The Shimmering Toilet Dots

Here’s another submission I overlooked back in 2008. This one was sent in by Andrew Griffiths, who has seen this type of illusion hundreds of times around the net, but never in real life! I, myself couldn’t think of a better example to showcase, than a regular place I visit – a toilet! Remember when doing our duty, most of the time we let our thoughts slip by, and before you know it – illusions start appearing in front of our eyes! The thing is… do you see all those gray spots appearing at the white intersections below? They aren’t really there (just so that you know)…

38 Replies to “The Shimmering Toilet Dots”

    1. It’s a very strange effect your eyes create by themselves. Your eyes are tempted to see something white whiter if there is something dark next to it. So a white paper seems whiter if you’re holding a black paper next to it. In this particular illusion the crossings of the white lines have less blue surrounding them then the other parts of the lines. So the crossings appear to be darker and the other parts of the lines appear to be whiter, because there is more blue next to them.

  1. Another illusory feature of this particular submission, which I discovered accidentally, is a strange shrinking and broadening of the squares when you scroll up and down repeatedly.

  2. I think it’s a double optical illusion.
    When you scroll with the mouse, it’s like if the door become bigger when you scroll up and smaller when you scroll down.

  3. I see black lines running diagonal through the blue tiles…am I the only one? If I look at the center of the picture the gray dots faintly appear but disappear when I try to look at one directly; like everyone else I wonder what causes that.

  4. If you want to see something really strange, look at the above picture whilst scrolling the screen up with a wheel mouse, you get the effet that the picture is moving away from you

  5. Also… If you are on the toilet and you start staring at the ground (We got gray tiles) de lines between the tiles start to dissapper and it becomes 1 big gray floor. Then when you blink it’s gone

  6. I think its happening because the tiles are dark and there are 4 corners sorrounding the white bit. I mean, what happens when you mix white and black? It goes light, or in other words, gray. See my point?

  7. Thanks for posting my illusion!

    As to why it happens:

    For years it was widely believed that the illusion worked because of ‘lateral inhibition’ – the term used to describe the complex way in which the cells on the back of the retina respond to areas of black and white. There is, however, little point in explaining the theory. Why? Because a few years ago it was shown to be completely untrue, and thus the explanation for the illusion remains a mystery…

    (from here:

  8. i just wanted to commend you on ab fab job your doing mr v. i cant spell your name anyway i find you extremely fascinating and very talented it takes allot of talent and a ingenu ity to create a work of a masterpeice on this web site i feel as though your like a di vini and or mattese paiting hanging in the louve our truly an inspiration to us all on this site your a true artist and a wonderful talent human being i just wanted to let you know that god bless your hard work and your a genius nadia love always your canadian friend

  9. This is so old, actually I remember seeing this kind of “illusion” in the back of a cereal box when i was 10 ,and it didn’t even amuse me then.

    1. Comments like this aggravate the piss out of me. If you don’t care for the illusion, or are not impressed by it, fine… but do you have to piss on everyone else’s parade over it? If you are so unimpressed by the illusions, why keep coming back again and again?

  10. This is a serious case of illusiongitus that we all have… after looking at this site all day we start seeing illusions were there are none… there is no cure known to man at this time but whoever sees the dots please donate to the illsiongitus resurce, only $20 a day and you can help our cause… thank you

  11. another optical illusion! (only people with mouses that have a scroller) if you scroll down from the tiles picture, it seems that the tiles get smaller
    try it!

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