It’s rare because when the inversion layers occur, wind generally mixes the air, and no effect is noticed.
Hall of Confusion
Anyone susceptible to motion sickness may want to steer clear of this hallway! The walls and the floor appear to be curving in and bending out. It looks like the walls are draped with a fabric that has a lined pattern. But none of this is true.
What you are looking at is an installment from an artist’s exhibit. Austrian psychedelic artist Peter Kogler uses his art to create mind-bending spaces out of ordinary rooms. This particular work was on display in 2016 at the ING Art Center in Brussels. We just hope that this room is not a bathroom by chance, because people are going to have a hard time aiming like that.
How this image is not a painting by French artist René Magritte is beyond us. It is divinely enchanting, mysteriously lovely, and it questions reality. That is a dock, and it is floating in the sky. The peaceful grassy bank is an ideal place to spend the day.
But truly, what a lake! The water is so still that it reflects the sky just like a mirror. It almost makes you think the image is about to zoom out at any minute and reveal the Dreamworks logo animation with that man fishing on the moon. It’s prettier than life itself.
A Movie Studio Building Façade?
This is the flattest building we have ever seen. It sticks into the air like a lost section of a 100-foot-high concrete wall. It looks like it’s the office building of someone from an episode of The Twilight Zone. It’s one confounding image.
How, then, is this building standing up? And why would anyone want to construct a building that is essentially one wall and nothing more? Well, the truth is, the building is a 3D structure just like any other building, except it’s triangular – with three sides. From another angle, you would see that it is a triangle-shaped building.
She’s Wearing No Pants!
Though to be fair, one needs to have legs in order to be following the social norm of wearing pants. It's a prerequisite. Wait a minute. Where are her legs? Has this woman found the secret to having one part of your body run errands for you as the other part is off at the races? Did she forget to disengage her invisibility power?
And why would she stay half-visible? Supernatural phenomena don’t usually happen in the light of day. See if you can figure this one out on your own. Once you see the placement of the jacket's hemline it becomes pretty obvious.
As you approach this crosswalk, you might find yourself slamming on the brakes to avoid hitting Charlie Brown or Snoopy. Or maybe it’s Woodstock you notice first. Of course, Marcie is included in the gang, and you wouldn’t want to hit her, either. (And then there’s Lucy, but she’s kind of mean anyway.)
The crosswalk painting not only serves as adorable city street décor but also as a warning for cars to slow down for pedestrians. The 3D illusion falls apart when viewed from the sidewalk, becoming a normal 2D drawing. This particular work of art was pictured in Santa Rosa outside of an ice cream parlor.
Oil Vs. Water
Here we have what seems to be a disappearing glass rod. It’s clearly visible entering the glass, but when it goes through the oil segment, it looks invisible. At the bottom section, which is made up of water, it’s visible again.
Why does the glass rod disappear? Well, first of all, scientists say that light slows down as it enters the glass. It also slows down as it enters the oil. The other factor is the glass rod. The refractive index of the glass rod is the same as the oil. So, the available light passing through the rod and the oil cancel each other out, so to speak, erasing the boundaries and making the outline of the rod seem invisible.
It’s either a hairless tarantula or a spider species I’ve yet to come across. Oh, whew. It’s just his girlfriend’s hair clip. Did she leave it like that on purpose? And does he have arachnophobia? Looking for more optical illusions? Check out The New Book of Optical Illusions by Georg Rüschemeyer.
It contains over 150 examples of optical illusions with explanations that reveal the science behind the phenomenon. Optical illusions aren’t just found in leisure magazines or optometry textbooks. The world is full of visual trickery. Color, shape, perspective, and shadow can easily confuse our brains and make us question our physical reality.
Just an Average Brick Wall?
At first glance, this picture appears to be nothing more than a snapshot of a section of a brick wall. But if you look at it long enough, you might see that a small gray area the size of ash on the tip of a cigar is strangely out of place between two bricks.
Stare at it long enough, and you will see the entire cigar. It pops out at you and will not return to appearing to be a shadow between the bricks, no matter how long you gaze at it. If you’re still not seeing it, here’s the spoiler: the cigar is stuck in the bricks as if the brick wall is smoking it. No? Don’t worry. It took me two days too!
It Doesn't Matter How Much You Tilt Your Head
We know what you're thinking: two pictures of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. What could be the trick here? Something hiding among the columns? No, take another look. A long look. There aren't two different pictures here – they're the same picture.
The same exact picture. They're oriented the same, and neither of them is tilted. But how? Surely the one on the right is tilted farther? After careful inspection, no, it isn't. Our best guess is the picture on the left creates a new “starting point” for your vision of the one on the right, so it appears to tilt farther.
One of the Classics
If you're a fan of optical illusions, there's a pretty good chance you've already seen this one. If you use your finger to cover up the gap between the two square tiles, you'll discover that the colors of what remains are the same. Try it and you will start getting mad at your eyes and brain for tricking you this way.
Since it appears that light is shining on the upper segment, and the lower segment is in shadow, we think that the upper is naturally darker, and the lower is naturally lighter. But, as we can see, they are the same exact color.
Those Tricky Grays
Here is another cool one for you. There is something about the color gray that can trick our brains. In this picture, the tiles labeled with the dots are actually the same color.
The relative darkness of the tiles around the lower dot tile tricks us into thinking it's a lighter color, but if you were to isolate the small sections, you'd see they're the same shade. Our brains are smart enough to understand shadow and light, but we can still be tricked. We wonder if this works with other colors or if it's only gray that will trip us up.
Three Parked Cars?
Aside from the weird motion blur, we just see three identical cars that go from smallest to biggest, right? Wrong, friend. You see, the cars are all the same size. You may scoff, you may laugh, but if you were to place them all in a row at the bottom of the image, they would all have the exact same height.
The trick here is the apparent slope of the road they're on, which makes us think the bigger cars are farther away and, thus, naturally, larger if our brains see them as the same size. In real life, maybe, but in the image, they're copies.
It Needs a Relocation
Why should Paris have the Eiffel Tower all to itself? The Eiffel Tower really isn't all that large. Small enough for a crane to pick it up and plop it somewhere else so the lawn can be taken care of a little bit.
No, we're kidding – while the Eiffel Tower is a little smaller than a lot of people think it is, it's still a thousand feet tall at the tip. Putting a crane anywhere within visual distance of the Eiffel Tower is going to create this fun shot at the right location. Paris's iconic landmark isn't going anywhere, don't worry.
The Longest Arm in the World
A second look at this picture and you'll see the truth, the girl on the left has her arm around her friend, but the first time you look, you're sure to think that the man behind them is reaching out to lay a palm on her shoulder.
It just took lining things up properly to achieve this picture, but who knows if it was intentional or not. There are plenty of pictures taken every day, and all of them have an opportunity to turn into an illusion like this one accidentally, but this one looks so perfect it's hard for us to say it wasn't supposed to be that way.
Finally, a Clear Picture of Bigfoot
For as long as we can remember, bigfoot has been described as a big, hairy, ape-like being living in some jungle. Now we realize we've been lied to this whole time! If this were real, that would be one big, painful stomp.
Whether we're getting a perfect perspective once again, or these are two images that have been cut together, we're pretty sure that there isn't actually a huge tennis shoe and jeans-wearing giant stomping around, bringing its full weight down on a poor, unsuspecting guy. R...right? Please tell us that isn't the case. Hopefully, this guy is well and healthy, and no one actually squashed him to bits on the sidewalk.
The Woman in the Lake
There is something that every single human has called “face pareidolia,” which is basically a trait that lets us see faces in things that aren't faces. Rocks, knots of wood, shadows, toast – it happens everywhere.
In this picture, most people will see a woman, thanks to the natural scenic view of the bridge, rocks, plants, and water reflection. You can see the eyes and a set of lips. If the photographer had stepped a few meters to the left or right, the trick would have been ruined, but at just the right angle, you see a peaceful face (that kind of resembles a creepy skull).
Fishing in the Sky
That huge party or outdoor concert is a party to something that has rarely been seen: a sky full of fishing boats and pleasure craft. There seems to be no fear there, even though at any moment, the boats could come tumbling down on top of them.
Or not, since they're just floating on water. Thanks to the height and angle of the camera, the color of the water, and the light conditions, it really looks like the boats are floating. Past the understanding that boats can't fly, take a closer look, and you'll start to see small ripples in the water around the boats.
It's a Symbiotic Relationship
This appears to be the kind of shark and remora relationship that you hear about sometimes. The smaller fish hang on and get a free ride and a snack while the shark keeps its skin clean.
As the helicopter sits in the foreground, the jet fighter takes off behind it at the perfect angle and size to make it look like it's balanced on the 'copter's rotor. In reality, the plane (we're not going to try and guess what kind it is) is quite a bit larger than the helicopter. Getting things in the right position and size can create something entirely different, so keep your eyes open.
Aliens in the Clouds
You might think this is a still from the next aliens attack disaster movie that Hollywood has been creating, but it's a real picture. There are no witches living in this house, either, as far as we know. Though we could be wrong.
We're sure there is some sort of nerdy atmospheric explanation for how a cloud can roll into that sort, with all those flattened edges and the rounded middle shape, but we don't know it. We do know that it looks eerily like a classic Unidentified Flying Object – a UFO. This little British suburb might have some abductions soon.
The Mysterious Floating Island
You might be thinking that this picture underwent a little bit of Photoshop design to trick you, but it's not the case. No, the island on the left side of the picture isn't floating – it's still settled on the water, just as proper islands should be.
Large bodies of water create a haze with water vapor, steam, or reflections, which might be coming into play here. Follow the dark line that runs under the island to the right, and you'll see that the dark band is just another section of the water. There's a boat and a second island that is resting on top of it. It just so happens to merge perfectly with the island in the background.
Attack of the Giant Grasshoppers!
This picture could very well be ripped from one of those classic B movies that have giant irradiated insects stomping through downtown and wreaking all sorts of havoc. The look is perfect, and the big bug really does appear to be lifting a leg to smash a car.
In reality, the bug is hanging on for dear life as it rides the car's windshield to its new destination, wherever that might be. If you want to try and recreate this look, mess around with the focus setting on your camera, and you might be able to get a promotional image for a fun monster movie of your own.
The Floor That Falls
This pattern is quite trippy, but it really only affects you if you're looking from above, as this picture is. The pattern narrows and shrinks as it gets closer to the middle, which makes it look like it's drawing away from us, but it's all just classy tiles set on the floor.
The woman in the middle of the image shouldn't feel claustrophobic in a narrow room since she is not trapped in a deep well, she's just standing on the floor in the middle of the room. Though it does look like she should call for a rescue from the abyss she fell onto. No matter how long it takes your brain, eventually, it will figure out it's a flat surface.
World's Biggest Seagull
A lot of these images are the result of being in the right place, at the right time, and having your camera out. Most likely, the person behind this photo just wanted to snap a pic of a seagull that wandered close, and he or she then saw the man walking in the background.
The man is at the bottom of a set of stairs or at the bottom of a drop, while the seagull is at the top. The camera managed to focus on both, even though the seagull is a bit hazy compared to the man. Likely the photographer didn't want to worry about getting things perfect since there was a good chance the seagull would just fly away.
The Mysterious Floating Faucet
Where is the water coming from? How is the faucet staying up? Well, the answer to both questions is the same – hidden inside the flow of water that is coming out of the spout is a pipe that suspends the installation and provides water. This fun art piece is a classic picture subject, and we're sure you can see why.
It looks like something out of a science-fiction film. But this pipe isn't condensing water out of thin air; it's just using the water that is already in the pool under it. You can even make your own small version if you're crafty enough. There are kits you can use, too.
A Confusing Farewell
These two friends are saying goodbye, or maybe hello, but if you follow their legs, you're going to get a little twisted. Just like how these people appear to be. We don't know if they're wearing each others' pants or the clothes are two-toned, or what.
It looks like both of their hips are rotated a hundred and eighty degrees. And the wrong skin color. Your guess is as good as ours for how this picture was achieved. But even if we don't know how it happened, we can at least appreciate the true friendship that this picture is showing us.
There's Soap in Your Eye
Look deep into the iris, and you might discover there is something looking back. Particularly water and soap and maybe some little bits of food, too. This is a sink that has created the perfect configuration of bubbles around the drain to give it an eye shape.
The metal bottom of the sink creates the whites, the edge of the drain makes for a perfect iris, and the swirling water at the center is the pupil. The big bubble at the top kind of looks like a nice, long lash. How long must it have taken for the photographer to make such a perfect setup? Either that, or they're lightning-quick with the camera.
Just Give It a Spin
For a lot of people, Rubik's Cubes are puzzles that will forever stay unsolved. But, if you have the skills to complete the cube, you probably reached for the screen to grab it and make it look perfect. Of course, if you had grabbed it, you would have found out that the Rubik's Cube, and the piece of paper it's sitting on, are one single sheet.
The 3D design is an effect thanks to the stretched-out length of the paper, which you can easily see in the bottom image. From any other angle, it's easy for our brains to see that the image is two-dimensional, but when looking at it from a specific direction, we get tricked.
The Miraculous Floating Dad
If you're a dad, taking a picture with the entire family smiling and happy when out on a trip warms the heart like nothing else. Actually, it can warm the heart of anyone, be they a father or anyone else. You'd have to be one cold-hearted monster to not feel anything warm and fuzzy toward a happy family picture.
Anyway, this dad might not be smiling very widely, but he is floating. That or he has legs that are so skinny they become two-dimensional. Such is the power of a fully-charged dad. Actually, the whole ratio of the dad and the daughter compared to the mother and son seem a bit trippy.
Where Is the Curve From?
Neither the wire nor the shadow itself is anything special if taken on their own. Together, however, we're left trying to figure it out. With a curl in the shadow but none in the cord, it's a mystery as to what we're seeing.
We're sure you can figure it out, but here's the solution: the light that is casting the shadow is coming from above and to the right of the cord, and the wire's gentle curve, if seen from the right angle, creates a curve. It's not as tight as the shadow is trying to demonstrate, but it's still there.
Big Hand Baby
Oh, look at this sweet picture of this mother and her sweet little baby girl. The smiling mom, the shocked baby, the... huge hand? What's happening here? Honestly, this one has us stumped. We know WHAT we're looking at – the mom's hand is holding onto the baby's leg, and the baby's sleeve makes it look like it's actually the baby's hand. What we don't know is HOW.
If that's the baby's sleeve, where is the baby's hand? It appears that the sleeve is not empty. There is an arm in there. So... where is the baby's hand? After enough look, we figured it out – but can you? This one is sneaky.
What Happened to His Arms?
Honestly, that is the question everyone is asking. Our first thoughts are this bride is taking advantage of her position as a newlywed. It appears as if she is simply sitting on the shoulders of her now husband. But, if that is the case, what happened to his arms? Oh wait, those are his arms, and she is not sitting on him at all.
We must not only congratulate this couple on their marriage but also on creating one of the most interesting wedding photos that just messes with our brains. This wedding pic is definitely a winner. Get it framed, folks.
The London Express
There is more to the London underground network than just getting around. And we can clearly see here why it is better known as the Tube. With the London tube stations designed in this manner, people go on a journey even before the train departs from the platform. Looking into that void from just the right place will have you thinking you are in a real-life special effects moment.
In this case, we must give credit to the photographer for his capturing this Tube platform from the right angle and when it is completely empty. How often do you come across a tube station with not a soul around?
How Many People Are There in This Room?
The answer is three. But at first, it appears as if these women have entered some crazy alternative reality where there are many of their clones. It is true – they have entered some other crazy reality, just one where there are too many mirrors. This just goes to show why excess vanity is inherently a bad thing.
You can hardly keep up with the plenty of different selves. That being said, it does make an interesting family photo, but let’s keep it off the walls, or else you will give your guests a headrush every time they visit your house.
Are those two eyes staring back at us? Are those the eyes of Miguel Hidalgo – the Mexican revolutionary and hero? Painted to celebrate the independence of Estados Unidos Mexicanos, more commonly known as Mexico, and Miguel Hidalgo, one of the legendary figures who brought that independence about, we have this mural by painter Octavio Ocampo.
Though the painting celebrates a momentous occasion, we have to admit that all of that use of multiple exposure messes with our minds a little bit. It very much looks like there is a face staring back at us with one blue eye and one green.
Wait a Minute…Why Is He Not Falling?
What do you expect to find in a museum called the Museum of Illusions? These are exactly the kinds of things you are in store for. The museum doesn’t disappoint. In this photo, this museum piece tricks us into believing that this air vent or channel is sending enough current to make the man float, but it is just a bit of trick photography.
And to tell the truth, we’re impressed. The Museum of Illusions based in New Delhi might make our heads spin, but we’re on the next flight to Delhi to check out what else is on offer.
You Must Be Barking Mad
This dog is not for faint-hearted postmen. Postmen are sure to avoid this house completely, as will neighbors and the entire community. It looks like something out of a famous book about a wizard and wizarding school where there was a three-headed dog called Fluffy.
This might be the closest thing any of us will ever get to having the wizarding school experience – and it is enough. Though this might be just an optical illusion and really great photography, it has convinced us that magical powers or not, a two-headed dog is just more than our brains can handle.
How Many Legs Do You See?
What is going on here? Is this some kind of unknown Lovecraftian horror? Or perhaps is this what happens when a spider and a poodle mix? Is this a Pooder or a Spiddle? Whatever it is, it is hurting our brains a little.
After a second glance, we see that there are actually two poodles, but the trick photography gives the impression that it is one poodle with six to eight legs. While the photographer might have enjoyed giving our brains a headache, we must say we are glad to figure out that there are two pooches in the end.
This is not a new kind of optical illusion. In fact, it is a pretty standard one. Perhaps the oldest one in the book. We often see images of people holding the sun or moon in their palms or leaning against the tower of Pisa. It is so standard it has become the cliché of optical illusions.
Be that as it may, it is the standard for a reason – because it looks cool. For just a glimpse, this woman looks like she is holding the power of the sun in her hand, appearing just as a glowing orb in her palm.
Imagine waking up in the morning to this! You step outside on your porch, and guess what’s on its way – an ice tornado. As if regular tornados were not bad enough, an ice tornado is something one can just not wrap their head around.
I mean, even “sharknadoes” make more sense than ice tornados – that is why there was a whole series of films. While this optical illusion might make it seem like there are such things as ice tornados, there are not. This is simply an icicle hanging from the rafters that you spot standing on the porch.
Vertical Dating Challenges
This couple must have had some interesting times, like deciding what is an appropriate amusement park ride to go on or choosing seats in a movie theater. We almost believed that this couple was not vertically matched until we saw the sign behind them – Museum of Illusions, Istanbul.
This museum should ask this couple for permission to be used in their advertising because they almost had us deceived. The next thing for us to do is to work out how the flip did they trick us. Because it seems like our minds are doing mental flips seeing this image.
Just Twigging Around
Is this what happens when nature gets super creative and crosses a moth with a twig? We must say that this moth has been incognito-covered – as it is literally covered in some twig-looking style. No predators are going to chomp this smart moth unless a male bird accidentally picks it up while trying to build his nest – and then, surprise, he got some food instead.
We still must give credit to nature and evolution some credit for coming up with this camouflage moth. It's so convincing! Let’s just hope that it stays away from fallen twigs during spring.
The Sky Is Not Falling
Neither are there two skies nor is the earth slowly dissipating into a black hole. But it does look like that in this picture. It looks like something out of a bizarre sci-fi novel. However, if you flip this photo of the landscape around, it all makes sense again, and we live in a world that conforms to the usual standard of earth and sky meeting at the horizon.
Still, the way we see it, it looks like a black hole is up to no good, or there are two skies. This simple tricky photography is enough to warp our minds.
It’s Difficult to Face This One
While this photo of the Mexican revolutionary José María Morelos might be an incredible piece of art, we have to say it goes beyond simply being an artwork. It con-fuddles our minds – which, admittedly, is the point of art. If the purpose of Octavia Ocampo’s mural was to do just that, then we will give Ocampo a perfect score.
Hanging at Celaya city hall in Mexico, we will say the mural of José María Morelos is worth visiting just because it messes with our mind but also because of the immense talent of this painting is also worth the trip.
In no world are disembodied eyeballs a pleasant sight. Eyes belong in a face and nowhere else. As said, no one wants to come across disembodied eyeballs anywhere, but the worst possible place to encounter them is probably in a pair of glasses.
That is probably the first place you’re likely to spot a couple of eyeballs hanging around – or rather rolling around – but then you’re just going to keep asking yourself, “whose eyes are those lolling around?” You might even wonder where your own have gotten up to, but fortunately, it is just a bit of trick photography.
What the Head Is Going On?
Where is the rest of the dog? We want another photo of the rest of the pooch to make sure nothing sinister is going on here because this photo is making our minds trip out. And what really seems out of place with this headless pooch is that he or she seems so at ease – so at peace with hanging out on the curb like that.
How can you be so peaceful with the rest of your body missing? While we know this is an optical illusion, and this hound cannot be separated from his body, we want another photo.
We have to give the photographer much credit for this photo as it manages to look like three different things. Either it looks like a massive cotton machine that is on its way to take out a field of cotton plants, or the machine resembles a giant robot monster that is on its way to decapitate hundreds of cotton plants.
And finally, it looks like the machine is really the infrastructure of a concert. Perhaps, it is all three. A concert dedicated to a field of cotton plants just before they meet their demise. We’re guessing it’d host country music.
Fight your instinct to call the fire department. Apparently, that is just the reflection of a sunset and not an infernal fire that has broken out in someone’s apartment. We do see some reflections of red in the other apartments’ windows, but it would take a lot for us not to dial the firefighting services.
Look, even if it is the reflection of some harmless sunset, we’re not taking any chances – especially if it's our apartment. While it is interesting to watch, we’re definitely calling the firefighters in. At least, if it is a false alarm, we can enjoy a sundowner.
They really must calm down with those advanced driving courses. Are they teaching people to drive so that when we finally colonize Mars, we get to keep our cars? We’re not exactly sure what is happening in this photo, but it looks like a major road construction was done here – one that allows drivers to defy reality and drive upside down.
With the levels of traffic we’re seeing these days, we’re not surprised they’d look into building something like this. That is one way of dealing with traffic. It might give you a head rush, though – better than rush hour.
And we are not speaking about the kind that overworked employees suffer from. We’re talking about this trick photography. This man looks like he is in the firing line. And that is meant literally. Admittedly, he is not burnt out yet, but it doesn’t look like he minds the heat all that much. He seems to be on fire. Once again, no pun intended.
We can’t seem to get away from these puns with all this heat going on. Certainly, the photographer must have gotten a lot of heat for his or her creative inspiration. Okay. Enough with the puns.
Set Design on Another Level
Movie-house productions are taking their set design to a whole other level. This huge building looks like it is 2D and was drawn up, painted, cut out, and stuck up to create a modern building for the set of a megabucks production. Actually, it turns out that the building is, in fact, 3D, it's just triangular and what we're seeing here is one of its really sharp angles.
It's really the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston. From this angle, it looks like you must be a 2D character to go inside that building. It would have been the most epic 2D building.
Pies on Wheels
If only this were true – especially for pie lovers. Imagine a company that made a business out of selling pies on wheels. Just a friendly van driving around selling pies like an ice cream truck. Of course, it would not be good for waistlines, but pies on wheels is certainly a niche waiting to be exploited.
Hopefully, seeing the reflection of these pies sold in a coffee shop superimposed on the back of the light pickup truck will ignite someone’s imagination, and pies on wheels will be a thing. For now, our brains can only trip out on the image and wait for better days.
Wait a minute… does this man have legs? Or where did his legs go to? Those thin legs with feet strapped in flip-flops cannot be his, but from this angle, they look to be. The photographer did an excellent job capturing this moment because we have to say it messes with our brains.
It looks like the thin legs belong to the man, or his legs have just miraculously vanished. But then you see it. Hidden by the tablecloth are the man’s legs. A quick trick this photographer played on us. Still, it is a tender moment between dad and daughter.
This monkey has style! Look at his rings and his yellow sweater sleeves. Not only does this Saki monkey have style, but he is all caught up on the latest developments, like using a smartphone. Heck, he may even be savvier with technology than some of us. Or maybe smartphones have just become that user-friendly.
Thankfully, it is just the reflection of the glass that made it appear as if this monkey was the one taking the photo. And it had us for a moment. At least we don’t have to worry about the possible onslaught of technology-savvy monkeys. Phew.
To Be Broken or Not to Be Broken
This bicycle has a serious case of schrödinger's cat. In its physical form, it seems to have a pretty mean puncture. So mean that the iron shielding is rubbing with the road. However, its reflection in the puddle indicates that it has never been better and could do another 100 miles.
Maybe, this is where J.K. Rowling took her inspiration for The Mirror of Erised in “Harry Potter,” and the person taking this photo desperately wants their bicycle to be fixed, which the reflection happily obliges. Or it could be some amazing photography skills. Whichever one it is, our brains don’t seem to be able to handle the truth.
Sometimes, even the brain cannot process what is happening. If the photographer did not mention that this image was a reflection in the window, we would think it was "Independence Day." It looks like an alien invasion where the aliens are onboard strange lamp-fixture-looking ships.
If this image were in the wrong hands, it would be used to scare people into believing an alien invasion of sorts. Alternatively, it looks like the lamp fixture is floating in the sky as lamp fixtures tend to do. While this image is so certainly beautiful, it takes its viewers on a surrealist trip.
We have all seen the meme of a floating cat. It is pretty much synonymous with the internet. Well, now there is also a floating dog who uses the power of the air vent to levitate. While a floating cat may have an audience, it is any day now when a floating dog becomes an internet hit.
Let’s just hope that the floating dog’s powers are not dependent on air vents, or perhaps, this pooch will not understand the gravity of the situation. Fortunately, we know this is trick photography – how you may ask? Well, it is the shadows. We can see the pooch’s legs.
The Sinking House on Montmartre Hill
Did you know France has its very own Leaning Tower of Pisa? Okay, admittedly, it is not a tower but a house. And it's obviously not in Pisa either. But it is pretty cool and still draws tons of tourists. It is called The Sinking House on Montmartre Hill.
The only thing is that it is not sinking, but rather it is the perception people have of it from the nearby hill. Walk about 50m up the road, and the Sinking house becomes a normal straight-looking house. Tourists still come for the unusual angle that the hill nearby gives them of this Parisian house.
What About the Gravity of This Situation?
It might seem like we’re being sarcastic here, but we really – and quite literally – want to know about the gravity of this situation. Is this some special place on Earth where gravity just won’t go? Was this bridge designed by some mastermind architect who can bend reality to his will? Is this the filming set of "Inception"?
What on earth is going on here? Truly, we know some trick photography brought this image about, we just don’t see the trick. Maybe, we have to finally admit to ourselves that our brains have been overloaded by the genius of this photograph.
And in this case, we’re not just speaking about any regular museum trip, but rather a really incredible trip where your mind explodes and cannot reconcile what is happening. And no better place for this kind of “trip” is the Musée de la Gaspésie in Quebec.
In this photo, we see one of the many features of this museum trip – a man seemingly standing nonchalantly on the cars beneath his feet, which appear to have been crushed under this weight. While we know this is the museum’s artwork on the floor, we must admit – it is some trip.
The Archetypal Illusion
Everyone knows the classic illusion where if you look first, you see a young woman, and if you look again, you might see an old woman or a witch. Well, this one works the first way, proving that when there are lines involved, they do not always add up to one image. It also means that the brain just loves an illusion.
And this photo is not an exception. We see a portrait of a lady, but at the same time, we see a forlorn-looking young woman. All on its own, the brain can make itself second-guess reality. How famously brilliant.
The Perfect Moment
And we’re not speaking about the moment where you get to sit down, relax, and sip on an iced coffee – although that is the perfect moment. What we are talking about here is the photographer capturing the perfect moment at the perfect angle, where the man appears to be drinking from the iced coffee but is not.
Yeah, that’s true – he’s not. He is just sitting and calmly staring at the photographer. To be drinking while sitting so far back from the table, he would need one heck of a straw. It just goes to show sometimes, something in the hands of the right photographer cannot only tell 1000 words but 1000 more.
Which Way Is What?
Often our brains are content not to be disturbed. And in the case of this photograph, where we see either half of a side view of a man’s face or half of the front view of a man’s face, we are not asking any questions. Sometimes, the brain just wants to be left alone to consider things might not implode the basics of reality.
However, we are pretty sure that this double-sided image has started plenty of debates – and probably arguments – among friends and family, making a case for which side of the man’s face we are looking at.
The Black Hole of Duvets
One of the last places you’d expect to find a black hole is in the middle of your bed. Yet, this photo is proof that they do occur. And next time you are late for work, you can always show this picture to your boss that you were indeed, “swallowed by a black hole.”
Or that you had to spend the morning making sure you weren’t ionized before the day’s shift – which is stressful. Don’t let your boss have too good a look at the photo, he will soon realize that the black hole is nothing but your furry friend.
The Family Centaur
Is this proof that centaurs exist? And more importantly, does this mean that the “Harry Potter” books were actually based on reality and that Hogwarts is really a school? Of course, if there were centaurs, they would keep a low profile. Sorry to disappoint all the “Harry Potter” fanatics, but there is no wizarding school and no such thing as centaurs.
If you look at the photo again, you will realize this tender moment between sisters has just been photobombed by the family hound. And there is probably no more epic photobomb than this one pulled off by the pooch.
Who’s the Ham Now?
Is this piece of ham from another dimension? Is that why it seems to be blurry? All its atoms and particles are unstable, having been moved to another dimension. Nope, it is just a bit of trick photography, but we are still not eating this ham.
Eating this piece of ham does not seem safe in the slightest, considering that looking at irritates your eyes and gives you a headache. Who on earth can say what will happen if you eat it? We will probably have to ask the inhabitants from the next dimension whether it is safe to consume.
Attack of the 50-foot Neighbors
It is almost impossible to have privacy if your neighbors are 50 feet tall. With these kinds of neighbors, it always seems like they are peeping over your wall. What is unsettling are the expressions on their face. They seem so nonchalant, so oblivious. And their smiles are so... still. It's creepy.
Imagine trying to mow your garden with these types checking your every move. Thank goodness they are nothing but images of people pasted onto the side of a delivery vehicle. This photo was taken at the perfect time – making it seem like you have creepy 50-foot neighbors.
While this might be a photo of a tender moment between father and child, it just leaves us feeling creeped out at first glance. What seems like a perfectly beautiful moment was ruined (or, dare we say, blessed) by the angle at which this photo was taken.
Sure, the father doesn’t have a weird small arm, and nor does the baby have a giant-sized arm, but still, it messes with our minds. Only at a second glance do we know what is happening. And even then, it still freaks us out. Yeah, this photo is definitely not one for the albums.
While this photo makes our brains trip, we have to say kudos to the photographer as they not only have captured a surreal moment taking place in real life, but they also managed to have every other element in the picture aesthetically beautiful. It is all too romantic, but with the falling darkness, it is haunting too.
From the faint light – as daylight turns to darkness – this moment in the photo is simply stunning. And then there is the moon, like the globe of the streetlight. What perfect timing! This photo should have won Best Photo of the Year.
Apparently, the photographer tried to capture this scene in color, but this was the result. We are not sure, but despite the lack of color, this scene looks hauntingly beautiful. Maybe, the camera just refused to oblige the photographer and decided a washed-out, black-and-white setting was the perfect color combination for this shot.
Or perhaps, it is not the camera’s fault but the scene. The scene could really be that drained of color. I mean, judging from the season, it is winter, and winter is one of those seasons which doesn’t always have plenty of colors. Plus, roads are black, snow is white, and the cars could really be varying shades of gray.
Extreme Working Out
We just have to say one thing – Katy Perry has been overdoing working out. (We know she's pictured from the back but it's really her. Trust us.) How do her tiny knees even support the weight of her thighs? Apparently, Perry is carrying lunch in this photo, but that is beyond our vision.
She needs it! If her workouts leave her this skinny, she needs to eat. In fact, she needs to order double for lunch. Well, on second glance, Perry is not all that bad. It is just that the grey of her gym clothes blends into the background, giving her an extremely thin look.
Reflections Having Fun
This is proof that reflections have a sense of humor. Not that they are conscious beings, but every now and then, reflections line up perfectly with reality, and we get something like this. Something that we can't help but take a picture of.
It, at first, appears as if a person is riding a horse up the path. Yet, the truth is that there is no rider and no horse. There is only an empty path. The reflection of a painting on the window creates the scene. It causes a kind of double-think – something our brains enjoy deep down.
To Sit or to Swim
Are these rocks sitting in shallow water and sticking out, like rocks generally do? Or are they taking part in some kind of synchronized flying feat, which rocks generally don’t do? At first, it appears as if it is the latter. These rocks look like they are hovering over the ground thousands of miles in the air, enjoying a bird's eye view of the ground underneath.
No airplane needed. That isn't the case, though. These are just boring old rocks sitting in shallow water. However, the falling sunlight gives this image an interesting impression – making it look like rocks are, in fact, flying.
This photo not only makes our brains trip out completely – giving us a guaranteed headache – but it also takes us back in time to a period when people would intentionally try to trip their brains out. They would look at those 3D posters and optical illusion prints in magazines.
No matter the headache, we would still stare at these crazy photos, which do not conform to reality. In fact, the bigger the headache, the better the prize. This applies to this photo. While it gives us a headache and makes us dizzy, we can’t help looking at it.
Walking on Water
There was something in the old biblical tales of a certain individual – an individual who has been known for the better part of 2000 years – who once walked on water. While it is true the man in the photo has not perfected walking on water yet, it looks like standing on the water is mostly getting the technique right.
It is just a matter of time before this man will be taking great strides on water. However, what we would really like to know (apart from all the water-walking business) is how did this photographer manage to trick us into believing in it.
Even pet parrots like going out to have a bit of time to properly stretch their wings. Parrots do suffer from cabin fever too. Just ask them and they'll tell you. Here is proof of this pet parrot who seeks help for his cabin fever.
He is also one of those lucky parrots whose owners take him out for the day, and he can just hop onto her head for a break. The only thing is that it is unlikely that parrots aren’t welcome in stations. So, it is not a parrot but just a picture of one above a woman at the station.
Champion Tennis Player
Tennis has evolved in the last few decades, especially since tennis players are now expected to perform all kinds of acrobatics while hitting a whizzing ball… and casually flying. Yes, looking at this photo, it seems like they are expected to fly – which is quite the case for this tennis player.
Actually, what has happened here is that a teleconverter lens has been used on a tennis player, Denis Shapovalov, to magnify his body and give it the appearance that he is levitating above the ground. Apparently, Shapovalov was standing off against Lloyd Harris. We can only wish Harris luck.
The Ghost of the Quarterback
Perhaps, the “Scooby Doo” franchise owes someone royalties, as there is an episode called "The Ghost That Sacked the Quarterback" and we are pretty sure that it referred to the ghost in this picture. In fact, it even looks like the ghost’s teammate is trying to pull off his mask to work out who is trying to spook everyone out.
Or it is just that the football player has removed his own mask, and his teammate was in the perfect place to make it look like that there is a headless footballer. That would bring “Sleepy Hallow” to the football field.
Is this where modern fashion is headed, or did a child, armed with black crayons, get backstage and scribble all over this dress? Actually, considering the strangely floppy-flaccid-shaped thing on the top right of the dress, we are suspecting a teenager with a dirty mind got backstage and added some terrible graffiti to this dress.
The designer must have lost their mind when they saw the model appear on the catwalk in this vandalized number. But it is probably the case that the designer lost their mind ages ago to come up with this scribbly affair in the first place.