First, there is a nice interview about ghosts and paranormality here.

Second, this is lovely illusion – are her eyes open or closed?

Find it scary?



  1. Closed looks a little more natural, but I noticed open eyes first. There seem to be no eyelashes on top. Looks more like creases.

  2. It reminded me of how some women use to have their makeup tattooed on them – which is frankly a little more disturbing than eyes painted onthe eyelids. But the photo is a nice example of the time and a great find.

  3. I could only see closed for ages before the open jumped into view. Quite easy to flip between the two once you make it out.

  4. No, not scary at all. What was scary was the comment trail to the article you linked to about ghosts and paranormality. Almost made me lose the will to live……..

    1. I agree. Those comments made me feel sad and despairing. Then, when I saw that there were at least 13 pages of them, I cried. Actually cried.

    2. Absolutely terrifying, totally agree. All of these people claiming to be ‘open minded’ too. Nothing so closed minded as a ‘believer’.

    3. Stephen: Oh yes, clearly.

      Believer: ‘When I awoke this morning, I couldn’t move and I felt like something was sitting on my chest. It must have been a ghost!’
      Skeptic: ‘Well, there is another option. Sleep paralysis is a common condition that causes those symptoms.’
      Believer: ‘No, it must have been a ghost.’
      Skeptic: ‘Let’s do some tests and see whether anything indicates that this was a ghost. Also, let’s do a sleep study to rule out sleep paralysis.’
      Believer: ‘No, I’m sure it must have been a ghost.’

      Yeah, believers are the open minded ones, obviously…

    4. I found it a bit funny when one person in the comments said that he couldn’t explain flickering lights. As if electric problems or a broken light bulb couldn’t cause that to happen. 😀

    5. They even brought out the old ‘conservation of energy’ argument. None of them seem to know what it means. I wonder if they think all electrical equipment leaves a ghost when it’s turned off or when it breaks — after all, there was electricity in it once, wasn’t there? And energy can’t go away! *sighs*

    6. Barbara Anna – a little story from the 19th century you might be interested in: A skeptic & a realist are exploring near to the Verunga mountains when, quite suddenly, a mountain gorilla appears in front of them.
      Realist – Look! It’s a mountain gorilla
      Skeptic – It can’t be because they don’t exist
      Realist – Well it looks real to me, I’m not taking any chances
      Skeptic – You’re being silly now, it’s probably a trick of the light or some kind of optical illusion
      Realist – No, it’s a mountain gorilla, I’ve heard the locals talk about them, I’m getting out of here
      Skeptic – No, Ill show you
      Skeptic walks up to the very angry and very large mountain gorilla who is protecting her young (well, the skeptic knows they can’t be harmed by an illusion), whilst the realist (the one with an open acceptance of possibilities) takes to his heals and makes a speedy getaway. Moral of the story: not everything is as exactly as it seems.

    7. I think you have the wrong idea of what skepticism means. From Wikipedia: “Skepticism (or scepticism) has many definitions, but generally refers to any questioning attitude of knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere”

      Your ‘skeptic’ believes in a pre-set value and will not change his mind based on evidence. That is not skepticism. A true skeptic would not deny the fact that there was a threat ahead of him if he observed it. He might, however, question the claim that it was a mountain gorilla (maybe it was a lowland gorilla that escaped imprisonment, or a man in a suit, or an undiscovered ape of some other kind.

      The difference is not that the skeptic gets eaten — he’d make his getaway just like your believer. The difference is that while your believer goes around claiming to have seen a mountain gorilla — “I’ve seen it with my own eyes, don’t deny the fact that they exist!” — your skeptic, if sufficiently invested in researching this, will assemble a team of biologists, build shelters to observe the species (or even, as this is the 19th century, set a trap to catch one) and determine whether the thing he saw was in fact a mountain gorilla.

      You see, not everything is exactly as it seems.

      (oh, and that includes my name — it’s Berber, not Barbara.)

    8. Too many are confused about Skeptics and Skepticism.

      What most people seem to think a skeptic will say : “No.”

      What true skeptics actually say : “Prove it.”

    9. Berba Anna, don’t worry the skeptic wouldn’t get eaten, mountain gorillas are vegetarian, the skeptic would probably just get their limbs torn off if they were considered a threat. I don’t think I have the wrong idea of skeptics, I’ve met and debated with many of them. In my humble opinion, and I’m generalising here, they are a closed-minded bunch. By the time the skeptic assembled their team of biologists and built their shelters, the mountain gorillas would have moved on, leaving the biologists with nothing to research; this would would result in the skeptics saying to the realists: “see, I told you so, there’s nothing there; it does not exist; it never existed; I told you that it was an illusiion/ trick of the light (delete whichever answer you would find the greatest inconvenience); some people will believe anything, won’t they”. Maybe if you spend too long looking, that which once existed will no longer be there – that’s not to say that it never existed, it just couldn’t be pocketed into your criteria of proof.

    10. Stephen: Touché on the fact that gorillas are herbivores. I meant killed. Don’t know why I typed eaten.

      But if you define open-mindedness as accepting everything at face value, then yes, I am probably close-minded. Close-minded enough to say ‘I saw a light in the sky’ rather than ‘I saw a UFO’. Close-minded enough to say ‘I woke up and couldn’t move for a while’ rather than ‘I woke up and there was an invisible demon sitting on me’. Close-minded enough to say ‘I felt a chill’ rather than ‘I felt a ghostly presence’.
      A skeptic does not say that nothing exists that can’t be proven — a skeptic says that nothing can be ASSUMED that can’t be proven. Your skeptic would say ‘I observed something, but I do not know what it is. If it is observed again, I can make a more sound judgment, but it is too soon to assume it was a mountain gorilla.’ And that’s the only rational stance one can take.

      Also, how hard is it to look at a name and retype it properly? Shall I resort to calling you Stevia?

    11. Berber Anna, calling me ‘Stevia’, that would be sweet 🙂

      You are, I am afraid, taking a rather extreme and wholly incorrect view of non-skeptics. You are portraying us all as gullible & naive, some maybe, but not all, and you are doing us a great disservice in your interpretation. If I see a light in the sky I don’t automatically think UFO (although, technically, until I have identified it, it is an unidentified, possibly flying, object), I see it for what it is: maybe a plane, maybe a Chinese lantern; But if I encounter a host of strange humanoid creatures mooching around said same object, I would have to rethink my previous assumption (plane or Chinese lantern) and consider an alternative possibility that I’m either hallucinating or that I may have indeed stumbled across, perhaps, an alien collective and their mother ship. Skeptics would be physically and mentally unable to tolerate such a heretic notion. Aliens visitors arriving in spaceships do not exist, per-se, say skeptics. Non-skeptics say, it’s not an impossibility (although outside of the realms of probability).

      I believe people have seen ‘ghosts’ (shock, horror). Though what they are that I, my family, and others, have personally observed is open to speculation. They may have been impressions somehow recorded on the atmosphere (as Tom Lethbridge’s theory goes) which again appear in certain atmospheric conditions (kind of like an atmospheric emotional tape recorder) – this has also been evidenced (and electronically verified) in some very old buildings (apparently the walls have been shown to be capable of a certain degree of atmospheric recording). They could be illusions, perceptive discrepancies, hoaxes. They may have been caused by slips in time (a manipulative physical property, according to Einstein), of which there are some well-documented (though, obviously, not proven) cases. There could be any number of reasons why people regularly witness images of the past (and sometimes of the present, but in the wrong location: such as ‘individual bilocation’). I do not say that all of these people were either liars or had imagined it, as a skeptic would, but would prefer to consider many different possibilities and scenarios. I can’t prove any of them, just the same as you cannot prove the existence of the mountain gorilla if she decides not to return and indeed leaves no physical evidence. What if you never saw the mountain gorilla again? Did the mountain gorilla never exist?

      If it looks like a dog, smells like a dog, wags its tail like a dog and eats ‘Chappie’ in a bowl which has the word ‘dog’ written on – then it’s a dog (probably).

      Oh, and by the way, realists, on feeling a chill, do not think ‘ghostly presence ‘! What an absolutely ridiculous statement! I don’t know where skeptics come up with statements like that, they simply are not true – but of course, I cannot prove it!

    12. Again, I think that you have your definition of skeptics wrong. By your description, you are a skeptic yourself — skeptical of preconceived notions and willing to examine several possibilities. Skeptics ARE realists. The opposite of a skeptic is not a realist, but a believer — someone who matches his observations to his preconceived notions, rather than requiring proof of the likelihood of these notions and approaching the observation as an open-ended problem.

      A skeptic would not say that the animal he observed never existed, he would simply say that he saw SOMETHING, but could not confirm that it was a mountain gorilla. To draw the analogy into the present, if I see a vaguely reptilian shaped thing in Loch Ness, I will accept that I saw a vaguely reptilian shaped thing, and examine all possible reasons for this observation (for instance: it could have been a piece of wood, the head of a sturgeon, a rock, someone with a remote controlled prop, or Nessie). Looking at the fact that there have been several sonar scans of the lake, I would rank Nessie fairly low on the list of possible options. Given the precendent, I’d rank the options ‘piece of wood — remote controlled prop — sturgeon — rock — Nessie’. That’s skepticism. I’m not exclusing the Nessie option, but I’m skeptical of its likelihood. I don’t know exactly what I observed, but I consider ‘a piece of wood’ the most likely option. A believer (in Nessie, in this case), however, would observe something vaguely reptilian and claim to have seen Nessie.

      What you call a skeptic is what I’d call a cynic — someone who dismisses all options except HIS preconceived notion that certain things do not exist. Cynics are believers as well, just on the other end of the spectrum.

  5. Sawx6a eyes open first, then flip to eyes shut. Not at all freaky.
    For freaky you need to read some of the comments to the article Richard linked to…

  6. At a festival I once got a face painter to paint eyes on my closed eyelids – highly recommended for freaking people out 🙂

  7. A friend of mine, an artist, once painted a realistic-looking bikini on a naked girl and she walked around outside for ages with nobody apparently noticing. We’re very easily fooled, aren’t we?

  8. Normally this “work” for me. But for some reason I see both at once. I can’t see just open or just closed.

  9. That’s one way to avoid looking as though you’ve fallen asleep in a boring university lecture / business meeting / etc. 😀

  10. @Stephen – You seem to have skeptics confused with cynics. Skeptics are open-minded and follow the data to wherever it leads. In your eg. a skeptic would not say”I told you so, it does not exist/never existed” without any evidence the conclusion would be “we don’t know”. A ‘mountain gorilla’ would be a possiblity but more evidence would be needed, your ‘realist’ would be the close-minded one to insist that he knew what it was.
    Doesn’t surprise me that you don’t get this difference, as you don’t appear to pay attention to detail as you can’t get a simple name like “Berber Anna” right – even after being told

    1. Haven’t got them confused. ALL of the skeptics I have met are cynics. Their ‘proof’ would only support their previously-held prejudices. If they did find some real proof which contradicted their schema they would conveniently hide it away (writers of scientific journals will know all about this one) or will find some way of explaining it away. A realist would want to find out the truth, no matter what, whilst a skeptic wants to find the truth, but only if it fits into their narrow mind-frame.

    2. You mean that all the cynics you’ve met claim to be skeptics.

      And I think you mean contributors to scientific journals, rather than writers of journals. Or maybe you mean editors? Articles have writers, journals have contributors. Journals are peer-reviewed to exclude bias (I’ve kind of seen the process up close, as my sister is doing a Ph. D. in argumentation studies and has been both contributor to and reviewer for journal articles). There’s several reviewers per article, reviewing anonymously to ensure the least possible bias.
      If proof of the paranormal was found in a study, I am certain that many journals would be vying for that article, to be the first reference work in which a new phenomenon was described. That is, provided the study was sound (no flawed statistics, no researcher bias, no possibility of deception on the subject’s part — see Project Alpha). I’m equally certain that those hypothetical researchers would love to be the first to find definitive proof of a phenomenon that had been seen as unlikely, rather than publish the umpteenth study that disproves a claim.
      But the standards by which one has to prove a new claim are, rightfully, quite high, and so far they have not been met.

    3. I realize this thread is a couple of weeks old, but I just came across it and read through it.

      Stephen… as it stands now, you’re arguing a straw man. You are arguing that skeptics are closed-minded people who disregard any valid evidence that contradicts their preconceived notions. Could you please provide something substantial to support this? If your position is valid, I assume that you can provide several cases in which incontrovertible scientific evidence is being ignored by skeptics. And we’re talking about hard scientific evidence… not anecdotal evidence or hearsay of what someone claimed to observe.

  11. I think the eyes are closed, because the area of the eye-shape is too big for it to be an open eye. The inside corner of the eye would be smaller than the shape of the eyelid covering it.

  12. The great Anton Corbijn uses this trick in one of Depeche Mode’s videos and he’s also used it in a photograph of the even greater Trent Reznor.

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  14. I went to this page 7 years or so after the above comments – here because I was interested in the comment “Scariest illusion ever?”. Then I thought it would be interesting to follow the link, “. . . nice interview about ghosts and paranormality here”, but when I clicked on it I got, “403 Forbidden: Code: AccessDenied: Message: Access Denied
    RequestId: A43E6D36DAC5FAFD
    HostId: lr0joGvPjAn+fpIGb8/ybOamzzcE/tOaA9hW4ByHYJZbJSytaxGBwp3Zd7Pba+luGBP1w8nuNiY=” Spooky?!! – no, I’m joking. But I’d like to be able to get to the interview which generated the comments above.

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