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By on March 11, 2009, with 171 Comments

I have found something interesting today. As you see, the continuous animation on your left, pictures three grayish rods traveling up and down – indefinitely. Optical illusion produced here, makes my brain think the rods are also traveling to the right, altogether moving in a zigzagged direction. Am I the only one experiencing this? Do I have your support, or have I gone completely mad? Please tell me. Those black and white tiles located inside our little rods, surely appear often! It can’t be they are there by mistake. It’s funny how often we meet them. They were also present in our last illusion (funny building), if I’m not mistaken. Hope someone creates similar animations using this technique – there could be few more interesting results, don’t you think? Credit for this animation goes to Scott Henderson from Cool Illusions.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t worry, you’re not going mad! I’m having the same experience :)

    so unless I’m going mad to, you’re doing fine ;)


  • Anonymous

    Thats spooky!

    Your not going mad, i can see it too!

  • Anonymous

    Only up and down?! cool…

  • Anonymous

    All i know is that im trippiny

  • Anonymous

    lol… nice

  • dE

    If I look directly on the picture, I can’t see that they also moving to the right, but while I was reading the text I saw it. It’s strange, but somehow I can only see it if I look right next to the picture…

    sorry for my bad english…

  • Anonymous

    Wow! It really seems that the rods would be traveling to the right too (:

    P.S. Keep up the good work! ;>


  • nud

    am i drunk… or is that moving up && down

  • Adam

    I only notice the illusion when I’m not looking directly at it. Nice though :)

  • Anonymous

    I see it! whoa! thats so cool! I’s not moving at all, yet it looks like it moves in a zigzag pattern.

  • Anonymous

    If you’ve gone mad, so have I! I never dreamed that they weren’t moving horizontally until I read your description. Even then I had to look at it awhile until I was convinced. Very cool.

  • Anonymous

    I can only see it if I don’t look directly at it, like when i’m reading the text beside it I see it.

  • Anonymous

    If you look at the rods directly they are just moving up and down, but if you look at the right edge of the image they are moving all over the place. :-)

  • Anonymous

    That is so awesome! By far the best one lately.

  • Anonymous

    i definitely see it too!

    pretty cool!

  • Anonymous

    It definitely does look like they’re moving to the right, more so when the rods are changing direction at the top of bottom of the screen. I come to your site pretty much everyday. Keep it up!

  • Anonymous

    Gah, that’s wierd. If you look away, and watch the rods out of the corner of your eye, it enhances the effect.

  • Anonymous

    wow haha thats weird i see it

  • CareBear

    Boy, that ranks right up there with perpetual motion.

  • crazyyboyy

    I agree that they look like they are zigzagging its so wierd on the eyes. Great job with the website keep it up

  • Michael

    SOOOOOO COOOOOL….I like a lot. I must be trippin son

  • Strawberry

    I’m not even sure what you want us to see here, but it hurtds my eyes and i have a headache. So, tell you what. I’ll come back aftr my headache’s all gone,and then i’ll read your intro again.

  • Tysss

    hehe, you’re not mad :D or maybe we both are, because I see that effect too! =) Very nice illusion!!

  • Matt

    I totally see it too! Thats crazy.

  • Anonymous

    Yep, you’re the only one…

  • Anonymous

    Whoa. That’s strange.

  • miss beth

    very nice!

  • Anonymous

    I also thought they were moving diagonally until I realised the distance between the left side of them and the left end of the square wasn’t changing.

  • tom

    Strangely, I thought thats what was happening on my google homepage – but seems to lose the effect with the block of text next to it :s

  • Josh

    Wow I luv it!

  • Anonymous

    I just got it! the 3 rods are moving up and down but because the black tiles move to the right it looks like the rods are moving in a zig-zag pattern! Very neat!

  • Anonymous

    don’t worry. you aint mad. It’s awesome.

  • Morgan the Muse

    Yeah, they do appear to be moving to the right.

  • Anonymous

    I see it too, they move to the right… sort of

  • Michael

    that’s ‘cos they’re like arollin’ to tha right (and not so much them being black white patterned)

  • Anonymous

    Well if you look a few cm to the lower right it looks like the bars are zig zagging up and down towards the right. So I don’t think your going mad

  • Edgar

    Your not crazy; I see the same thing.

  • DeathRex

    I normally don’t comment here, even though I do love all the illusions. I would have to say that this one is one of my favorites, it will be very interesting to see what others do with it.

  • Rick Bigelow

    The effect is better while using peripheral(sp?) vision. I wonder if it would be as effective if the scrolling dots in the columns were synchronized of if it’s the fact that there not why this works? I also can’t help but wonder if they were long boxes with two colors opposite sides?

  • Banksy

    until i read the discription i took it as fact that the rods were zig-zagging. u rnt going mad at all. or maybe i am as well :S

  • Gagandeep


  • Mindfreak

    I see it too! That’s really cool.

  • seeing things

    support from me

  • Anonymous

    it is just you

  • Anonymous

    very nice illusion!
    bigger pictures are better but nice illusion!
    go on like this!

  • Anonymous

    Wow!! That’s good! I wouldn’t have guessed they were only moving up and down if I hadn’t of read the description. Well done.

  • Jaime

    I see the bars going right too. I’m sorry if my english isn’t good enought, I’m spanish. It’s a courious optical illusion.

  • Bas Geldhof

    i like this one dude ;)

  • Crystal Xizzle

    This one is cool. I like that it’s so simple. It does look like the rods are moving right, but they’re really just going up and down. I think they’re spinning from left to right, but I wonder if that can change like the spinning girl…

  • Anonymous

    w00t first comment!

    That’s awesome. If you look closely, though, you can see that before the rods move upward again, they move back to the corner. It’s very subtle though, so you wouldn’t know unless you’ve seen this kind of thing before.

  • david in SoCal

    Too cool! IMHO, one of the best yet

  • Anonymous

    Um, i think your going crazy. all i see is some black/white/grey bars going up and down

  • allison

    they look like they are moving to the right but they are just moving up and down how cool is that!!!!

  • Lucydog2

    I get it. The rods don’t move at all like side to side they olny move up and down…The things moving make it look like the patteren you see….All this from a 12 year old in REACH

  • Michaela

    At first glance it appears that the rods are travelling to the right but after a closer look you will see that the distance between the rods and the left wall never changes. It is because of the circulating black and white squares that make it appear like it is moving to the right.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, it seems as if the vertical bars are also going horizontally in a zig-zag motion. Thats really cool

  • Anonymous

    It IS going in zig-zag!!
    Or I’m going crazy too.

  • Michaela

    If you line up your mouse with any of the rods’ sides then you will see that they aren’t moving.

  • Jenni

    it happened to me to :)
    great illusions i have them as widget thanks for everything :)

  • meh

    it almost seems to be going in a circle

  • Anonymous

    no youre not the only that experience that thing haha i do too! nice! coll ilusion=)

  • MacKenzie A

    If you’ve gone mad, we are in the boat together!

  • CurlyfrySC’s Collage

    yes, they look as though they are moving to the right but they are indeed staying in the same place moving up and down, only.

  • James

    been checkin this website every day for over a year first time comment nice illusion this is one we havent seen before .. deffo some scope for it to be developed. keep up the good work mate!!!!!!!!

  • Louie

    It looks like the bars are moving sideways when in fact they are only moving up and down. Pretty cool.

  • Anonymous

    Good one….I put paper across two just to confirm they are only going up and down, but the brain tells me they are travelling across the page…..I like it.

  • Tripudelops

    you aint crazy, i see it moving too.


  • Anonymous

    don’t worry, I see it too. It’s because your brains tell you that the moving of the tiles are because they are “rolling” over the grey underground.

  • Anonymous

    Ouch… that makes my brain hurt.

  • Ace14502

    1st comment. i have been a fan of this site for a long time now but this is my first comment. I see the illusion, your not crazy. I always try to figure out the illusion b4 i read the text and i looked at the picture and im thinking to myself, ok 3 bars moving up and down and a lil to the left. good stuff. keep up the good work

  • Anonymous

    You’re not the only one! the effect increases when I’m reading the text next to the animation.

    Grtz, Jamin

  • Jason

    Wow, no you’re not going crazy. At first I thought for sure they were zig-zagging; but then I remembered what site they were posted on and watched closer. Excellent illusion!

  • Someone who luvs optical illusions

    Don’t worry Vurdlak, I see them going diagonial too. You’re not going mad.

  • Casey/East Vancouver

    You’re completely insane. However, the rods do appear to be moving to the right due to the rotating black and white shapes within the rods. The rods as a whole are in fact moving in only on dimension; up and down.

  • Bini Chan

    Nope your not going mad, i can see it too, infact if you stare at it long enough they seem to fo the other way too =)

  • ray

    This is the first time I have been to your site and I love it. I actually had to take a pen and hold to my screen to make sure the rods weren’t zigzaging, lol very cool

  • Anonymous

    i see it and that’s awesome!

  • Anonymous

    I was surprised, when I read your description, because that’s when I first realised that the rods aren’t moving in a diagonal.

  • wildswish

    You are not crazy. They do appear to move to the right but they are only going up and down.

  • Anonymous

    Am I first?
    Anyway yeah I see them moving in a zigzag pattern as well.

  • Chris

    You have my support. The effect becomes much stronger though if you focus beside the picture. For example on your text

  • first comment

    cool…first comment (YAY!)
    and i c the illusion too
    at first i thought that it was zigzagging and it would go back and forth
    maybe im going crazy too…

  • beto_chan_8

    it pretty cool but i ve seen better

  • Anonymous

    very nice !!!

  • Luca


    Anyway, ya, i do see them moving to the right, but they really aren’t…


  • Ashley_magic

    yep… you’re crazy! lol just kidding… The rods are just traveling up and down though… seeya!

  • Aaron

    Wow, thats a great illusion. Love the site, check it every day. Keep up the good work.

  • Bodhi

    i totally thought it was moving to the right, but then read the paragraph, and realized that they were stationary. Great site, great illusion.

  • Caleb

    You’ve got my support, Vurdlak! I could have sworn the my Vista gadget was experiencing an error when this one popped up!

  • Anonymous

    your site is awesome!!! it seems that they only start to travel to the right when they hit the top or bottom of their vertical travel.

  • Sophiaa

    Oh yeah, i see that, ur not going bonkers lol.
    but that is so annoying, while i read it it see it moving zigzagged out of the corner of my eye, but wen i actually look at it, I don’t see it as much.

  • Zoe

    Oh, that’s sooo weird!

  • Anonymous

    Cool, they do appear to go forward.

    Always fun to guess what the illusion is before reading the text. This time I was able to guess correctly. Maybe, sometime try posting an illusion without telling people what it is, and let people guess.

  • Anonymous

    there only going up and down- not in a zig-zag.

  • Bobby

    No, you aren’t mad. I see it too. The effect increases greatly when I see it out of the corner of my eye. Try it! And… Am I first?

  • Anonymous

    It seems like moving right because the patterns are going right. But really if you look to the left side and look at the left side of the left “pole”, you can see it’s parallel and is going up and down.

  • Vitor

    awsome!!! pretty cool!!! ;)

  • Ryan

    Hey, first of all thanks for all these cool illusions. They entertain me on my igoogle home page everyday :-)

    This one is really weird, if I stare straight at it and focus, they only move up and down. The real illusion begins when I focus on a different part of the screen but watch the animation in my perferal vision. When I do that, it looks as if they are moving diagonally up and down to the right. Weird eh?

  • Gary

    I almost didn’t click on your link, as I didn’t see any illusion. I saw 3 rods traveling up and down in a zig zag pattern…OOPS!

  • Anonymous

    I agree, I see them moving in a zigzag path.

    1st? 2nd?

  • Pier Paolo

    very nice!
    rods seem to go to the right :P

  • The Roc

    This is my first comment here. These ‘black and white square’ (or other shaped) illusions are quite grouse (cool). It has been known for some time that these combinations of black and white affect how they are perceived by the brain.

    You may or may not already know that this principle was used by navies in WWI and WWII, painted various warships this way as it was confusing to submariners viewing such a ship through a periscope – the viewer had difficulties determining the direction of travel and distance of the intended target. Rushing the shot probably meant a miss while taking the time to work out the illusion meant that the periscope was visible longer than needed and increased the chance of detection, something that is a main principle of submarine warfare (at least until a torpedo is fired).

    It also affected viewing from a surface vessel as well!

    Thank-you for these, please keep em coming!

  • Gavin

    its happening to me to! that’s cool!

  • Mikari

    It does look like that so you’re not the only one to see ^_^

  • Anonymous

    Yea its actually prrety simple and easy to see. keep up the good work

  • Anonymous

    Yes, you have gone completely mad! Just kidding. They seem to drifting to the right to me as well. First time commenting for me, longtime fan of your site.

  • Dalixam

    I thought: what’s special about that… they’re just spinning around, going from one side to the other….

    Took a few seconds to realize I was wrong :)

  • JDHall

    Totally agree. IT appears as if it were a checkered cylinder rolling to the left.

    PS: Love the site!

  • Sean

    Yah… they do look like moving to the right! Cool!

  • Anonymous

    same to me.. the brain has to deal with 2 movements at the same time, trying to combine them into a non existing one !..

    The illusion is even more obvious if you dont look the image directly, but look at the text beside.

  • Anonymous

    ahh this one makes me feel nauseous

  • sardee6

    What do you mean about the black and white tiles?

  • Anonymous

    Oh, i love this one!
    Took me a while to catch on. :)

  • Anonymous

    Great illusion, works better if you look indirectly.

  • Anonymous

    hmmm… guess I’m the odd ball out. All I saw was three rods moving up and down with black and white checkboard pattern spinning on the rods. I was wondering what was so special about them.

    But if I look at them out of the corner of my eye I see what you see, so now I understand.

    I always have been the oddball out though… in everything, so it doesn’t surprise me to much.

    Maybe it didn’t work at first because I used to stare at illusions alot when I was little….?

  • Anonymous

    it appears that they are moving to the right, but that i the illusion! really they are just moving up and down. good illusion though! keep it up :)

  • Anonymous

    When i first looked at this I was wondering why they never hit the right side of the square….then i realised….d’oh!

  • Anonymous

    First time comment for me to
    Your site is always a good morning start with interesting mind bubbles!

    I guess this one also works whith fooling your brain
    cilinders that rotate on a suface usually are roling… so moving…

    You can help your brain get the real picture by focusing on the left cilinder, that one is close enough to the edge to see there’re not moving right, only up and down

  • y-man

    So I see a small jump after the figures went up and back down. Probably my mind triwes to connect the place I should see them and the place they really are…

  • Anonymous

    not my fave but pretty good!

  • Idoru Knits

    The weird thing is I KNOW they’re only going up and down but I still see them as drifting towards the right!

  • Anonymous

    It seem like there moving in a zig-zag like you described but if you focus carefully you see the rods are just moving up and down

  • Anonymous

    I found it worked more when I wasn’t looking directly at it. If I kept my eyes on your blog next to the illusion – they definately appeared to be bouncing over to the right and then back again.

  • Tony Barnes

    If looked at directly, doesn’t do much. Look to the side so periphery vision take control and they move a lot more

  • farage5


    While I was reading the paragraph, it seems to move right and when I looked at the animation, it started to move right again, and I was thinking, when will they get all the way to the right? Then, I realized the illusion.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I also see the effect, it’s the strongest when you don’t focus on it.

  • Bonnise

    …amazing… I thought that it was just rods going from left to right also. Now I see that it is actually just panes of color grouped up and moving simotaneously before going back to the starting point.

    Nice Illusion

  • Catherine V

    Yup! Its defo a good one. More like this would be cool!

  • Daniel

    this is a really good one. they’re not going to right at all are they? anyway, this is a pretty original one. sometimes u just have illusions that are exactly like ur previous ones. u r still doing great! long time fan as well.

  • Tyler Goll

    I love this!

    Please keep up the good work, I love seeing all the interesting illusions you find and/or are sent, it’s really a nice little mental break from my work day.


  • Anonymous

    Sometimes I think these illusion are stronger than LSD…
    It is just ultra real.

    man, a trip is 16 hours, this is 60 seconds and you get a brain damage, too!

    Wow, great site with great Grafix

    Fix me now

  • Jules

    Really cool! :D And I totally see the zig zag thing too, don’t worry. Keep up the awesomeness!

  • Tamira

    I can see it too… cool!

  • me

    I can also see the weird zig-zag effect. It’s amazing that they are just moving up and down! This is soooo cool!

  • SYED

    I got fooled when I first saw, and I managed to fool my little brother, nice.

  • Snowman

    What it is is the fact that the checkers are changing so that gives it the ILLUSION that it is moving to the right

  • Jessica


  • OuRaNoS

    Whoah! I got them to reach the other side of the image. Cool.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe were all going mad!

  • Anonymous

    Please place some patterns on the surround, varying size, orientation, even more moving them with differing directions and speed. This will make a decent study with which you can publish in a major international, peer reviewed journal, before then, you may want to do some literature review whether this is a new illusion or not.

    This effect can be understood in terms of local-global motion paradigm and foveal vs. peripheral motion. In the latter paradigm, I can tell one thing: localization of feature extracted in the periphery is less accurate than it is on fovea.

  • MikeMolto

    I think, that our ancestors had a big evolutionary advantage, if their peripheral vision was very sensitive to moving objects, so that they could notice predators earlier than others. The price we have to pay for it (beeing fooled by an optical illusion that is simulating motion) seems not too high, regarding that if they hadn’t developed this sensitivity, we would not be here…

  • Anonymous

    In general, a moving stimulus on stationary background causes urgency for the visual system to repond quickly even if it is presented on fovea, because it introduces a high level of contrast which readily calls immediate attention for further processing. High contrast in brightness, color or other features means it has a high level of energy, variations or uncertainty in the region of stimulus. It could be a predator or a prey. Perhaps, peripheral vision may have been equipped to detect this high spatial or temporal contrast stimulus rather than to provide details. In fact, receptors on the periphery are far larger than those on fovea, not well suited to extracting accurate location information.

  • Anonymous

    I see it when I dont look directly at the image (like when I read the text right to the image)

  • Anonymous

    i guess u r mad. i only c 2 lines going up and down. u r very mad.

  • BlinkingPingPong

    Bzzz… I suppose if you move those rollers, and change the direction of the rolling, it’ll be the exact opposite. Illusion, man! Illusion!!!

  • colbycfobrien

    You aren’t going mad. It DOES look that way!

  • a non e mous

    the rods seem to move to the rite because they are spinning to the rite

  • stuffYstuff711

    yea if you look away from it they look like they are moving to the right

  • wil

    its looks like there moving right but tehre not. They arent moving at all, the screen is. if you look closely you can see the the paterns are changing. this makes them appear moveing but there not

  • Andrewfff

    what works is just tell yourself they are spinning columns and it stops moving!

  • Plunki

    the rods are actually moving up and down

    • happydoodle

      argh i m so frustrated looking at this!

  • meself

    well actually the middle one has three row`s once in awhile….if ya look closly

  • kay

    dont worry they look like they are moving to the right for me too :)

  • Nikki


  • Yep

    They look like while they’re moving up and down, they move to the right. But it’s just up and down. Since the black and white squares on the rods moving up and down are moving right, it appears as if the entire thing is moving to the right.

  • Rachdian

    nicely and good coseptual round a culture i said

  • http://kazimirmajorinc.blogspot.com Kazimir Majorinc

    You have my support!

  • kieran

    the background is moving faster than the bars but the bars are moving slower than the background.

  • coo zero

    an animated gif

    • SwishSwishStab

      We know its an animated gif but the rods seem to be moving to the right as well as up and down. but they clerly are not.

  • saket

    rods r moving up n down

  • Bill Clinton

    If you look at the image with your peripheral vision, you will be able to experience the Zig Zag Motion.

  • ME

    The rods are only moving up and down but the black and white tiles make it seem as if they are moving in a zig zag.

  • Ash.

    Its not just you, I see it to and its weird. >.<

  • umm…

    actually the motion of the black and white tiles make it look like it goes right

  • lasya

    this is gorgeous!!! wow!!! he is right it is like the rods are moving right to left

  • BooBoo

    The truth is, that the rods are just moving up and down.

  • sporks

    it also looks like they are rotating o.O

  • Rexson


  • Donna m

    Yes it’s going to its right, but truthfully it’s just going up n down