Making Mealtime Meaningful: See How We’re Giving Back with the New 12 Tomatoes Cares Program →

This optical illusion is one for the ages, as viewers at home have already compared it to putting on ugly goggles.

This “freaky” illusion is causing people to lose it because of the distortion that takes place. Those who participate had better be willing to laugh at themselves a bit. It is not for the weak of heart. This effect reminds us of a fun house mirror if we are being honest.

Photo: TikTok/@stevepsychology

The illusion has already received over 1 million views, which should surprise no one. The world of TikTok is taken aback by all of the ugliness that they have seen and we cannot blame them. This illusion is a lot to take in.

“This optical illusion is honestly a bit scary,” said Steve Rathe in the clip. He is the one who is responsible for posting this video, in case you want to know who to blame.

Photo: TikTok/@stevepsychology

From there, he gestures to a plus symbol that has been bookended by two different celebrity photos. The viewer at home is then instructed to “look directly at the cross in the middle of the screen instead of looking at the faces head-on.” Once you stare at the plus signs, the celebrity faces morph into something that is a bit more sinister in nature.

Those who have seen the classic film Devil’s Advocate probably recognize the illusion, as the faces turn into a more demonic visage. “What you’re probably noticing if you’re looking at the cross is that the faces look distorted or alien,” Rathe explains to the audience at home. “But these faces have not been altered in any way, they look normal if you look at them head-on.”

Photo: TikTok/@stevepsychology

So, what is it that causes these types of transformations to take place? It is easier to explain than you might have thought. It is known as the “flash-faced distortion effect” and the National Library of Medicine has an easy-to-understand explanation.

This is a “striking visual illusion in which faces presented sequentially in peripheral vision begin to look increasingly grotesque after just a few faces have been presented,” according to them. That makes all of the sense in the world, actually.

Check out the illusion below:


One of the freakiest optical illusions I’ve ever seen! Did it work for you? #opticalillusion #psychology #psychologyresearch

♬ original sound – Steve Rathje – Psychology

Are you one of the fortunate ones who are able to unscramble these spooky cues? Be sure to let us know how you end up faring as soon as possible. We can’t lie, we are definitely struggling a bit with this one!

Subscribe to 12 Tomatoes