We have all done this before — stared up at the sky and tried to make familiar shapes out of cloud blobs. Boy, how we miss that kind of free time! In some cases, we would have to really strain our brains to see something other than a shapeless mass of cotton candy, and in other cases, the shape would reveal itself quite easily.
This is what happens when your cloud storage gets overwhelmed with too many pet photos. A big cloud comes over your house and rains cats and dogs. But seriously, it’s quite a cloud form. When does a puffy cloud appear to be cat-shaped and dog-shaped at once? Probably never.
Jupiter’s Long-Lost Cousin
Do you see the resemblance? Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, and this perfect circle of wood looks exactly like it. Right? Anyone who has ever looked at space or galaxy-themed pictures knows that this is what different stars and planets can look like from a distance — ethereal, wavy patterns on a perfect sphere.
Just like this piece of wood, which has no business looking like something NASA would find interesting, and yet here we are. It looks like it is being used as a tabletop. One that would be criminal to cover with a map.
There are 12 black dots on this grid. The crazy part is you cannot see them all at once. It’s neurologically impossible. Instead of seeing all 12, the dots seem to twinkle on and off. Scientists invented the Scintillating Grid Illusion in 1997. They say the grid tricks your brain into seeing a pattern that doesn’t exist.
The internet went bonkers when game developer Will Kerslake tweeted the Scintillating Grid in 2016. Part of the reason the illusion works is that humans do not have the best peripheral vision. When you focus on one dot, the others seem to disappear. This happens because your brain mistakenly fills in the rest of the pattern.
A Lakeside Mirage
Although it looks like a nice strip of white sandy beach at the base of rolling green hills, don’t bother pulling over to take a dip. Tell your brain that the green sea that spreads out before you is not real. Insist it is just an optical illusion.
Look at it again and try to visualize, instead, a concrete barrier on the side of a highway what it is. The shrubs obscure the concrete barrier, and the shadow on the side of the wall appears to be a lake, while the sunshine on the top of the wall looks like a long strip of beach.
Watch It Wiggle
Here’s a fun little distraction to make your brain freak. This one is a little more interactive than the other illusions in this article. Looking at it as it is will not be very entertaining, but if you put a tiny little work into it you'll see what we're talking about.
Assuming you’re viewing this image from your phone, shake it up a bit. When you’re done shaking the device, look at the Oreo cookie in the center of the cake and watch it dance! The jiggling effect sort of turns the cake into Jell-O. It’s like the cookie is still shimmying and shaking even after you’ve stopped moving the phone.