Optical Illusions

Curiosities and Visual Effects

Optical Illusions
What earthquakes can do!

The photo shows my daughter 1998 in San Francisco
(No photomontage!)

Explanation Explanation to the photo
Optische Täuschungen deutsch

Model: Janis Purucker
These trees are as obliquely
as the houses above,
but with trees it isn't so strange,
because maybe the wind did...
Optical Illusions

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Tuscany Everyday many photographers in Pisa, Tuscany are wallowing in the grass and normal people perform contortions to look like a giant who prevent the Leaning Tower of Pisa from toppling down. The Leaning Tower of Pisa
Photos: Janis und Erwin Purucker

Egypt - The Pyramids? The Egypts are wondering:
Such a big sand pyramid
built by two and a half people
in one hour!
(No photomontage!)

The real pyramids of Egypt
you can see here on my Website
Egypt - Photos and Informations
Photo: Tobias Zitzlsberger, Sebastian Stochniol

Watchtower This picture shows the inner side of the watch tower
on the mountain Great Kornberg,
part of the chain of mountains Fichtelgebirge.
Of course it's no photomontage, too.
The only manipulation I did was removing the handrails.

At a quick view one could think, the left staircase
leads upstairs, but then the way is blocked.
Assuming the photographer stood upside and
took the photo downwards,
the left stairs would also go downwards,
this wood be a more meaningful result.

As soon as the webpage has loaded fully,
you can cross with your mouse over the picture
and by appearing the handrails you can see
that this was thoroughly wrong, too.

If I get the one,
who tore my picture... !
Erwin Purucker - Tored
From the book
Incredible Optical Illusions
Nigel Rodgers

Movement Illusion Look at the dot in the center and
move your head backwards and forwards!
This picture I received from Leonid Korezkij

A similar pic, where you only have to move your eyes I received from Leonid Korezkij
Many of these pictures you can find at Akiyoshi Kitaoka's website who probably is the originator.
The effect arises through unconscious small movements of your eyes which everybody makes everytime,
in connection with the asymmetric colour differences of the small elements.

Spirals Please wait until the spirals are moving. With some Browsers they'll do it only as soon as the whole page was loaded.

Look at the center of the rotating spirals for at least 20 seconds and then at any other object e.g. the back of your hand and you will see this object bending and squirming for some seconds.

Our eyes don't deliver the pictures itself to our brain. They process all pictures and deliver to the brain only what they "think" to be right and important. They try to compensate the turning and it takes some time until they recognize that movement has stopped. Therefore the direction of movement when you look away is inverse to the original.

This Motion After Effect or Moving After Illusion was desribed first by R. Addams as Waterfall Effect because he stared at a waterfall and then at a different point.

Look at the four dots in the center of the circle for about 30 seconds.

Then close your eyes and tilt your head back.

You'll see the circle - keep your eyes closed!

Some seconds later you will see something in the circle...

I received this drawing from Eris Jones

Don't work? Different instructions say: After looking for 30 seconds and closing your eyes, turn your head and open your eyes, looking at a white surface. Possibly try winking your eyes.

The following in the true sense of the word is no optical illusion but a demonstration of the "blind spot" in our eyes. The place where the optic nerve enters the retina is blind. In the right eye the spot lies right side in the field of vision in the left eye left side. At this place normally we use the information of the other eye or, if this is closed, the eye and the brain fill the area unobtrusive with the colours around.

Now please close your left eye and look at the "o". The "x" you can still see in your field of vision. Now please vary the distance to your computer screen. At a certain distance the "x" disappears (don't move your look away from the "o" and notice the "x" only within your field of vision!). With your left eye it will work analogous sides exchanged.
Blind Spot

Grey Disappearing Look at the dot in the middle...

(Bow near to the screen)

...after a while the grey disappears!

This picture I received from Chris Doering

Skull? A Skull?

Touch it with the mouse
(not klicking),
and you will see what it is.

Without JavaScript please click on it.

I received this picture from
Jan Ruoff
I received
Patrick Mackaaij

Mona Lisa
Patrick Mackaaij

Leonid Korezkij

Vishal Grover

Patrick Mackaaij


What's on a man's mind?

The drawing shows Sigmund Freud, who studied this in detail.
Apparently this study has effects on his features!

I received this drawing from Christian Bösch
Sigmund Freud Sex in your head?
This picture I received from
Patrick Mackaaij
Freud would enjoy
the picture at the right

I hardly could imagine that children allegedly
can see here only Dolphins!

Many e-mails confirmed:
In present time even young children
at first see the lovers. Maybe this
was different hundred years ago!

This picture I received from Jill Nippe

Thanks to Roman Kriesten who told me the name of the artist:
Erklärung Sandro Del Prete
Sandro Del Prete - Dolphins

Triangle Puzzle The coloured parts are exactly the same. If you cut them out and arrange them in these two different ways, there remains a hole at one arrangement!

How can this be?!

I received this drawing from Timo M. (E-Mail known by author)
Actual drawing: Erwin Purucker

Shadow Unbelievable: The fields A and B have the same colour in the picture!
The eyes interpret the shadow and tell us that the real colour must be lighter.

If you don't believe it you can start an animation with the button and you'll see.

Hendrik told me about this effect.

The following in precise is also not an optical illusion but a demonstration of the conflict between the right and the left half of your brain: Look at the text and read the colours, not the words!

The right half of the brain tries to say the colours, the left half insists on reading the text.

The phenomenon is called Stroop-Interference or Stroop-Effect according to J. Ridley Stroop, who used it in 1935 to scale the interference pitch of the Colour-Word-Interference.

Euro Coin Again no optical illusion in precise,
but I couldn't go without that joke:

Counterfeit 2-Euro-Coins circulating!

Warning: If you are totally prudish, please don't click!

Dots? How many black dots
can you see?


This effect is a development of the Hermann Grid by Ludimar Hermann (1838 - 1914) or Hering-Grid by Ewald Hering (1834 - 1918). Actually it is called Scintillation Grid by Jim R. Bergen.
Elke and Bernd Lingelbach, and Michael Schrauf told me this.
(Described by Walter H. Ehrenstein jr. and Bernd Lingelbach
in the magazine "Physik in unserer Zeit" Nr. 6/2002)
Das Bild erhielt ich von Rico

USA Flag
Please stare half a minute at the red dot
in the center of the US flag,
then at the red dot in the center
of the white surface under it.
After a few seconds you'll see
the original colors.

Cyan and yellow are the
complementary colors of red and blue.
The eyes are surfeited with first ones,
so that you see
the others at the white rectangel.

Die Grafik erhielt ich von Slavko Brkic.

Slanting or Upright?

Of course all of these figures are not as slanting as it looks like!

received from Felix Kehl
received from Patrick Mackaaij

Spiral or concentric circles?

Have a sharp eye, it's different as the first look!
Spiral? Two faces... or only one... ?

This drawing I received from Sonja Schmidt.

One or two faces?


old - young - old ...

Please wait until the picture is moving.
With some Browsers it'll do it only as soon as the whole page was loaded.
Old - Young

This island with the "Old Man Muffaroo" is one picture of a double-sided cartoon by Gustave Verbeek.
If you turn it upside down you can see a gigantic bird with "Little Lady Lovekins" in its neb.

There are three possibilities: Eihter you turn your monitor upside down or you make a hand-stand or you click here to see it automatically (88 kB).
Old Man Muffaroo - Gustave Verbeek

A smiling woman??

If you don't want to contort your neck, please touch the picture with the mouse (not klicking) and it will rotate bottom to top (JavaScript).

Without JavaScript please click on it.

I received this picture from <qrp(at)gmx.net>. It's the title page of the book
"Savoir apprendre: les nouvelles méthodes"
by Goéry Delacôte.
You can order it here: www.amazon.fr
Unfortunately I don't know what's the content of the book - I'm not able to understand French (:-((

Impossible Objects

Penrose-Triangle or Tribar Impossible Cube Complicated Penrose-Triangle

Poseidon's or Neptun's Trident Never Ending Steps 6

Richard Gregory first designed such objects which have no sense in three dimensions. The Dutch artist Maurits Corneille Escher (1898 to 1972) used them for his pictures of impossible stairs and buildings.
This picture, named
The Terrace
was painted by
David Macdonald.
It's similar to the painting
"The Folded Chessboard"
by Sandro Del Prete

Many Thanks for the permission
to put it on my page!
The Terrace - David Macdonald

Tribar Alfons Krolage did handicraft this
impossible triangle, called tribar.
Please click on it for magnification.

Tin Soldier Snowman These pictures I received from
Patrick Mackaaij
Waterfall - Lithography by M.C.Escher One of the most well-known pictures by M. C. Escher
is the waterfall, a lithography.
It shows an imaginary perpetual motion machine.
Impossible Crate
And here you can see an old photomontage, which
I received from Felix Kehl

Escher, Dali, and the Artists of Optical Illusions Masters of Deception
Escher, Dali, and the
Artists of Optical Illusion

Book by Al Seckel

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May I recommend you the following interesting books and other informational material:
 Optical Illusions (Games and Toys)  Optical Illusions (Books)  

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