Lucifer’s Matches Optical Illusion

Week ago, Deceptology blog brought another hard-to-believe brain teaser, based on a relatively known type of old-school optical illusion.

What you should do is check out the the two matchboxes on your right. I can’t imagine how capable the person trying to persuade you into believing this should be, but what I can tell you is how it would be a perfectly sane claim. I’ll take it for granted you trust me on this one, specially if you take into account length and nature of our mutual friendship.

If all this still isn’t enough, let me convince you by sharing this strong proof, one you won’t be able to ignore. This simple animated .gif below, shows in practice how both of the matchbox sides are actually identical. My intuition tells me our brain prevents us to see them as they are, based on the depth it perceives, just like we explained few days ago in “Sphere Brothers” article.

51 Replies to “Lucifer’s Matches Optical Illusion”

    1. You’re right! I just tried that with my ipod touch. When you put it in those two possitions and compare, one way does make it look longer. I wonder if Apple has subtly used this effect in marketing at all…

  1. I don’t know, for sure what my brain is seeing.I don’t know whether I’m seeing an optical illusion or a plain ‘ol trick. I’m curious to see what others “see”……….

  2. I don’t understand this one. Looking at both, I could tell right away they are the same matchbox with one on the side… I’ve liked the other illusions but this one just didn’t work for me.

  3. I actually just saw two identical matchboxes until you pointed out that both of the matchbox sides are identical…after that the one to the left looked longer.

  4. I take it back. I believe the illusion, too, is badly designed. As it is now, the left matchbox’s face IS larger than the right one’s.
    Anyone else, please confirm.

  5. wait…they’re supposed to look different? I clicked the link because they looked the same to me and I couldn’t figure out what the illusion was…my eyes are broken?

  6. I don’t get it. They both looked identical to start with. The only illusion I see is the bird, at one angle, looking like a goat, which is the animal that the devil is portrayed as. Well, either that or a serpent.

  7. Actually the labels are not exactly the same size. (Not on my monitor anyway.) The astonishing thing is that, when I put a rule up to each side of each box, the horizontal box measures slightly shorter, and taller, than the vertical box. Exactly the opposite of the way the illusion makes them appear to me.

    1. “The Boxes Are Not The Same The Striker Strips On The Wrong Side”

      A friend brought back a box of these matches from Holland in 2007- and there are strikers on both sides of the box.

  8. Actually the animation is not convincing. The last frame of the flying image looks stretched.

    So I prefer to look at this thing by forcing my brain to ignore everything but the image in question.

  9. ??? I dont get it. 2 matchboxes the same size are shown and the top side of the left one flies on top of the right one to confirm it, where is the illusion?

  10. What is going on here? They are not the same image, not the same width, and not the same height (Thanks Snipping Tool and MSPaint). And they don’t look the same.

    What is the illusion?

  11. What am I missing? The two faces are not the same. Hold up a piece of paper to the corner near the “R”. The version on the left is an obtuse angle while the other version is acute. The ‘comparison’ just changes in the third frame. Or am I missing something?

  12. This is the exact same thing you perceive with your widescreen TV. It’s due to the fact of your eyes orientation. the fact that you have 2 eyes on a horizontal plane making one picture makes when you watch your tv upright look relatively square with just slight rectangulation. Then if you lay down sideways the TV looks very long as your eyes have no way to make the TV seems more square. Try it the next time your watching.

  13. Cool! I always believed that. I love illusions.
    Somehow, on my school, this site is blocked, and categorised ‘Games’. :(

  14. The notes for this are very badly written. Only by going to the “old school optical illusion” page do you find out the illusion is that the matchboxes are the same size, when they don’t look it.

    Actually, to me they do look the same size, in spite of the false perspective, which is the point of the diagram.

  15. If you look carefully at the box lying down you see that the ‘face’ image is rather badly seeping into the strike area at the top right hand corner (the yellow disguises where the natural line is).

    This is only noticable when the gif starts its ‘proof’ run – the incorrect line is covered suddenly by the correct one which shows it to be false, and blends into the yellow.

    This is how the artist intends to fool us, by manipulating the perceived angle and stretching the proportion in our head to think it is narrower and longer (which overall actually it IS if you take the whole box into account) – but the front image being translated IS actually probably exactly the same size.

    Just not executed very well.

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