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By on May 23, 2006, with 81 Comments

Here’s another, animated version of Irish Leprechauns I posted earlier. This gif animation was kindly submitted to us by Mr. Carlos Sicilia, as a reaction to our leprechauns post. What you have to do is count the number of people in this animation, wait a few seconds until they change places, and then count them again… is there a problem with your counting, or is this some kind of magic trick? Has anyone solved this?

  • confused walrus

    Wow im confused

  • Abhisar

    me too!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dan

    Pay attention when it’s in “13″ mode– one person has cut off hair and one has cut off soles of their shoes. So the extra person comes from you not noticing that not all halves have been put together exactly in line again.

    • Ciara

      there’s 13 people no matter how many times he changes them from left to right but my brain did hurt for a minute trying to keep up lol

  • Laurence

    There’s also some trickiness going on with the faces. In “12″ mode, look at the 2nd guy from the right. If you watch his face you’ll see that the neck line of his T-shirt becomes his chin in “13″ mode.

    Actually, if you pick almost any feature you can see that it’s either missing on one guy in “13″ mode (like the head-tops and shoe soles mentioned by Dan), or is “simulated” by some other feature. Pick some feature, and then follow is from each of the guys in “12″ mode to see where it ends up. Then by process of elimination, the one remaining guy in “13″ mode is either missing or simulating that feature. Another interesting one is that the 4th guy from the left has no eyes in “13″ mode. What you think are his eyes are really just the sides of his nose.

    Our minds are pretty forgiving when looking at drawings. We tend to fill in a lot of details that aren’t really there. (This is also why we aren’t particularly bothered that Bart Simpson only has 4 fingers and no nostrils.) This illusion takes advantage of this by stealing random details from different people to make an additional person. Even though this results in most of the people missing certain details, our minds fill in the rest.

  • Jokermage

    I made an image using frames from the animation to show what Dan was talking about.

    The first frame is the initial “12″ phase. I used colors to match each bottom with each top. The second frame show the arrangement of tops and bottoms during the switch. The final frame shows the “13″ phase. Two of the characters are missing the other “half” of their image.

    Also, some of the characters end up noticibly shorter, as if giving up height to create the “thirteenth” person. This is akin to the missing features that Lawrence noticed.

  • Brian D.

    that was so easy there is 13 people in both pics

    • Gio

      No. Your counting is wrong.

  • Brittany

    I have figuredit out nothing finifhes one guy and soit makes a new one wach closely

  • Angsuman Chakraborty

    An wonderful illusion. All the twelve guys contributes some part of his body to make up the thirteenth guy. In the thirteen picture each guy has lost something from his body and is shorter as a result.

  • sebert

    in the 12 mode, people are “created” with a part of the upper half of the image AND a part of the lower half. in the 13 mode, 2 people are created by using only one half: the left guy has no “upper-half”-ingredient, and the 6th guy (from the left) has no “lower-half”-ingredient..

  • Silje

    tha one that made this must be a ADHD person… good job!!

  • Complexity

    It takes a little work to figure it out, but the “extra” man is created by having 1 man NOT have a new top and 1 man NOT have a new bottom when the shift is made.

    In other words, if the shift was a direct match up, each bottom would have a corresponding top. So 12 bottoms would match up with 12 tops, creating 12 men. But when you don’t match up a top with a bottom, you have 11 complete men and 2 “half” men. And in this case, the missing halves are so tiny, our eyes don’t see anything as missing in either of these 2 “half” men. Therefore, it effectively creates the illusion of 2 “whole” men rather than the true “half” men. So when you add up the original 11 men with these 2 illusionary whole men, you get 13 men total.

    Looking at the 13th mode, the guy in row 1/bottom has no top, and the guy in row 2/top has no bottom. So rather than matching these two “men” up to make 1 man, they are split which creates 2 men.

    What I did was color code each man while they were in the 12 man mode, numbered them, and then did the split which is what showed the “extra man” and where he came from. To reproduce what I did, take the 12 mode picture and color each man a unique color. Then split the picture, reproducing the 13th mode picture which now mixes the colors. You can now see which top goes with which bottom. If you were to chart it out, it would look like this (using the 13 man mode, counting from left to right, each row being counted from bottom to top):

    Man 1 = NO top + 1 bottom
    Man 2 = 7 top + 2 bottom
    Man 3 = 8 top + 3 bottom
    Man 4 = 9 top + 4 bottom
    Man 5 = 10 top + 5 bottom
    Man 6 = 11 top + NO bottom
    Man 7 = 12 top + 7 bottom
    Man 8 = 13 top + 8 bottom
    Man 9 = 1 top + 9 bottom
    Man 10 = 2 top + 10 bottom
    Man 11 = 3 top + 11 bottom
    Man 12 = 4 top + 12 bottom
    Man 13 = 5 top + 13 bottom

    It’s really very simple once you see it, but the illusion is very good without close examination.

  • BAALU

    EXCELLENT I LOVE IT THIS IS WHAT ILLUSION MAN!

  • Sbredflag

    It is really confusing. :-p

  • yemoja

    that weird is, hai?

  • Fera Albi

    It seems that this illusion was around way before PC’s were.
    Paper and cissors did the trick. It was even more astonishing then! You could shift the three pieces of the “puzzle” yourselve to see there was no “trick”
    Still amazing!

  • fifilafoo

    Thank you for the fun this provided.

  • loser

    i agree with walrus..im lost and i cant pay atenton that long to see complexitys explanation
    =^.^=

  • BurninRubber

    One group of men has one less than the other.

  • Bill

    the torso from the guy all the way in the right in “12″ mod makes the new guy, and gets legs. the right slide dosent move all ath way over, it only moves to 1 guy from th right. this is why the torso dosent end up on anyones legs

  • XY!!!

    there is 12 and 13 cant ya teel

  • Anonymous

    To Brian D
    You can’t count if you think that there are 13 in both pictures. You sould go back to pre-school!!!

  • loser

    i still got 13
    =^.^=

  • Anonymous

    Watch on the 12 mode watch the guy on the very right side on top and follow him untill he stops and you will see that there wasn’t any body there in the 12 mode

  • Anonymous

    i finally understand it!!! it was so confusing at first but when the change is made two people do not change

  • Any name here

    Laurence said: Another interesting one is that the 4th guy from the left has no eye in the “13″ mode.
    WRONG.
    Look closely– You see 2 eyes above the nose. They ARE the eyes. Not the nose.

  • Isaac

    Great

  • Anonymous

    all of you that think its wierd guess what your all are wierd cuz there are 13 people ` `
    -

  • Anonymous

    my head is hurting

  • Anonymous

    IT MOVES!!!! wow

  • Anonymous

    this was doin my head in! til i found this website http://www.moillusions.com/2006/05/count-people.html
    its the same sorta thing n explains it really well :)

  • i*is*awesome

    1st 13 2nd 12 cuz people lose body parts when it animates…ew
    =^^=

  • Anonymous

    ok…wat!! this doesn’t make sense would anyone like to try to explain this to me??

  • Anonymous

    Look at the second row there are three people (13) and then there are two people (12)Because that is the way it is drawn. Can’t you see it!

  • Anonymous

    one time there is 12, the another…13…im SO confused!!!!lol

  • Anonymous

    this is a easy one. theres a extra person in”12″ mode that makes you think another person is added. when one thing changes, to “13″ mode, its juts that nobodys cut off.

  • Daniel Walsh

    As has been mentioned, one man’s hair is missing, and another man’s soles are missing. You may wonder what harm this could do. But the results are significant. When the man on the left loses his hair, where do you think it goes? It goes to another man who already had hair, but a slightly more abundant tuft of it. Now that we’ve given him his new hairdo, what do we do with his old one? Give it to someone else with even MORE hair. You can think of it as starting with a penny, and convincing a friend that he might as well trade you two pennies for your one penny, since the difference is negligible. Then trade those two pennies to another friend for a nickel. By the end of the day you could have made a full dollar, just as by the end of the animation you can make up an entire man. The tuft of hair that we started with gets larger and larger until it has become the man with the missing soles. If you don’t believe me, you can watch the whole cycle yourself: Look at the smallest tuft of hair on the man on the left. Every time the animation moves, see where you land, and switch your attention from either the top to the bottom, or the bottom to top, whichever is appropriate at the moment, and continue this process until you have no where to go. At this point, you have either reached the man with the missing soles, or the man with the missing hair. If you are willing to wait 24 shifts, you will see the entire cycle. Notice how each time the “half-way line” creeps either up or down ever so slightly after each shift. It goes to show you how little, negligible changes can add up to a tremendous result! It’s the idea behind calculus!

  • siluntwulf

    there are 13 and a turd

  • smnthanne

    the 12 mode is the origanal,full version cos the second one has 2 incomplete

  • Anonymous

    so cool

  • Luc Bollen

    I think that the following 3 images allow to understand easily what is happening:
    http://www.lucbollen.be/12to13/12to13-image1.gif
    http://www.lucbollen.be/12to13/12to13-image2.gif
    http://www.lucbollen.be/12to13/12to13-image3.gif

    Note : I elaborated from the image provided by Jokermage, and the textual explanation is provided above by Complexity and Daniel Walsh

    You can count that before and after the move, there are 12 “parts of body” above and below the line. But after the move, 2 such parts are left alone…

  • Anonymous

    So many theories, all wrong. Look at the “12″ men and watch the guy in the back row furthest to the right. When he slides into the “13″ men picture he has his foot cut off and becomes the “13″:th man because he is the only person not sliding into another part of body. Simple as that. You can easily verify this by watching the “13″ men picture and see that he has no friggin feet!

  • Anonymous

    I finally got it! if you print this out and cut it through horizontily exactly where the shift is then cut the five top images on the left vertical to separate them from the 7 images on the top right(make sure you include the little pieces of hair) (use the pic with 12 people) put the right side back where it was. now take the left side and put it on the right side off the one that is there. now slide both to the left until it matches up as 13 people. you will notice that you took the hair of the first person on the right when you moved things but when you slide them over you don’t slide anything back on top of him. you take 12 parts off the top to move them and when you replace you put nothing back on top of the first person so figure it out from there.

  • Anonymous

    if you print this with 12 men, you can, I did it. Cut through horizontily on the exact line where it shifts then cut vertically through the top piece where it splits. ( the first guy on the left on the bottom should lose the very top of his hair) there will be 4 body parts in the part you cut out off the left side and 7 on the part you cut from the right (that is a total of 12 parts you cut off of the bottom so when they get moved they should go back on 12 parts of the bottom) Take the right side that you cut with the 7 parts on it and put in back where it came from, now take the right side piece with 5 parts on it and set it to the right of the other, slide them to the left until they are in the position for 13 people, you will notice that the top 12 pieces that came off the top only slide 11 spaces to the left and does not replace the part you removed from the 1st person on the bottom left . So, you know there is an extra piece on the top (you now have to count the missing hair on the first person on the bottom left as a piece of the top which now gives you 13 pieces on the top above the shift line. The extra person in the top of the second row becomes the extra person derived from the fact that you slid her over into a blank spot. If you slide the right top piece you cut out with 7 parts on it over so that the 1st on the left covers the 1st part you removed from the left (the top of the bottom left guys head) and you put the part you remove from the top left and put the position it takes up in the animation, you will see that a peson shows up between the two sides. this is the 13 person. when you slide everthing 11 spaces she is in the top second row but if you moved over 12 spaces which how many parts you removed from the top things will start to clear up. NOW for what is really happening! take the part that is moving from right to left. (the part with 7 parts on it) take it and put the 1st part over the guy who lost his hair on the bottom left , now turn this piece counterclockwise so the second part is on top of the second part of the bottom. that is two people, next shift it so the piece of hair, 3rd part over is with the top person in the 1st row(1st 3 parts or the top put with the 1st 3 parts of the bottom) here is the place where you can see what happens, take the top piece your working with (the one with 7 parts on it ) you already saw where the parts should on the 3 if you moved over 12 instead of 11 spaces. now line up the 4th part of the top piece with the 4 part of the bottom and then the fifth part of the bottom with the fifth part of the top and wahlaw! the bottom man in the second row and the man directly above are the same guy! The extra women in the 2cd row top should actually be where the man in the second row middle is. If you can follow my directions, You will see what happens. all of the rest of the explanations with #of people and colored people and 60″ people and whatever are whooeee.

  • Pamela

    The sixth guy from the left during the “13″ mode is there, but when it switches to “12″ mode, he’s gone. When they’re seperating the picture, it leaves his shoes behind, and another person takes his place, but when it’s switching back over, he leaves nothing behind. So they’re not really seperating him, it looks like they’re just adding another person because they seperated his shoes and left part of them behind.

  • U2freak

    what da hell!

  • Omie of 7

    All you who have an idea what the results are & how the 13 become 12.
    Show us one you make! That is the QUESTION!

  • Anonymous

    focus on the blank space in the midle on 12 mode

  • Anonymous

    I noticed the missing hair in ’13′ mode but not the missing soles of their feet.

  • Anonymous

    IGNORE THE OTHER POSTS AND READ THIS ONE. Here’s why it works. The man on the far left has hair on top in the 12-man arrangement, but after the switch is made, the men are lined up so that he doesn’t get a matching top piece (his hair is gone), and the matching piece on the top is the 6th man from the left in the 13-man arrangement (who makes up the extra man). All the other men have matching pieces on the top and bottom except the far left man and the 6th man from the left (when there are 13 men). Do you see that? Now think of it this way, if you take the 12-man arrangement and cut one of the men in two pieces, and if you consider those two pieces to be full men, there will be 13 men! That is the real trick to it, they have broken the man on the far left into two pieces, but instead of his top matching piece being HAIR, it is another nearly-complete MAN, so it APPEARS to be 13 complete men, when it is actually 11 COMPLETE men and two PARTIAL men (11 + 2 = 13).

  • Charles Magne

    The best way to simply explain this so it can be understood is:

    1) Two characters out of 12 don’t get any body parts from others but are giving away two very slight parts of a “top” and a “bottom”

    2) At the end, it gives us two “almost complete” characters plus 11 tops and bottoms that get reassambled, giving a final total of 11 “reassambled” characters plus 2 “almost complete” (but not absolutely complete) characters, for a total of 13 identifiable characters.

  • Charles Magne

    (I Just realized that “Anonymous” [May 20, 04:22 a.m.] had quite given the same explanation.)

  • mer

    the 3rd person on top of the 2nd line appears and disappears

  • http://delight-site.webs.com real observer

    HAHAHA!!! before the picture moves it will add another head hahaha im not JOKING:|

  • http://delight-site.webs.com real observer

    oh no i saw it one is being a small head! now i know hahaha i solved it!:))

  • nobody

    its just alteration of the top parts make it look different, saw it in a book.

  • nobody

    oh and also a whole top part of a body moves

  • Nox

    The solution is simple.
    During the switch all 12 of the figures lose a part of their body, which gets summed up into the 13th person. The way this is done is that each of them because a tad bit shorter.

    Look at the guy all the way in the bottom left.
    During the switch his hair gets taken away, but he gets nothing for it. That hair then becomes the hair and forehead of the guy on the right, who had lost an entire upper section of his head. Through this process each figure loses a bigger amount than he gains. If you were to follow the “bodypart-chain” the last guy doesn’t get anything for giving away a section of his shoes.

    Whoever drew this was some kind of genius.

  • Ella

    its the same even after switched haeds

  • Stacey

    one of them ends up missing its hair and the other has no eyes…

  • Rhiannon

    12

  • piwpiw

    The head of the bottom left has missing hair and the should of the middle guy seems to be cut off.

  • figured it out

    very cool. but if you watch the slide action they dont move all the way over and match up the 5 on the right with the 5 on the left. it stops short. so the guy all the way on the left doesnt get his hair, and the guy whose whole body but his feet on the top lands in the empty space. it seems like you could do this with everybody mirror imaged except those two. but that would probably make it easier to spot the trick so they made everybody a little off. i watch this for like 20 minutes though haha.

  • Brilliant

    it isn’t any of that, see the tallest person watch where he was both times around, in one he disappears it is because the two top halves are not the same I’m guessing its a trick of the brain when you see an illusion with two pictures in one if you see one picture it’s hard to see it differently like a box in front of a bigger one or it a box cut out of another, I have been able to see both twice in a couple of seconds once you figure that out its fairly easy to see.

  • David

    Yeah, there is one that moves (Hole Body) instead of part of the body in that way makes you think all have just parts of the body moving when really the full body of the male is moving, 10th & 6th person on each if you count like upwards & then redo it upwards, 10th & 6th. Making him move & then there is only 12 but makes you see 13 with the body parts.
    5Mins to figure out.

  • olivia

    12 13 one of dem

  • Someone With The Answers

    Okay guys. The answer is that when it changes the feet of one of the people are used as a head. Its complicated. But just look.

    • Someone With The Answers

      the guy he far left. look at his head. the very top. its flat.

  • mano

    one person appears and disappear

  • Awesome I

    two halves line up, creating an extra person.

  • Dan

    I still don’t see how it’s done. I thought the animation was playing games or doing something secretly behind the scenes. I printed this and cut the paper exactly how it’s split on the screen. It works on printed paper just the same! Try it!

  • Bianca

    I’m 10 and I know how this works!!They take 1 one hundreth of each person; a little bit of one guy’s feet, a litle bit of a dudes head,and when you add all of those parts together, kaboom a new guy!Thats why when the 13th person is added some of the people are mising some parts of their bodies,like on guys missing part of his head and another guy is missing part of a shoe!!:)

  • solve

    the 6th person from the left appears and dissappears. How it works is that every person gets a little bit shorter on the change. In the image with 13 people, every other person as contributed 1/12th of the height of the appearing 13th person.

  • James Tanaka

    Yea for Solve says! this was in an old scientific american magazine. The article said it could be done using paper money (It is illegal) by taking thin sections and putting them together to make an extra bill, but all of the bills will be shorter than the original bills. fractionizing!

  • DankoJR

    It changes from being three rows with three people and two rows with two, to three rows with two people and vice versa..

  • http://eli123qwe.wordpress.com ~* Eli *~

    Easy. Look carefully. One guy can split his faces in to a upper part and a lower part. However, each part still looks like an individual face, with the additional of another person’s hair, or whatever. In this way, a extra head is created. Don’t ask me about the body. I have NO idea how they got a new body, but I’m guessing it’s probably a similar process.
    Ciao!
    ~* Eli *~

  • sib

    u are all stupid. the guy in the very back row and far right of the original picture just slides all the way across. the moving top one just throws you off. this is stupid

  • Gio

    This website helped me understand this illusion.
    http://www.dqd.com/~mayoff/notes/extra-man-puzzle/

    • Why Me Me

      Thanks GIO. I have had this thing saved on my computer(s) for 6 years now and return to it from time to time. This simple applett illustrates what is going on perfectly. The illusion of perspective in the original drawings can really confuse the brain! Amazing.

  • CAT

    Omg. This is bugging me and will now haunt me in my sleep.

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