Museum of Illusions, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
This new museum in Kuala Lumpur is dedicated to optical
illusions. Exhibits range from a vortex tunnel to a rotated room
to a bottomless pit. If you’re looking for something less
interactive, there are plenty of framed images that will play
tricks on your eyes while you try to figure them out.
Pictured above is the head on the platter exhibit where visitors
can experience the illusion of a hidden body. You can only truly
understand how it works after a visit to the museum.
People seem to love optical
There are the ones that make the rounds on the Internet -many of which end up
going viral -and the ones that are
created using just makeup.
And then there are the ones that you can actually visit IRL –
natural sites, museums, and tourist attractions.
We rounded up 17 of the best optical illusions worth traveling
for, from a mirror maze in California to an infinite tunnel of
books in China to a gravity hill in Scotland. Click through the slideshow above.
Yangzhou Zhongshuge, Yangzhou, China
Book worms will love this library and store in China.
One of its rooms boasts black mirrored floors and curved shelves
that reach up to the ceiling, creating the illusion that this
“tunnel” of books stretches on indefinitely.
Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, Edinburgh, Scotland
Pretty much every exhibit in this museum is dedicated to optical illusions. There’s
everything from the shrinking room (pictured above) to the
mirrors maze and vortex tunnel.
The shrinking room is commonly known as an Ames Room, named after
American ophthalmologist Adelbert Ames, Jr., who created the
first such room in 1946. When seen from a certain viewpoint
(through a pinhole), the room appears cubic, even though it’s
actually shaped like a trapezoid, meaning its walls slant outward
and its floor is on an incline. The room’s far left corner is
lower than the near right corner, which is why someone standing
in one corner looks bigger than someone standing in another
corner. This is also why someone in the room appears to be
shrinking as they walk across the room.
here to see what it’s like to visit the trippy attraction.
Pedra do Telégrafo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Tourists who take photos at Brazil’s Pedra do Telégrafo look like
they’re risking their lives, but in reality, they’re only
standing a mere three feet or so off the ground.
However, if you frame the photo just right, you’ll be able to get
the cliff and the ocean below, but not the ground underneath the
cliff, creating the illusion that you’re on the edge of a major
Click here to see what it’s like to
visit this popular Instagram spot.
Lake Sørvágsvatn (Lake Leitisvatn), Faroe Islands
Known as the largest lake in the Faroe Islands -an archipelago
consisting of 18 islands located between Iceland and Norway –
Lake Sørvágsvatn looks like
it’s sitting high above the ocean.
That’s because, when taken from this angle, photos of the lake
make it seem as if the lake is level with the 328-foot cliff
that’s facing the camera. In reality though, the lake is only
about 98 feet above sea level.
Chicago Magic Lounge, Chicago, Illinois
The Chicago Magic Lounge features
food, drinks, and of course, magic shows galore.
However, even the venue will trip you up – visitors enter through
what looks like an ordinary laundromat, eventually finding
themselves in an art-deco-style theater. And the bathroom
presents what looks like a massive hole in the floor, ready to
take you to a different world. This illusion is created in much
the same way as the paintings in Seoul’s Trickeye Museum.
The Mystery Spot, Santa Cruz, California
Described as a “gravitational anomaly,” the
Mystery Spot sits in California’s Redwood Forest. The tourist
spot challenges basic laws of gravity and physics; objects roll
uphill and visitors lean over their toes without falling over.
The explanation behind this
illusion is two-fold. The Mystery Spot sits in a particular part
of the Redwood Forest where the trees grow crooked, creating an
environment that is titled. The spot’s wooden house is also
slanted. Visitors mistakenly use this house and the surrounding
environment to judge movement – instead of the horizon – which is
what causes their misperceptions.
Amanohashidate, Kyoto, Japan
Amanohashidate means “bridge to heaven” in Japanese, but
what’s more interesting than this Kyoto landmark’s name is the
way in which visitors view it. The sandbar, which stretches two
miles into Miyazu Bay, is best looked at upside down, sticking
your head through your legs.
You’ll see the bridge as a dragon flying into heaven if you look
at it this way, and legend has it, doing so will bring you good
Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze, San Francisco, California
Located on San Francisco’s Pier 39, this black-light-lit maze is quite the challenge, and
probably one of the only places you’ll ever be able to find
yourself in two places at once.
Mirrors don’t absorb light, so when they’re
placed on a wall, they render that wall invisible. Because a
mirror maze features mirrors on almost every wall, visitors have
a hard time telling what is actually a wall and what isn’t,
causing them to bump into their own reflection.
Visitors can spend hours trying to make it through the maze,
bumping into their own reflections.
Rakotzbrücke (Devil’s Bridge), Gablenz, Germany
Built in the second half of the 19th century, the stunning
Rakotzbrücke gets its second
name from an old legend claiming that dangerous bridges such as
this one were built by the devil.
When viewed on a calm day, when the Rakotzsee below is still, it
looks as if the bridge creates a perfect circle, thanks to its
reflection in the water.
Hoober Stand, Wentworth, England
The Hoober Stand was built in the mid 18th century to honor
Thomas Watson Wentworth, who
fought alongside King George II in the Jacobite Rebellion.
Although it looks relatively plain from the outside, the stand is
in the shape of a tapering pyramid with a hexagonal lantern on
top. The tower’s angles not only create the illusion that it’s
toppling over, but they also make it seem like the lantern moves
depending on where it’s viewed from.
For example, in the photo above, the lantern looks like it’s
situated to the left of the tower’s center, even though it sits
squarely in the middle.
Trickeye Museum, Seoul, South Korea
This isn’t your average museum where you simply look at the
paintings on display. Visitors here interact with them.
The artists whose work is featured in Seoul’s Trickeye Museum use a
technique known as “trompe l’oeil,” which means “deceive
the eye” in French. The technique uses perspective and specific shading
techniques to create the illusion that 2D images are actually
3D, making them seem like they’re popping out of the painting
into real life.
SLS Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
Most casinos are known for being over the top, but SLS takes it to the next level
with the large LED screen that sits above its bar. The screen,
which boasts more than two million LED lights, makes images come
to life in a shockingly realistic way. Anything from a rubber
duck to a giant face have looked down on bar visitors in the
Pictures don’t do the illusion justice though, watching it is much more
Electric Brae, Ayrshire, Scotland
This gravity hill in Scotland is
sure to stump anyone who looks at it. The road, located alongside
a cliff, appears to be going uphill when it’s really going
downhill and vice versa.
Therefore, a car without its brakes on will look as if it’s
rolling uphill, pulled by some unseen force. For years, people
thought that this unseen force was electricity, hence the hill’s name.
In reality though, gravity hills are optical illusions, created
when the horizon is obstructed. Without a horizon as a reference,
it becomes hard for viewers to determine which way a hill is
Spook Hill, Lake Wales, Florida
Similar to Electric Brae, Spook Hill is another gravity
hill that perplexes viewers. But instead of electricity being the
force behind what seems like an uphill pull, locals say it’s the
spirit of either an alligator or a Native American chief.
The story goes that the chief fought the alligator in an effort
to stop it from terrorizing his land. Both died in the battle on
top of this very hill, hence why their spirits are said to haunt
Moncton Magnetic Hill, New Brunswick, Canada
Although Moncton Magnetic Hill doesn’t
have a legend behind it like Spooky Hill or Electric Brae, cars
here roll uphill in the same way.
This hill has been a tourist destination for more over 80 years,
and during peak seasons, the hill charges
3D Zebra Crossing, London, England
Introduced in February 2019, this 3D zebra
crossing not only stumps pedestrians, but also forces
motorists to slow down. Located on St. John’s Wood High Street,
which is near the famed Abbey Road, the crossing was created
after concerns of road safety from residents.
The 3D crossing is reportedly the UK’s first, but
it’s a trend that’s been popping up in other cities like
Ísafjörður, Iceland, and New Delhi, India.
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