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By on May 20, 2010, with 113 Comments

Here are two simple ones I got hold of today. It would be shame to pass them, despite their easy explanation and visual simplicity. When you look at the first one, you immediately think of letter E. But why is that? None of the lines presented depict letter E even closely! Our brain immediately presumes this is something known to us, and tries to connect the shadowy outlines with the known symbol. What if we were born in a society where this symbol wasn’t used, and is nowhere to be seen at all? Could we then see the lines without making presumption of what they represent? Can you force yourself just to see some random lines instead of E? Try it! For the other one, it depends how you look at it – you can either see remains of an apple, or two faces looking at each other? So which one is it?


  • Brent Stansfield

    Actually I didn’t see the “E” until you pointed it out lol! Just saw these lines and was trying to figure out what the heck I was supposed to be looking at/for.

  • aklu


    i tought its a part of a maze what i dont see :D

  • sona

    All I see is lines, doesn;t suggest an E to me at all

  • Ryan

    Same. I didn’t see the E, but now its obvious. Good illusion though, makes out something is there when it clearly isn’t

  • chris

    yea just like brent, i didnt understand the ‘E’ thing. it looked more like the psp logo.

    as for the apple core, that’s easy. its 2 faces looking at each other, just like the vase.

  • http://www.moillusions.com/2010/05/viva-la-hacienda-illusion.html Dolphin

    very nice on E

  • Seb Coco

    Same for me :).

  • Helena

    The same here.

  • Typeaux

    I do a lot of lettering, and have done this kind of “reverse shadow” lettering, where only two sides of a letter are visible to give the illusion of shallow relief, for 30 years or more. That said, I did not immediately see the “E” form and saw only the discrete lines. Funny how our brain works, but I’m thinking that the inclusion of the apple/faces illusion made me see the lines as disconnected. (Letters I address using this form of lettering ALWAYS make it to their destination, so it isn’t that difficult to see for adults, but kids have more trouble with it.)

  • Kimon

    Didn’t see the E either until I read about it.

  • Cudel

    Once you see the E, you can’t stop seeing it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jens-Hykkelbjerg/100000809227264 Jens Hykkelbjerg

    I immedately saw the E.
    Unitil I read the description I thought there was no illusion at all, just a boring letter E…

    Then I was having a hard time figuring out that it was just 3 unconnected lines giving us an impression of a letter.

  • Ron

    I think the E illusion wouold fall under the concept of perceptual constancy. The other looks more like two faces – the lines are too smooth for bite marks.

  • ali

    I saw it as an E but if I focus on the lines I can see them as not-an-e… but it snaps right back again.

  • omt

    I definitely didn’t c an e until you pointed it out!

  • Shanaweh

    Honestly, at first, I didn’t see the E letter (but I saw the apple and the face), but something that look like a “weird happy face”. But since I’ve spot the E, it’s hard not to see it ^^.

  • Danielle

    Ohh, I see how think of it as an ‘E’. If you stare absent-mindly the lines look like a shadow of an ‘E’. It is really amazing actually. Lol.

  • Monxy

    E was first thing I saw, I can’t believe some people can’t see it.

  • Poko

    The E took me a sec… but the faces/ apple core thing is ridiculously easy

  • Lee J

    I tried with both eyes and then one eye only and still no E. I’ve changes angle and everything else, no E.

  • FixitDave

    If you look at the white section that’s within the apparent E you see the E, but if you look at the black lines you see LzZ :-)

  • molly

    i believe that’s called subjective contour. our brain connects the dots. i have always loved this illusion!

  • http://AuburnNotRed.blogspot.com Taylor B.

    At first glance I saw an “E” and an eaten apple.
    It takes some concentration to see lines and two faces.

  • Awesome Anonymous

    i didnt even remotely see the e until a WHILe after you pointed it out

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Haviland/100000657164709 Richard Haviland

    Saw the E first, because thats what I looked at first. Saw the two faces in the apple next. I guess everything is based on what our minds are trained to see. Yes indeed, yes indeed.

  • DetectiveKitty

    It would seem I am not the only one that didn’t see the “E” until it was mentioned. I only registered lines. But as for the apple a saw both illusions right away…

  • http://twitter.com/Joan_W Joan W

    Hmmm…This could explain why I do better in the last Wheel of Fortune puzzle if I don’t look until all the letters on the board!

  • Gregory Padilla

    Interestingly, I see the E when I look with one eye. It doesn’t matter which.

    The E immediately goes away when I open the other. After a moment, it comes back into the scene.

    Oh- and I didn’t know it was an E until I saw the explanation of the illusion.

  • Derek

    Hey Vurdlak,

    I really thought the “E” was just a bunch of random lines at first.

    Also, please cool it with the hyperlinks. They just clutter up the page and link to almost random illusions. Save them for actual links to artists or installations.

  • mike

    i get the apple, but only until i read the blurb did i see the “E” as an E.

  • Lisa

    I had to look really hard to see the E, and the faces looking at each other. All I saw originally was a bunch of random lines and an apple core!

  • anonymous

    how can u not see an E? i could barely not see one!

  • random

    Never saw the E, and still cannot see it. The first image is just 3 random lines that doesn’t resemble anything. And isn’t the second one a bit old..classic?

  • qwertyuiop

    i thought it was just a bundle of random lines, then when you said it was an e, i figured it out. i can see both the apple and the faces in the other one. it reminds me of that illusion with the vase and the faces…

  • arun

    i am so surprised to c all the post above…i saw the letter “E” as soon as i saw that picture, and was facing difficulty in figuring out only de lines… good though

  • Amish

    I saw the letter E even before I read the article. Basically stenciling is a form of writing and this is perhaps a style not an illusion. Maybe if you had it in different shape and indicated that this was letter E, it would have appeared to be an illusion. Sorry this is not an illusion but more a stencil art.

  • Nikolai Scheel

    they are both simple and cool.

    i saw the e first, and i saw the two faces first.

    i really like these illusions.

  • http://www.studentsforsolarschools.org illusionist

    same here. no E until i read it…flawed perhaps? its cause its not really shading i think. if it was more like light to dark maybe it’d be easier to see the E.

  • Loza

    I saw it as lines, then realised it could also be an E. Once you see the E it’s really hard to go back!
    Great illusion, I love these simple ones.

  • NeeL

    I saw the E immediately and I can’t unsee it. I thought!

    If you tilt your head 90 degrees you can see the lines again. :)

  • ms.wow

    i love love love it!
    as a great illousinist i would say to that if you tebce your eyes you can see tyhe e!

  • Jess

    These are fantastic :) Exactly what illusions should be, especially the E

  • Anna

    Good one with the E! Amazing how are brain works like this. I can see the face on the left but not on the right of the apple core?

  • Julie

    The core and faces are simple ones, but i cant get past the squiggles and see the E wow how the mind works.

  • tony

    “I immedately saw the E.
    Unitil I read the description I thought there was no illusion at all, just a boring letter E…”

    Same here!!

  • Dolphin

    I saw the E but then it changed to lines then back to E then back to lines and so on…The apple one looks like to white faces in front of an apple to me…

  • Carol

    All I saw was an E. I thought it was a trick and was looking for something else@

  • Melarie

    I have no clue what that picture is trying to tell us.

  • C.C

    yea i didnt see the E till u pointed it out, and with the other one i saw both without reading the last part.

  • Robert

    Yes I saw the E right away but if you look again you will see an F in the interior. Turn it sideways and see L Z Z.

  • Lili

    I saw the E immediately, and can by no means stop to see it.
    If these are two faces, they’re wearing very funny hats! :D
    (Just kidding, I knew it before)

  • Jeanne Tindel

    I feel so much better after reading all the comments from people who DID NOT see the E, as was my experience! I was thinking there must be something wrong with my brain to have missed it. I too wondered what relationship those lines had, compeletly missing the block E. Whew!! that’s a relief!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Callum-Read/100000079461607 Callum Read

    i can force myself to see just random lines, yay! :-D
    BTW what’s Vurdlak’s email?

  • jman

    i saw the E right away and couldnt help but seing it, when it was quite a bit smaller on my windows gadet but when i opened it up to the full web page i could break it down and just see the lines

  • BLAH

    Its a 3D “E”

  • Phillip

    if you cross your eyes whil looking at the “E” then it looks like random lines of some forein language.

  • bella

    i thought the E had the “-_-” face that’s flipped to the right.. and then i slowly recognised the E. very cool!

  • Rick

    The “E” or an “LZZ” sideways and an apple or 2 faces looking at each other.

  • Saudia Mohamed

    I didn’t see an “E” and I see bother the face and the apple remains at once.

  • Stormy

    I saw the E instantly, and the faces and the apple simultaneously. (early exposure to vase/face)

    I can’t see the E as simple black lines, but when I try to see it that way it turns into Tetris blocks.

  • Red

    I only saw it as three objects but when it was pointed out to be an “E” I know find it difficult not to see it as an E anymore. It takes real concentration to separate the lines again. Funny.

  • TheMissingLink

    i didn’t (and can’t) see the “E” at all….

  • Janelle McDermott

    I didn’t see the E but now I do I can’t stop seeing the E, depends where I focus on the apple as to what I see. simple but brilliant

  • Teh Chrisizard

    It took me a while to be able to see the E as random lines, but I could do it.

  • Donna h

    i cant really see the E it looks like lines to me but i got the apple/faces immediately.. had to read the description for the E though :)

  • Vanu

    I didn’t see the E before I read the description.

  • Barbarella

    I saw the E right away as many did and I was able to concentrate and see only random lines. But my brain jumps right back to the E if I don’t force it not to. Very interesting. It’s almost like those fractal illusions where you see a smattering of chaos and if you unfocus your eyes a 3-D image appears.
    The apple faces is a lot like the old candlestick illusion, which gets repeated. I like that the faces are not symmetrical.

  • http://www.myspace.com/itsjoshnorman Josh

    I didn’t see the E until I read what it was supposed to be in the description :(

  • hps bajwa

    E – 3 D is really good , i could never figure it out properly . Whereas apple was very clear of two faces staring at each other.

  • robert

    I did not see the E until I read the caption. I saw the two faces on either side of the apple.

  • charlotte

    I actually couldn’t see the E until I read the description that said what it was.

  • Falon

    I didn’t immediately see the E for some reason, but as soon as I saw it, I couldn’t turn it back into three innocent lines.

  • mennoillusion

    lol , i saw the E only after a minute XD
    but i can force myself to see just some lines

  • hasan

    oww i see it noew there is an aplle who has sharp theeth and its like a monster and there is a litle lybrint next to it nicee

  • Barbarella

    If you are having trouble NOT seeing the E, try tilting your head to the left and focus on seeing an “L” and two “Z”s and once you see those slowly turn your head upright while concentrating on the LZZ. Once you are upright you shouldn’t see letters any more just lines.
    Try it!

  • JMAN12

    I saw the so qiuckly and then I saw the lines!!! I am a genius!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-Barrett/100000548389444 Patrick Barrett

    lol i only saw a random set of lines before u said was an E.LOL

  • A nine year old(9)

    I can see it both ways with the ‘E’,but I can’t stop myself from seeing the faces.

  • AEryn

    Did not see the E until I read the text. Only the power of suggestion lead me in that direction.

    Does this mean I’m a psychopath?

  • Jessica

    I don’t see the E at all. Even after trying I just can’t make out an E. It reminds me of a maze, slightly, but that’s about it.

  • Nurelaina

    I see some random line first instead of 3D “E”..Is that normal?

  • Mr. Black

    I didn’t see E until I read the article, I was wondering why one was an illusion while the other wasn’t

  • Michael

    I didn’t see the E until I read the caption. Even then I had trouble not seeing just random lines.

  • Hi

    I didn’t see an E…

  • sarah

    I saw the ‘E’ but i could force myself to see a bunch of random lines.

  • iIlusionist

    lol i saw random lines, but after staring at it, it became an E

  • sarah

    actually i couldn’t figure out what those lines were till u told me it was an “E”. Now that is all I can see. :(

    • Sarcasm

      Same here.

  • taylor

    wow i saw the faces in the apple straight away i stared at the otherone for at least 30 seconds and had no idea. untill i read the blurb lol

  • Someone

    I saw the lines first. It took me a while to see the E

  • Doug

    I saw just the lines first then I read your explanation and saw the letter E. Now I cant see the lines only the E

    The apple core/two faces reminded my of the vase/two faces.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carlo-Miguel-Delos-Angeles/100000740350035 Carlo Miguel Delos Angeles

    i can see the E fast on the first look and the 2 faces looking each other :)

  • http://yahoo.com Myles Towler

    if you look closely at the apple you will see another set of faces twords the bottom

  • Katleen

    I didn’t see an “E” and I had to read the description to understand the lines and finally see it!!! o_0
    I see both the face and the apple remains at once.

  • llaa51

    damn i totally cannot see an E! how do many of you actually see it immediately?

    • diane

      I cant see it eather.

  • jazz

    the first thing i saw was random lines

  • chris

    I saw a maze rather than an E, and both faces and an apple.

  • Corvette

    It is said that not seeing the “E” right away, your brain is thinking with its “verbal” side. The opposite is for those that see it right away, your brain is thinking with its “non-verbal” side. I could not see the “E” right away, I actually had to like move to one side of the screen to see it.

  • Corvette

    ^^ I knew that I had saved the website where i had read this information!


  • JayEvans

    All I can see are random lines

  • Jennifer

    I had to force myself to see the E , I had only seen the lines at first , until I read your description then had to try hard to see the E

  • eee efff geee

    when I first saw the E …….now i can’t make myself not see it O_O

  • Raluca

    I didn’t see the E until I read the description and the illusion was pointed out, now i can’t stop seeing the E

  • http://gmail.com kat

    the first 1 is e 3d the 2nd one is 2 heads.

  • anon

    @Raluca I did the same thing- read the comments till i found out what the first one is XD

  • yfhrtgjuf

    i didnt know hwat the first one was until i read it…and when he did i couldnt get the e our of my head…

  • http://www.gmail.com Trixy

    I didn’t see the E but I saw the apple then the faces quickly.

  • sam

    at first all i saw were random lines… until i read the description lol XD

  • jen

    it seems that most people didn’t see the E first, FAIL, lol :D Me neither. I didn’t even see the E after i read the description, then after looking at it for a while i realized the “E” in it :D the other one is just way too easy

  • rabbit

    I can’t see the, oh, nevermind, found the E now. :)

  • Swag

    I think that the 2nd shape is an apple, for it has a branch on it

  • christy502

    I didn’t (and don’t) see and “E” at all…I saw a maze. The faces/apple was an easy one.