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Topic: Favorite Optical Illusion?
Message: Posted by: Andrew E. Miller (May 5, 2003 11:20PM)
My favorite is the one where you stare at the rotating black and white disc. Then you look at your hand and your flesh moves!

Andrew :lol:
Message: Posted by: MichaelSibbernsen (May 6, 2003 12:25AM)
That's the Tri-Zonal Space Warper by Jerry Andrus

A table-top "executive toy" version is being produced by Binary Arts.

[outdated link]

A brief explaination of the illusion can be found [url=http://www.mit.edu/~aaronmil/9.35/sowhat.html]Here![/url]

An online java-script animation of a similar "after effects" counter rotating spiral can be found [url=http://www.sandlotscience.com/Aftereffects/After_frm.htm]Here![/url]
Message: Posted by: Reg Rozee (May 6, 2003 02:11AM)
My favourite one was called "Currents" I believe, I don't know where to find it on the web now. It was just a bunch of vertical, wavy lines that varied in thickness. But it was so powerful the [i]second[/i] that you looked at it, you could see it "swimming". :dizzy: More than 5 or 10 seconds and your eyes would actually hurt! It was awesome— I'd love to paint my house that way!

-Reg {*}
Message: Posted by: Steven Steele (May 6, 2003 02:58PM)
My favorite is "The Magic Eye" book(s) produced several years ago. Stare into a picture and 'see' a different, but related picture within it.

Only problem is you get sick after doing it a few times.
Message: Posted by: 0pus (May 6, 2003 09:57PM)

Wasn't there a set of cards "marked" by means of the Magic eye effect? You could only read the marks if you stared at the backs like a Magic Eye picture.

Message: Posted by: Steven Steele (May 6, 2003 10:05PM)

I'm not familiar with said deck. I will say that some of the marked decks I've seen (e.g., Deland) have made me sick just like the Magic Eye.

Message: Posted by: Reg Rozee (May 7, 2003 02:16PM)
I found an illusion similar to the one I mentioned above [url=http://www.optillusions.com/dp/1-25.htm]here[/url]. It uses the same line thickness variation to create the effect, but produces a radial illusion instead of the linear one I was referring to (which actually looks like currents flowing through the picture). The rest of that site has some other good ones as well, but there are a lot of pop-ups.

-Reg {*}
Message: Posted by: Danny Diamond (May 7, 2003 02:17PM)
I loved the Magic Eye Books. It was almost like traveling into a new world once you got the image. Kinda trippy, only I've never "tripped", so I'm just going by hear-say. :goof: Do they still produce those books? I haven't seen a new one in a long time.
Message: Posted by: Tim Taylor (May 7, 2003 08:54PM)
The nut and bolt thing by Jerry Andrus. Way Cool! Does anyone know where you can purchase this? I tried making one but it was not the same. :cool:

Actually I guess it was just a nut that you stuck a broom through.
Message: Posted by: Steven Steele (May 7, 2003 10:15PM)
I saw a Magic Eye book, one I hadn't seen before in a Barnes & Noble the other day.

And Jerry Andrus' Broom and Nut illusion can be reconstructed easily by watching Vol 1 of his Life in Magic series. I have to tell you, the optical illusions in the 3 volume set are worth the price of admission. There's about 6 of them, if I remember correctly.
Message: Posted by: niva (May 8, 2003 02:39AM)
I am really glad there is a section on optical illusions at the Café now. I just noticed it. Has it been here long?

I have a couple of favourites. I like the Spiral. I also like the picture where, when you look at it from far away, it looks like a skull and when you go close it is a picture of a woman brushing her hair in the mirror.

There are a couple more which I will post later today. I have to go as my mate wants me to sart on our University assignment.

See you.


I am back.
Well as I was saying, there are a couple more which I like.

There are the old/young lady and "The Bird in the Bush" ones.

I really like the one of the old man and the couple kissing. The latter are very difficult to spot.

Keep them coming. I am looking for rare ones to put in my collection.

Message: Posted by: Night_Crawler (May 8, 2003 04:16PM)
I've been trying to see the one that niva was talking about (the old man, and the couple kissing) and I finally saw it. I've been trying to see it for sooooo long.

Message: Posted by: ddyment (May 11, 2003 10:33PM)
My favorite kinetic optical illusion is Andrus' Tri-Zonal Space Warper, already mentioned.

My favorite static one is Adelson's Checkerboard Shadow Illusion. I like it so much I reproduced it (with permission) on the cover of my first book, but a better, full-color, interactive version can be seen at http://www.johndamien.com (go to the "experiences" section).

... Doug
Message: Posted by: joseph (May 12, 2003 09:38AM)
Look here:


There are some nice illusions, especially the missing people one. :dizzy:
Message: Posted by: blindbo (May 18, 2003 08:15PM)
When it comes to certain illusions of optical confusion, there are none better than the work of M.C. Escher.

His "Ascending and Descending" is classic. His works in symmetry were ground breaking, aside from amazing. If you do stop to look at his symmetric works, think about the patterns as they might relate to magic...say like vanishing an object in plain sight.

See him [url=http://www.mcescher.com]here[/url]
Message: Posted by: Schaden (Jun 21, 2003 09:59PM)

watch this....

Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Jun 22, 2003 11:07PM)
Te Incredible Growing and Shrinking Head Illusion I purchased from http://www.hocus-pocus.com/

Audiences love it and so do I!
Message: Posted by: saracen (Jun 24, 2003 08:04AM)
There are a set of magic eye marked playing cards and they work pretty well.
Message: Posted by: Almost Amazing Doug (Jul 3, 2003 11:25PM)
Also on the Grand Illusions website referenced above is my favorite optical illusion. It's hard to find the link on the site, though, so here it is: http://www.grand-illusions.com/dragon.htm

It's a cute little dragon sculpture you cut-and-paste together, designed by Jerry Andrus.

I have one in my office in a cabinet. I ask visitors if they want to see something really weird...and make them close one eye. The illusion of the dragon moving his head around and looking at you is perfect.

Message: Posted by: Mrfred (Jul 4, 2003 05:21PM)
You can find a deck of Magic Eye cards here:

There may be other manufacturers and I've not seen these in person etc etc.
Message: Posted by: Alessandro Scotti (Jul 9, 2003 03:27PM)
On 2003-05-18 21:15, blindbo wrote:
When it comes to certain illusions of optical confusion, there are none better than the work of M.C. Escher.

His "Ascending and Descending" is classic.

How about a REAL PHOTOGRAPH of the thing? That had me staring in amazement for minutes... luckily the "secret" is explained below! :)

Message: Posted by: vratkins (Aug 23, 2003 07:58PM)
I have a new favorite:
vanishing illusion http://www.ritsumei.ac.jp/~akitaoka/kieru-e.html

You can't believe your eyes. There are yellow dots all over the pattern, but you can see only one at a time.

The guy has a lot of illusions, most are illusions of motion. Look around:

This is magic to me!
Message: Posted by: Bong780 (Sep 16, 2003 11:43AM)
Thanks joseph and Doug for the grand illusion website. It's so great, especially the dragon sculpture illusion. I made one yesterday and I can't believe my eyes! Do yourself a favor and make one (or buy one), everyone will be amazed by it!

Message: Posted by: Zeiros (Sep 20, 2003 11:56AM)
I like this, ([url]http://www-bcs.mit.edu/people/adelson/checkershadow_illusion.html[/url].) Not because it looks especially stunning, but because it provides a great example of how our brains process images and how we perceive them.
Message: Posted by: TomasB (Sep 25, 2003 08:00AM)
The guy has updated his site. Take a look at the incredibly strong motion in the first illusion at


Hard to accept that your mind fools you like that.

Message: Posted by: Bill Hallahan (Sep 27, 2003 04:24AM)

That illusion is fantastic! Thanks for posting a pointer to it. It's my favorite too now that I've seen it.

I’ve seen images that created false motion effects before, but none that looked that real.

You could convince someone they were intoxicated with that!

If the image weren’t copyrighted (it is), then I would make a special jumbo deck using it. The back of all but one card would have a similar image that was altered slightly so it didn’t produce the motion effect. One special card would have a back with that image at the site. That would be the card that was forced.

After seeing the back of the special card, most, if not all people would probably realize it was an illusion after a few seconds. But the motion effect could be a secondary effect to the climax of a trick, where the apparently freely chosen card is revealed to be the “animated” card. That’s a lot more impressive than having the back just be a different color. I wonder if that idea is practical?
Message: Posted by: TomasB (Sep 27, 2003 05:14AM)
Bill, that is a beautiful idea. I think the motion in that image would stop if all "wheels" were made identical. As it is now there are mirror images of the wheels in every other position. Even though it's copyrighted I have a feeling that the guy who made it would be nice enough to let us borrow the design if we just ask him.

Message: Posted by: eggshell (Oct 14, 2003 03:53PM)
I have to say this thread has made my night.

Some great illusions ... I am especially impressed by the checkerboard.
Message: Posted by: Mehtas (Nov 13, 2003 07:45AM)
My favorite is the one where you stare at a black & white image and then close your eyes and see the face of Jesus.

Have a look at the following illusion:


I still think those wheels ARE spining around.

Message: Posted by: Jnana (Nov 15, 2003 02:23PM)
These are some of the coolest sites I have seen in a long time. Thanks for sharing. I think I will use them to explain to people they can not trust their eyes or mind. Then I'll drop some heavy effects on them. I hope to have them think their eyes and head are still playing tricks on them. Thanks for this info. Tony
Message: Posted by: DrDale (Nov 15, 2003 04:10PM)
THe skin crawling illusion is here in java format
Message: Posted by: Wizard (Nov 22, 2003 05:15PM)
On 2003-05-06 00:20, Andrew E. Miller wrote:
My favorite is the one where you stare at the rotating black and white disc. Then you look at your hand and your flesh moves!

Andrew :lol:
Mine is "The Ring"!
A few days ago I bought Kenton Knepper's "The Ring," a very cute optical illusion. Is there anyone who has some experience with this device as a psychokinetic effect and maybe could give me some advice?
Message: Posted by: Jnana (Nov 22, 2003 09:38PM)
The skin crawling illusion was cool, but I do have to say I did turn down the volume. I have seen one too many of those stare at this for one minute and then a face jumps on the screen shouting at you. If anyone has been sent one of these by a so-called friend you know what I mean. Tony
Message: Posted by: aposjf12 (Dec 3, 2003 06:54AM)
I remember looking at a picture of a fire instead of my hand in the skin crawl trick and it looked like a real fire. I was about 8 and it was very impressive.
Message: Posted by: joseph (Jan 17, 2004 07:07AM)
Eyes crossing, must go to other forum. :realnerdy: :dizzy: :heehee:
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Jan 28, 2004 10:41AM)
If you like Escher, there is a nice explanation of isometric ambiguity, cheating on vanishing points, and other principles of illusionary drawings at:



Message: Posted by: davejesc (Mar 22, 2004 02:24PM)
Andrew mentions the computer program that spins a spiral and does voodoo to your hand when you look at it.

Bruce Kalver created a stage version of this called the "Growing and Shrinking Head". It has a similar spiral gizmo you use from a stage.

I did this a few weeks ago to a full auditorium and I was floored by the response. Boy, did this thing play well, and it was one of the most talked about effects for weeks after the show.

The audience stares at the spinning wheel as you talk them through the process, then on queue, they look at your face. It looks like your head is expanding or shrinking depending on the direction of the spiral.

You can make one yourself (I tried), but the commercial one is so good, it's worth it to just buy it if you're a stage performer.

Highly recommended - and it's a true optical illusion.

Message: Posted by: King Of Pop (Nov 5, 2004 12:55PM)
My favourite is also the same than yours Andrew E. Miller :)
Message: Posted by: constantine (May 3, 2005 04:48AM)
I firt say this at The Haunted Mansion.
Message: Posted by: Hobie the Magical Hobo Clown (May 15, 2005 04:26PM)
For kids it's the rabbit eating the carrot. Put drawing close to eyes and the carrot goes into the rabbits mouth. Great giveaway for kids.
Message: Posted by: drkptrs1975 (May 29, 2005 08:31PM)
I like the one where you stare into a black blob, close your eyes, then you see Jesus.
Message: Posted by: fredrux (Jun 18, 2005 01:09PM)
"Up and down" from 1947 by my all time favourite MCE (Escher). What a thing of beauty!
Fredrik Jakobsson
Message: Posted by: fredrux (Jun 18, 2005 02:52PM)
After a search on the Magic Café I didn´t find anything about Bev Doolittle, an artist who specializes in camoflague art like the missing people joseph talks about
On 2003-05-12 10:38, joseph wrote:
Look here:
There are some nice illusions, especially the missing people one. :dizzy:

I recommend You to look for Bev Doolittle´s masterpiece "The Forest Has Eyes" (and look for things hidden in it). Here´s a link: http://www.greenwichworkshop.com/details/default.asp?p=32&a=20&t=Print&page=1&detailtype=artist
As with Escher You´ll get beautiful art as well as beautiful "magic".
Hope You´ll like it

Fredrik Jakobsson
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (Jul 1, 2005 01:56PM)

I like Bev Doolittles work. I espically like the hide and seek pictures with the brown and white horses. Really good stuff!!

Message: Posted by: JasonbytheOcean (Jul 7, 2005 11:56AM)
Great stuff, all, thanks for the links!

I was surprised no one mentioned this website - http://neuro.caltech.edu/~seckel/mod

It's a companion website for a book on artists who compose pieces using various principles of optical illusions. All beautiful stuff. The website has links to videos, some additional works, etc. but I also highly recommend the book if you have an interest in optical illusions, it is absolutely amazing.
Message: Posted by: drkptrs1975 (Jul 12, 2005 05:33PM)
I like the Bommeranges
Message: Posted by: MJ Marrs (May 26, 2011 11:45AM)
The Marilyn Monroe and Einstein illusion.

I posted a link in another thread.
Message: Posted by: magic.mind (Jul 10, 2011 09:26PM)

Dragon Illusion