Unbelievable Harry Potter optical illusion makes magic look real

We've seen some impressive optical illusions here at Creative Bloq, but few can compete with this jaw-dropping Harry Potter optical illusion. It brings the series' fictional Platform 3/4 into reality, with some very real magic (and Lego). No wonder it's just been named the best illusion of 2023.

The incredible mind-bender has won the Museum of Illusions and Neural Correlate Society's Illusion of the Year Contest. And, by Merlin's (sorry, Dumbledore's) beard, quite rightly so (it could even be a contender to join our pick of the best optical illusions of all time).

Lego, Harry Potter and an incredible optical illusion. This was always going to be a winning formula, and British illusionist Matt Pritchard's fantastical feat well deserves its title as Illusion of the Year. As demonstrated in the video above, the anamorphic illusion appears to show a Lego car pass clean through a solid brick wall, recalling the magic of Platform 3/4 at King's Cross – the fictional portal to take the train to Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books. 

But all is not as it seems, and the video goes on to reveal how the trick was done. There's actually a hole in the middle of the wall, large enough for the Lego car to drive through. We don't notice it because matching bricks have been drawn on the floor behind the wall. When viewed from a specific angle, the vertical and horizontal bricks align to create the appearance of a solid wall. The pattern and colour and size variations in the bricks camouflage the edges, making it difficult to distinguish any discontinuities.

Pritchard created the anamorphic optical illusion by placing a lamp in the position where the viewer would be. The shadow allowed him to trace the outline of bricks on the floor in the necessary position to make the illusion work. 

Some of the other nominations for the optical illusion contest were also very impressive. The 'hollow face optical illusion' above is slightly terrifying. The subject of the portrait appears to follow the viewer around in any direction. Artist Wendy Van Boxtel experimented with different colours, textures and materials to achieve the effect.

For another mind-bender that's hiding in plain sight, take a gawp at the surprising optical illusion in the Minnesota Wild logo.

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Joseph Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design, production and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.