These Photos Are Real-Life Optical Illusions

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As we sit back in our chairs, drinking hot chocolate, watching that crackling fire video on Netflix, and reflecting on the year, we slowly come to the realization that very little of it made sense. “Um, what?!” was our standard reaction to most news stories and other things that happened this year. 2018 truly was twelve months of confusion.

So it stands to reason that before the year ends, we should try to confuse you some more, eh? These pictures are truly baffling when you first look at them. And some remain baffling for a while after until you figure out just what’s going on. Seriously, it took me five minutes to realize what was actually happening in one of these photos. These are tricks of the eye, optical illusions, and yet they are all happening IRL. In real life. As in, no Photoshop. I know, it’s crazy. So peep these confusing pics and let 2018 go out with a “Huh?”

These pics will have you saying:

It’s true! They will. Some of these, you might be able to tell what’s going on right away, but there are a few guaranteed to mess you up good. Take a look.

Tiny cat

No, this isn’t a cat with very short front legs walking on its hind feet. It’s a regular cat sitting with a sock draped over its back.

Long cow

What does a long cow saw? Moooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. I’ll be here all week.

It’s a…

Bird! Clearly… No! Wait. What? It’s a cat with its head tilted.

Bald party

Unfortunately, contrary to appearances, this is not a party of bald men heading to the Bald Man Conference. It’s one lonely bald man and three leather seats.

Are her legs okay?

via Reddit

If you look closely, you’ll see that this little girl doesn’t actually have bizarre stick legs. She’s just holding a bag of popcorn. But why does the popcorn look so much like the grass?

Where is it possible for this picture to have been taken?

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Lot going on here, but apparently this is an image of rain falling on a pool taken from underwater and also upside down. But honestly, I can’t even fathom this picture having been made in Photoshop. It just. Feels. Impossible!

It’s much less cute now that I know what it is.

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In what looks like a video game convention, a little dude in a white headset looks exactly like a dog facing the camera. But whether it’s a dog or a boy, the only thing that really matters is if they’re loyal, and this one sure looks to be.

You might fall in… to a story.

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It’s almost mean of this picture-taker to not just take a picture of the library shelf with a hole in it. Why did you have to tilt the camera so it looked so other-worldly? Just to mess with me?

The dog head has something he’d like to say.

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Obviously this picture is just taken at an angle where the dog’s head is in front of his body, but man, imagine if it wasn’t? You’d just have a dog head, floating around your apartment, barking sometimes but usually just begging for treats? But where would the treats go after the dog-head swallowed them…?

Come on, I’m trying to drive here.

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I can’t be peerin’ over at a tuck, trying to figure out what’s going on with the giant loaf of bread they’ve got in there! Traffic is bad and I’ve got to pay attention!

Is that you Ichabod?!

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After a few seconds, you’ll probably notice that this is just a man walking around with his head down. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t activate your fears of having your head chopped off, does it? It didn’t for me.

“Honey, what have you been feeding him?!”

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Here’s one of my greatest fears — I’d just be walking through my normal, human-sized house, and then BAM — this giant dog head bursts in, and I have to process the idea that dogs are giant now and nothing in the world makes sense.

“Come with me if you want to live.”

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Oh, I didn’t know M.C. Escher had a cat.

“I thought we said we weren’t inviting Alf anymore?”

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Man does that lady’s head in the bottom right corner look like a terrifying Muppet monster. I’m glad everyone at this event noticed it was a lady with her head down before they took up pitchforks against it.

“You okay, cat?”

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It looks like this cat got shot wit a cannon in a Looney Tunes cartoon. Remember? The cannonball would look like it flew past them, but then they’d turn towards the camera and just have a circle going clean through them? Cartoons are wild, man.

This dog is prepared for chemical warfare.

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We have once again been tricked into thinking a dog being examined by a vet is in fact wearing a gas mask. Let’s all resolve to never let this happen again.


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Imagine walking into some normal place — like, say, a hospital — and seeing that looking back at you? If she doesn’t want to be accidentally attacked, this lady needs to throw away her glasses and, preferably, her hair.

Someone forget their leg?

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Where’s that leg coming from? It looks like there’s a single solitary leg riding this train? More importantly, does a single leg have to pay the full fare?

Tell your children you love them, for this is the end of the world.

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Okay it’s actually just reflections of the hotel room lights in the window, but what if it were aliens coming to destroy the planet? We should all be living our lives as though aliens are coming to destroy the planet.

This cat approves.

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I’ll just spoil the illusion up top — it’s a guy rocking out with devil horns and not a cat in this image. But imagine if there were just a stoic cat watching a rockin’ heavy metal show? What a cool cat that would be.

Is the sky glitching?

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This stealth bomber makes it look like the sky is made up of pixels and some of them died and now we have to take the sky back to Best Buy.


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Haha, that cat’s gonna eat that whole pole! Look at him! He’s like a world champion eater! It’s not that the top of that pole is the exact same color as the cat, making it look like the cat’s eating a pole! No sir, that cat is going to town on a pole, and it will be his only meal of the day.

The other, normal-sized girls must team up to defeat her.

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Would you rather fight one colossus-sized volleyball girl, or 100 volleyball girl-sized colossuses?

Oh no, am I crossing the River Styx?

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This human/ dog hybrid is known in many myths as Anubis, and they guard the realm of the dead. This Anubis, though, guards the bathroom on the train.

What a shocking twist!

At first I was like “what is going on with that gift card?” And then I was like “what is going on with this store? Because some stock-boy definitely did that on purpose. i refuse to believe otherwise.

Don’t worry!

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This dog is just covered in orange powder! They’re not on fire! But this is a pretty lovely interpretation of what it’s like when you come home from work and see your dog for the first time in a long time.

How dare a grandma make this?

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The whole point of having a bed is that you can collapse on it after a long day. This would give any exhausted laborer pause, as it looks like they’d hurt themselves collapsing on the ridges! I do not care for it.

RIP, gymnast.

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Before you freak out, know that a) this gymnast has a stupid flexible neck, and b) she’s got a little medal on her chest. That is not her severed neck. So breathe easy.

“Yer horse is floatin’ away there Jim.”

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Not a lot of non-horse ranchers know this, but a lot of times, your horses will float away. It’s important to either tie them down or feed them heavy foods to keep them grounded.

“You are at my mercy.”

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One of those tourists got an email confirming they could switch to an earlier flight home, and to themselves, they said, “thank god.” Then this powerful uber-child leaned over and said, “you’re welcome.”

“What do you want, lady?!”

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It looks like this car is being driven by an intense lady, when in fact, it’s driven by a chill dude who likes to recline.

Um, what?

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Look, I’m sure this image has an explanation, but I’ll be damned if I can come up with it. Guess we just have to believe that this zebra has no legs and balances on his muzzle.

Maybe she’s born with it…

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This dog’s long flowing locks are not its own, but instead belong to the girl sitting next to them on the dock. But this is the hair that dog would have if they would remember to condition.

Soon there will be no likes left for the rest of us.

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Great, now the birds are on Instagram? As if I don’t waste enough time every day scrolling through my friends’ selfies on Instagram. Now I gotta see the birds’ selfies too? Ugh, I am never gonna finish that puzzle that’s been half-done on my coffee table practically since I moved in.

Giant squirrel

OK, no lie, this one took me a minute to figure out. But if you look really closely, you’ll see that the squirrel is standing on a window sill.

You, me, and a tree

It for real looks like she’s casually holding that tree. But I think what’s going on is that she has a purse over her shoulder that she’s holding the bottom of.

Cut dog

This dog was a log but now the dog is no longer a log dog. He’s just a dog without a log.

Hand feet

When you glance quickly, it looks like this woman has hands for feet! But those aren’t her legs. Those are the guy’s arms.

Giant bunny

Is that a giant bunny? Or a tiny couch? We may never know.* *We definitely know. It’s a tiny couch. Bunnies that big do not exist.

Camo pants

This guy isn’t actually standing nearly up to his waist in mud. His camo pants are just really good at doing their job.

Down the pants

It looks like this guy is reaching down the other dude’s pants, but really, the guy on the right is wearing a red shirt.

Giant baby hand

That baby could crush you with his giant hand. This is extra funny because not only does it look like the baby has a huge hand, but it also looks like the guy has a little tiny baby forearm.

Up or down

Which side of the staircase is up? Which side is down? What is happening? Where am I? Who am I? What is this world?

Yummy egg

This isn’t actually the most perfect sunny-side-up egg you’ve ever seen. It’s actually a cat and half an orange.

Copping a feel

It definitely looks like that woman is getting into that other woman’s shirt, but really, they’re holding hands. The woman in green just has her sleeve all the way pulled up to cover her hand.

Giant pigeons

“Marty, where did you park?” “I’m telling you, Dolores, it was right here!” “Oh shoot, I just remembered we don’t have a car. We can fly!” “Silly us!”

Head grabber

When I first saw this picture, I said to myself, “Why is that guy grabbing this other dude’s head?” And then I realized he wasn’t.

Zebra legs

That’s not a pair of very convincing zebra-striped pants. That’s the butt of the wooden zebra that the woman is sitting on.

Tongue action

That woman isn’t sticking her tongue out, and she also doesn’t have fingers spilling out of her mouth. Her friend’s hand is just in front of her face.

The hug

OK, this one I legit could not figure out and had to read the comments. The guy is not wearing heels. He’s the one sitting down, and the woman is bending over, her head on his left shoulder. This is a wild one.

Sunglasses and puppy

This one looks like a no-brainer but look again. This woman isn’t wearing sunglasses. That’s just a puppy ear.

Toddler hand

I wonder if this is the baby with the giant hand a year or so later! It looks like she has a huge hand!

Invisible tissue box

No, this tissue box isn’t disappearing before your very eyes. It’s just mirrored so it blends in way too well.

Two left hands

It totally looks like she’s holding up two hands, but when you realize they’re both lefts, you see that that hand on the left side doesn’t belong to her.


This picture looks pretty NSFW until you realize that she’s crouching down and grabbing her shins.


This woman isn’t actually a centaur with a dog’s body — she’s wearing black pants — but I think she just invented a new mythical creature.

Leaning tower of perspective

Wow, this is a good one! Leave it to the pinnacle of places to take a forced perspective shot to provide us with like, three different forced perspectives in one photo.

Sun rubs

This is just too funny. That sun definitely looks like he’s rubbing that guy’s shoulders but that he doesn’t feel good about doing it.

Excuse me

That guy doesn’t actually have a ridiculously long arm. It’s all in the perspective. Share this with someone to blow their mind!