Okay, this retro optical illusion might be the best we've seen

We'll always have time for a new optical illusion. And if it's particularly good, we'll always have time for an old one too. Here's an example that falls squarely into that category – and is currently blowing minds on Twitter.

A clip has resurfaced from 1970s Australian TV hit The Curiosity Show in which the presenter demonstrates an illusion known as the Ames Window. When the 'window' shape is rotated, it appears to oscillate back and forth rather than spinning a full 360 degrees (it's hard to explain – just watch it below). And like all the best optical illusions, it's got pretty much everyone baffled.

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Things get even weirder when the host inserts a pen into the shape. The pen appears to spin, but the window structure looks as though it is literally passing through it entirely. Like, you know, magic.

Optical illusion

Things get weirder when the pen gets involved (Image credit: The Curiosity Show)

And it seems that five decades later, the illusion has lost none of its bamboozling appeal, with the clip currently having been viewed over 2M times. "REALITY IS A LIE GENERATED BY MY BRAIN," one user exclaims, while another simply adds, "insert sound of brain exploding here".

Ames Window (or Ames Trapezoid) is named after Adelbert Ames Jr, who discovered it in 1947 while studying the concept of 'transactional ambiguity' – obviously. The phenomenon probed that "a viewer's mental expectation or "set" could affect the actual perception of ambiguous stimuli, extending the long-held belief that mental set could affect one's feelings and conclusions about stimuli to the actual visual perception of the stimuli itself" (thanks, Wikipedia.) 

From brain frying album art to brand new colours, we've seen some truly mind-boggling illusions lately. if you fancy creating your own, take a look at the best Adobe Creative Cloud deals below.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.