Optical illusions are images that challenge our brain's perceptions. While the classic illusions usually entail some complicated graphics, optical illusions are actually around us wherever we go - and all it takes to capture them is a photo taken at the right moment. From people seemingly floating mid-air, to body-less animals, to funny and deceptive reflections - we've rounded up the most confusing everyday optical illusions that people shared online, and they are sure to put your power of observation to the test.
1. Something's Missing
I just need you for a minute to help me with my magic act, he said. Nothing can go wrong, he said.
This photo of a lying dog next to a cut-off log makes for a hilarious, mind-bending optical illusion.
2. Two Faced
It took us some good seconds to try and figure out what was happening in this pic.
If you struggle like we did, this is not a two-headed dear, but rather a deer with a bird standing on its neck and apparently whispering something in its ear.
3. Cotton Rock N' Roll
This huge concert crowd is actually a cotton picker harvesting at night.
This is such a great optical illusion, and it's especially well-timed in our COVID-era, when the only concerts we'll probably get to see anytime soon are more likely to be of the 'cotton concert' kind.
This one is really perplexing: are these legs shiny and oily, or do they have white lines painted on them?
The Instagram user who first posted this picture gave the secret away with the caption, "I like the feeling of paint on my skin". Could have fooled us.
5. Where's the Captain?
All these beachgoers seem awfully calm for people who are just about to come under pirate attack.
Luckily, the daunting pirate ship is just an optical illusion, created by a perfectly aligned (and pretty cool) kite.
6. Fire Eyes
"When I take pictures of my blind dog with the flash on, it looks like there is a fire in her eyes", writes the Redditor who shared this incredible pic.
We think this dog is not exactly blind - it's just that she epically sees into the future.
7. Space Oddity
"Frost of the roof of my car this morning looks a bit like a view of the earth from space", write the man who shared this awesome illusion.
Seems like flat-earth conspirators just got some 'photo proof' ammunition.
8. Office Maze
The shadows of the window sills located on the building's right-hand side make a cool optical illusion, making them seem almost three-dimensional.
And if you focus long enough, the 3D windows will start looking like a 3D zigzag maze.
9. Monkey Business
"I took a picture of a monkey and the glare made it look like it was taking a wicked selfie", writes the guy who shared this perfectly-timed shot.
Everything is perfect about this picture - including the orange sleeves and the stylish rings the monkey opted for.
10. The Magic Roundabout
This picture was taken in such a perfect moment, making this man riding the carousel look like he has little pig legs.
The fact that the man's hoodie is hiding the part of the carousel on which he's sitting, seals the deal.
11. Dude Where's My Car
This photo of two plump pigeons who are standing on a rooftop ledge, could also look like two gigantic pigeons looking for their car at a parking lot.
Since when are pigeons driving cars? That's a question for another day.
12. Smoke and Mirrors
Due to the lighting, angle and mirrored glass, the BNP Paribas building in Rome, Italy looks nearly invisible.
It's a beautiful optical illusion, but we wonder if any poor birds (or people) sometimes just fly right into it.
This piece of wood burned in such a way that it looks like five birds sitting next to each other, lined up according to their size, and enjoying the burning fire.
We all love sitting by the fireplace, but this bunch may be sitting too close to the fire for their safety.
14. Triple Hug
Is this guy a soccer player and also the world's most flexible man? What's going on with his arms and how is he not crying in pain?
If you look close, you can see there are actually three people in the picture - two people hugging, and one walking behind them.
15. Whatever Floats Your Boat
This looks like a pretty tricky parking spot for a cruise ship... How exactly will it get off?
In reality, it's just an optical illusion created by perfect timing and location. And the people aboard the ship are thankfully not forever stuck between two columns.
16. Swimming in the Clouds
This photo of a backyard that ends in a lake deck looks just like a postcard.
"View of my parents' backyard this morning", wrote the Redditor who shared this pic. We would like to get their address and an invitation for brunch, please and thank you.
17. Ghost Ship
These ships, seen from a distance, seem to float in the air instead of sailing the ocean. The explanation is a Fata Morgana mirage, which occurs when rays of light are bent when they pass through air layers of different temperatures.
A similar mirage was most likely the origin for the 17th-century legend of "The Flying Dutchman", the doomed ghost ship that can never go home.
18. Chilly Sight
"The snow slowly melting on the front porch looks like an ice tornado", shares this Redditor.
It's such a great photo, and it could have fooled us - if not for the power lines in the distance that give the illusion away.
19. King of the Insects
"My friend had a bug on his windshield that made him look like a Godzilla monster". The perfect placement of the bug 'on' the office building makes this a perfect optical illusion.
It's a scary thought, but maybe just like with side-view mirrors, objects on the windshield are in fact larger than they appear.
20. Bootie Pie
This reflection on the coffee shop window makes it look as if this car sells pies right out of its boot.
At first thought, the idea of someone selling pies from the car is not very appealing. Then again, we never say no to pie.
21. Heels Over Head
"For the past 10 minutes I've been trying to explain to my sister in law that it looks like her legs are over her husband's shoulders...", writes this Redditor. "She doesn't see it".
We want to assure her that we do see it - and it's hilarious.
22. Goo Goo Eyes
This is a funny, and a bit creepy, one: "The reflection of the lamp gives my glasses eyeballs", reads the caption.
If these were real they would make the perfect humorous novelty glasses, maybe with a little moustache to go along.
23. The Burning Bush
Hurry, someone call the fire department! Oh wait, they're not really burning?
The caption explains this convincing illusion: "The way the sunlight hits these leaves Makes them look like they’re on fire"
24. Toy Soldiers
The angle of the camera and the water make these soldiers look like tiny men training in the pool.
This illusion is especially funny because, in reality, it's usually the most hardcore soldiers who go through marine combat training.
25. Mini Militia
Speaking of toy soldiers... "This piece of lint on my window sill looks like a gun-wielding soldier wading through water".
We commend this guy's creative eys, and we think that is one awesome little soldier.
26. Holy Cow
This bull looks like it's actually transparent, but in reality - it's only its spots that resemble the shade of the grass behind it.
Who knows, maybe in a few years it will achieve a perfect camouflage.
27. Enter the Gate
This photo, taken from within a camping tent, looks like the portal to a magical land. It's hard to believe it was not created with Photoshop.
We think the talented photographer should try and sell it as a commercial for the tent company.
28. The Merged Couple
What are we even looking at? Who's holding who, and whose feet are whose?
The explanation behind the illusion? The man is wearing blue and white shorts, and the white part makes it look like it's the girl's pants since it's positioned perfectly below her feet.
29. Street Lighting
The reflection of the light in the (apparently, very clean!) window makes it look like it's floating in the sky.
We guess someone in the sky forgot the switch the light off when they signed out for the day.
30. Balloon Dog
"When my buddy's dog leaps over grates, her body and legs disappear and it looks like a dog's head is just floating down the street".
We would love to take this cute balloon dog out on a walk and check out people's reactions.
31. Arm Rest
In the spirit of adorable, bodiless animals, check out this feline cutie:
"My fiance took this pic that makes the cat look like he's made out of a head and just one massive arm", shares this Redditor. We feel like he's maybe challenging us to an arm-wrestling?
32. Puddle Beach
We've always wanted to visit Iceland, and this cool illusion is another reason why: "I took a picture of this puddle in Geysir National Park in Iceland, and it looks like an aerial view of a beach".
Iceland - the land where even the puddles look like stunning beaches.
33. Straight Edge
This is a super weird illusion: even though this ruler is 100% straight, the bow-like arrangement of the papers makes it look completely bent.
Guys, we even checked it with our own ruler (since we didn't believe our own eyes). It's true!
34. Up and Down
The patterns on the floor of the Florence Cathedral, Italy, make it look like we're looking up towards a really high dome.
But the people walking give the cathedral's secret away - it's actually 'just' a flat floor.
35. Let Us Out
Is this a new bag trend or are those two actual cats peeking through? This cross-stitching job looks flawless because it is fact not a cross-stitch at all.
These two adorable cats try to stick their heads out of the carrier so much so that they look like a part of the design.
36. Bird Takeover
Giant seagull, or a tiny human? (Actually, why not both?)
This classic optical illusion is all about perspective, when the seagull standing on the ledge, near the photographer, looks much bigger than the person walking in a distance.
37. The High Life
This was taken at a perfect moment that the combination between the chair's legs and the guy's position makes it look like he's wearing high heels.
For the record, there's nothing wrong with guys wearing high heels, and we think this dude looks super stylish.
38. Economic Transparency
Here's a cool trick that you can try at home: Did you know that if you balance a coin on a ring, the coin looks like it is see-through?
Maybe next time we forget our wallet, we'll offer to pay with some see-through money instead.
39. The Magic Carpet
What's happening here and how is this girl floating in the air? This one definitely requires a double-take.
The most likely explanation (besides magic, of course) is that the girl is sitting on a chair which right legs are perfectly hidden by the foreground chair, and its left legs are out of frame. And since she's sitting towards the front of the seat, it is also not visible.
40. Location is Everything
"Did my friend piss his pants? Nope, it's just the reflection of the chairs in the room".
The guy in the picture gets extra points for keeping a big smile on - and for letting his friend share such funny-yet-incriminating photos of him.
41. Living In Black And White
A French Redditor shared this amazing picture of a European winter road and wrote: "I took a picture in color but it seems that it’s in black and white".
No wonder French people are so dramatic, they actually live in what looks like a movie set.
42. Sneak Peek
"For a second I thought there is a tiny iPhone on the table next to me", writes the woman who shared this pic. Is this what the new iPhone will look like?
The explanation behind this funny illusion? The phone is actually lying on the floor, normal-sized, but since the table is see-through, it looks like it's on the table next to the cards.