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By on November 8, 2010, with 136 Comments

This illusion greatly reminds me of an old horror story by W. W. Jacobs, called Monkey’s Paw. If you haven’t read it, you’ve probably encountered the motive in numerous cartoons, movies or series where the person receives some kind of mysterious monkey paw from India, which is a talisman that grants wishes, but the wishes come with an enormous price for interfering with fate. Each time a wish has been granted, one of the fingers of the paw contract. There’s a great chance you’ve seen the reference in one of the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror specials. Anyway, can you see what’s so mysterious about the hand shown below? Hint word of the day: Fringe.

Monkeys Paw Illusion


136 Responses
  1. Kathy says:

    Six fingers! But what’s up with the Lego?

    • Chelsea says:

      If you look at the lego all of the fingers dissappear…just like they are counting down. It’s wierd but cool! :-)

    • Mark P says:

      The lego is probably there just to draw your attention away from the fingers so you don’t notice what’s wrong with the picture.

  2. Adamius206 says:

    5 fingers 1 thumb

  3. Jupiter says:

    Don’t know if this is an illusion. Not sure what the deal is with the lego but other then that the hand had 6 fingers instead of 5.

  4. Tom says:

    Um, it has 6 fingers?

  5. cgimusic says:

    The hand has 5 fingers and a thumb. Also it has a lego cube embedded in it. Also it’s blue.

  6. Enrique says:

    jajajajaja… six fingers!!!
    pretty obvious actually lol

  7. heru_d_windblow says:

    I got it…..there are 6 fingers not 5

  8. Terry says:

    Besides the Lego block being held in by nails in the palm (What’s that there for?), there are 5 fingers in addition to the thumb.

  9. James Smith says:

    Well.. If I stare at the Lego, the fingers begin dissappearing one at a time. The last one to dissappear is the middle finger, so it kind of looks like i’m getting the bird.

    • melinda says:

      You are right. I thought, like others, it was just the extra finger but did as you wrote and it worked. Cool

    • Gavin says:

      James Smith, exactly correct. The illusion isnt the 6 fingers. the illusion is to stare at the lego and the fingers slowly disapeer leaving a clear image of some one giving you the bird (the version where there thumb also is extended)

    • me says:

      yah now i see it it isnt just the 6 fingers

    • Aero says:

      Guys….it decreases if you stare at the lego…wat James Smith is true!

  10. fossda says:

    yes, it has 6 fingers but it lookes normal at first glance.

  11. john says:

    the hand is missing a monkey! C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!

  12. Mike Brown says:

    James Smith has it right… if you stare at the lego, the hand slowly disappears.

  13. CC says:

    Anybody else notice that there’s people on the fingers? Like pictures, all except the thumb… and i didn’t even relize there was six fingers till i looked at the comments…

  14. Rob says:

    Very cool if you stare at the Lego piece (though it seems like it could have been done without something so out of place). Fringe is one of the best shows on TV, if not the best. It just keeps getting better and better!

  15. Leo Horovitz says:

    I don’t understand this. Yes it clearly has six fingers, but what’s the illusion? Is the sixth finger actually coming from another hand that is behind and therefore blocked by the one that we can see? And what’s up with that Lego piece? It’s clearly not a real Lego piece but a computer graphic, but is it a sticker and if so is it stuck to the hand or to a window or other glass surface against which the hand is pressed?

  16. Patrick says:

    There are images in the fingers, but I can’t really make them out at this picture resolution.

  17. ali says:

    “I wish I had a lego block nailed to my palm”… six wishes… nope, I don’t get it.

  18. ali says:

    PS – are you going to go back and update http://www.moillusions.com/2010/10/mysterious-shape-illusion.html with the “only one correct answer”??? Lots of us didn’t seem to get it, other than seeing woman + hat, but I don’t like that as a correct answer.

    or is it just not a very good example of its type?

  19. Layne says:

    their is five fingers and a thumb but i do not really get the lego..

  20. rasha says:

    um hello? does no one else wish to point out that this is a story by edgar allen poe? not by w w jacobs? his was a copy cat of the original. and the simpsons episode was based on the story by poe as well.

  21. Lisa says:

    Umm i starred at this for a while and nothing happend

  22. Gloria P says:

    I tried starting at the lego block, as James Smith suggested. Nothing whatsoever happens. The fingers do not disappear. I think the lego block is there to distract your eyes from the real illusion – the five fingers.

  23. Parity says:

    I thought that story was by H. H. Munro, aka Saki…

  24. Natalie says:

    You would get an extra wish with this monkey paw.

  25. Shuai Ixion Wang says:

    Why do I feel there’s a Chinese word on the yellow Lego. Something looks like ‘幻’.

  26. Callie May says:

    6 fingers. The lego is just there in the hopes to distract you from the obvious

  27. Joseph says:

    I LOVE Fringe… although I don’t really understand what the illusion in this fringe-related pic is.

  28. bn78jibk says:

    the lego is there to attract the attention from the 5 fingers and the thumb

  29. Caino says:

    There is a picture of an eye in the index finger !!!! Is this picture with a hand print over the top of it ????

  30. That man there says:

    Yes! Stare at the lego, and the fingers disappear, one by one! :O

  31. zwerty says:

    a thumb actually does count as a finger

  32. qwertyuiop says:

    there are 5 fingers and a thumb instead of 4 fingers and a thumb (6 fingers all together)

  33. I saw James’ post and looked at it again. So there are 6 fingers (obviously) but the fingers also disappeared for me too, 1 by 1, when I stared at the lego.

  34. kaibigan says:

    looks like a turkey to me…

    Happy thanksgiving!

  35. Suri says:

    Zoom in enough and you will find satellite image of where Osam Bin Ladin is hiding

  36. Fred says:

    Aside from the five fingers and thumb, and the lego with a slice taken out of it, it looks like there are two nails protruding out of the left side of the palm. Ouch.

  37. A Snail says:

    I’m struggling on this one as well, clearly too many fingers, and staring at the yellow block (that looks a bit like a lego brick but isn’t) does kind of make most of the fingers dissapear (the larger the picture the easier I found that) and it also turns the blue handprint white.

    The hint Fringe is definitally for the TV series, similar to the picture used for the letter S (pictures are used before and after advertisment breaks, and if you add them all together for the episode, it spells a word) but the yellow thing is norally a dot and is in the wrong place.

  38. Kitty says:

    It has six fingers, and while that’s kind of weird it strikes me as way to obvious to be the ONLY thing wrong with this picture. Please post update :3

  39. Nick says:

    The Chinese character superimposed over the lego block is a nice touch: 幻
    I don’t know the strict meaning in Chinese, but in Japanese it’s read “maboroshi”, and means “illusion” or “phantom”

  40. Kitty says:

    Besides the obvious 6 fingers, there’s a face on the palm below the base of the index finger and an eye on the thumb. If I stare at the Lego block, some of the fingers do seem to fold to a fist or disappear.

  41. Jasmine says:

    OH!I think i get it… if you look at the lego it looks like just 5 fingers. As always. Because it s a bright yellow, The colour can destract us from looking at the amount of fingers! Cool.

  42. Kamil Nowak says:


  43. fred says:

    Reminds me of an old Saturday Night Live gag, “you’ve got extra fingers” !

  44. Eugenia Ng says:

    6 fingers and a yellow lego block plus it’s not a monkey’s paw? i don’t get it. btw can you tell us more about the monkey’s paw story? horror story much appreciated :)

  45. Tony says:

    Blow up the photo & you will see that the fingers have faces in them? Not sure what the lego is all about?

  46. illister says:

    The illusion is there isn’t any. To fossda: A blue hand with a lego embedded in the palm looks normal?

  47. Valerie says:

    I see the five fingers and one thumb, not getting the significance of the lego….?

  48. bob says:

    if you stare at the Lego it looks like it only has 5 fingers but it has 6

  49. Menno says:

    I didn´t see it has 6 fingers untill I read the comments because I was wondering about the lego haha.
    So it´s kind of an illusion…

  50. crazyyboyy says:

    The image is off the TV show fringe, about fringe science eg crazy mutations, this image shows the handprint of a person with polydactylism (like hannibal lector does, not that he has anything to do with fringe). The lego cube does not appear on the TV show so as a guess its someones attempt at a watermark

  51. Cheadle says:

    if you stare at the block the fingers disapear

  52. Kimon says:

    I think I see people in some fingertips. Other parts look like they might be tiny photos too.

  53. Care Bear says:

    Hey, that looks like my Uncle Maury’s hand print.

  54. Terry says:

    By the lego brick are the letters H T stuck in the hand like pins

  55. James Smiths fan says:

    It actually works! The fingers start disappearing! Now the blurb makes sense.

  56. Tish says:

    Yesterday I looked at this in my RSS feeder and totally didn’t see it, this morning I looked at it in my Mac Widget and it was so obvious. Not an illusion I would expect to be easier to notice when tiny instead of full size though.

  57. Prox says:

    there are pictures of waves and a girl in de fingertips

  58. Tobias Roest says:

    And when you concentrate on the lego je fongers disappear:) I guessXD

  59. Tobias Roest says:

    je fongers = the fingers XD

  60. fossda says:

    and yes, another illusion in it is that if you stare at the lego the fingers start to disappear. double illusion!!!

  61. interesting says:

    interesting responses. i like james smith’s, who went beyond pointing out the 5 fingers+ 1 thumb. still, when i focus in on the lego brick, the fingers disappear in a less obvious fashion for me.

    I personally think that the lego brick is placed to draw your attention away from counting the fingers. when you first look at the image, your brain processes the whole thing as being “relatively normal” except for the lego brick, which stands out. I think its meant to draw your attention away from the fingers for as long as possible, as you try to figure out why it’s there. its more of a case of optical misdirection to me, not so much an illusion

  62. KAUKAU says:

    There is a chinese word (Imaginary 幻) right under the yellow lego.

  63. mick says:

    If you stare at the lego long enough the hand starts to move!!!!

  64. jinx says:

    i swear i saw a chinese character (幻) right at the Lego’s place..

  65. Lorelei Shark says:

    When you focus on the lego – the hand has 4 fingers and a thumb.

  66. galloots says:


  67. ntlgnce says:

    HA you all got it wrong. Its a monkey, can you see it? And yes if it were a hand the 6 fingers is obvious.. The monkey however took a little bit to see.

  68. Brooks says:

    I wonder at the lego as well. There was one episode of “fringe” where a little lego pirate figure kept watch over Olivia and Astrid in a strange interaction. Can not think of any other significance of the lego piece

  69. Havasu Racer says:

    There seem to be faces in the finger joints

  70. Steja da Ninja says:

    I read the monkey’s paw, and now im trippin as the fingers disappear… also, I think monkeys are SUPPOSED to have 6 fingers… WAIIIT NOOOO


  71. Shana Schroeder says:

    That image is from the series “Fringe.”

  72. monkey says:

    above lego i saw a chinese character “幻” (imaginary, not real, magical etc)!

  73. TM says:

    Zoom the photo up & the fingers have faces on them? What is the lego thing all about?

  74. Five fingers plus a thumb. What’s with the palm??

  75. he says:

    why is their a four next to the lego?

  76. BlackJester says:

    It’s missing a plug-in!

    Isn’t that what the lego means?

  77. julyssa says:

    Weird I mean it has six fingers but what is the lego for?

  78. monkey says:

    above lego i saw a chinese character “幻” (imaginary, not real, magical etc)!

  79. NeeL says:

    Nice, I didn’t see it (late last night, early now, no coffee yet) because I was starring at the Lego. But thats the whole point, so it works fine. :)

    Or if you want me to post like everybody else:
    It has an extra finger! Easy peasy! What’s with the cube dough? I am awesome for seeing it just as it is. I am not tricked!

    Sorry, still no coffee, but sometimes I wished people would think about what people want to read before they comment.

  80. Terry Essary says:

    Probably not what was intended, but if you look at the palm, there is a cross created by the creases, and then there are three nails around and through the Lego.

  81. Josh says:

    I have no clue what can be wrong with the hand other than the six fingers and the obvious yellow lego-cube.

  82. Abraxas says:

    Still searching the illusion…

  83. Mystery says:

    There are five fingers and a thumb. Not only that, but the fingers disappear one at a time! Scary

  84. T says:

    there’s a Chinese word under the lego

  85. Daemynnur says:

    how is this supposed to be an illusing ??
    a print of a hand with 5 fingers & a yellow logo brick ?

    Dictionary Definition
    a. An erroneous perception of reality.
    b. An erroneous concept or belief.
    2. The condition of being deceived by a false perception or belief.
    3. Something, such as a fantastic plan or desire, that causes an erroneous belief or perception.
    4. Illusionism in art.
    5. A fine transparent cloth, used for dresses or trimmings.

  86. Maximus.Goliath says:

    Those lines at the LEGO brick are not nails.
    They are the chinese word “huan” 幻. there should be a second word behind hidden in the dark that says “ying” 影. Together, the word “huan ying” 幻影 means illusion.

  87. Sonic says:

    the palm looks like a street map and there’s 6 fingers and the lego is a building i think.

  88. anonymous says:

    there is a chinese word near the lego – “幻” (huan)- meaning “imaginary”.

  89. Emma says:

    Those aren’t nails — I just realized it’s a Chinese character. See #52: http://www.yellowbridge.com/chinese/radicals.php.

  90. David says:

    Come on guys, if you stare at the lego, in a few seconds the image will be transformed into a Gorilla eating bananas.

  91. jeney says:

    is that a W by the “lego”

  92. Lacy says:

    wen u stare at the edge it seems to turn darker blue gradually and also disapears

  93. alex says:

    The yellow lego is there to draw away you attention from the 6 fingers

  94. Bushman Jack says:

    cgimusic is colour blind the lego is yellow

    also – if you stare at the lego brick and focus the nativity scene appears with the three wsie men following the star of the east

  95. Crazy Colors says:

    hard to notice a little

  96. Annishia says:

    it has six fingers and i actually had to look at the comments when i saw that… didnt see it, looks soooo normal WOW. I can kinda see faces in the fingers… maybe there supposed to be mokeys???

  97. NancyF Drew says:

    Hmm….I found two handprints today that only has 3 fingers….what would that mean? Is it a hint, hint??

  98. anaminus says:

    I think if you look inside those scars on the middle of the hand, you can see a naked woman.

  99. Peter says:

    The piece of Lego is placed in the palm to extract eyes from the fingers

  100. Paige says:

    When I look at the lego the fingers slowly dissapeer one by one. Its really interesting to think about it ;)

  101. debbie says:

    Having looked at the fringe poster there are extra images. Take a close look at the little finger – there is an image of a person(looking rather like a Gandalf figure). None of the fingers has fingerprints as such. images maybe.

  102. Becky says:

    Its got six fingers!! And yawl I’m just wondrin’ whats with that yella lego.

  103. vivian says:

    If you look at the lego piece the paw gives you the finger

  104. SHYzone says:

    There are faces and images in all 6 fingers…………………………………i still dont know what that lego is for :?

  105. poop says:

    6 fingers duhh!!

  106. John says:

    I find it strange that none of the fingers look like an extra finger. They all seem perfectly normal. Yet there is an extra, I just don’t know which one it is. Interesting.

  107. Tony says:

    Isn’t the ‘palm print’ made from a section of a map?

  108. Cathy says:

    From a short distance I see a turkey, and with the 2 nails in the palm it reminds me of Jesus on the cross.

  109. chad says:

    maybe i am crazy but it looks to me like a human scull am I right? can anyone else see it?

  110. RuRu says:

    in case no one knew, those markings right below the lego make up the chinese word

    which roughly translates to imaginary, dreamy, unreal, etc.

  111. creepy says:

    in each of the fingers i see a creepy girl looking 0.0 but in the thumb..i see a hand reaching twords the left of the fingers…u might have to angle the pic a litlle to see some of these

  112. happydoodle says:

    i dont c anything really. but if u just stare at the lego, then the fingers seem to slowly fade away. but they dont fade away completely.

  113. thebrainster says:

    why is an old style lego brick shopped into a blue handprint?

  114. Lance Christian De Castro says:

    i found 2 kanji
    for people who learn japanese, you know what i mean.

  115. alicia says:

    i know. he has 6 fingers and a logo block

  116. Saeed Yaqoob says:

    well.. in addition to 6 fingers.. its a satellite map… am i right?

  117. Monkey says:

    o ma gosh, the fingers vanished, creapy or whate

  118. anonimo says:

    it has six fingers

  119. Melina says:

    If you stare at the lego piece for a while, the fingers will disappear one at a time.

  120. Makayla says:

    It has six fingers

  121. Law says:

    I have this to say:

  122. Akire says:

    The answer is: there are 6 fingers in total, including the thumb. Stare at the yellow lego block and you will notice that the fingers seem to dissappear.

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