You won’t believe your eyes…..


Another great video sent to me by David B today.  Watch this, it is amazing.


52 comments on “You won’t believe your eyes…..

    • ajollynerd says:

      That’d be my guess. I thought initially that there was some kind of superfine wire that might have been magnetizing the oil, but the splash pattern at the bottom looks more like a strobe just outside the threshold of detectability (>60Hz?).

      Cool effect, though.

    • -M- says:

      Of course!

      I didn’t think of that… Well done!

  1. Someone there claims it’s not a strobe but it looks to me exactly like a strobe slightly out of phase with water droplets, giving the illusion they are moving upwards.

  2. fotoflex says:

    I can see distorsion in the close-up, the pucture jumps. So I think it’s either a projection, or a stroboscopic effect.
    I think it’s filmed and then projected, no real liquid there.
    But how to achieve the clearly three- dimentional projection, is beuond me.
    I say, kill the witch!!

  3. One Eyed Jack says:

    Strobe. Nothing new here, but visually entertaining.

  4. Zoe Butler says:

    Obviously a strobe.

  5. pweemaesPaul says:

    I’m pretty sure it has to do with static electricity.The crossed metal under the cans suggests this. A similar thing was done by Walter Lewin in an OCW lecture on electromanetisme, (Lewin’s experiment produced visible and audible electric discharges using dripping water that was led through crossed.pipes to build up charge (if my recollection is correct).

  6. Joe from San Francisco says:

    Definitely a strobe. The same phenomenon that makes a spoked wheel seem to be going backwards, or forwards, or even not moving when it’s really going forward.

  7. Adam James says:

    Its to do with sound waves played at a certain frequency. The oil is coming out on the can but a vibration being played at a certain frequency from the source of the oil gives the optical illusion that its falling upwards. You can find videos like this on youtube, where they do this or even make it appear that the liquid has frozen mid air.

  8. Alex Murdoch says:

    I like the fact that you can actually hear the oil falling into the puddle below. The out of phase strobe effect is very cool, but even better is listening to the people trying to rationalize what they are seeing. Very interesting!

    • Lazy T says:

      Yes the befuddled comments add weight to the illusion.
      “It’s definitely going up” said the lady and for a millisecond I thought maybe it wasn’t a feat of flashing and wobbling.

  9. barryhawk says:

    Definitely not a projection?

  10. barryhawk says:

    What’s happening with the oil at the base? Is it increasing or decreasing in amount?

  11. Paul Durrant says:

    Strobe. Or it’s purely a video effect (i.e. using the 50/60 video frame rate in place of a strobe light), and the people commenting on it are in on the video.

  12. Dharmaruci says:

    if this is a trick with a strobe why does slowing the play back not destroy the trick? or watching out door during day time so my lamp is not flickering?
    i see the drops go upwards no matter how i try to replay without strobe effect.
    clever effect. i think we have not reached it’s proper description

    • Ken Haley says:

      The video IS a strobe effect. You can’t get rid of it by replaying it slowly or by looking at it one frame at a time.

      The drops are going down. Each frame sees every drop slightly above where the previous (lower) drop was in the previous frame, creating the illusion of upward movement.

    • Joe in San Francisco says:

      Ken Haley below explains it well. A photo or video of an illusion is still an illusion.

  13. George Gibson says:

    Thought you may find this interesting.


  14. Cooper says:


  15. Gail Hatton says:

    very fine electricitly charged wire, very cool though

  16. Pat Nowak says:

    No clue, but can it be replicated easily? Great Magic Illusion Richard.

  17. Murray Elliot says:

  18. nablator says:

    “Levitating water”:

  19. Fotoflex says:

    Okay, cool!! That’s clearly the solution. But I don’t understand why we see what we see… 😦

  20. Ken Haley says:

    Does this help? Here are 9 “drops” (represented by @) moving to the right in 4 successive frames. But, the strobe effect makes it look like they’re moving to the left.

    @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @
    @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @
    @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @
    @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @

    That looked good when I typed it. I hope it renders ok.

    • Ken Haley says:

      I was afraid of that. Darn! Here’s another try:

  21. Fotoflex says:

    But to me, a strobe is a light source, I understand how that works.
    Even why wheels turn backwards in movies and so on, but not how sound gives that effect.

  22. Fotoflex says:

    Thank you, Gus.
    I understand that a camera works with 24 frames per second and that accounts for the strobe effect.
    But how does that explain what we see with our eyes that run continually?
    (As far as I know)

    • katiekawaii says:

      Our eyes aren’t actually registering as much as often as we think they are. It’s amazing how much our brain fills in with expectations and assumptions. That’s why every once and while people discover new ways to trick our eyes. I think that’s super interesting, don’t you? 🙂

  23. Anonymous says:

    It’s witchcraft! Burn the witch!

  24. Why are the people in the video so stupid? I learnt about interference patterns at school when I was about 12. Do they think gravity has been switched off?

    • mikekoz68 says:

      It’s simple things like this that demonstrate just how scientifically illiterate the gen pop is. With all those ppl looking at it, you’d expect one to had a plausible answer.

    • katiekawaii says:

      Actually, I think it’s pretty easy to see the problem. Notice that one guy talking slightly more loudly than the rest? His confidence in his own explanation and willingness to tell others they’re wrong is making them either question their own ideas or hesitate to share them. Notice how he overpowers the women, despite the fact that they are closer to the truth than he is? And the woman at the end, who is right on, is reluctant to say what she knows to be true (and you can hear in her voice that she is speaking with some knowledge) when this guy is standing there pushing his idea and challenging all others. Sometimes the answer isn’t stupidity but gender politics…well, and stupidity. 🙂

  25. Jethro says:

    Very cool. Amused greatly by the comments of the people in the video and on here!

  26. Luke says:

    The drops too consistently shaped to be a strobe.

  27. mr Bushen says:

    I teach this in A level Physics. See
    30 seconds from the start

  28. Peter Leeson says:

    The flashing in the picture when filmed in close up (e.g. around the 1.00 minute mark) is typical of strobe lighting

  29. Steve Augustin says:

    It’s using a strobe light which will appear to make the water droplets travel upwards. The same effect can be done with a rotating wheel that appears to be going backwards.

  30. mikekoz68 says:

    I’m more amazed that someone found motor oil sold in cans! I haven’t seen canned motor oil in 30+ years. We used to use 3 cans each to play cricket on the street with cutoff hockey sticks! Now its plastic jugs and no more cricket 😦

    Cool illusion though.

  31. Mark Heil says:

    C’mon, do you really think someone would put electrically charged wires near a flammable substance? LOL

    It’s obviously a strobe light. As far as the consistency of the droplet size goes, I assume that’s why oil was used. Any fluid dropping at a steady rate should have a fairly consistent droplet size, the viscosity of the oil combined with the still air of an indoor space makes this illusion quite possible.

  32. Matt Kenyon says:

    Thanks for your interest in Supermaor! You might also like another work of mine titled Puddle. Both of these will be on display at Detroit’s MOCAD in an upcoming exhibition.

  33. le troll says:

    testing my gravatar

  34. le troll says:

    why i dont have a troll face gravatar? 😦

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