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By on November 17, 2009, with 393 Comments

"Afghan Girl" by Steve McCurry

"Afghan Girl" by Steve McCurry

Probably all of you saw this picture at some point of your life. Titled the “Afghan Girl”, this photo was named the most recognized photograph in the history of National Geographic. Although girl’s name was not known, her picture appeared on the June 1985 cover of the magazine. The image of her face, with a red scarf draped loosely over her head and with her piercing sea-green eyes staring directly into the camera, became a symbol both of the 1980s Afghan conflict and of the refugee situation worldwide. Gula was known throughout the world simply as the Afghan Girl until she was formally identified in early 2002.

Over time, many variations of Steve McCurry’s original photo appeared. At some point even in optical illusion form, as we see below. All I could find about this illusion, is that people can’t seem to look at it for too long. Apparently you get a headache, or become nervous at best. Maybe this isn’t the true nature of this illusion, but it just didn’t make me hallucinate like some other animations did. Wait few seconds for the animation to load (it’s 1MB big), and share your experience afterward.

Afghan Girl Optical Illusion

  • god, thats quite creepy.. (first comment?)

  • A. Nonny Moose

    That’s really pretty freaky. It looked like the girl was moving!

  • 44calibergnome

    Wow! Hypnotist not needed! Excellent illusion!

  • Mr Average

    It gives me a headache

  • egdirbr

    My eye was drawn to one of her eyes until I couldn’t look anymore, then my eye was drawn to the other eye until I couldn’t look any more, back and forth.

  • Robert

    Ummm….yeah. There’s really no illusion. It’s just two rotating circle patterns originating from her eyes. One draws in, the other flows out. No illusion here at all. Just animation added to a picture. Not impressed. Love your site however, they can’t all be winners I guess. lol

  • Matthijs

    I would guess the illusion, or trick would be, that you are unable to stare at one eye all the time. My eyes kept asking to look at the other eye as the one I focussed on.

  • I think the original picture was more captivating. But this one, it looks like the girl is expanding slightly at the edges if you stare at the center

    not entirely sure WHAT exactly the concentric circles are meant to do though….

  • Greg

    Its kinda like the hollow Einstein head take it always looking at you

  • Cassandra

    For some reason i saw her grow a mustach, turn into a man and start nagging to me about the dolphins game this sunday… True. I must of ben worried about my french exam tomorrow so i just thought about the dolphins… Next thing you know a man appears and naggs about them… creapy

  • Zoe

    all i could say is, that the girl’s face disappeared.

  • David Eidson

    Yop freaky, seems like her left eye is an inward vortex and the right eye, an outward one!

  • J.J

    It slowly moves 2wards you! And it did give me a little bit of a headache.

  • Qbee37

    Wouldn’t call this an illusion. Just an annoying animation.

  • vurdlak

    If you look at the center of the picture, you see that is moves very slowly to the right!!!

  • Lucia

    Her right eye looks like it’s getting larger and her left eye looks like it’s getting smaller. And, yeah, I can’t look at this for too long cuz it’s creepy.

  • Kelly R

    After a while of staring, I saw a third circle radiating from the center of her forehead. Didn’t see it with my reading glasses on, but without them, I could.

  • sal

    when you stare at her left eye for a minute or so, her head appears to nod… cool pic

  • Falon

    It looked like waves were going toward the center of her left eye (right-hand side) and waves radiating out of her right eye (left-hand side) Very hypnotizing! It makes my eyes tired.

  • Lucas Delfin

    That’s scary!

  • Merry

    It just hurt my eyes – sorry didn’t see anything moving but the circles.

  • If you look at it long enough ,assumung you can, then the pupils of her eyes eventually start to flash red. Not sure if this is menat to be the illusion or not.

  • Howard

    creepy, but somehow I think it would be more hypnotic if the circles went the same way, not one shrinking and the other growing.

  • lindsay

    it seems like to me that the girl appears to grow or move if you stare at the eyes…maybe thats just me.

  • El Gera

    I could watch it for hours, I don’t feel bad at all. Also I don’t get how this is an optical illusion.

  • Tim McKinnon

    Try it with the old Red/Blue 3D Glasses!

  • Fearless

    wow! how did they do it? looks like the movement comes the left eye then spaghettified to the right eye!!!


    after staring at an eye, the whole picture turns red and it looks like the devil’s looking at you. i stopped looking at it before it could “transform” into the devil because i got too scared :P

  • Robert

    There is a third circle, emanating from the middle of her forehead. Still this is no illusion. Not creepy either, just useless.

  • lol i can stare at her forever ;) seriously its pretty easy to keep staring at her

  • Risa

    Its creepy. I have to pee now

  • sam

    weird! but cool

  • Michael

    When I look at it blankly it seems like her head gets larger and larger and it creeps me out. at first I thought it was going to turn into a screamer but then I realized I was only imagining the growing head, then I thought i was going to scream :P

  • Demona Stephens

    Well there are 3 spinning circles for sure, but strangly there is 4 colors green, red, pink, and blue the blue best show in the bottem right hand corner, there may be a 4th circle but as of yet i can not pin point it. looking at the origanal picture the only point of this illusion seems to be to obscure every thi8ng but her piercing green eyes to do this you must do what i call ing blurring your vision, if you do nto look directly at the picture and let your eye lose focus you’ll notice that the eye become a lime peircing green the seem to burn thru your soul. this seem to be the only point of this illusion is to being out the piercing color of her eye in which she was known for.

  • Amara

    Wow that was frightening. She looked like she was getting larger.

  • wowaname

    Adobe Flash is much faster than this animated image.

  • wowaname

    What gives the volume menu permission to pop up out of nowhere? Sorry, but I am aggravated at my computer right now for being a slow idiot (1GB RAM for anyone who cares).

  • DEek

    This is, how do you say it…, fail? Its a .gif file, its an animation, not an illusion. Its as much of an optical illusion as Optimus Prime in a Michael Bay movie.

  • Kate

    Gah, my head…. DX

  • Facebook User

    cool! One of my eyes wants to focus FAR and the otehr one tries to focus NEAR. I can see why it would give one a headache after a while.

  • zinya


  • Faker

    If you stare at the picture for 5 minutes she steps aside and a bunch of taliban jumps out of the screen into your room starting to torture you… Fortunately I have no time to stare 5 minutes at this crappy picture

  • deungsan

    However, the woman represents how terrible Afgan people have suffered from wars and wars….

    I wish she and her people have peace and order soon.

    Best wishes.

  • Patrick O’Neil

    Love this site.
    The Afghan girl moves!

  • who wants to know

    her left eye(our right) looks like the circles are moving out but the right eye looks like the circles are going in

  • joshua

    that is very weird but when your eyes start to go bleary you can only see the afghan girl and the black lines and faker very funny comment :D

  • joshua

    GOT IT ! the illusion is trying to make you think its moving to the right but actually it’s the circles spinning around.

  • Care Bear

    What is she on and where can I get some?

  • Loring

    If I just stare at the eye on the left, the picture changes – the details of her face disappear and re-appear. Sometimes I thought she looked like an alien, then all I’d see was the circles, then Afghan girl would re-appear. Didn’t get a headache though.

  • bizi

    Fake !!! Gif Animation

  • Kevin

    It’s ok to look at…..but then, if you add a couple bong hits….whooaa, NOW we’re talking, ha!

  • decibelevel

    From staring at the picture for quite awhile, the circular patterns are expanding from her right eye and contracting into her left eye (not as your face her but her actual eyes)… I stared at the space directly between her eyes.

  • TG

    Actually there was a follow up on the “Afghan Girl” http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/03/0311_020312_sharbat.html
    So sad.

    The concentric circles do make the photo seem to move.

  • Moi

    Stare at me…. Nothing than a pretty girl. No wait… She´s a devil… No, an angel… I can´t say…

    Just Bullshit.

  • J.T. Chitty

    On her forehead, there is another expanding circular wave pattern, is that intentional or illusion?

    A definite illusions, though, are the straight lines radiating out from the centre of her face.

  • JesusGirl

    Wowa, that gives me a headache! Ouch

  • Pretty cool. But it didn’t give me a headache.

  • Robyn

    I tried to stare at it but its actually quite a scary picture so it was difficult to stare at anyway. haha.

  • No one,

    If I stare at her right eye, the left side of her face starts to move, then she looks like a man…and my head hurts…

  • mellll555


  • NeoNeo

    is it really just a picture? ic ould seriously swear that the circles are moving (outward on the right eye and inward on teh left eye)

  • beth

    her face looks like it gets bigger as you stare at it

  • I didn’t notice much except that the circles seem to come at you from her right eye and going into her left eye. The second time at a quick glance i noticed there was another set of circles coming from a different spot rather than just her eyes. I thought it was a rather interesting position and it’s very feint. I thought the whole image overall was rather creepy. Gave me goosebumps.

  • Someone

    If you stare at the picture long enough she stands up and undresses!


  • Some Finnish Guy

    There’s that third circular pattern in her forehead, you can’t see it from far but if you go close enough, it becomes visible.

  • i almost saw multiple faces in just a few seconds =)

  • Detective Kitty

    it looks quite hynotic but other then that it’s not very illusiony.


  • Jon

    Um… how is this an optical illusion?

    It’s an animated gif. There is no illusion.

    For reference, look at the smaller picture above. It’s not an animated gif, just a jpg, and nothing happens.

  • udo

    freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeky look in her eyes and the circles seem to shake

  • medha

    scary for sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dave

    If u use a open glare, and watch through the pic, the left eye seam to get bigger end the right one’s getting smaller.

  • some dude and his buddy

    well me and my bud here stared at it for a good 5 minutes, nothing happend, in fact both of us grew board, my bud however said her face appeared to grow and shirnk a little but i didnt see it happening.

  • After something like 20 or 30 seconds, my heart accelerates, yeah, I am more stressed. For sure, it is a strange optical illusion!

  • That gave me a headache.

  • carl

    It doesn’t count as an optical illusion if it’s animated. This is a real one: http://www.uncoached.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/optical_illusions_8.jpg

  • Shelly

    If you save the pic to your computer, you’ll notice the image is a GIF. Its not an optical illusion because the lines ARE actually moving!!

  • yevgenj

    It’s relaxing! Ahh…

  • Deb Doerge Chinique

    The illusion appears after you look away from the image. The afterimage makes the surface you view (say, the back of your hand) appear undulating and distorted.

  • Danny

    she’s all like

  • sage

    Whooow ! It look like the picture is a sort of animation, and it look like the circles are moving ! Trully a great optical illusion.

  • Miss Silver

    that gave me a bad case of motion sickness.

  • RichardR

    I Feel uneasy looking at the Picture!

  • Imhotep

    This is not an optical illusion. It is animated.
    I took a screen shot to check, put it in Photoshop to see the still image and nothing.
    This is a farce.

  • animated 10 frames

    Image properties
    Location http://www.moillusions.com/
    Type: GIF image (animated, 10 frames)
    Image dimensions: 450px × 390px (scaled to 590px × 511px)
    Sixe of file: 1079.76 KB (1105670 bytes)
    Alternate text: Afghan Girl Optical Illusion

    Not really a optical illusion… Just an 10 frame animation!

    She is too beautiful to be used in a fake optical illusion!

    It is nice as an animated picture, but its not a optical illusion!

  • no one

    there’s also another spiral coming out of her forehead.

  • mel

    her eyes get bigger and her face gets smaller. it didnt give me a headache though. her face was pretty scary.

  • Dallas Lavis

    jackie chan

  • kurt

    the reason people become nervous is that the eyes seem to widen and as they are looking directly at you, the subconscious says that the eyes are searching for something in you

  • rachel

    If you squint your eyes, you can see the original picture. She is quite beautiful, even with her strange eyes. That’s the illusion I got out of it. :D

  • NB

    She turned into Elijah Wood for me.

    I’m scared.

  • Pun

    I don’t get it… so the circles go in and out, its not really doing anything to me…

  • Cristina

    kurt is probably high. All I could see after a few seconds was her eyes, but as rachel said, if you squint your eyes you can see the girl in her radiant beauty. She is very pretty. I didn’t get a headache, though. For those who did, the placebo effect worked on you. Weaklings.

  • jdtsantiago

    ..oooooooooooohhhhhhh…so scary the first time i looked….

  • hillu

    if you blurr your eyes you can see a paki man with a mustache

  • alex

    Does the 3rd source of illusion really exist?
    The first thing i saw was the two source coming right from her eyes
    But as i look away, near her forehead, there’s a slight illusion of the 3rd source. Then it faded away.
    Am i imagining things? :(

  • sudha

    I got pity on this girl, she has a serious expression but not that scarry, ic ould seriously swear that the circles are moving (outward on the right eye and inward on teh left eye)i can see a third circle too on her forehead,her right eye is staring at me when i say, its a spirit which is searching for something …..?she is beautiful, has a look of question mark…?

  • JD

    I save it as my back ground and it dont do nothing but its my favorite photo of all time so i will keep it.

  • Random Freak

    Thats kinda weird but it only makes my eyes go crossed and its animatated so it really SUCKS!!!

  • Paigee33

    It Kinda Makes My Stomach Feel Queasy And I Get Nervous Just Looking At It…

  • DarkAvenger

    When I look at her face near the center, it makes my eyes refocus at specific intervals. After about 30 seconds of this I realized my head was starting to hurt from trying to focus so many times.

  • jas

    After a few seconds the face appears to drift to the left, and the right side of her mouth distorts, Then I am seeing her face without the hood, and she suddenly looks a lot older. :-)

  • Dawn

    Nausea, vomiting, disorientation. Oh, was I supposed to comment on the illusion or the war?

  • Mike

    I found myself watching the lines, no matter how hard I tried to stay staring at the eyes.

  • Janelle

    After 30 seconds or so, her eyes become wider, then she starts looking like a demon.

  • Iv

    Lol you guys it’s a .gif

    The circles look like they’re moving because they ARE.

  • iva

    no optical illusion here the page is moving the lines push esc or stop on your toolbar and they will stop moving

    fail optical illusion

  • snowy

    Just a pretty girl, with moving circles . . . er thats all.

  • it looks to me like she gets closer to you the longer you look at it. she’s also freaky looking.

  • Facebook User

    I dunno, to me it looks like she is starting to age. This is likely due to the lines though. Also, damn this headache.

  • archik

    This is a stupid elusion designed to confuse the mind by going in reverse order of nature, so the brain is very confused.

  • Vesper

    It is a little hard to focus on one point in the image because of the moving lines. Other than that it’s not really special

  • Do you know this afghan girl was again found by national seograpic team after 15 years now she is woman

  • bazinga

    i dont see nothing

  • john

    animation, not illusion

  • Anonymous

    this is a fake
    i copied the image to microsoft word and it didn’t work

  • LT1085

    there is an intersection point where her third eye would be, about 1/3 up the centre of her forehead, it ripples like a stone dropped in a pond, but instead of distorting the other ripples it creates its own.

  • user

    nothing happened. I tried to look at eyes, i tried to look at lines and at her 3rd eye. Bullshit.

    Actually nice young a bit scared lady.

  • bud

    There is a difference between op art and illusion. This is op art. You see a bit of a moire pattern of one set of circles going smaller and the other larger, giving the perspective of exiting and entering a tunnel, because that is indeed what the circles or doing. You see a third set of concentric circles created by the interference pattern.

    It does not affect perception of the underlying image in anyway. No afterimage effect or odd movement.

  • valcy

    this is really awesome.

  • Nothing after a couple of minutes, though I can see how I could get a headache or feel nauseous if I did it for longer. Say like 10 minutes or so.

  • Eleanor

    I looked into her eyes and lost focus and the GIF stopped moving. The picture stood still. after a little distraction it started swirling again. I looked at it and my head hurt.

  • crush1st

    wtf…….only multiple pics make moving in cycle every 2sec…. u cant focus on circulating moving pics at one point..thats simple…. why the hell u try to focus on her?????????????????/

  • Harry

    wow, it makes me feel really uncomfortable, being watched right back at me

  • Bombelle

    I didn’t feel anything….

  • James

    I agree with LT1085.

    When i stare at the image the two obvious ripples intersect on her forehead and create a new one flowing outwards,

  • just saying

    Is it just me, or does this chick kinda look like the Olsen twins? Kinda creepy.

  • omg

    after 10 seconds my eyes acually started to water

  • amh

    Nothing happened.

  • Jake

    The more I stared, my eyes started to cross. And when that happened, I focused more on the face behind the ripples, and her eyes stared to make me nervous.

  • shak

    this made me do nothing.. i just wasted 2 min looking at it

  • Kendra

    It actually made me twitch and have to look away.

  • milly

    she is so scared

  • tabz

    I felt genuinely nauseas

  • Anon

    Glory to the hypnotoad.

  • Don V

    More of an annoyance than anything. Are you sure you know what “optical illusion” means?

  • hr

    This isn’t an illusion, it’s an animation in a non-still image file format. Look up the meaning of a fucking “illusion” before you make an article about it

  • Shepherd

    I found it hard to look at. It was as though my eyes started to hurt from focusing on her.

  • She’s still beautiful.

  • will

    i started to see some waves coming from her third eye

  • baung

    The right eye becomes bigger and bigger while the left one becomes smaller and smaller.

  • miilee_smart

    pathan roxx every where

  • roni

    i cried lol my eyes watered when i focused on her eyes.

  • Sean


  • Brandon

    It most certainly did not give me a headache. It most certainly did not make me hallucinate. So why did I stop staring at it after only a ten second period? I got bored! :) Cool looking nonetheless.

  • Terry

    Calling this an optical illusion is a misnomer, since there is nothing illusory about this. It’s just unpleasant to look at for very long.

  • marko

    AH that is no illusion! that is animation

  • Natz

    Fake! Press ESC button..to stop the circles from spinning

  • Yann

    It is not a photo with circles on it. It actually is an illusion. There is no photography, the circles in different colours interfering with each other create the image of the girl’s face.

  • NoSoyNadie

    Sorry, but is a .gif animation, no a jpg photo!

  • dd7990

    LOL to me it just looks like she’s gone crazy and trying to do some creeeeepy mind control thing… all like “look into my eyes, you will now be my zombie slave!” LOL, her eyes were all like swirly and crazy-looking coz of the spinning lines

  • she is innocent but in this gif photo, she is horrible

  • jimmery

    after about 30 seconds my eyes started to feel kinda weird and after about a min or so my head started hurting but I wanted to see how long i could look at it. after about 3min i broke into a sweat and started feeling nauseous. I couldn’t stop throwing up for about 30min, ended up puking up a lot of bile and straining so hard my throat started bleeding and i think i may have a hernia.

  • Pf, nothing, but creepy!

  • Rod Johnson

    It didnt bother me at first, but after 30 seconds I felt a stir in my pants, and then @ just after the 1 minute mark i simultaneously soiled myself and ejaculated. I still feel weird from it – and nearly 30 minutes have gone by!

  • bang

    just made my eyes water, got really hot and made them hurt.

  • This isn’t an optical illusion. This is just a trippy GIF.

  • nise426

    yeah, not an illusion.

  • ronine

    now the voices in my head are telling me to KILL

  • Atha

    Anyone else notice the third eye (pineal) circle generator? Uhh.. the spot on her forehead.

  • martinum4

    did noting to me…

  • shahin

    dumb. theres nothing wrong with the pic of the girl. its the twirling lines that trigger the nauseous reaction.

  • Mathias

    Nothing wierd, stared at it for five minutes with no bi-effects except somewhat hurting eyes(not uncommon after staring at a screen 15 cm away for five minutes).

  • Nihar

    i felt nothing

  • Nihar

    i did nothing to me.

  • Zahirah

    If you look at her right eye, and keep looking, her head will start bulging and her eyes become piercing… Like a demon… Really scary.

  • Meg

    I think it’s the way the illusion makes her eyes look…somewhat possessed.

  • rodreegus

    got me going

  • BHizzle

    there is a third, pink set of rings in her fore head

  • Jessi

    There’s nothing wrong with this picture and there is nothing wrong with the girl. The lines in the .gif may trigger a motion-sickness-like feeling, but hey, if you don’t like the headaches or nausea, don’t look at it.

    I liked the illusion, personally.

  • khater

    Oh my God,come on guys what hapend to you peopl, there is nothing in the pic, only the one who uploaded the pic, he or she put some graphs on her face, thats hypnotic graphics nothing els. make the same graphs on white paper your head will hurt soon..


  • bgirl

    she disappeared…

  • josh

    its clearly mostly to do with the fact that you are thinking the illusion will do weird things to you. your mind then makes it so. i knew it wasnt real and stared at it for well over 5 minutes and nothing happened. if someone told you a sugar pill was a drug that would make you vommit, then you would probably end up throwing up.

  • (shudders)
    this is creepy

  • ahdaunt

    I looked at this image for a bit, and no headache. Then i got the “bright idea” to try something: to look at it in 3D. allow me a rather lengthy explanation. If you have ever learned to see the “Magic Eye” type of picture in 3D, you can also train yourself to see almost any repetative pattern the same way (It;s all in the focus) stereoscope photos, even fabric or wallpaper patterns. with that in mind, I opened another browser window and copied and pasted the address to get a second instance of the image open. Then I put them side by side and started crossing my eyes…soon I could see her in 3D. NOW I have a headache!

  • jonathan

    actually if you stare in some point for long enought, the moving line will seem to stop. that’s the illusion… i guess.

    it makes it easier if you look in the eye

  • David

    The nausea is a result of your own rapid eye movement from one of her eyes to the other and constant involuntary focusing. This rapid movement and focusing can also raise your heart rate.

  • wow its hard to look away from it. If you stair at it to long it hurts your brain and eyes. But that might be just me XD

  • Mark

    The illusion I am guessing is the ‘third swirl’ that appears in the middle of her forehead. It’s seen as a ‘third eye’ because of the two swirls out of her eyes… but if you follow this swirl out you notice it disappearing as it goes out… and the swirling does really mess with you if you stare at it too long… not a good image imo.

  • villi

    well, i saw something else than the girl, i watched it for about 15-20 seconds but the shape and look of her face changed and i got freaked out

  • Gary

    The feelings are caused by the alternating movement of the rings. One set is going out from the eye (the left) and the other set (the right) is going towards the eye. The alternating motion probably causes a form of seasickness? My opinionon, no science to verify. lol

  • steve

    Zahirah says:
    February 2, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    “If you look at her right eye, and keep looking, her head will start bulging and her eyes become piercing… Like a demon… Really scary.”

    Agree Zahirah

    I stared at the left eye ( dont look away 1-2 minutes) just concentrate long enough the detail goes in the face and then it warps and bulges but the eyes remain clear…. pretty freaky shit…….

  • Kim

    Okay I’m scared…

  • Nipuna

    ooh aaaaaaaaaaah! shes controlling me! aaaaaaaaah! :p

  • This is some swirly lines over a photo of a girl’s face.

  • Scott

    To me, her skin turns a weird, pinky-purpley color if you look directly at the eyes and see it in your peripheral vision

  • Johnny

    I just came.

  • destroyer

    lol when i stare at her eyes it seems like she get older and older

  • smartie

    its fake!!!
    copy nd paste somewhere u’ll see. there’s no illusion there

  • ppchkk

    An animated .gif file comprises a number of images or frames to be displayed successively.
    Like movie.
    Not optical ilusion.
    This image have 10 frames.

  • Moh

    this is……..

  • rose

    is she mad?

  • Elliot

    WHAT DO U WISH ME TO DO MASTER?! lol very coool

  • Zack

    I’ve done acid, this isn’t new to me.

  • kayla

    it made me sleepy.. i’m literally gonna go to bed now.. & bookmark this to help me go to sleep in the futre

  • Gabriel

    You don’t know what an optical illusion is.

  • Max

    I looked at it for 5 min and her face started to change, she got older then fatter then she looked more like a boy and it just kept changing. Cool!

  • pirate-vampire

    She’s freaking me out – it’s like she’s gonna come out of the damn screen and murder me. |:

  • Ki Ageng

    What does it expected to do to you ? I did not feel or see anything.

  • bugsb

    One eye eats you, the other eye spits you out.

  • McCury

    She is the natures mistake creation. Her eyes are really unique and everyone doesnt have capacity to keep watching. Recently another girl in South Afghanistan has been found with even exceptional eyes. her age is 12 but she is said to have most beautiful eyes in the world

    Look up ,

  • d

    that is NOT a damn optical illusion douchebags
    its a moving gif image

  • I dunno if it’d fall into the optical illusion category, but it does appear as though her head is moving.

  • wtf?

    Mcury..she is not a mistake creation you racist twat…you are the mistake.

  • D I

    Its a GIF animated in 3 frames

  • Guy

    Yeah! When I saw my first moving GIF in the 90s, I was excited.

    So where is the optical illusion Shit.
    I want my time back!

  • bob

    It’s a gif, not an optical illusion.

  • Aaron


  • My eyes sting!

  • Jibreel


  • Bert

    I now see the light, dark lord…compel me to do thy bidding!!!

  • Ernie


  • kiel

    anyone else notice the third eye on her forehead? its a pink circle that extends outword. subtle.

  • Bikey1277


  • Grover

    Rumor has it the Pentagon shooter was staring at this image for about an hour before he went crazy.

  • Froo

    after I stop watching the illusion effect look at her eyes and there was her cute ayes!

  • Jake

    I looked at it for a few seconds, then it turned into Michael Jackson. Talk about blowing my mind.

  • Name

    OMG. Look at her left eye. Concentrate on it. It will seam like she’s geting biger/or closer if you like ;)

  • homer


  • yep

    she looks like Madonna

  • Trav

    This IS NOT an illusion!!
    It is an animated GIF file!
    Thanx but no thanx.

  • Smile

    this is retarded.. all i saw was circles moving around in her face.. stared for 20 min as i thought i would see anything.. all that happend was more circles.. bullshit HOW THE HELL can you get insane by this shat?

  • mikeportugal

    The only thing i see is what “Smile” said he saw: some moving circles creating some “deepness” into and out of each eye like a stone into a pond creating tiny waves. I’m not sure of what should happen coz i jumped to img without reading the text. Against most comments I liked the effect thi i’m tired of the girl image already over the years.. Cheerios everyone.

  • Chris

    The only thing that happens if you stare at this for too long, is that you get bored. Is that the trick of it? If it is, it works really well.

  • Anon


    This depends on how you focus. If you’re like me and know how *not* to focus on something, you won’t see anything.

    Let your eyes focus as if you’re focusing beyond the screen. In the middle of her forehead you’ll see a subtle, pinkish 3rd spiral like you see in the two eyes. The illusion is that there IS no spiral. It’s created by both eye-spirals.

    If you focus on one of the two eyes, you’ll get the sensation that the face is growing, like a tunnel getting wider.

    So for you idiots who don’t know how to stare into optical illusions, you won’t see a thing. For those of you who understand what optical illusions are, thank you for not being stupid and lazy.

  • cuanang

    Actually u can see thaqt in her right eye the ripples are moving outward while in the left eye they are moving inward

  • CleverUsername93

    Is It moving? The top one doesn’t look like it, but the big one does… that’s not an optical illusion.

  • cnc

    It is moving GIF

  • Kelly

    The girl was eventually found. Her parents were killed and she went through a harrowing exodus. Her eyes were so filled with horror because she had seen more than her share in a short time span.

  • Andrew

    The picture is made of nothing but circles. Use a paint program like Photoshop or GIMP to split it into separate RGB channels. It is made of red rings emanating from her right eye, blue rings emanating from her forehead, and green rings converging into her left eye. The rings have just the right width at each location to reconstruct the original image, not unlike the dots used to create printed images.

  • Roy

    I think you might find that the illusion is that the 2 circles interfere with each other to give a third circle on her forehead.

  • Fry

    All hail hypnotoad.

  • Ed

    If you look at it for too long, it’s kind of disturbing.

  • nice a 10 frame gif that doesnt even do nything

  • Bob

    lol at Smile who looked at this for 20 mins

  • Buh

    The piture seems to get bigger if you stare at the eyes, that’s the optical illusion

  • The third subtle spiral is built in to the animation as well. It is not hallucinated. There seems to be no value in this at all.

  • Axel in Montreal

    Where’s the illusion? It’s just an animation of the cross-section of a dipole field generated by two parallel lines normal to the plane of the picture. One pole is emitting, the other receiving. Her eyes were much more beautiful and haunting in the original un-fiddled picture.

  • jim

    im scared

  • illusion?

    Okay, so she has hazel eyes. Big whoop, me too. And there’s really no illusion here.

  • everyone

    d says:
    February 25, 2010 at 8:44 pm
    that is NOT a damn optical illusion douchebags
    its a moving gif image

    qft :))

  • Inez

    Headache? No. Nervousness? No. Sleepiness? yezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

  • Bob

    This is animated my computer kept freeezing and every tim it did the illusion stopped moving when it unfroze the illusion moved.

  • John E

    Wonder if the Time photographers knows what been done to his photo??

  • Tapan

    LoL I am Just preety shocked after waching this image ! my Eye cant see anymore ..O God I ‘m going to an eye sergan :P

  • Nay9

    Idk but I didn’t get passm five secondz cuz I felt too creep out by tge way she looked at me in this “illusion” lol scary eyes but beautiful natural

  • bito

    OMG my head!!!!! I feel…… nothing.

  • DaiCon

    What an amazing illusion! If you stare at it for a few seconds, the guy who created it turns into an asshole!

  • Some chick

    This made me want to throw up… :S

  • gurk

    frigging lame. NOT an illusion. I didn’t notice anything watching this animation.

  • Spock

    This is not an illusion. The third circle does not originate from an optical illusion of the two circles at her eyes, because I covered them and could still see the pink :P

  • dan

    Hey, Thanks for the seizure you idiots! I woke up and saw it in front of me and went spazz again! Now I have half a tongue, would you like to make a gif. outa that?

  • FilthyHorse

    After staring at it for approximately 45 seconds I found myself feeling very bored. Did anyone experience this phenomenon?

  • Beezee

    It makes me sleep…

  • oh…whoah

    oh jeez….yeah i can’t stare at that for too long…i feel uncomfortable after 10 seconds and have to look away

  • kaiser

    Didn’t feel a thing, zero effect!.

  • Oscar

    That’s not an optical illusion, it’s an animated .gif

  • Um… this is an animation – how is that an optical illusion?

  • Shaden

    I didnt relize i was still looking at it until my head hit my computer! lol

  • Tony

    It makes her look like Marilyn Manson.

  • tichina

    it looks like gerard way if u stare for long XD

  • Kazya

    I have no effect after 10minutes of watching this and many people have said this so at first i didnt post nothing. But i downloaded this pic to my pc and my gf only saw the nonmoving thumbnail on my desktop and told me to remove it there since she feels it’s very disturbing. No idea if she would feel the same with original Afghan Girl pic tough…

  • maylow

    There is something very disturbing about the eyes… I enjoyed it :)

  • Rzgar Esmailpour

    I gotta strange headache after five minutes. It was interesting

  • I don’t consider this an optical illusion since it is an animated gif

  • futureman123

    That is so completely lame. It is just an animation, not an optical illusion. Simply one frame after another – a series of changing images.

    I guess every movie you see is an “amazing optical illusion” to you. Wow. You are easily impressed.


  • Russel Nash

    I threw up.

  • Nathan

    Nothing. Nothing at all.

  • Joey

    IT”S JESUS!!!!

  • spooky

    It kinda looked like she was moving towards me, it was kinda freaky.

  • GauravD

    Nothing is thr..

  • boomz

    for me her entire face disappeared…

  • pikooface

    I think that the illusion comes from looking at her eyes. At first it seems like the pulsating waves are coming from her eyes, but the illusion is that there is a third point where waves originate-> right above her eyes, on her forehead. Not being aware of that probably gave u guys the headache, because you would be focusing on both eyes and but that ‘forehead wave’ would be interfering.

  • om3gakais3r

    If you see it long enough, the girl is disappeared, the only thing left is that the circles.. ~_~

  • I also get bored after staring her hard for at-least a minute :(

  • hbjg

    The only thing it does is make you bored.

  • #4879356

    It’s annoying to look at because the way it pulsates in inconsistent

  • #4879356

    *IS IS IS

  • arif

    i am afraid to see this girl

  • mdasaduzzaman

    what a nice

  • VacaMorada

    After a few seconds of watching it intently, A tremendous wave of nothing hit me.

  • asdkjfhads

    absolutely no effect on me.

  • Spastic

    This did give me a headache but in all fairness I was hit by a car and suffer headaches anyways…

  • she’s smiling to me :)

  • Sam

    Stare at her upper nose and she turns and looks at you, creepy

  • Firooo

    OH MY GOD !!!! When I saw it I became a terrible headache for 2 hours !!!

  • scungilli

    I got a hard-on.

  • Bad Lama

    She,s an alien coming to destroy all of us

  • john

    Well im not gonna lie she’s freaking me OUT.

  • It’s headache … Do not spoil this image by this optical illusion..

  • oohman

    Ok, I felt nothing even after focussing for a good 5 mins…

  • shakir(sweet)

    yeah now this is a most beautiful magazine

    thank’s for brinking this photo’s

    we are proud to be afghani


  • Para Pup

    If you stare at it for a while and look away it distorts what you look at

  • RK

    After looking at it for 3 seconds, I went out and killed my neighbors and committed suicide.

  • How is an animated gif an illusion? It’s called ‘animation’.

  • pearson

    Maybe they should track this girl down…..if she is still alive.

  • Fact Checker

    Look up Sharbat Gula (a.k.a. Afghan Girl) on National Geographic they did a follow up article on her…they know who she is…check your facts sir.

  • Andre Luco Haynes

    Not a good idea for people like me with intense motion sickness, made me throw up and i had to lie down… kind of like the movie Cloverfield

  • BlueHikari

    Try to look at her upper nose. It looks as if she turns and looks at you. THIS PIC CREEPS ME OUT!!

  • tonigirl

    Did nothing for me! I didn’t throw up,kill anybody, forgot what I was looking at or committ suicide.

  • Idk

    Uhh..this may sound funny but i got high a lil’ bit on this one lol since im sleepy :o

  • ham

    i get extremly nervous

  • Cool

    I think it’s cool; I don’t get nervous or anything, the lines start to move when I stare at it. COOL (:

  • Chris

    Maby it’s because i’m drunk, but this has no effect on me. I stared at it for ages. It’s actually kinda fun.

  • Cathy

    How long do ya have to stare at it? I did for a good couple minutes or more and nothing. Maybe I was focusing too much on how the circles were moving and not zoned out enough to get the full effect?

  • gohan9689

    ya um i stared 20 minutes my eyes dried up some but thats all.

  • Joekole


  • BlueHikari

    Look at her upper nose. It’s like she turns and looks at you.

  • Shelby

    Sorry to kill all your hopes and dreams, but its obvious that the lines are ACTUALLY moving. Look at the thumbnail at the top of the page. It’s just smaller version, but those lines aren’t moving.

  • natasha

    my eyes straded to water and then i felt pain in my right ear =]
    but it is so cool

  • camshaft

    i got a boner

  • wow…, nice….

  • Kate

    @Shelby… the lines are meant to be ‘actually’ moving, that’s why it’s called an animation.

  • that afgan girl is so strage it was like something was hidden behind her eyes… SPOOKY

  • Luke

    wow……. freeky

  • Crystal Martina

    ^ that ‘cool’ guy is an idiot .. T_T its an animation! i mean like come on! u can srsly distinguish moving from ‘stil standing optical illusions’ …omg ..and ofcourse ud get nervous! when u stare at it the image in ur mind may change what u say and maybe ur starting to see the … devil? differences (obviously) from person to person….

  • Renzo Dâku

    Hahaha i saved this pic and its a .gif file and files like that usually move that explains why the lines move

  • It felt relaxing to me.

  • ziltoid

    it’s weird. the longer you stare, the more contorted ‘Girls’ face becomes. until you you shake it off anyway…

  • I stared at this the first time and pretty quickly after a few seconds the whole picture seemed to distort into blurs of it;s basic colours, with red rings everywhere, except for the eyes, they stayed perfectly clear.

    After reading some fo the comment to make sure I was doing it right, I stared at the bridge of her nose and I started to getantsy, and then the girl seemed to turn around and face me. It was really freaky.

    Awesome pic!

  • mrjingles89

    Yeah, her right eye (on the left of the picture) is radiating outwardly, so as to appear as slowly getting larger, and the other is irradiating inward, so as to appear as slowly getting smaller. I’m fairly sure the desired effect of this illusion was to make it seem like her head is slowly turning to our right, but it doesn’t work very well

  • rar

    it reminded me of the snake in the movie Jungle Book

  • ItalianStallion

    That was awesome, reminds of the times i worked in pakistan. I’ve worked in many places in the world (Africa, Nepal, india, Thailand, El salvador) but i have to say, without a doubt, that I find the peoples of Pakistan and Afghanistan to be the most beautiful and unique peoples in the world!

  • Pancakes

    It was hard for me to focus my eyes on the image. The animation kept going on blurry on me.

  • Jumpingfreak

    If you look on the forehead (bout 1cm above her eye lvl) you can see a third source of waves, and since its not as prominent as the two sources located on the eyes you may not notice it, and those waves might confuse you

  • Kalerila

    I looked at it for a couple min then let my eyes blur. Seems there’s a 3rd circle at work there expanding outwards. It’s close to the middle of her forehead, kind of like a 3rd eye.

  • Rikodu

    LOLZ! Stare in the eyes and the thing beocmes so dense it nervouses otherwise its just lolz for the hypnotad.

  • danny

    gaaahhh it gave me a fucking headache >0<

  • Boner

    I don’t get it. What’s the illusion here? It’s just a photo with some lame animation on top of it…that’s not an illusion…

  • God

    Wow, that was freaky.
    I stared at her lips, and her eyes seemed to wink or disappear.
    At one point I got her to look like a red skeleton.

  • cas

    I second the “ear ache” comment, however mine was the left ear. Not to mention, got pretty nervous, as well. Won’t be looking at that again!

  • Maribel

    ok -_-” this is actually moving LOL
    its not a jpeg format its an animated picture
    of course it makes u dizzy LOL

  • Krish

    yeah!… stare at the girl’s EYES!!…. something will MOVE… this is neat!… LOL hehehe ^_^ im looking forward for more optical photos… ^_^

  • :)

    nice .. !! its moving and seems like she is staring at me too … !!

  • Roo

    it scares me. she scares me. like she’s still out there, standing there, and she has a secret she’s trying to you with her eyes. i looked at her nose, and it looked like she became a old woman. whenever i look at her eyes i feel like at any second she’s gonna scream at me and her face will turn into a hideous banshee, i guess it’s the freakish beauty. she’s amazing and complex, and i love this one.

  • Roo

    purely amazing. she is amazing.

  • kangaroo


  • Yeap Woan Jye

    its scary

  • chileno

    fake, it isn’t a illusion, is a gif

    • Madelonetjj

      Because apparently optical illussions cannot be achieved with movement? :/ Why do people think something can’t be an optical illusion if it’s a GIF, whut?

  • Tim

    What a lot of nonsense. How can it be an optical illusion if it really is moving? That’s not an illusion it’s just an…optical!

  • Art

    If you look at it for like a while, just look in one spot, the picture starts to “morph” you probably get the headache because there is a third pulsating circle on the forehead, and get nervous because one circle on the eye pulses out and the other pulses in

  • Olivia

    This made me go dizzy and feel sick, it is amazing though

  • ida

    It’s a .gif-file, it’s animated.. fake

  • O.o…

    …if you look at the bottom right corner, it looks like she’s getting closer O.o

  • farida kohistani

    Ma sha Allah(see the power of God creation)

    this eys tells the history of a thousends girls
    whom wonders under the Tents, Travellers around all Afghanistan, in these 30 years war they , havent seen much except Tint and Travelling, but they love freedem.
    you can see not only their eyes differ but, all the apperances are even more nutral and beautiful live which we stragule to manage with our puluted lives in the City.

    I would call it Nuturally Beautiful

  • firas

    that is an animated picture that is not optical illusion

  • andrez067

    no noervous
    no headache
    no nothing
    3 complete minutos watching…and i got nothing

  • chaz

    I put my nuts up against the screen but it didn’t feel any different?

  • dishi

    ears start aching after sometime but its nice

  • Just-d_87

    I dont like it, it doesn’t seme to do anything the only thing i did notice is your eyes can’t fcus properly as the circles keep changing from 1, 2 and 3 different circles sometime all at the same time and other times not.

  • Zeh

    It’s been a curious experience.

    I think that authors of this animation have chosen this picture because girl’s look is really deep and intense but in my opinion waves effect override it. It doesn’t depend on the picture, try to put a different one, maybe one of yours, and get the same visual effect, waves departing from one eye and waves arriving to the other one, and you’ll feel the same, whatever it is.

    Yeah, indeed really funny.

  • Withney Juani

    Oh God!, my head hurts!!
    i cant stare at it for more than 5 secs or i get dizzy and my head starts hurting!!

    • haley

      how!? i stared at it for 2 min. and still it did not bug me.

  • Coolio9123

    look at it with only 1 eye open. it makes it a whole lot easier!

  • naseeb kshetri

    while your heart pumps (pulse) its so to see this stop your breath as much as you can
    and view this

  • Pete

    In what way is this an optical illusion? It’s not at all.

  • Eb.

    Yea this is trippy. Ive seen this photogaphe before, (and the episode on Nat. Geo when they finally found out who she is and her looks have been devastated and extremely aged by the trauma and tragedies in her life) it’s sad that she had to live in that environment cause she was just so stunningly gorgeous but then again alot of people were dealing with the devastation in her area at that time. God bless her still, and nice illusion.

  • Nek

    Well I was looking at it for about 5 minutes and all I can tell I noticed and again I am not sure about it is that she was moving her head left and right and she was getting older and younger again. Again I am not sure about these but… Hey, I tried!

  • Nooruddin moiz

    nothing happened to me..
    i looked at this photo almost around several minutes but nothing happened…. :S

  • Ben

    Stared at it for a while, it was interesting. Read some comments, went back and looked directly between the eyes. Focusing on that spot for a period of no more than ten seconds, the lines become dominate and then she seems to move, closer.
    Try scrolling down and reading some comments to refocus your eyes if it doesn’t seem to work the first time.
    Reply on results :D

  • Shaun

    Same as Ben, I stared at both the left and the right eye individually, for no more than, what, 3 seconds? And I noticed she seemed to move towards me when I looked at the right, and pulled back in the left. :3 Her eyes feel real deep.

  • Truth

    it’s emily perkins not Afghan Girl

  • Wow

    holy crap that is freaky

  • Chris

    i saw nothing special tho…

  • hahahaaha

  • wowwww

  • kieran

    aaaaa she is hypnotizing meh

  • Bob

    yes i see her aging as well i agree with nek

  • Stu M.

    Sorry to spoil things but this isn’t an optical illusion. I’ve seen concentric ring optical illusions which were static but gave a surprising illusion of motion. That’s not what is happening here however.
    This is simply two overlapping animated patterns which deliberately confuse the viewer with two different directions of motion.
    This effect will induce neausea within a short time for most people, similar to motion sickness. The background image could really be anything but because it’s a face the effect is emphasised even more, as our eyes can’t help but be drawn to the subjects eyes and the centre of the rings.

  • jazz

    nothing happened…

  • sdo

    It scared the shit out of me!
    This thing is hypnotizing people!

  • Fred

    You are getting veeeery sleeeeeepy… stare deeeper… deeper…

  • ede

    Its like the snake from the jungle book. It is freaky, but like it VERY MUCH, it is fu**ng clever.

  • hahahaahahahahaha nothing happened…

  • sum yung gai

    nothing happend to me!

  • TigerBaby

    it’s a kool illusionary photo. however, it is true that with more sensitive minded ppl it can b hiptonizing. yes, her head does appear 2 move, u just have to look in the right spots 4 a few secongs up 2 a couple mins depending on how sensitive ur mind is 2 things like this. my psycho-therapist used to use something similar for hypnotism to help ppl remember blocked memories and fight addictions…… i like it

    • TigerBaby

      question tho…. has anyone ever tried it with 3d glasses???? if u have or decided to do it plz lemme kno how that goes

  • Naik

    This is really nice and while you look for longer concentrating to her eyes it is really deep.

  • Atharva

    my sister recognises her and wants to know that was this pic shown on discovery or national geographyor on any artical??

  • Mia

    is it just me or did the face seem to get really big or closer?

  • Its really scared.. She can makes me sleep .. lol.. I like it..

  • Shannon

    Wow, I felt really hypnotized by this, and would have been willing to do anything anyone told me for a bit afterwards, it was really trippy!
    If someone added text to this I would probably do what it said lol



  • Jeremiah

    Does anyone else see the third eye aspect of the picture??

  • Wow. That’s crazy! But I have to admit, her eyes honestly scare me. Intense.

  • katt

    it scared me and gave me a headache

  • william fagan

    I figured it out!!!

    stare at the moving picture, the animated one…look at any point on her face, in fact, look anywhere in the picture, focus on that point, now think of what colors you are looking at, the entire picture is only made up of a handful of colors all moving, you can focus on just these colors moving and it is as if the actual picture of her has gone. all you see are black, red, bright green, pink.

    there is NO skin color, just the four colors moving over each other….


    then move your head back to see the whole picture and you see all the color in her face.

  • william fagan

    Sorry, there is also a blue, the blue is formed in the “3rd eye” circle on her forehead…. :-)

  • Ort

    As you look onto the picture, the eye to your left {her right eye}, has circles coming out, the eye on the right {her left eye}, has circles moving in a inward movement. As things appear normally to me, when I look on to anybodies face, or picture of a face.

  • Kitty

    Oh that was a fairly nifty illusion, using only two colours to make the whole image… There’s two “sources” As previous people have mentioned one radiating outward, the other contracting inward… centered on her two eyes… But the Illusion is that all the circles from the same source are all exactly the same colour. (red for the one and bluey-green for the other)

  • Tiff

    Was it just me or was the picture blinking

  • OK, to clear the mystery how it works (And how do you think the guy who created that image got the idea, hm?). It’s simple psychology.

    This WILL make anyone nervous and anxious who is not something like a psychopath (whose fear response is not normal). Or let me rephrase, this WILL trigger stress and it can even cause panic attacks in emotionally unstable people. The image suggests widely opened eyes with contracting pupils. It triggers an ancient fear response in your “lizard” brain (the emotional/instinctive brain part that evolved before we were mammals).

    People naturally react to the contrast between the white of a wide opened eye and the strongly contracting pupils with fear, because this is a part of a fear expression. If you were a caveman and you see that expression in someone’s face, that person probably just recognized a saber-toothed cat behind your back. It’s crucial for survival to copy the fear reaction immediately and rise stress levels in order to prepare your body to flee, even if you don’t know yet what the threat is.

    Just try it at home. Create a strong light condition so you pupils contract strongly, open your eyes and ries your eyebrows widely and walk slowly toward the mirror, looking yourself into your own eyes. For some people it’s already sufficient to trigger a very similar fear response.

    And here is a brief description how your eyes express fear (also google for “Paul Ekman”)
    When you get frightened, some muscles on your face get tense (I spare the details which ones), your eyebrows raise and your pupils dilate at first. This is to collect as much visual information as possible about the possible threat. Then your pupils strongly contract, which enables your sharp vision and gives you better chances to flee without falling over a tree root or whatever you can fall over. Your eyebrows remain widely open to still allow as much light as possible to pass the contracted pupils. This gives you maximum incoming light possible while prioritizing maximum sharpness.