Optical Illusions

This or That?

The following images may be viewed in one of at least two different ways.

Which image do you see first?

Man's face or a beggar?

What is this? A beggar or a face?

spotty dog

What can you see here?

Would it help to see the full image?

spotty dog

Photograph: Ronald C. James. Dalmatian Dog. 1966

Hint: The dog's tail and right back leg make up the right hand side of this image. The triangular dark area in the centre of the image is the dog's chest.

A face in the snow

Can you see a face in the image?

This picture has been around since the 1950s, some say it dates from the 1930s, but I've never been able to trace the original. The story is that it was taken in China or California or Detroit or Norway or by a pilot flying over the Swiss Alps, and shows a face in the pattern of melting snow. Many see Jesus, but others see Lemmy from Motorhead.

vase or head to head?

A vase or head to head?

This illusion was developed around 1915 by Danish psychologist Edgar John Rubin (September 6, 1886 - May 3, 1951) and is known as Rubin's Vase.

My wife and my mother-in-law

My wife and my mother-in-law
by William Ely Hill (1887–1962) in 1915

Hint: The old hag is looking from right to left, the white triangular shape, bottom centre, is her chin. The young woman is looking away from us; the white triangle is now her chest.

1888 German postcard

Hill's image is very well known but not entirely original. This image comes from an 1888 German postcard.

My husband and my father-in-law

A male representation of the old hag / young woman image
My husband and my father-in-law ~ Jack Botwinick (1923–2006)

Three Faces

A variation of the face pictures above ~ this one contains three.

As well as the young girl and the old woman this one also contains a mustashioed, large nosed, bald man who is looking to the right.

Indian or Eskimo

An Indian or an Eskimo?

Hint: The Indian head is looking to the left, the Eskimo to the right

Duck or Rabbit

Duck or Rabbit?

Hint: The duck is looking left, the rabbit, right

missing cheese

There's a piece of cheese missing, or is there?

Can you find it?

Convex or concave?

Is this drawing of a convex or a concave object?

9 hidden people?

How many people can you see in this picture?

Donkey or seal ?

What do you see here ? A donkey or a seal ?

An old man or a kiss ?

Do you see an old man or a kissing couple ?

Can you see the three hidden faces ?

Can you see the three hidden faces?

Can you find the five hidden faces?

Can you find the five hidden faces?

One face or two ?

One face or two ?

Saxophone player or woman's face?

Saxophone player or a woman's face?

Skull or vanity ?

Can you see a skull or a woman sat at a vanity table ?

RetroActive by Nels Isralson

Skull or a couple ?

A skull or a couple drinking ?
L'Amour de Pierrot c. 1905

A pair of gossips or the devil?

A pair of gossips or the devil?
Gossip and Satan by George A. Wotherpoon

The Face of a Liar ?

Is this the face of a liar ?

Old People

Old People or Spanish Scene?

Knight in the trees

Can you see the knight in the trees?

Which Way?

Is he looking at you?

This page created June 3, 1999; last modified July 30, 2021