Two lovely new illusions


Like mountains and lakes?  Perhaps this would be your dream location….

Except that there is no lake – that is a wall (via @rebeccawatson)

Also, how about the levitating boat….

Except of course the apparent levitation is just due to a shadow (via @thewildbunny)

Did they fool you? Which is your favouite?


45 comments on “Two lovely new illusions

  1. I’ve seen the effect in the bottom one too many times for it to seem odd at all. The first one though, at the initial size I was thinking it may have been a grass field or something, didn’t realise it was a wall until I read it and clicked on to the larger image.

  2. Jeremy Miles says:

    I like the boat best – that’s impressive, it must have been incredibly still. But now I know, perhaps I can duplicate it (in the bath?)

  3. Apple says:

    I still don’t get the first one even looking at the bigger picture. And the second one is just on still water?

  4. Navneeth says:

    The Lake Wally is a good one. As for the levitating boat, I could reason it out easily.

  5. lilabyrd says:

    Wow…..I don’t care about any illusion unless it puts me in one or both of these locations for an extended time to evaluate them first!

    • lilabyrd says:

      Oh and Richard I’d be happy to give you my professional opinion on these “illusions” if you send me to evaluate these locations up close and personal like…just say when and set up the travel accommodations….I’m sure I could work it into my busy schedule…… :}

  6. Aviv says:

    Wow, the first one’s brilliant. Even after reading it’s a wall I had to try really hard to see it.

  7. Clementine says:

    the second one scares me! if you can see the bottom of the sea so clearly then presumably you’d also be able to see fish and sharks… and I hate anything that lives in the sea!

  8. Phat says:

    1st one was hard to see at first, very convincing. Being told what to expect seems to reinforce the illusion.

  9. woupiestek says:

    I was not fooled by the boat, but the wall was a big surprise.

  10. Joao Pedro Afonso says:

    Both are lovely. I like the first best because of it unusual rarity. The second will happen with any boat in shallow, transparent waters (and a lot of sun… but I might be wrong, if we see the shadow, I must also see the bottom in its proper color… enlighten us Richard, the shadow is from the boat or is from other source?). The funny thing, we would never be struck by the first in the wild but the second, maybe. Kind of, put us to think if there are no levitated illusion experiences due to buoyancy (the only thing needed would be a dense transparent liquid with the same refraction index of air… tough to get, I believe)

  11. Alan says:

    Wow – they both got me good – the second is great – but the mind tells you something is wrong and immediatly finds the solution. The first one – I had to be told – the mind does not say ‘this is impossible’ – so you go on believing until the word WALL sinks in.

  12. Bletherskite says:

    The top one is really good but I knew something was a bit off as the water should have been reflecting the blue sky, could have just been a very murky lake though. It’s easier to see the wall on the bigger picture.

    The bottom one is really cool but I could see the solution straight away – nice clear water.

  13. Anne says:

    I love the boat one – I don’t think I’d have worked it out without the explanation. The wall didn’t look like a lake to me – I was trying to work out where the lake was!

    • Flavio says:

      That’s interesting, I had exactly the opposite experience! Wall was subtle, boat was obvious.

  14. Rod says:

    I like the boat one, although I saw straight through it. The lake/wall one didn’t look like a very nice lake, but I couldn’t see the wall until I looked at the enlarged image.

  15. AstroGirl says:

    Once I was on a canalboat holiday on the Grand Union Canal in Northants when we took the boat through the Braunston Tunnel and accompanying lock flight.

    I was standing at the very front of the boat and so saw the initially alarming but then quite wonderful illusion of the water seeming to disappear and the boat appearing to hang suspended in mid-air in the middle of a circular tunnel.

    Canals being so still and shallow, it was simply the reflection of the boat and the tunnel roof mirrored in the water below. But, even knowing what caused this to happen, it was still quite an experience.

  16. D says:

    The wall one was good.

  17. Phil says:

    I don’t think anyone’s yet mentioned it, but apparently levitating boats are a common illusion produced by polarising filters. This looks like such a case.

    • Joao Pedro Afonso says:

      Interesting observation. Reflected light on water (and other materials) is polarized and a proper filter would make “disappear” the surface. Never thought of that….

  18. Jon d says:

    Yeah I thought polarized filter too. I saw what was happening in the boat pic straight away, I wondered if the lake/wall picture was taken deliberately to create an illusion or if it only became apparent after the pic was taken?

    • Joao Pedro Afonso says:

      Another question is if the photos were doctored in any way after taken… to enhance whichever effect they present. I’m not sure this doesn’t happens in the boat one. There are people here who knows how to use the tools to do that kind of analysis… maybe they can lend an hand?

  19. bigjohn756 says:

    The wall was easy. The color of the ‘water’ gave it away.

    The boat was even easier since I have seen this effect while on Caribbean dive boats where you can easily see shadows on the bottom even in 60 or 80 feet of water.

  20. Grimaud50 says:

    Like many others, I was surprised by the first picture. I had to view the larger image to see a wall rather than a lake. Very neat!

  21. namowal says:

    The wall tricked me- and reminded me of a photo my friend emailed me:
    It looked like shore birds at the edge of a misty lake and was so pretty that I used it as a desktop background.
    Only later did I realize that the “mist” was the concrete wall of a nearby flood channel.

  22. McQ says:

    Both very nice. The first one is impressive to me because I had not seen that effect type before. Fooled me. Second one is really cool, although I’ve seen similar shots to it. Makes me want to be there.

  23. michel amm says:

    Good illusions !

    There another live tv illusion :

    Most of people see flammes in the video. But oil do not burn under the sea without a comburant (oxygene).

    I think there is no flamme. I think that this is an illusion.
    What do you think ?

    • lilabyrd says:

      Now I don’t know if it is fire or not but there is oxygen in water as it is H2O…..2 hydrogen and 1 oxygen molecules. So there is fuel, a source of ignition and oxygen present….but I personally can’t say for certain what is happening……other than one major mess and near hopeless disaster…… :{

  24. Apple says:

    I still can’t see what the illusion is in the first one!!!! Can anyone tell me where the wall is exactly? The only weird thing I notice is there seem to be two lines/wires the go horizontally across the picture…

    • Christer says:

      The thick white one (which looks like a beach) is the top of the wall, and the wall actually goes all the way down to the plants. The brightest part of the “lake” is actually just light reflected from that yellow plant in the middle.

    • Zahra Yusah says:

      i can see how its a wall now once i made it bigger than bigger (whatevr am i saying?) lol so ok its a concrete wall and the top of the wall has sunlight on it so its like the sand or beach watevr thingy!!! lol i just saw it now 🙂 hope this helped!!!!

  25. Narseal says:

    Perhaps this illusion might interest you:

    Thnx for the mind triggering illusions and other stuff you share.
    I really enjoy it!


  26. […] Two lovely new illusions Like mountains and lakes?  Perhaps this would be your dream location…. […]

  27. Impy says:

    The first one really stumped me even after reading that it was a wall. It took some staring after looking at the larger version and even then I could only see the wall half the time.

    The second one was pretty clear to me from the get go. I didn’t see the illusion even at first glance.

  28. Flavio says:

    The wall/lake is just beautifully simple. I’d never have thought of a wall without your explanation. On the other hand the floating boat doesn’t even qualify… I mean you can even see the ripples.

  29. Did you know that The Great Wall of China is not a continuous strip of wall? This is a collection of walls continues along the hills to the south end of the plains of Mongolia. 221-206 was built in BEC mud and rocks, supported by wooden frames to prevent the nomads of Mongolia to enter the Chinese territory.

  30. Fred Smith says:

    Wow that looks nice. Wish I could be there and enjoy that scenery and weather.

  31. Osman Safdar says:

    I like the levitating boat!

  32. rajasankar says:

    Took sometime to understand that there is no lake. Some thing like there is no spoon in Matrix movie


  33. […] Two lovely new illusions « Richard Wiseman's Blog […]

  34. Diana Buck says:

    the first one got me. the second didn’t impress.

  35. Zahra Yusah says:

    what kind of wall is it in the first picture??? i just cant see a wall there all i can see is a lake or some kind of water thingyy!!! helpp!!! ://///

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s