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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…

Cross Your Eyes To See Him!


130 Responses
  1. me123987645 says:

    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.

  2. chunkylover53 says:

    NPH himself! Neil Patrick Harris!

  3. Karan says:

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

  4. Jake K. says:

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

  5. Christine says:

    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 says:

      You have to zoom away

    • Vurdlak says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

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

  6. Zorkaz says:

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

  7. Azn Girl says:

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

  8. Selfbuilt says:

    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.

  9. scarlett says:

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

    • Richard Borwick says:

      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.

  10. kanokarob says:

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

  11. Shawn says:

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

  12. Mindy says:

    My guess would be Philo Farnsworth…

  13. momofask says:

    Could be Dr. Oz.

  14. Chakolate says:

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

  15. cozysoul says:

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

  16. scott says:

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

  17. Bryan says:

    It’s SPOCK………..

  18. Joanne says:

    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?

  19. JohnE says:

    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.

  20. Leszek Cyfer says:

    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.

  21. steve says:

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

  22. steve says:

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

  23. Ahmad says:

    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.

  24. breandan says:

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

  25. Kieran says:

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

  26. Lorraine says:

    It looks a bit like that famous picture of JFK?

  27. TheJoe says:

    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..

  28. K D says:

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

  29. Dave says:

    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.

  30. symetry says:

    Steve Jobs?

  31. RickyM says:

    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’?

  32. Kieran says:

    Looking again it could be Tom Hanks

  33. jigso says:

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

  34. Arantxa says:

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

  35. George says:

    It’s Bames griffin’ Jond

  36. Fergus Gallagher says:

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

    I can’t actually recognise him. Perhaps Feynman?

  37. Saeed Yaqoob says:

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

  38. Yeah freaky says:

    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.

  39. Me says:

    Maxwell Smart

  40. rich says:

    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…

  41. pranab says:

    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…..

  42. fghj says:

    tom hanks

  43. Dave K says:

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

  44. Joop says:

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

  45. Wilf says:

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

  46. LG says:

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

  47. Hypersapien says:

    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.

  48. TheAngryPenguin says:

    Looks like JFK

  49. lcp185 says:

    It is Abraham Lincoln.

  50. Matthew Barclay says:

    Looks like George Orwell to me.

  51. Matthew Barclay says:

    Big Brother is watching you

  52. marcy says:

    looks like JFK to me.

  53. jms says:

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

  54. tommychong says:

    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…

  55. Allan says:

    Anthony Perkins

  56. Jake K. says:

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


  57. BearsPaw says:

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

  58. Emperor Chiao says:

    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.

  59. Drenkin says:

    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.

  60. MamaDeFreya says:

    It is definitely Barney!

  61. pucho says:

    George W. Bush

  62. Gary says:

    I can’t do it at any distance

  63. eksohorg says:

    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.

  64. Ant says:

    I thought it was GWB. :D

  65. mannum guy says:

    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.

  66. mirnesa says:

    just push your laptop screen down to see the face

  67. pughater101 says:

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

  68. Dave says:

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

  69. Ronnie says:

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

  70. Rachel says:

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

  71. Denneal says:

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

  72. Andrew says:

    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

  73. RN says:

    Too difficult for this to work for me.

  74. buster says:

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

    I see nothing resembling Neil Patrick Harris

  75. Hano says:

    I See Dead People!!

  76. john says:

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

  77. Raych says:

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

  78. Swell8 says:

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

  79. jan says:

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

  80. MissMillzTyne says:

    It’s Barrack Obama

  81. tingting says:


  82. Eva says:

    Neil Patrick Harris!!!

  83. bets says:

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

  84. Fink says:

    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.

  85. Fink says:

    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.

  86. Ice says:

    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

  87. Reez says:

    stinson, that guy’s awesome!

  88. RAM MHATRE says:

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

  89. 2NE1 says:


  90. AB says:

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

  91. Shiny Zorua says:

    Oh lawd. Is that Rick Astley?

  92. Ram says:

    It is roger moore

  93. IVY says:

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

  94. Jake says:

    To me I see Rick Astley!

  95. Aleeza says:

    Barney Stinson!

  96. Krill says:

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

  97. bssssddddddddd says:

    looks like some next bald cocassian wearing a suit

  98. Wolf says:

    Mitt Romney. Now I ask why him?

  99. Matt says:

    Ross from Friends?

  100. Shannon says:

    I think we have just been Rick Rolled!!

  101. Shannon says:

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

  102. HockeyDerp says:

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

  103. juan says:

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

  104. blerpa herp says:

    charlie sheen?

  105. Ray says:

    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 says:

      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.

  106. kamal says:

    It was Neil Patrick Harris.

  107. james says:

    How I met your mother’s neil harris

  108. ananas.iris says:

    I see Barney Stinson

  109. Destruct says:

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

  110. Anonymous Girl says:

    I can’t cross my eyes, so…

  111. Joe T says:

    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!

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