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Optical Illusions

Curiosities and
Visual Effects

Optical Illusions
What earthquakes can do!

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

 Explanation to the photo

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 (Italy) Everyday many photographers in  Pisa, Tuscany (Italy) 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

On two-dimensional pictures it is not so easy to fool our eyes: At once we realize that the trees on the following photo are not higher than the TV-Tower of Nuremberg in Bavaria. Our brain knows this from its experience and helps us automatically. On the right photo the relations between the electricity pylons, the houses and the tower are self-evident and no riddle. TV-Tower of Nuremberg in Bavaria
TV-Tower of Nuremberg

Watchtower in Fichtelgebirge (Bavaria) 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.

Hakenkreuz (swastika) at a bridge in Germany Into the wall of a bridge over the inner-German border
there was inserted a Hakenkreuz (swastika) with more dark stones in the wall.
Somebody tried to destroy the symbol and he
replaced four dark stones with lighter ones.

Our brain however don't think
dark = symbol,
light = background,

light and uniform = background,
everything what is different = symbol,

and completes the well-known symbol,
because the new stones indeed are light
but different.

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

Insurance case for all-risks insurance or liability insurance? In between no optical illusion,
no photomontage and no trick.
Only for a lark:

Small ad:

Did you get a good all-risks insurance?
Promotional offer: One night
for your car in my garage.
actual total loss guaranteed!
Payment of rent only in advance.

Photo: Kyffhäuser (Kyffhaeuser) mountains
below the Barbarossa memorial.

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 in our eyes

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.

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

Counterfeit 2-Euro-Coins circulating!

On newer Euro Coins the graphic has been varied so no more mistakings can occur with this well-known part of the body.

Timo`s Optical Illusion

Do you know such three-dimensional geometric shapes which can be interpreted and sawn in two ways? You can change the interpretation of the picture. I discovered this effect already when I was a child on the patterns of the wall near my bed. Our eyes only see the two-dimensional drawing and make the three-dimensional figure only in mind. The way it does this we can manipulate.

The picture I received from Marin Muresan. Her son Timothy Muresan, living in Schömberg near Calw in Germany drew it when he was 8 years old. Depending on view you see the orifice of the cylindrical cavity of rings on right or left hand site.
Three-dimensional illusion on two-dimensional drawing

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

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.
Jesus Christ

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 Illusion

Von Nahe und von Fern betrachtet

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 with Cat
Patrick Mackaaij

Wind Mill?
Leonid Korezkij

Head - Portal
Vishal Grover

Patrick Mackaaij

Skull or Lady?

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:
 Sandro Del Prete
Sandro Del Prete - Dolphins

Shadow - Colour 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.

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)
The pic I received from 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.

The pic I received from Slavko Brkic.

Acnidorcg to a svurey of the Cmdarbgie Uveintriy the seusisccon of the lttrees in a wrod is imaremital if olny the frist and the lsat letter are crcoert. The rset can be jlubemd and you can raed the txet aawyny. The rseoan is taht haumn eeys don't raed evrey ltteer but but olny the ptricue of the wolhe wrod. Here you can test it and enter your own text:

 To Letter Mixer

Slanting or Upright?

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

Optical Illusion UTE
received from Felix Kehl
Optical Illusion Square
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 Illusion

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).
The 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 5

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

"The Bent Checkerboard"
is painted by
Sandro del Prete

Abb.: promo material of allposters.de
Klicken Sie  hier zur Bestellung!
Sandro del Prete - Das gekrümmte Schachbrett
Tribar Alfons Krolage did handicraft this
impossible triangle, called tribar.
Please click on it for magnification.

Tin Soldier Snowman Impossible Crate Photo received from Felix Kehl
A similar object you can find at

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.

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

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