# Irish Leprechauns Optical Illusion

By on May 22, 2006, with 52 Comments

Apparently there was a story of some Irish guy going to a Festival, where he was comissioned to create a banner of 14 leprechauns. On his way to the festival, the wind blew the banner out, and it got tattered and ripped. What he does, he puts it back into one large banner, but to his surprise, there are 15 leprechauns on the banner now!!!!! Can you figure out this optical illusion? I tried, I even located where the glich occured, but am not sure where does the extra leprechaun come from??! You can print the image out and cut it along the lines to check, just before you do, be sure to open it in it’s full size. This illusion was kindly submitted to us by one of our fans, Alex Wright. Thanks Alex!

52 Responses
1. Karen says:

There is a version of this sing simple black bars that makes this illusion much easier to understand. I’d look one up for you but I’m on dialup at the moment and it would take over an hour.

The basic jist is that the over all volume/area of the total mass of leprecans is the same in both pictures. In the second picture you have more leprecans but theyre shorter to account for the mass that makes up the new one.

To prove it to yourself, count the red hair TOPS on all of them. That number stays the same. Look at the 6t guy from the left — in the first picture he has hair that extends into the upper layer – in the second he does not. Now look at the 12th guy from the left — his hair was MUCH larger in the top picture. You can’t realy account for where the change happens because it happens in small details over the whole thing.

Look up the bar picture, it will really help. This is the same thing — just with more details. I’ve also seen it illustrated with computers.

2. Mike says:

You can also count the tips of their noses. There’s only 14 on the top and bottom. The 11th guy from the left lost his.

3. Gabriel says:

It’s driving me mad, i kind of understand what you guys are saying but I can’t pinpoint exactly where the problem leprechaun is!

4. Pouch says:

this has been driving me insane for about a week or two – i printed it – cut it out – made an “outlined version” – where its just an outline of the lepricons… – i made a version where they were just egg shapes – and i couldnt totally figure it out. so then i did an online search….

http://britton.disted.camosun.bc.ca/jblep3.htm

enjoy!

• utsav says:

thanks a ton lynda,u saved me from becoming crazy

5. yemoja says:

guinness? is what?

6. kristen says:

AGAIN, everything on this site confuses me

7. Susie says:

This is very simple.
(From left to right) In the top first original arrangement, the 5th leprechaun (not counting the other two leprechaun’s hair)is counted as one without a missing piece in the second arrangement. If you take a close look, part of his knee hangs in the bottom portion. He never gains that bit of knee. If you take another close look at him you will notice that part of another leprechaun’s hair is by his feet. This hair is never gained by the owner on the second arrangement. Looking at this it is easy to conclude that the 5th leprechaun is the 15th leprechaun.

8. katie says:

the lepprichaun sitting down is the secret.

9. zoo says:

if you look at every leprechaun in the pic with 15 you’ll notice they do not look like a full leprechaun.

if you look closely you’ll see that each one seems to be missing just a little bit near the line.

10. Chris says:

The extra one is the 3rd from the right on top in the second picture, (the one with 15).

11. Casey says:

acually, I think that it’s the 2nd from the right ………….*. < Like this. I’m also refering to the bottom picture.

12. Anonymous says:

you see, if the banner had been put back together CORRECTLY, there would be 14 leprechauns. you end up with 15 because of the reversed flaps. the extra leprechaun on the last row to the right snt supposed to be there

13. PX54 says:

it doesn’t work fully, if you look at the 2nd one on the right in the second picture he doesn’t have any arms!!

14. Anonymous says:

replying to yemoja guiness is an irish pint and it is a very dark brown liquid with a creamy coloured top. it tastes nice to

15. Anonymous says:

you have to cut the top half into 6 peicesas follows first man ,then the next two. and the next 2 then the next 3 then the next 4 and one single last.take the fourth cut one put it first then the 5ththe last one next then the first one then the 2nd and last the 3rd and you have solved it lol i did have fun

16. j says:

the 6th leprechaun on the bottom picture does not extend to the top, whil the 13th leprechaun does not extend to the bottom.

17. memi says:

its just like the coach+player illusion, the two bars at the top switch place.

18. Ben says:

This really wasn’t that hard, especially with the black lines outlining it.

19. Augusto says:

Actually, one of the leprechauns (the one that stays on the knee) has just a tiny part of its knee in the lower part of the pic, so when it is without the lower part, it’s not needed, and another one (the one with crossed arms) has just a tiny part up, so there is a part up left, with an up part and a down part left, one more leprechaun arise!

20. Joe says:

On the top picture, the seventh leprechaun from the left has a slight overhang onto the bottom layer. When the banner was reassembled, this overhang was transferred to a different leprechaun, and the result was a leprechaun that needed no legs on the top layer. This is the 13th leprechaun from the left in the second picture. Because of the lack of overhang, he has no bodily parts in the second row, so there is an extra leprechaun! TA-DA! HAA!

21. Lindsey says:

I think it might be because of the floating leprechaun. Look at the cluster of three leprechauns on the right. The highest one is floating. Look at him, he’s got no legs.

Think of it this way. In the first picture there are 14 “halves” which combined make up 14 leperchauns. In the second picture the 6th leprechaun loses it’s top “half” and the 13th leprechaun loses it’s bottom “half”. You still have 14 “halves”, but 2 are not complete resulting in “15″ leprechauns.

Essentially, the shared top “half” that constructs leprechaun 6 and 7 is what makes the illusion key.

23. Anonymous says:

the last one that appears out of nowhere is sitting on the ling

24. -VakamaFan- says:

The leprechaun 5th from the left/ your right on the top of the last banner has nothing: most of his body was on the top,so that adds another 15.

25. Anonymous says:

I see the guy right of the top tear is the extra…He has no top head…someone else got it.lol

26. maggie says:

the top two segment are switched they look right but they are not the extra leprechaun has no legs and the have all switched heads

27. bugaBaa says:

the top parts of the portions are interchanged thus making an extra leprechaun…

I see it on the top at the end of it there are only 2 leprechauns on the bottom one there are 3. easy

29. Christopher Maitland says:

Some people have got it right but here’s my explanation. There are 14 bottom halves and 14 top halves in both pictures. There are 13 complete leprechauns in the 2nd picture plus a bottom half and a top half, both of which look nearly complete.

30. ItWasntMe says:

I don’t get it =S

31. Random Freak says:

Its because the 14th guy on the bottom pic has no middle… well its really hard to explain… take you fingers and point to the heads of all the leprecauns… youll find the answer… or… another explenaition is that there were three heads on the little strip and four heads on the long strip so when they got changed, it made an extra one (if you cut the first one where the line is, then you have five bottoms where the short strip would be, and eight where the long is).

32. Random Freak says:

and (adding to my 1 one) when you point to the heads, make sure you point to where they’ve changed to, not their lower half, which is the same.

33. Manish Antal says:

Guys…in the lower banner look at the the 2nd row from your right, the dudue sitting in the middle lane has appeared from no where adding the 1 extra.Problem solved ;) however, if you start looking at the diffrences between the 2 banners, there are many! Enjoy the tease..

34. Alex says:

My best explanation for this is that when you print it out and cut out the pieces, one of the elves (the 6th one) is mostly whole on the bottom, but a fraction of his hair is on the top. So those two parts are said to make the whole elf. When you rearrange the top pieces and count again, look at the 6th elf, his hair is kinda missing and there’s a foot there. Although you count this as a whole elf because that’s exactly what it looks like at first, the top part of him is still missing and belongs with another elf

35. Jez says:

-_- I’m not even gonna bother trying to figure it out.

36. UnIcOrN says:

OnE Is NoT A FuLl LePrEcHaUn @_@

37. ayana says:

if you look on the right on the bottom pic one is missing.

38. Amber says:

In the third group of leprechauns, the one at the top, doesn’t need any feet at all. So when it was transferred to the last group of leprechauns, which only has 2, it made the number increase. And the two pieces at the top of the picture is NOT equal. At the end of the smaller piece, it has no third leprechaun or no leprechaun at the top. And the smaller piece doesn’t cover the former position of that leprechaun.If that smaller piece covered the former position of that leprechaun, the number would not increase.

39. Nichole says:

Second photo – last column of leppies, the first or top leppy has moved. All of them have new parts BUT since this particular Leprechaun no longer has a bottom half he appears to be an addition… notice that in the top photo one leprechaun doesnt appear to have any part of him in the top half of the photo where as one doesnt appear to have a bottom portion so when they are newly matched up there is a place for the spare part to go leaving one leprechaun without a bottom half, adding a 15th leprechaun into the photo… it really isnt that hard, people are looking at the whole picture and not the one single leprechaun… look at THE ONE leprechaun and you should be able to figure it out…

40. Liana says:

uh.. i don’t get it

41. MossCow says:

Wow. Even after examining the helpful link that explains how this works step-by-step, I was still completely baffled. (“But, there’s an extra one without there *being* an extra one!”) Then I got to sit and feel my brain rearrange itself until I understood. Very, very good show. I like this one.

42. Denilson says:

Another (very good) explanation of the trick:
http://www.defectiveyeti.com/archives/001258.html

43. moemoe says:

it’s just one leprechaun’s face divided into two. easy

44. ashley says:

If you look at the seventh leperichaun part of his” dress” falls into the bottom portion, now look at the bottom banner and look at how the character is different. Now find the character in the top banner that is the same and you’ll see that in the bottom his” dress” doesn’t reach the bottom. Leaving an extra :) hope that makes sense!

45. AJ Lopez says:

I just looked at the extra leprechaun and found every part of it from a previous one. It took forever, but I managed. (Probably doesn’t make any sense!) xD

46. o.i.e. says:

i know look at the bottom one, one has part of it! sorry the rest is hard to explain

47. Niki says:

i found the extra leprachaun! yay!

48. vz says:

the 13th is the key in the first half he is whole in the 2nd he still remails whole with no knee so to make it 14 when he shift’s he gains a knee you figure the rest… it was fun

49. bokehjoe says:

I Love This site…

Several people have the right answer above- I’m not going to elaborate on the explanation of this one illusion.
My comment is how glad I was to see this particular illusion. For those not old enough- there was a great magazine back in the 80′s called ‘Omni’. IMHO- the best magazine published. I believe it was a Guccione (sp?) publication- yes- the Penthouse Guccione.
They had this picture in one of their editions- and I was completely blown away. Matter of fact- it’s what kindled my interest in optical illusions. I went so far as to cut the pieces out of the page, and back it w/ cardboard- so I could show it to others. It was of course in 3 pieces- and the astonishing part is that I STILL have the bottom part! I have moved it with me for about 30 years and from sea to shining sea in the US. Why have I kept it?? Hoping that the other 2 pieces will show up among my possessions as well! Is that a lost cause or what! I just haven’t been able to get rid of it. Needless to say- it left a huge impression on me. My younger mind was able to decipher it in a short time- but that didn’t dissuade my fascination.

Just wanted to share my experience with this super cool illusion. To me- this is the ultimate ‘optical illusion’.

50. leo says:

This is fantastic.
My explanation:
1) In picture “b” they are making you count two half-heads as if they were full heads (Leprechauns number 3 and 11).
2) Where does the extra body come from? Leprechaun number 8 in picture “a” (the one at the very center) has “two bodies”, one above and one below the dividing horizontal line, bodies that go to create the bodies 8 and 14 in picture “b”.

51. Lynda says:

I get it. Lep #7 doesn’t need a bottom becuz he’s just kneeling. Which is why when the top is moved another takes up his original spot and he becomes an extra lep. Nice 8)