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By on February 8, 2010, with 50 Comments

You might remember back in 2007, when John Shadowsky introduced us for the first time to the new kind of optical illusion he invented. I’m talking about one that gave us ability to see black and white photos in full color! This is the closest you get to having super-hero powers. It was really an extraordinary value added to the optical illusions field, but also an interesting phenomena brought to attention of those studying visual sciences. The below rainbow is just one of many emerging samples, based on John’s discovery.

To see this optical illusion in it’s full capacity, wait for the animated .gif to loop to its start. You’ll know you’re there when you see a full colored rainbow appear. Now stare at the center dot for few seconds, and at one time the animation will switch. But don’t move your eyes from central dot just yet! What do you see? If you followed my procedure precisely, sooner or later you’ll find out that the animation below consists of two similar images. Only difference between them, is that one is in color, and the other is black and white. After staring at the color rainbow’s central dot, negative colors burnt in your retina, and you were able to see the black and white photo in full color!

Rainbow Ghost Optical Illusion


50 Responses
  1. Quadrani says:

    Liked this, it’s wierd and wonderful

  2. ltyson says:

    this is a very good optical illusion and quite strange how it woks…

  3. joe B says:

    pretty cool. When I saw the thumbnail in google I was wondering what kind of illusion this could even be.

  4. fdsfsdfdf says:

    WoW! SO COOL

  5. anonymous says:


  6. Julie says:


  7. Angela says:

    oh my gosh…i love ur site..is sooo awesomeeee
    love iiiiiiiiiiiiit

  8. Drapz says:

    Nice that the ghost is actually in the correct colour order.

  9. Elliot says:

    Really cool! Kinda wierd tho

  10. Care Bear says:

    My optomitrist is going to freak at my next check-up.

  11. Kathy says:

    Not the best of these kind of illusions. I got a better effect by looking at a blank wall instead of the black & white image.

  12. Enlay says:

    Wow, its great o:!!…

  13. Tom says:

    I don’t quite remember the physiology here … perhaps someone can fill us in … but this has to do with the rods and cones in the retina … rods see only black and white, and fatigue quickly, so the input from the cones (which is color only) lasts longer … something like that … cool, anyhow

  14. bianca says:


  15. Daniel says:

    It’s not an illusion it’s an Animated gif consisting out of 2 frames :)

  16. SASSY GOAT says:


  17. jackie says:


  18. ALex says:

    This is very cool, but I dont even need the color bit. My eyes just change it into color its freaky but they have always done that with black and white photos.

  19. Mookini says:

    COOL! I didn’t knwo that it would work!!!

  20. Took a few minutes but it really works. IT’S REALLY NEAT. I LOVE IT!!!!

  21. ur mom says:


  22. qwerty says:

    That was so awesome!

  23. lolo888 says:

    if you stare only at the black dot for a while without blinking then the whole shape dissapears

  24. nockgeneer says:

    Nice explanation I think a lot of people weren’t getting it the first couple of times you posted this type of illusion.

  25. loller156 says:

    At first i was like -.-
    then i was like O.O

  26. random says:

    couldn’t see red… :(

  27. Adam says:

    Vurdlak my friend, were this medival europe, and were I to have a giant scale, and a duck, I’m sure that I would find you as a witch.

  28. Ally says:

    that was really awesome!

  29. Leon says:

    loved it very strong effect. i wonder how something like this can be used for testing colour blindness and other eye abnormalities.

  30. jas says:

    wow, but damn i am seeing colors everywhere now

  31. Aiman Amani says:

    I always love these illusions. I remember seeing more of these kind of illusions in your blog before.

  32. Nicee says:

    VERY KEWL!!! And please… dont start the THIS IS FAKE riot again…

  33. Joel says:


  34. Jordyn says:

    i stumbled across this via a igoogle.com widget and i love optical illusions and tis one is really cool! I also like the skull one which i found when i hit next random illusion. Very cool i like this site.

  35. vps hosting says:

    Yes I noticed it. Thats not less than a magic. Great Artistic effort.

  36. ashpelt says:

    another illusion: if you stare at it and blur your vision while focusing, the dot breaks into two and they seem to move!

  37. Ivo De Blasi says:

    I’m very sorry to see that’s a trick. I downloaded the image and opened it with “The Gimp”. It’s a two layer gif, the coloured one and the gray one. This is an animated gif!! Not an illusion.

  38. priya says:

    its not an illusion!!!! tat thing changed color even before i saw da dot ….

  39. Falon says:

    Priya, read the description. It’s supposed to. By staring at the colored rainbow, the image is burned into your retinas, and when the image changes to black and white, you should be able to see a full color rainbow.

    And if you stare at it long enough, you could almost make the entire rainbow disappear!

  40. Dolphin says:


  41. matt says:

    it changes color by it self i didnt even look at the dot i was still reading then it changed color

  42. Hello says:

    coool now i see rainbows everywhere!

  43. kenixfalcon says:

    dun think its even a illusion.Its juz animated

  44. Ember Mclain says:

    I know have 00000000000000000 idea what the heck just happened…

  45. Barbara Cicerchi says:

    That’s great the walmart ad is so big it opened up and covered up half of the information at the top so I can not read it and of course I clicked on the ad’s x at the top right and it won’t close.

  46. kyra says:

    wow i think that is like almost the coolest and weirdest thing that has ever happened to my eyes


  47. princess suga puff says:

    YOU CAN ALSO LOOK AT ON YOUR WALL IF YOU HAVE A WHITE ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  48. superlegion says:


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