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Toad takes his hat off – and what's underneath is horrifying

There was plenty to be horrified about in 2020, but this revelation from Mario's Mushroom Kingdom is still haunting our nightmares over a year later. Fans have speculated for decades over whether Toad's mushroom is a hat or part of his head, to the point where Nintendo has even been compelled stepped in to clear things up (more on that later).

The mystery has led to many speculative illustrations from artistic fans, and back in March last year, Alex Solis gave us perhaps the most nightmarish concept yet. The question is no longer whether the mushroom is a hat (it is, according to Solis' depiction), but whether Toad's eyes are actually... nostrils? 

You might be playing a lot of Super Mario if you've snapped up one of these unbeatable Nintendo Switch deals recently – but prepare to see one of the most beloved characters in a whole new light: 

Toad without his hat on

We're so sorry (Image credit: Alex Solis on Instagram)

We're filing this one straight under 'wish we could unsee' (where it joins the likes of Haribo's Maoam packaging). Fortunately, Solis' terrifying (and apparently sleep-deprived) interpretation doesn't match up with Nintendo's explanation of the mushroom. "So that, as it turns out, is actually Toad’s head,” Super Mario Odyssey producer Yoshiaki Koizumi recently revealed on the company's official YouTube channel (below). So, there we go. 

The general reaction on Instagram matches our own ("YOU DID NOT HAVE TO DO THIS," one user comments). Perhaps he didn't – but then what's the internet for if not for sharing horrifying concept illustrations of fictional humanoid mushrooms? It got a reaction from us, and for that, we take our hat off to him. Solis' Toad concept is part of a series of similar illustrations he calls #UnpopularCultureSeries, which also includes this depiction of an evolving Pikachu:

Head over to Solis' Instagram page to see more from the #UnpopularCultureSeries. We can't guarantee, though, that they won't reappear in your dreams well into 2022. 

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Daniel Piper

Daniel Piper is senior news editor at Creative Bloq, and an authority on all things art, design, branding and tech. He has a particular penchant for Apple products – some corners of the internet might call him an 'iSheep', but he's fine with this. It doesn't bother him at all. Why would it? They're just really nicely designed products, okay? Daniel is also a comedian and national poetry slam champion, and his favourite Bond is, obviously, Sean Connery.