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By on January 24, 2012, with 130 Comments

Richard Borwick discovered another phenomenal optical illusion this morning. Sure, we’ve seen the effect in action couple of times before, but then again – how often do you come across incredibly original optical illusions? Not often I guess… Still, what I’ve found so great about his discovery is how innocent it looks at first glance. Almost as if there was no evidence of the hidden illusion it holds… But wait! What if you blurred your vision just for a second? Go cross-eyed, blur your stare or simply step few feet back from your monitor. Now what you see? It has to be magic, right? Just when you’re done, be sure to share his identity…

  • me123987645

    Stepped about 4 feet back and could see him, but couldn’t identify him. My vision is quite bad so it looked like a blurred man.

    • eve

      same here

    • Marco

      Turn your head left and right continously with your eyes on the image, better than crossing them, I think.

    • Jo

      I spy … Gary Sinise

    • AJ

      same too. it was too hard to identify cos my eyesight is pure crap.

  • chunkylover53

    NPH himself! Neil Patrick Harris!

  • Karan

    Wait for it.. wait for it.. wait for it…

  • Jake K.

    I think the person in this photo is “LEGEN- wait for it… DARY.”

  • Christine

    I wish you would have a “solution” page where, it we don’t get it we can go to find out what it is we aren’t seeing.

    I only see lines in this illusion. I couldn’t figure out what the comic tree was, and numerous others.

    Very frustrating.

    • Florencia

      You have to zoom away

    • Vurdlak

      Hey Christine,

      you should be able to see the solutions inside the comments, more often than not they contain images, links and text solutions by our fans! for example, in this pots TomT has added the picture you should be able to see…

    • Harveen

      hey, i just wanted to tell you about the comic tree one. If you look at the leaves on the tree, they form the moustache and hair of the guy on the left and the twigs make up his face. I hope this helps!

    • Emma

      He showed up 4 me. And I named it Bob.

  • Zorkaz

    I suppose it is Barney from How I met your Mother?!

  • Azn Girl

    I can see a man, but I can’t tell who it is.

  • Selfbuilt

    Same here, had trouble…then stepped about 4 feet back and the figure becomes much more evident, but could not identify who it is…I know it’s silly, but my first impression was that it looks like Dr. Smith from TV’s Lost in Space.

    • Magpiez

      Agree it looks likes Jonathon Harris (Dr Zachary Smith) of lost in space.

  • scarlett

    Who is it supposed to be? I have this as a widget so it was kind of a spoiler.

    • Richard Borwick

      I have it on widget too, now that it’s on this site, and I can see it clearly. The original I saw had the instruction “shake your head”, which Vurdlak wisely deleted, as I shook my head to see the image until I was quite sick. Now I notice that I can see the image clearly if I look at it from a long way away (from my kitchen to my study), but the larger it is the more obscure.

  • kanokarob

    I can definitely make out a figure in a suit, but I cant make out exactly who it is.

  • Shawn

    For those who won’t get it: the person is Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother.

  • Mindy

    My guess would be Philo Farnsworth…

  • momofask

    Could be Dr. Oz.

  • Chakolate

    Could be Neil Patrick Harris, but it could also be country singer Randy Travis, or maybe 100,000 other people.

  • cozysoul

    ……it is the talented Neil Patrick Harris! :)

  • scott

    it works much better if you look at the screen from a wide angle

  • Bryan

    It’s SPOCK………..

  • Joanne

    It could be NPG, or it could be JFK, or any number of people. I’m with Christine and Scarlett: Who is it supposed to be?

  • JohnE

    I think it’s Doogie. I saw him if I squinted my eyes. When you say blur or look cross-eyed I was thinking stereogram.

  • http://lehcyfer.blogspot.com Leszek Cyfer

    A male bust in a suit, shape of the head resembles Abraham Lincoln but it’s just a hunch, nothing sure. Just blurring is not very helpful – it’s the changing of visin from clear to blurry back and forth that enables to see the picture for a short moment. In small enough pictures you can see the outlines of a man without blurring your eyes, but it’s too small and blurry to recognize this way.

  • steve

    its lee harvey oswald behind bars,or jonny cash or han solo

  • steve

    or chuck norris in a ninjas dark shirt.its LHO.imao

  • Ahmad

    Its definitely the guy from “How I met your mother”, although I never watched it, but I’ve seen the ad like a 1000 times.

  • breandan

    I’m going with Mr. Smith from Lost in Space

  • Kieran

    Had to move way back from the screen, but I think it is Tony Curtis???

  • Lorraine

    It looks a bit like that famous picture of JFK?

  • http://www.thejoe.it TheJoe

    well.. it seems a man, very good illusion, but can’t recognise hime.

    When i read comments, the background seems to be moving.. it’s a very good optical illusion, but now i feel like i have to puke..

  • K D

    Once I stepped back, could see it a bit clearer. First person that came to mind was Rick Astley… Is this a rickroll? =P

    • xerenity

      I thought the same exact thing. :D

  • Dave

    Doesn’t look like NPH to me, looks like Connery as bond, but every time I try to look more carefully to see who it is my eyes focus and I can’t see it again.

  • symetry

    Steve Jobs?

  • RickyM

    I couldn’t make him out until I put the wrong glasses on. Is he the brother of Charlie from ‘Two and a Half Men’?

  • Kieran

    Looking again it could be Tom Hanks

  • jigso

    The image appears also if you drag the mouse pointer from right to left over the picture, and follow the pointer with your eyes.

  • Arantxa

    It´s awesome!!!!!
    Neil Patrick Harris!!!!

  • George

    It’s Bames griffin’ Jond

  • Fergus Gallagher

    Shrink the image right down and the figure becomes reasonably clear.

    I can’t actually recognise him. Perhaps Feynman?

  • Saeed Yaqoob

    Just save the pic and see the thumbnail.. its a man in tucsido.. but couldnt recognise the person!!!

  • TonyT


    • pughater101

      i know who he is……john a macdonald…..

  • Yeah freaky

    Held it at arms length (I have long arms) does look like Neil Patrick Harris for lack of better visage, illusion is clear at a distance, will pop right at you. Not like those bogus illusions that only 6 people can see.

  • Me

    Maxwell Smart

  • rich

    when I’m focusing the image, I think I saw someone behind the image..seems like a guy, but I’m not sure coz i’ts blur…hmm…

  • pranab

    When i get down my head to pick up my pen,then i just see the screen and seen him….and he is neil patrick harris…..

  • fghj

    tom hanks

  • Dave K

    I think it’s a young Abe Lincoln, sans beard and hat.

  • http://www.geuzenpartij.nl Joop

    At more than a metre away from my screen, I do indeed see someone with a suit and a tie. George Orwell???

  • Wilf

    Not a suit – a smoking jacket and a cravat. Bunny in the background?

  • LG

    Had to shrink the image down to 50% in the browser then there it was!

  • Hypersapien

    Works better if you zoom the browser window out.

    I got the impression that it was supposed to be Neil Patric Harris too, but I’m not sure.

  • TheAngryPenguin

    Looks like JFK

  • lcp185

    It is Abraham Lincoln.

  • Matthew Barclay

    Looks like George Orwell to me.

  • Matthew Barclay

    Big Brother is watching you

  • marcy

    looks like JFK to me.

  • jms

    With my glasses, it looked like Tom Hanks. Without my glasses, it looked like Dick Clark

  • tommychong

    It’s either Hamilton Burger from Perry Mason or the waiter in Magical Mystery Tour that keeps piling the spaghetti on the fat woman’s plate, I’m not sure. Maybe another hit will make it clearer…

  • Jay


  • Allan

    Anthony Perkins

  • Jake K.

    This is the photo from the official Barney Stinson Facebook page. The illusion, when seen, looks exactly like that.


  • BearsPaw

    Neil Patrick Harris is a real good guess but I wouldn’t bet my life on it.

  • Emperor Chiao

    It’s mos def NPH. TonyT’s pic is right on. I saw it most easily when looking at the pic from askew. DON’T look at it directly in front of your screen. Move to the side, or angle your monitor up or down. ANYWHERE but straight on.

  • Drenkin

    The illusion also works well if you just drag the window around your screen. I was able to view the man from 12-18 inches away from my monitor. Nice illusion.

  • MamaDeFreya

    It is definitely Barney!

  • pucho

    George W. Bush

  • Gary

    I can’t do it at any distance

  • eksohorg

    It looks like NPH, if you tilt your screen top away from you at about a 45 degree angle, you don’t have to squint or look cross-eyed and it comes through really clear.

  • http://aqfl.net Ant

    I thought it was GWB. :D

  • mannum guy

    Very Strange!!!
    With my glasses off I can see the illusion… but not well enough to tell who it was (it did look a bit like Maxwell Smart though).
    With my glasses on the illusion vanishes.
    A DOUBLE ILLUSION so to speak.

  • mirnesa

    just push your laptop screen down to see the face

  • pughater101

    guys it is definitly b.a.r.n.e.y

  • Dave

    I could see it if I put reading glasses on and stepped away.

  • Ronnie

    NPH? OK, but it also looks like a young George Wallace.

  • Rachel

    I thought it was Abraham Lincoln but it was hard to tell

  • Denneal

    its cool but can hardly see it tryed it like 10 times befor i could see it

  • Andrew

    The truth is, you would only guess Neil Patrick Harris if you know who Neil Patrick Harris is!

    I have never heard of him :-(

    So it was a bit anoying

  • RN

    Too difficult for this to work for me.

  • buster

    I saw JFK at first, but when I enlarged I saw Lee Harvey Oswald.

    I see nothing resembling Neil Patrick Harris

  • Hano

    I See Dead People!!

  • john

    Just stand back a few feet and move to the right or left to see it.

  • http://twitter.com/Joan_W Joan Weytze

    Doogie Howser!

  • Raych

    I can see it clearly when not wearing glasses yet when I have them on, I struggle to see it!

  • Swell8

    Looks like a young Roy Orbison to me. Though that Barney Stinson (whoever he is) image is similar.

    • antonia

      it looks like a man to me but it hearts your eyes XD

    • http://twitter.com/andreadoublez andreadoublez

      James Bond?

  • jan

    If you are on a laptop you can just tilt the screen back to see it.

  • MissMillzTyne

    It’s Barrack Obama

    • http://moillusions.com Cat lover

      It’s not Barrack Obama, but it kind of looks like that guy who stars in Catch Me If You Can movie.

  • tingting


  • Eva

    Neil Patrick Harris!!!

  • bets

    If you turn your monitor you can see it a bit better. All I can tell is that it is someone in a suit.

  • Fink

    I can’t see him, leaning the screen back seems to work a little… not much more than when its in icon view…

    I thought it was Doogie Howser
    But like I said I can’t really see it.

  • Fink

    Yeah forget about… its like those blots that were famous a decade ago… took me all day no really all day… about half the day was spent looking at it with my sister, and sometimes mom pointing out different things in the picture… so I could mentally draw it… final about five minutes before supper I seen it… the first and last time, it hangs now where I walk by (facing, than taking a corner) at least five times a day, I still don’t see it… I try every once and a while…

    This type is just not my game.

  • Ice

    Who is he? Oh well, the artist did this by darkening some of the white lines to create the picture. Eh… now I’m trying to do something like this. XD

  • Reez

    stinson, that guy’s awesome!


    If you reduce the size of image u can easily see him clearly without crossing your eyes.

  • 2NE1


  • AB

    I can’t cross my eyes so I pulled the corners of my eyes laterally and then saw it! Does look like NPH!

  • http://www.moillusions.com/ Shiny Zorua

    Oh lawd. Is that Rick Astley?

  • Ram

    It is roger moore

  • IVY

    you don;t really need to close your eyes. just tilt the screen you hola.

  • Jake

    To me I see Rick Astley!

  • Aleeza

    Barney Stinson!

  • Krill

    I flew back 10 ft when I saw who it was, I just couldn’t handle the awesomeness

  • bssssddddddddd

    looks like some next bald cocassian wearing a suit

  • Wolf

    Mitt Romney. Now I ask why him?

  • Matt

    Ross from Friends?

  • Shannon

    I think we have just been Rick Rolled!!

  • Shannon

    took another look and it does look like it’s Neil Patrick Harris…but I’m going for Rick Astley.

  • HockeyDerp

    why do i have an urge to say ” true story ” i know! thanks to reddit

  • juan

    Hi! Just go away from the screen and you will see it immediately

  • blerpa herp

    charlie sheen?

  • Ray

    I will be very interested to know how is this done? I mean how do they hide the picture in bars like that

    • suor de sapo

      The key is in the white spaces – there’s an almost imperceptible grey tone among them. Try to copy the picture to a paint/photo editor and turn the black bars to white. BTW, you get better perception when viewing from ~30 degrees from any of it sides.

  • kamal

    It was Neil Patrick Harris.

  • james

    How I met your mother’s neil harris

  • ananas.iris

    I see Barney Stinson

  • Destruct

    Obviously Barney from HIMYM. From the episode where Robin tries to get a bad picture and it always ends up like this

  • Anonymous Girl

    I can’t cross my eyes, so…

  • Joe T

    I am an older guy and wear readers. The only way I could see it was to back up with my readers on and it came through clearly!