You Only Get One Chance With This Optical Illusion

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A brick wall, sure. There’s a little something in the middle there, a grey rock or a gap or a smudge or... it kind of looks like a turtle’s head, but that doesn’t make any sense, does it?

No, it doesn’t.

(Don’t scroll down yet if you don’t want this ruined for you.)

According to Slate’s Phil Plait (of the invaluable Bad Astronomy blog), this photo has been floating around the internet since at least 2014. But it’s cropped up again recently after Facebook user Aaron Bevin posted it with the endorsement, “This is one of the best optical illusions Iv [sic] seen.”


What makes this one especially interesting is that once you’ve figured it out (or had it explained to you), you will never be able to make not see it. Or as Plait writes:

But once I did see it for what it was, the visual clues were easily visible, and importantly I then knew they were there. It’s much harder to ignore what you see than notice something you don’t see. I guess that sounds almost like a tautology, but when it comes to illusions it’s quite true.


We’ve probably filled enough column inches that you can look at the picture without accidentally seeing the “reveal” out of the corner of your eye, so enough rambling: It’s a cigar! For whatever reason, someone took a picture of a cigar stuck into the cracks of a brick wall and, although it protrudes at roughly a 90 degree angle, from the angle the photo was taken, the dark cigar lines up perfectly with the dark space between the bricks.

If you still can’t see it, Slate has a version of the photo that has the bricks blurred to make it even easier. But probably you don’t need that. Probably you’re already down below typing “slow news day?” But whatever, you totally didn’t see it until I mentioned it.