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Real Life Optical Illusions To Mystify Your Mind


Every single day, thousands of images come across our field of vision, barely registering in our brains. But, every so often, you take notice of a picture or design that doesn’t seem quite right, forcing you to do a double-take to confirm what you just saw.

These optical illusions have the habit of making it seem like your mind is playing tricks on you, and you just can’t help but stare at these oddities until you make sense of them. Take a look (or two) at some of the most well-crafted designs, pieces of art, or perfectly-timed photographs that can’t help by captivate your attention…

A Man Of Many Faces


Here’s one that frankly may hurt your eyes to look at. There’s something about his facial expression that would strike us as friendly if only we could concentrate on which pair of eyes to look at.

This artwork is intriguing and slightly frightening at the same time. Thankfully it’s two-dimensional and not a real person, because it feels like something that may be out of a horror movie.

No Running


This hallway painting would be ideal in a school where running in corridors is prohibited. Its misleading floor pattern keeps wayward students from running to and from class as fast as they please.

Thanks to the magic of illusion, different angles of this hall appear perfectly straight. These black and white rows are perfectly parallel, and while there is a whole boatload of science as to why they look that way, many of us can’t wrap our warped perception around why the retina creates this illusion for us.

Beautiful Beard


Beards are certainly a trend right now. Men have started growing them more and more, with many women fawning over them, and an entirely new subculture has cropped up around beard appreciation and the creativity that one can express when sporting one.

The rare phenomenon that you are looking at in this picture is the occurrence of two partners who share the exact same hair coloring. Upon closer inspection, we see that this man’s partner is standing in front of him with tresses flowing down to give the impression of the most glorious beard we’ve ever seen.

Underwater Waterfall


The Le Morne Brabant peninsula off the Island of Mauritius sports one of the most unique land/water displays on the planet. We see what appears to be an underwater waterfall off the coast of this island that seems impossible to take your eyes off of.

Ocean currents are pushing sand, silt, and water down the plate boundary, giving the beautiful illusion of a waterfall. Exercise caution when traveling through this area, lest you be swept up in the current.


Forever And Always


This portrait by Octavio Ocampo is titled Forever Always. At first glance, it seems to portray and old couple professing decades of love for each other as they stare into each other’s eyes.

The real trick is seeing this couple’s story ensconced in the painting. The woman’s face shows a much younger version of her, sitting next to a bottle. She’s listening to her younger beau play the sombrero, as seen on the old man’s face.

Airy Apartment Art


Street artists do an impressive job here in Sherbrooke Quebec with this illusion of a moveable wall panel and wide-open space on an apartment building. Every detail of this art is exquisite, from the way the sky matches window reflections to loitering residents enjoying a breath of fresh air.

It would be wonderful if all apartments were this inviting. Detail, color, and concept inspire imagination like few other creations do. Murals like this are a treat to behold, and it inspires a double take from many as they pass by.

Precious Pets


These photos were initially used by an agency to inspire people to consider adopting a precious pet. As you can see, the perfect blend of family and pets makes a sweet combination of care and lifelong companionship.

All members of a family benefit when they open their home to a new pet. With millions of precious displaced pets on the planet right now, the options are endless as you consider adding more love to your family.

Fashion Fakeout


If this gal is on a weight loss plan, she’s gone too far. As these spectators line the barrier for a sporting event, the men on either side of her seem to be firmly grounded, but she appears to have some stability challenges.

If she is wearing camouflage pants, then certainly consider us impressed. It’s more realistic to assume that she’s sitting on top of the partition, legs still firmly positioned underneath her on the other side of the wall.


Trippy Tattoo

Tattoos have been used as a means of artistry and personal expression for centuries. From henna dyes to more permanent displays, the options are as varied as the people who choose to adorn themselves with them.

We could stare at this person’s arm for hours trying to figure out how the tattoo artist got the job done. It really makes the arm look hollow, and we must wonder if that was the intended purpose. If the goal was to be eye-catching, mission accomplished.

Maddening Dots


This might be a GIF, but the still version of this geometric pattern displays random dots at various intersections, driving people batty with the reality that we can’t stare at more than one highlighted dot at a time.

Try as we might, we just can’t catch those strange dots that seem to pop up at every turn. Do they move around as our eyes shift, or are they really on every corner, inspiring our gaze to move from place to place? You decide on this one.

Floating Dock


The perfect summer evening usually comprises a quiet evening on the lake, complete with breathtaking views of land, water, and sky. This picture seems to capture the best of all three with a little surprise thrown in for good measure.

What appears to be a dock floating amidst the clouds is actually the dock floating on a crystal-clear reflection of fluffy clouds in a bright blue sky. As the sun casts its warm glow over everything in sight, this picture becomes something downright magical.

Graphic Foolery


A masterful artist attempted to displace The Beatles as they crossed the street in an iconic photo, replacing them instead with the characters from the beloved comic strip Peanuts. Now, we know that Charlie Brown’s head is a little large for his body, but this artist takes “big” to a whole other level.

To someone sitting in traffic, the street painting is presented as standing characters marching across the road. Pedestrians crossing the same location note that character heads stretch far beyond the confines of the crosswalk itself.


Wiggly Walkway


Some people having trouble navigating a straight pathway with no obstacles. We can only imagine how seeing the following obstacle course in front of you might cause even the most sure-footed traveler to pause and rethink their course.

Dangerous curves and wavy walkways contribute to this masterful optical illusion, and it’s no doubt that many have tried this hallway and stumbled a time or two as they try to figure out where solid ground is underneath all this artwork.

Next Level Art


The world of art and technology have symbiotically combined in the world of 3D, and it is quite amazing. Artists are now making drawings, sculptures, and paintings come to art with the tools and tech that can make it come alive in ways never before possible.

This simple yet somehow breathtaking drawing is a perfect example of how three-dimensional art can take on a life of its own. This man seems to be crawling across the page, leaving us to wonder what he’s in search of.

Moiré Zebra, Please


The moiré effect is a visual effect that occurs when you view a set of lines or dots that is superimposed on another pattern where the sets differ in size, spacing, and angles. The most common moiré experience occurs when looking at scenery through an ordinary window screen.

This moiré zebra pattern attracts our eyes straight to the zebra, who sports both horizontal and vertical stripes. As the zebra appears to wade through these horizontal stripes, the pattern is disrupted in a creative and beautiful way.

Human Pretzel


At first glance, this photo presents a mash up of two people that are clearly intertwined, yet we can’t figure out why a man’s head sits atop a tiny body. Not to worry, your eyes are deceiving you because of the similar shirt colors the two wear.

Upon closer inspection, we figure out that a girlfriend is giving her guy pal an embrace as she bends over the chair he is sitting in. Either that, or someone needs to go to the gym and embrace the concept of “leg day.”


Master Magician


If there’s one superpower that many would like to experience, it would be the ability to levitate. Floating several inches above ground would not be a cool party trick, but think of the energy you’d save as you effortlessly float through your day.

To our dismay, this gentleman is not levitating. He is merely standing next to a puddle that gives the impression that he’s waiting for the bus in a most unusual way. Of course, the power to levitate would make the bus a non-essential form of transportation, wouldn’t it?

Blend-in Box


Talented street artists across the world have the ability to take ordinary objects and transform them into breathtaking works of art. It’s worth a little extra walking to see this superior artwork as we become inspired to create ourselves.

This utility box on the streets of San Francisco blends in perfectly to its surrounding. Life looks almost utopian in the picture than in the surrounding area, with little details added to spruce it up. Where will this talented artist strike next?

Floating Boat


This boat appears to be floating above the water, but it’s making some waves. The crystal-clear nature of the water allows for a shadow to be cast below thanks to the sun’s powerful rays above.

Since this boat could potentially weigh several hundred pounds, it’s highly unlikely that it’s hovering above the water. Take note of the individual sitting in the back of the boat, legs dangling in the water. That will bring you and the boat back to Earth.

Ponzo Perception


The Ponzo illusion is an optical illusion first demonstrated by Italian psychologist Mario Ponzo in 1911. His theory suggested that the human mind judges an object’s size based its relationship to other objects in the background.

This photo demonstrates the power of perception in action. The red lines on the wall are identical in length, yet they appear to be very different based on their location. Don’t believe it? Measure and see for yourself.


Hidden Man


At first glance, this picture is just a cacophony of color, shape, and texture. A bag enthusiast would drool over the varied options for self-expression that exist on this colorful outdoor market display.

Upon closer inspection of the photo, we see the outline of a man visible in the center of the pic. As your eyes travel downward, you might even steal a glance at his feet, standing squarely in the middle of the pink bag in the center of the bottom row.

Greenery Globe


This aesthetically pleasing patch of greenery comes to you courtesy of French artist Francois Abelanet. Its title, “Qui Croire,” translates to “who is to believe.” Nestled squarely in the bustling streets of Paris, it’s not as petite as it seems.

This photo presents it as modest in size, but Qui Croire is actually comprised of 3500 square feet of dirt, turf, and straw. Any other angle gives the illusion that this grass globe is a vast, irregularly shaped garden of lush greenery.

2D Construction


Beautiful architecture across the world gives us the chance to behold truly unique creations from artists whose medium is brick and mortar. This building appears to be flat from this angle, leading us to believe that only cartoon characters can exist in this space.

In reality, this building is triangular, and there are plenty of 3D people inside it that can attest to its roominess. This type of construction is quite common in major cities across the world, perhaps it’s the result of architects each trying to outshine the competition.

Many Legs


Is this an elephant or a centipede? Elephants obviously have four legs, but it’s hard to figure out which four are firmly planted on the ground. Whoever drew this likeness may have mischievously intended for it to be a bit of a puzzle.

You may go crazy trying to figure out which leg is which, but you can discover that the elephant’s feet have been moved, so it appears that this solo looks more like a herd. It’s tempting to grab an eraser and have a go at this likeness, but it’s really hard to know where to stop adding legs.


Uneven Bridge


We rely on bridges to cross waterways, low-lying roadways, and other areas that would otherwise be difficult to navigate. If these structures are not properly maintained, we could find ourselves in danger when traveling from place to place.

This picture paints a bleak yet inaccurate picture of this bridge. Construction workers are seen operating a lift that makes the bridge seem almost lopsided, as there is no arm to indicate how high they are. A different perspective reveals that the arm is hidden from the camera view.

Distant Mirage

Distant Mirage – Photo:

Fata Morgana was an Italian sorceress who reportedly used the illusion of mirages and fake oases to lure unsuspecting sailors to a tragic fate. Naturally, we would be skeptical when looking at this photo, wondering if she were setting us up for yet another prank.

In this optical illusion, it appears as if this boat sailing in the distance is actually hovering above the water. It is snugly nestled among the waves, but this phenomenon may have given birth to the myth of The Flying Dutchman.

Unstable Wall


At first glance, it would seem that this brick wall is one stiff wind short of a complete collapse. The masterful pattern of wear and tear seems to have formed a beautiful tree, prompting passers by to view the art at a safe distance.

Rest assured, this wall is still firmly in place, standing strong today. The tree pattern was the work of a skilled street artist who intentionally shaded the bricks so that they look as if they’ve been pushed inward.

Luscious Curves


A simple, clean line can be every bit as captivating as a complex and vibrant mural. Examples of this can be found everywhere from museums to cityscapes. Take this railing, for instance. It’s amazing how a small deviation in the expected can create such a stunning result.

The railing itself is completely flat, yet it presents the illusion of coming full circle. Perhaps all railings and barriers should take on a more artistic and interesting presentation. Even the most mundane structure would be as beautiful as it is functional.


Crazy Eight


Card players take note of this one in any standard deck. Aside from the vibrant red diamonds present on its face, there is one more number on this card that’s about to reveal itself.

The next time you lay your hand down with an eight of diamonds, take a good look at the negative space on the card. Nestled between the eight red diamonds is another perfectly placed eight, gleaming white in contrast to the pattern on the card.

See Through Stone


Throughout the ages, man has sculpted and shaped works of art out of the most unusual materials. Ancient sculptors worked with primitive tools, yet some of these ancient masterpieces have truly stood the test of time for our viewing pleasure.

Antonio Corradini has taken stone sculpting to a new level with this piece. Stone is one of the most opaque materials on the planet, yet he manages to make this wistful piece look airy and almost see-through.

Stairway To Allen


Regardless of what you call them, these little wrenches are an essential part of any well-rounded tool collection. You need Allen wrenches for every little job around the house, especially if you frequently visit IKEA.

Whoever crafted this genius staircase is likely to wrap up most of their home improvement projects in the near future. In the meantime, we can marvel at this stylish and functional staircase that they’ve created.

Wild Horses


Creativity is at its finest with this majestic portrayal of wild horses galloping through a pond. Even though the statues are stationary, they appear to be frolicking through the water at a fast enough pace to kick up spray.

Thanks to the ingenuity of pond designers, water jets were strategically installed at precisely the right spot, allowing for the horses to look as if they were on the move. As for the small one in the back, he’s got a way to go before he catches up to the rest of them.


Building Puzzle


If we were standing in the physical location where these buildings were, we may be able to tell which one is standing in the foreground. For now, it’s anyone’s guess as to which one gets the glory.

If the sunlight is any indication of building location, it appears that the one on the right is slightly ahead of the one on the left. Notice the edges of the two buildings, and how it almost looks as if they could function as a giant Jenga tower.

Pool Party


A first glance at this unique “sculpture” would make anyone freak out. Even if you don’t fancy yourself an experienced swimmer, you might be tempted to jump into this pseudo-pool and see if you could help those trapped in the deep.

But what looks like an unfortunate pool “party” is more likely a piece of textured glass with a little water on top that gives the impression that people are underwater. A pretty cool design for sure.

Llama Lie


This impressive presentation comes to your courtesy of your local llama herdsman, and the timing of this photo couldn’t be any more perfect. Perhaps the llama in the foreground is calling all the others to dinner as he rings his bell.

This herd is just playing visual tricks on us. What appears to be the amazing manual dexterity of one llama is actually a smaller llama standing behind it, wearing a hat with a bell. Regardless of how they made this magic happen, it’s a charming portrayal of lovable llamas.

Celestial Side Table


The addition of a well-placed piece of furniture can really add some pizzazz to an otherwise drab room. Space enthusiasts, rejoice, for this photo is proof that your unique obsession with celestial bodies is also being considered.

Someone scored big at the furniture shop. This side table is an almost perfect replica of the largest planet in our solar system. Although it’s missing the trademark red “eye,” it still resembles the large planet Jupiter in all other ways.


Waves Or Walls?


This photograph of a mountain range would be picturesque if it were actually situated next to a lake, but our perception is off, thanks to the light hitting a concrete wall just right. Shadows hitting the wall make the white paint resemble lake water.

The reflection of the sun’s rays hitting the top of the wall give the illusion that there is a sandy beach to play on in this photo, and we sincerely hope that no hot and sweaty travelers aren’t hitting up this location in hopes of a cool dip in the water.

Oil And Water Illusion


You may not see the glass rod in the photo above, and that’s okay. Both liquids in this glass are transparent, but you can only see the rod through one of them, giving the impression that one of them is fragmented.

What’s really happening here is that light is able to pass through oil at the same rate that is passes through clear glass. Light passes through water at a different speed, so the glass rod is still visible at the bottom of the glass itself.