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Incredible talent

Jun 10, 2011 By Abraham

Image says this backwards: If you can read this with ease then you are incredibly talented at reading backwards. Which is an incredibly pointless skill to have.

(via Reddit)


  1. Chris Krycho says:

    I am bizarrely talented. Dropped my reading speed to probably around 25-30% of normal, but still very readable.

    I was a weird kid: I used to read the paper at the same time as my parents, and therefore read its upside-down and at an angle. You pick up weird skills that way.

    1. Keagan says:

      sorry for breaking your heart but its really just the way your brain perceives it. most people should be able to read it…

    2. shut up says:

      Literally no one in the world cares. Also, literally everyone that can read forwards can read this backwards. You are not bizarrely, or even normally talented. You can read.

      1. Paula says:

        I care because it’s interesting to me, excuse the f out of me. You can’t say literally, dummy. Literally means not metaphorically. You can’t say, like a dumb girl, “Oh she was literally jumping out of her skin!” Someone would be dead with blood everywhere. You can’t say, “He was literally climbing the walls” unless someone were climbing those fake rock handholds in a gym. Stop using the word literally literally. It usually doesn’t apply. How do you know if all 8 billion ppl can read backwards? Some people have trouble reading forward!! Dyslexia. Some ppl would twist the words around trying to read this.

          1. Bonnie says:

            “Someone were” is correct in this context. It is a subjuntive. Study your grammar.

        1. Susan says:

          Wonderfully put…I also dislike the use of LIKE in every sentence when they never make any comparisons only what they could have said or described without the word LIKE used at all.
          I also hate the use of Chew in place of ‘at you’
          Example: “Look at chew.” Even old movies have people slurring our language this way.
          I feel sorry for anyone trying to learn our English language.

      2. Tink says:

        That’s a silly thing to say. As long as wasting time by replying to strangers on the internet is vaguely amusing, someone will care. I guess humans are curious and like to broadcast their opinions…

    3. Mike says:

      Wow, Steve is a TROLL! Unless it’s a different Steve every time, all he does is correct, correct, and tell people they’re wrong. Get a life, Steve.

      1. NerfJihad says:

        The correct term is “Shut up, Steve.” Every time you see one online, anywhere, and to anything that they say, it’s the only proper response.

  2. Laura says:

    Yep. Can do. Developed when I wanted to know the answer to the Encyclopedia Brown mystery but didn’t have a mirror handy.

      1. zachkolk says:

        You can, I do. When I signed up for my bank account, Bank of America actually accepted Z J Kolk backwards as my legal signature.

  3. lonnie says:

    Thank you for stroking my ego. I can also write upside down and backwards. I never really considered it a talent. I just got board on day in class and started writing that way. I stopped because I was reading glass exit doors backwards and started to think if I continued I would get a little confused.

    1. Steve says:

      BORED. Unless you actually got the board in class one day. You know, heaved it off the wall and made your escape.

      Incidentally, reading upside down *is* a useful skill. You’ll realise this when you try to read a book with pictures to a class of 7 year olds and want them to see the pictures as you read :)

      1. michelle says:

        steve, realize**** you want to auto-correct people that’s fine, but expect it to come your way as well. just sayin

    2. Kay A. Ess says:

      That’s how I learned to recite the alphabet backwards! Bored in school one day I started reading the letters on the wall backwards. I did it so often I eventually memorized it. I do it every now and then when people talk about strange things they can do.

  4. Pinon Coffee says:


    It’s handy for reading in mirrors and windows without turning your head. Private investigators everywhere weep.

  5. Tess Elliott says:

    Seeing patterns is a built-in ability, and those who can read backwards are just better at it than most. I can read and write backwards, and considering the West’s most able backward writer was Leonardo Da Vinci, you can harp all you want about how pointless you think it is. There are many ideas about the importance of recognizing patterns, some of which aren’t just hang-overs from when we were prey animals ourselves.

    1. Steve says:

      No, the West’s most *celebrated* backwards writer was Leonardo. That doesn’t mean he was the best at it.

  6. Wow says:

    This is why I hate the internet. Yes, all of you are talented, just like everyone else EVER. Wow what an awesome skill that I developed doing quirky stuff when I was a kid cause I’m so unique and creative! Good lord. Hey can you guys walk backwards? WOW!! I bet you learned how to do that when you were a kid and you always wanted to confuse the people hot o your tail by walking backwards so they track the footprints the wrong way! Golly gee willikers I wish I was as fun and mischievous and imaginative as you…

    1. JJES says:

      Wow – if you hate the internet so much, why are you here? Did you come here to remind yourself how much you hate it and make fun of the people writing or are you a masochist?

  7. Steve says:

    Turn it upside down and that is how printers used to hand set type. Individual characters would look like what you see here, backword.

  8. tiggy says:

    Many ways to train your brain. These things are not as useless as they might seem. Every challenge you put your brain go through makes it faster and better. :)

  9. Shelagh says:

    Mirror reading and writing are far from pointless. Talents and aptitudes come in different flavours, and we are still learning about the benefits of mirror reading practice. There’s plenty of attention from researchers around the world focusing on neuroplasticity and right brain cortical growth and MR. Definitely not just kidstuff, and much more than Leonardo. I welcome anyone interested in the topic to contact me at [email protected]

  10. Lulu says:

    Actually this IS an incredibly useful talent, but you’d have to have it to know that. I can read and write as easily backwards as forwards, and also upside down and backwards. Not terribly useful, except that it allowed me to read the funny papers at the same time as my brother when I was a kid.

    BUT, I can parallel park so well it makes my riders gasp, and I invented a product that other people tried to knock off and couldn’t because the secret ingredient was this ability. They could make it look the same, but no one else’s ever functioned properly. I’m not going to say what it is, because I’m still protecting my invention. But I will say that this ability is kind of like seeing in 3-D in a 2-D world. I believe it is hereditary, because I have several relatives who have also invented things – all of them similar in that they are seemingly simple every day items, that no one else ‘happened’ to think of. It may be related to an extremely rare form of childhood migraines that run in my family. My daughter and I both had it, and it paralized a nerve in our visual cortex, so that incorrect messages are sent to the brain. I never asked my dd if she can do this, but come to think of it, her own super ability may be related in some way. She has a sense of direction that is astounding. Even at age 6, she always remembered how to get to anywhere we’d ever been before. None of her friends ever had the first clue how to get to their own homes even if we were two blocks away until they started driving, but she has aways had a photographic memory for everywhere she’s ever been.

  11. Kit Hill says:

    Well “ThatGuy” cares.

    Not everyone will be able to do this: if you battle dyslexia or can’t read English.

    1. Lulu says:

      If you can read backwords, it’s a symptom of a visual perception disorder, which is often misdiagnosed as dyslexia, so someone who believes they have dyslexia may well be able to do this. VPD is a muscle strength problem. A person who has it will have trouble with eye teaming, and their eye will not stay on the right line while reading, but fall between the cracks between words to the line below. They’ll be slow readers and often avoid reading. OTOH, they may have special skills – like backwards writing, and an unusually good ability to parallel park , or, like Leonardo DaVinci, an ability to look at problems in an entirely different way from other people. Many inventors have this. I have it, and have invented things and my dd has it, and it’s made her am amazing navigator. She can also see a dance or skating routine once and replicate it perfectly – and could from the age of three. My son has it, and had toruble learning to read, so he taught himself speed rading, which came in very handy. We’re all avid readers.

      Here are some websites on the subject:


      1. Sabby says:

        OMG, I’ve always had problems like this, told I was dislexic, but my eyes most often change up parts of words from two lines, like if there is one word of approximately the same length below another word, my brain will switch up parts of the words. I turned books upside down to read as a child b/c it was the only way the words didn’t do that…Thanks for the info! Oh, and I can parallel park like nobody’s business. ;D

        1. Lulu says:

          Glad to help :-). And yes, your description matches that of someone with VPD. What happens is your eyes never teamed, so they’re not working together. as you read a line, the eye will have a tendency to want to drop down to the line below it whenever there is a space in the line. Rounded and slanted letters provoke it more than other letters because they act as slides. This will heappen more when your eyes are tired.

          We make many accomodations, some of which give us special skills, like parallel parking, or, in my son’s case, an ability to speed read, Evelyn Wood’s style. He taught himself this when he was six, but you can take the training too, if slow reading or poor comprehension is a problem for you. You read in clumps instead of by the line. My son took about 4 hours to read each Harry Potter book the night it came out, and won comprehension contests – great skill. For children especially and even for yourself, don’t ignore it or settle for accomodations. Get in to see a Behavioral Optometrist ( AKA Developmental Optometrist)

  12. Amy says:

    Lol most people can read this with ease. I can read it at the same speed as I normally read things. I can also read things upside down with as much ease as I read them up right way up and I can read things reversed and upside down easily too.

  13. Sarah says:

    I often found when studying in school that if I turned my books upside down I could slow down just enough to be able to retain the information in the text. Reading for context was always an issue because I read too fast and often miss the point of the passage…so, yeah. Upside down, backwards, tattoo something to my forehead and I’ll still be able to read it in a mirror. Can’t parallel park worth a crap, unfortunately.

  14. Grace says:

    I haven’t read all of the comments, because a lot of them seemed like trolling, so I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this yet, but actually this is an incredibly useful talent: just not in this millennium.

    Printers and printer’s apprentices used to have to be VERY good at reading and writing backward in order to make copy on the old printing presses. And if those letter blocks had been this easy to read, it would have been fine, but as a journalism student, I’ve seen those blocks before and they are a b**** to try and read, much less put in order!

  15. Lizbelle says:

    Unless you’re a preschool teacher, like me. Then you can not only read that picture, but also read childrens books backwards and upside down.

  16. Lulu says:

    I have a hunch the only people responding to this picture are those who find it easy. Those who don’t just moved on to something else.

    I first realised how uncommon it is when I went to see a Leonardo diVinci exhibit in jr. high. My entire grade in school was there, and hardly anyone else could read the translation of his mirror writing without looking in the mirror.

    It’s not a talent. A talent is something you develop ( so yes, Marci, it is a talent if everyone has it – just not a remarkable one). It has to do with how well your eyes team. It’s one of those quirky benefits that nature gives us when we have a deficit. You can go to http://cookvisiontherapy.com/ and do a test for visual processing and also learn more about this.

  17. Chris says:

    Not as pointless as you think; Have you worked at a day care at all? or volenteered at a public library and did a read-a-loud for tots? It comes in handy

  18. MissAnneThrope says:

    Wow. Just one more apparently pointless talent (pointless to HR people, at least) to highlight in my job search. #CollegeDegreeSevenYearsLaterLivingAtHome

  19. Pspaughtamus says:

    I am mainly right-handed, but I found that if I have a pen in my left hand, I write more quickly right-to-left. This was very handy in college for taking notes. When my right hand cramped, just switch hands. And the bonus was no one ever asked more than once to borrow my class notes.

  20. lowonprozac says:

    Actually not many people can read backwards print. You have to practice a bit to get the hang of it. And it’s actually an interesting talent. I’d say the person who doesn’t think so is probably dull and uninteresting – which sounds like a personal problem to me.

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