Jerry Andrus’ Impossible Box Illusion

Today’s impossible box illusion comes from the amazing mind of magician Jerry Andrus. When I first saw this illusion, I didn’t know who the man in the image was, but I just had to find out! So, trusty Google, here I come!

Ardus was a respected magician, as well as an inventor. He particularly had a love for optical illusions, and he actually created interesting illusions in his shop that he dubbed the “Castle of Chaos”. One of the illusions created in his Castle of Chaos was this impossible box illusion…


If you just glance at this impossible box illusion, nothing looks out of the ordinary. It just looks like a man standing in a wooden crate supported by rope. However, a closer inspection might just blow your mind a little!

The rear right vertical board in this impossible box illusion connect the top and bottom rear horizontal boards—but it also passes in front of the top front horizontal board. A similar twist occurs on the front vertical board connecting the front top and bottom boards. When you look at it a little closer, you can’t help but wonder how this man is even standing in this impossible box!

The true illusion lover in me is in awe and utterly curious as to how this impossible box illusion really works. So, I did a little digging around, and came up with the answer…


The secret behind this impossible box is that it’s not a box at all. It’s just a simple flat panel wood construction photographed at the right angle. It actually consists of a back panel and two side panels, one pointing toward the front and another pointing toward the back. The rope is strung strategically to make it look like it’s supporting the box.

Amazing, really! I can’t imagine the planning and work that went into this impossible box illusion! Jerry Andrus was actually a pretty fascinating guy, and he unfortunately passed away in 2007. However, you can read more about him and his work on his website,

This impossible box illusion is actually the real life version of the impossible crate illusion that was posted several years back.

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