Introduction: Beyond Belief and Back (in 30 Secs.): an Optical Illusion

If you've never seen this illusion before, prepare to be thoroughly baffled! It appears to be absolutely impossible. Fret not, though, because this video contains sufficient proof of its validity. This is a re-created version of Roger Shepard's "Turning the Tables" illusion.

This visual phenomenon is taken to another level by drawing it, along with a cutout that "proves" it, and providing links to the same drawing and proof cutout that you see in the video. Feel free to use these items as guides for drawing it yourself, or just print them out to see that this unbelievable illusion is actually believable!

See/print the drawing:

See/print the proof cutout:

See the formal, full Instructable:


Lowney (author)2009-10-01

Wow this is really cool! Congrats on your victory!

greeenpro (author)Lowney2009-10-02

Thank you so much! If I'm right, you won too....CONGRATULATIONS!!! (now, I really hope I'm right :)

Lowney (author)greeenpro2009-10-02

Yeah you're right ;)

greeenpro (author)Lowney2009-10-03

'Magic With Fire'...I like it.

Lowney (author)greeenpro2009-10-03

Thanks! I was going to call it "Matchstick Magic," but I thought that "Magic with Fire" sounded cooler and would hopefully attract a bit more attention! I like the "Beyond belief and back" title too!

greeenpro (author)Lowney2009-10-03

Good titles are a vital part of the whole "packaging" of a video. 'Magic with Fire' is so much better than 'Matchstick Magic', in my opinion, because it is more mysterious :)

Deathstick (author)2009-09-21

The video was well done and the extra links for the drawings where a nice touch but BAFFLED I was not!

redrooster (author)2009-09-06

i dont believe this.its all done with mirrors & bits of string i think i saw a waft of smoke there as well

greeenpro (author)redrooster2009-09-06

Wow, you are good.

wibrle (author)2009-08-31

Just goes to show that we can't trust our eyes 100%

molusco (author)wibrle2009-09-03

You can trust your eyes. You can't trust your brain. PS: this is a cool illusion. I had to do something similar to what it's done in the video the first time i saw it.

frollard (author)molusco2009-09-03

There are lots of illusions that rely on you being unable to trust your eyes themselves (like the animation of the purple dot disappearing around a circle, and when you stare it fades the purple (eye response) and the dot looks 'green'.)

molusco (author)frollard2009-09-03

Ok. So then, you can't trust your eyes nor your brain. I agree. There's also the one about the dot dissapearing because of that blind spot in the eye. Who said the human body was a perfect machine?

cofosho (author)molusco2009-09-04

That spot is where all the individual nerves coalesce to form your optic nerve. Since they're there, there can't be any sensory nerve endings. Crazy? Yes. Awesome? Abso-frickin'-lutely.

greeenpro (author)cofosho2009-09-05

Retinal lusciousness :)

frollard (author)molusco2009-09-03


greeenpro (author)frollard2009-09-03

*Hearty laugh*

molusco (author)greeenpro2009-09-04

Now I'm lost.

frollard (author)molusco2009-09-04

google vitruvian man. the 'perfect man'...

molusco (author)frollard2009-09-04

I do know Vitruvian man. Aaaaaaaanyway, this is getting too far!!

frollard (author)molusco2009-09-04

I don't deny you know it - you said you were lost :P

molusco (author)frollard2009-09-04

Stop it stop it!!! :D

greeenpro (author)molusco2009-09-04

Agreed : }

i805 (author)molusco2009-09-03

I liked that sentence,really expresses us humans

greeenpro (author)molusco2009-09-03

There seems to be an instinctual need to prove it for ourselves since we can't always trust other people. :)

Thanks for viewing and commenting!

greeenpro (author)greeenpro2009-09-03

The older I get, the less I trust my brain.

blugyblug (author)2009-09-04

This has been around for ages...
I need some new illusions. Most illusions out there have the same concept.
And its not really the most perpelxing illusion =S

Tygerwoody (author)2009-09-02

Am I missing something? It looks like a kid drew two tables with crayons. And thats what it ended up being. Seriously. What am I missing? Someone help me where the illusion comes into place?

johnnyknob (author)Tygerwoody2009-09-03

I agree with Tyger. This isn't anything special, it's not "OMG thats soo trippy durr", just an old, rubbish optical illusion that anyone over the age of five should have seen before. You make it out to be something absolutely mind boggling and amazing, but its just not.

greeenpro (author)johnnyknob2009-09-03

Ok. Now, to say that this is "rubbish" is just plain rude and offensive. This is a 30 second video on how to effectively prove the validity of a classic optical illusion. If it's not your cup of tea, then....well, fine. Apparently you are in the minority on that though.

amplex (author)greeenpro2009-09-03

I see the illusion in it. To me, upon 1st glance, the table on the right appears bigger because it appears to be wider than the other. To my girlfriend (whos first response was 'they are the same size' because she figured it was an illusion), after closer inspection, the one on the left looked bigger because it appears longer. It seems to be the adding of the legs giving it 3d depth that your brain uses to appropriate how much 'space' it takes up. The main reason most people say they look exactly the same is because their brain sees the title 'optical illusion' (or they understand that they are looking at a possible optical illusion) and most examples of illusions like this, the objects are actually the same size. Thanks for the illusion. And thank Science for units of measurement which is the real judge of surface area/volume! =]

greeenpro (author)amplex2009-09-03

Very well put. I think that you have a great point about the title 'optical illusion' and its implications. Thanks for the well thought-out comment.

I'm going to have to agree with these two individuals. They look like the same size, proof or not :\

greeenpro (author)Tygerwoody2009-09-02

I appreciate your opinion. It seems that a lot of other people find this to be a good illusion.

Tygerwoody (author)2009-09-03

I didn't mean any disrespect to the OP. Hopefully he doesn't take it that way. I just didn't see the illusion. And with a title like "Beyond Belief", I was expecting to see something neat. Thats all.

droppocket (author)2009-09-03

what this proves is why some people can read a blue print of a house and other people don't understand what they see.

Marsh (author)2009-09-01

That's pretty cool!

Trogdor_The_Burninator (author)2009-09-01

Woah, tripppppppyyyyy.

Tape-structable (author)2009-09-01

I just had a "woa" moment.

Did you print it out?

tabularasa (author)2009-09-01

LIES! lol. Thats really cool, very strange. Thanks!

greeenpro (author)tabularasa2009-09-01

Thank you!

Nextraker (author)2009-08-31

I just drew something similar on PAINT... came out looking awesome..

greeenpro (author)Nextraker2009-08-31

I was going to use a drawing program, but wanted it to look more natural. It was actually a lot of fun to measure it out, draw it, color it and then test out the results with the cutout. Thanks for watching!

ChappyShowcase (author)2009-08-31

I thought I was on crack when I watched this.

greeenpro (author)ChappyShowcase2009-08-31

Uhoh..I hope you feel better.

Tomboys (author)2009-08-31

This freaks me out. Thanks for explaining it.

greeenpro (author)Tomboys2009-08-31

No problem. Thanks for viewing.

Frivolous Engineering (author)2009-08-31

Wow, I'm boggled!

gagfilms (author)2009-08-31

I didn't believe it until I downloaded the pdf.

About This Instructable




More by greeenpro:Mysterious Physics RingShady Ovals Optical IllusionThe Confuzzle
Add instructable to: