Want to see something vanish right in front of your eyes?


@mynameistoey brought my attention to this new illusion and it is great.  Simply stare at the centre of the image and it will slowly vanish.


Did it work for you?


71 comments on “Want to see something vanish right in front of your eyes?

  1. Chris Gladis says:

    “nothing’s happening… nothing’s happening… nothing’s hap – WOAH.”

  2. Robert Howe says:

    A white mist spreads slowly from the centre, in a kind of spectral S shape. Would love to show to a gullible audience while making passing reference to the least intelligent 10% of the population seeing the image slowly turn white…

  3. Sari1967 says:

    Not working yet for me

  4. Roger says:

    Slowly cleared from the left: then I blinked & it came back. Again, Again

  5. Jenny says:

    Very cool! You can get a similar effect with the *whole world* by shutting one eye and holding the other eyeball still (eg by pushing on it though the lid at the side of your eye), while propping your head.

  6. Disappeared in 1/4’s for me, starting top right, top left, bottom right, bottom left. Very cool.

  7. M says:

    It is very hard to make it vanish completely but it worked.

    Had to place my cursor on top of the image in order to keep my eyes focused to a single point

  8. G-Man says:

    it worked when i defocused my eyes.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Eyes hurt. Image still there!

  10. Anonymous says:

    What’s happening to my visual perception????

  11. Jenifer says:

    It all just faded out. Very cool. 🙂

  12. Paul Durrant says:

    I found it worked better with a black dot added as a point to focus on. Nice effect.

  13. Lazy T says:

    Nice, the white mist billowed and out of it sauntered a curvy lady with a green nose….oh, it’s too early!

  14. good illusion, I stared at it for so long it eventually vanished, probably something to do with my laptop battery dying!

  15. Paul says:

    Wow yes, that’s amazing. I stared at it so long my monitor went into ‘sleep’ mode and the image disappeared… right before my very eyes.

    What kind of witchcraft is this?

  16. For me, the colors start to fade and shift and morph. Then sometimes in an instant, the image goes almost completely white. Except for traces of yellow. Then it comes back more faded than the original and the color patterns continue to shift.

  17. Yes but I could control it. Is it down to eye focus as in trying to view a stereo image without a viewer?

  18. Berber Anna says:

    Yep. Cool.

  19. Cath says:

    its like staring at your face in the mirror…if you stare long enough without blinking your nose then mouth dissapear (a la matrix style) go on try it!!!

  20. Anonymous says:

    I had to clean my lap top screen for it to work properly!

  21. Bletherskite says:

    It works, mostly, although I find I can’t get the strongest yellow bits to disappear completely

  22. Nothing. Three times nothing.

  23. Really great!

    What’s the explanation?

  24. It did work the first time I did it but now the image fades without ever quite disappearing. Does that mean I have super powers now?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Yes it does not much but it does.

  26. Chalmer Wren says:

    Dear Brain,

    I did not give you permission to prioritize my experiences and approximate my reality. Please stop immediately.

  27. Edgar 2 says:

    Although I’m a regular visitor I’m not often moved to comment but this really is quite extraordinary. I’d love to know the explanation, or the name of the effect, or anything which can help me understand who or how it happens.

    For what it’s worth it took me several attempts to see the effect – it happened very suddenly when I moved much closer to my screen, but once I’d experienced it close up, I could move away from the screen again and it still worked.


  28. Erlend Aakre says:

    Omg… That’s freaky.

    One might start to wonder why Richard is trying to make us doubt our senses so much… WHAT IS HE PLANNING?!

  29. Amazing. I initially tried it on a mobile screen and it didn’t work (I suppose not enough white space), but on a desktop screen it completely disappeared. For people for whom it doesn’t work, are you using a big enough screen?

    I’ve also noticed that once it’s faded, if I move my eyes very slightly, I can see an outline of a woman, although I think that is just coincidence…

  30. Homero A. Gonzalez says:

    Yep, it works.

  31. Tom Ruffles says:

    I’m using a big screen and cannot get it to work, but am long-sighted in one eye and short-sighted in the other, which may account for it. I struggle with those 3D picture books that used to be very popular as well.

  32. jamesabrown says:

    I think it’s because of cone fatigue.


  33. Lisa says:

    Yes, disappeared completely within seconds.

  34. Miko says:

    Another possible explanation: over time, various deposits (called ‘floaters’) develop in the eye’s vitreous humour, so the brain compensates by remove anything fixed from its interpretation of the field of vision. I don’t know what’s going on here, but it could be that the same mechanism is at work.

    I found it interesting that it faded to white–the background color of the page. If this page had a different background color (of if the image had a heavy border in a different color), I wonder what would have happened.

  35. sohvan says:

    Only the purple disappears for me. The blue and the yellow don’t.

  36. Mark says:

    Yes, it sort of works, but I have to stare at it for so long that I can’t help blinking ,and then the image returns.

  37. Physicalist says:

    Putting cursor over it to have a focus point helps. (Perhaps putting a dot in the center of the image would be helpful.)

    It took a while pre-cursor; eventually everything except one orange splotch vanished.

    With cursor I get blank white pretty quickly.

  38. rolak says:

    About half of the blurry blotches went away, then all jumped back to visibility – plus a moderate edge reinforcement.
    That I name strange…

  39. Edgar 2 says:

    There’s a clue as why in the Section headed “Significance” here: http://www.ehow.com/about_6648464_saccadic-eye_.html

    Generally it looks liek it’s something to do with the need for the brain to refresh images with saccadic eye movements, which you suppress if you stare fixedly at one image.

  40. Homero A. Gonzalez says:

    Look at what I found!!


    And this one has an X right at the center of the image…

    Found it through a Tweet by Guy Kawasaki…

    Here’s the text of the tweet Guy Kawasaki
    Trippy optical illusion is.gd/yBiGJU


  41. Zach says:

    Probably the most physically painful illusion I’ve ever come across. Eyes are still watering…

  42. mahrinskel@gmail.com says:

    For me, it kind of faded out from the edges slowly at first, and that startled me into looking at them, which popped the whole thing back into view. Third or fourth time I managed to keep my eyes from shifting and the whole image faded to white except for a slight hint of color at the center.

    The people who can’t see it may not be able to keep their eyes from saccades, perhaps automatically when the image first starts to fade.


  43. John Loony says:

    But wouldn’t the same effect happen if you stare at any image or any picture without moving the point where you’re looking at? If you don’t move the eyes, then the brain just gets bored looking at the details anyway. You don’t need a special image of fuzziness or anything particularly.

  44. Nick Day says:

    My laptop screen went to sleep, and I thought “that’s amazing!”.

  45. Anonymous says:

    yeah. work for me

  46. After about two minutes, it faded approximately 75%, but it never quite disappears, unless I’m not watching it for long enough.

  47. Anonymous says:

    If you would like to see how it works, find some way to hold a plain piece of paper next to the image, lit to approximately the same luminance as the white background on the screen. Focus on the center of the image until it disappears, then shift your eyes to the paper. What do you see?

  48. […] optical illusion: Want to see something vanish right in front of your eyes? Richard Wiseman Ooh, and an audio illusion is always fun: https://richardwiseman.wordpress.com/…03/going-down/ […]

  49. SanaVd says:

    Oh My God!! That was so freakin’ cool!

  50. Henry Ruddle says:

    It works beautifully and quickly as long as I keep my head still and don’t blink. Incredible.

  51. Tim says:

    The same thing happens with rainbows – very strange!

  52. Worked very quickly for me, although the deep yellow and orange tones linger faintly.

  53. Carolina says:

    My eyes keep readjusting when it starts to fade, like when the optometrist keeps switching glasses in the phoropter. I guess you need to be well rested to let it happen.

  54. Niklas says:

    It worked for me, but not for my mother who is nearly blind in one eye. So, I tried it with one eye shut and noticed I could make it happen quite easily with my right eye but not at all with my left eye. Anyone know why that is?

  55. ramruth says:

    Wow, that’s AMAZING!
    I figured out in photoshop that it only works when the edge of the image is blurred, and that the effect is lessened once you sharpen the inside of the image.
    I’m studying perception as part of my cognitive psychology university module, so now my brain’s gone into overdrive trying to come up with an explanation for this.
    It’s fantastic, though!

  56. ginsberg9 says:

    an image appeared – of a vegemite sandwich that looked like the virgin mary

  57. Whitney says:

    I used to do this with the ceiling fixture in my husband’s childhood room. If you stare long enough (and ignore the burning in your eyes) things will disappear.

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  60. meliza says:

    I don’t get this

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