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Okay, this Stranger Things optical illusion might just be the creepiest I've seen

Illustrated Stranger Things poster art featuring Eleven
(Image credit: Kyle Lambert)

We see all manner of optical illusions here at Creative Bloq, but most of them don't tend to haunt us when we close our eyes. Here's one that does exactly that, and it's either awesome or terrifying – we can't quite decide. 

The Stranger Things-themed illusion was shared on TikTok, where it's tapping into that most quintessential of horror movie tropes: the jump-scare. Close your eyes after staring at the abstract image for long enough and you'll see an eerily realistic image of Eleven in your mind(flayer)'s eye. But it takes its time to appear – and when it does, it's pretty freaky – and definitely up there with the best optical illusions we've seen.

@rishi.draws (opens in new tab)

♬ original sound - rishikaneria (opens in new tab)

The illusion, created and shared to TikTok by @rishi.draws (opens in new tab), asks the viewer to stare at a small white dot in the centre of an abstract portrait of the Stranger Things character for 30 seconds. Then, when you close your eyes and look towards a light source, a full-colour version of the image should appear after around 8 seconds.

With over 14 million views, the video has proven a huge hit online. It seems the creepiest aspect is how long it takes for the image to appear once your eyes are closed – hence the jump-scare comparison. "I WAS LIKE NAHH I DON'T SEE IT AND THEN SHE WAS RIGHT THERE LOOKING AT ME," one user comments, while another adds, "Woah, that was way cooler than I expected." Even Netflix itself got involved, commenting with a simple worried emoji. 

From rotating horses to three-headed deer, we've seen all manner of weird and wonderful illusions over the past few years. Just last week, we saw one in space. If you're inspired to design an illusion of your own, take a look at our guide on how to download Photoshop.

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).