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When Even A Double-Take Isn't Enough (20 Photos)

Have you ever seen a picture that made you look twice? Or three times? Images aren't always what they appear to be at first glance, but that doesn't make you stupid (unless you are). Even a regular old flower can be made into an optical illusion (a visual perception that is different from reality) with the right lighting and angle. If it makes you feel any better, your eyes are fine- it's your brain that's being fooled. Some brains just take longer than others to figure things out (no judgment here).

Information from the eye travels through the optic nerve where it is then interpreted by the brain. In other words, you definitely can't see without your eyes, but you need your brain to figure out exactly what you're looking at. This is where it gets tricky, though.

Because we're looking at 2-dimensional photographs in a 3-dimensional world, our brains can be easily fooled. Think about how much visual stimuli you encounter over the course of a day! That's a lot of information to process, and sometimes our brains try to simplify these images with "shortcuts" (shadows, perspective, color and memory). Basically your brain can make you look like the fool that you probably are. Neat, right?

Just because you mistakenly took a picture of a snake for donuts doesn't mean you're an idiot, though. These things happen to the best of us. Here are 20 images to prove that things are not always as they seem.

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20 From KFC To Hollywood

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Who knew that fried chicken was so versatile? Fried foods really are the gift that keeps on giving.

This post proves that lighting, angling, and photoshop can fool anyone, because this piece of fried chicken looks EXACTLY like an explosion. Why in God's name is Hollywood spending all that money on special effects when fried chicken can do the job?! Apparently fried chicken is good for more than just heart disease and diabeetus! This is the way of the future. This fried chicken needs an agent if he hasn't got one already.

I'm kind of disappointed in my brain right now because normally I can ALWAYS identify food, no matter how people try and disguise it. I've eaten a good amount of fried chicken in my lifetime, but yet I was still tricked into seeing explosions. Clearly my visual cortex is a useless pile of shit. My brain still isn't 100% sure that it's looking at a piece of fried chicken right now. I think it's because my memory is telling me that a delicious, greasy piece of chicken should be eaten, but nobody's eating it. Cannot compute. Shutting down now. Probably won't be able to finish this article, so you're on your own.

19 Delicious

If you saw a large Philly cheese steak instead of an ancient mummy having an MRI, then congratulations, you're a fat-ass.

God help me, between the fried chicken in the previous post and this seemingly large cheese steak, I've reached peak levels of hunger and it's not even 11 a.m. You'd think that realizing this was ancient human remains would have killed my appetite, but NOPE. All I can think is that the meat looks kind of dry and needs some sauce. This is why I'm going to Hell, guys, and I'm dragging all of you down with me.

I find a small amount of comfort in the fact that I'm obviously not the only one who saw a large cheese steak here. I don't know what he's lying in, but it looks exactly like a hoagie roll filled with mozzarella cheese. See?! My brain still hasn't made sense of what is obviously a coffin or sarcophagus of some kind. This guy is probably judging me in the afterlife as I type this. I'm sure there's some kind of ancient curse awaiting sickos who mistake mummies for food, which means that I'm totally screwed. I'm still hungry, though, and Arby's makes a mean Philly cheesesteak.

18 Doggo Or Black Hole?

Aww. I'd drive my spaceship into every black hole in the universe if they all looked like this. I'm not even sure what kind of dog this is because he looks like a perfectly round puddle of ink with a face. No visible ears, legs or paws. The effect is amazingly cute. He looks like he's just happily melting into the floor (the light tile helps too). He better watch out- he's in danger of getting stepped on.

When I first came across this picture I wasn't sure what I was looking at (because dogs tend to have bodies). The adorable little doggo face didn't even register at first! Now that I see it I can't believe I overlooked it before! Normally I have laser vision when it comes to dogs- I can literally spot them a mile away. No matter how big the party is, if there's a doggo there that I can be friends with, I'm going to find it. Who the hell else am I going to talk to at a party? The answer is no one. I'm an introvert, so if I'm at a big party, then I'm suffering. No one understands that like a doggo.

17 Those Aren't Her Legs?!

Why did it take me so long to see that those were not actually her legs when my brain knew that those could not actually be her legs?

This one is wild, right? My eyes are tricking my brain into thinking that I'm looking at a pair of insanely skinny legs because that's where legs SHOULD be (and because the stripe down the side of her pants seems to be the exact same color as the floor surrounding her). The fact that her body is tilting slightly toward the front isn't helping, either. The optical illusion is so strong that I honestly had to MAKE myself see what was really there.

The best thing about this picture is that, unlike the fried chicken post, the illusion was completely unintentional. You don't need fancy lighting or Photoshop to trick the eye (or, more accurately, your brain). Sometimes your brain sees what it WANTS to see, but that's what makes these images so much fun. In this case, the logical part of your brain has to go to war with your visual cortex (the part of the brain that processes visual information). You know that her legs can't be that skinny so you have to make your brain see what's really there. Crazy, right? Brains are weird.

16 Half A Dog

You can't tell me this doesn't look like a dog that's been cut in half at first glance! I almost had a heart attack when I first saw this picture because that log is the exact same shade as that dog's back. I don't even know how that's possible, yet it is. I know his legs are on the other side of him, but the way he's twisting around to look at the camera almost makes it look like he's in on the joke. It looks like he's purposely trying to freak out his owner. Well played, doggo.

When I was 9-years-old I got an all-white Shih-Tzu puppy for Christmas and I remember it snowed soon after. My dad played this mean-ass trick on me by covering the dog with snow and having him leap out at me when he called me over "to look at something." I never even saw it coming. He blended right in and it looked like a white demon was coming out of the ground to drag me down to Hell. I swore I would never be fooled by a dog again, but this picture proved me wrong. These sneaky af dogs are going to be the death of me.

15 The Effects Of Booty Culture

Or if you’ve starred in “A Bug’s Life”

A post shared by MEME PAPI ✡️ (@davie_dave) on

This post wouldn't have even made the list back in the 1990's before "booty culture" was a thing. But now? All I can see is a big juicy booty. I guess I have the Kardashians to thank for that (and my own twisted mind).

I know this is supposed to be a wheelchair, but my brain is telling me it's a Kardashian. I'm finding it hard to convince my brain that I'm looking at a handicapped parking spot. God, forgive me. If I saw a Kardashian pull into this spot and hop out the car I'd be like, "looks legit" and I wouldn't even question her. Not that she would need her own parking spot, though. Does she even drive?

To be fair, most handicapped parking spots don't...look like this. Usually the wheel is outlined, not filled in. This just looks like a person with butt implants. I don't know who was in charge of marking this space, but they really should have looked at other handicapped symbols as a frame of reference. My brain is telling me this parking spot has been reserved for Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj, J-Lo, or Amber Rose. No flat-butts allowed in Hollywood these days, so it makes sense to me.

14 Nope, Not A Doggo

Nope, that's not a shades-wearing doggo, that's just the top of a woman's head. I know, not nearly as exciting as it could have been. Judging by her hairstyle I'd put this woman between 55-65 years old (give or take a few years).

You know your bangs are a little too teased up for 2018 when people mistake them for a dog snout. If she'd used a little less AquaNet then we wouldn't even be having this conversation! Her head looks so much like a dog that I would have probably made the mistake of petting her, and that would have embarrassed both of us.

It's weird that our brains tricked us into believing that this was a dog wearing sunglasses, especially since dogs don't even wear sunglasses. You'd think that we would have seen what was actually there, but I guess that's just a testament to how much the top of her hair looks like a dog head. Seriously, that thing looks like he just sniffed ten butts and marked every fire hydrant in town. He looks like he's about to buy the entire place a drink! Her dog hair doesn't just look like a dog, it even has its own personality. That dog looks proud AF.

13 A Trick Of The Tail

When I first saw this video I was absolutely convinced that this cat had the longest tail in the world. He just stands there without moving for a few seconds and makes it even more believable. Between the tail sticking straight up and the frozen expression on his face, he looks like he just got the fright of his life. Maybe he did. Maybe his owner is videoing him naked. Deep thoughts.

Can we just take a minute and talk about those curtains? I seriously thought it was just a large brown paper tarp of some kind because there is absolutely nothing decorative about them. No wonder he looks like he's standing in front of a wall! I've never seen such a beige living room. The fact that he's emerging from behind a curtain doesn't even compute until he slides back under them. If the chair had been slightly lighter it would have looked like he was floating in mid-air.

This cat looks like I do when I think someone's taking a picture but then I realize that they're actually taking a video. I hate it when that happens. You just stand there awkwardly until you realize you've been had. I feel your pain, kitty.

12 Hydrocephalus Cat

You had to look twice, didn't you? So did I. I actually scrolled past it on Reddit and had to scroll back up to get another look.

This cat looks like he's got a bad case of hydrocephalus (a condition characterized by head enlargement, caused by extra fluid on the brain). I feel like we should be taking him to the emergency vet immediately.

Our brains desperately want to put a head on the top of a cat, no matter how weird it looks.     Not only is his body perfectly lined up with the pillow, but his markings are even on point. Now that I'm looking at it again, it's clear that she's staged this shot with a pillow to make it funny. But the first time? I'm not going to lie, my brain totally accepted that this gigantic cartoonish looking pillow face was a reasonable head option. I should probably be worried about myself at this point. At least I knew to look twice, right? RIGHT?! I know I'm grasping at straws here. Clearly I'm losing the ability to process visual stimuli in a way that makes sense. I blame computers and the internet (and maybe low blood sugar).

11 A TeePee Or A Road?

I have so many questions about this picture. First of all, is this a real road? If so, what is its purpose? Why would anyone lay asphalt in the middle of nowhere? It's almost as if they created this thing JUST to trick the eye into thinking that it's a tent or a teepee. It's like a mirage/optical illusion all in one! Can you imagine if you were lost in the desert and saw this in the distance? You'd think you found civilization or a place to rest your head at night but NOPE. You'd still be stuck in the middle of nowhere with buzzards circling above your head. This is cruel, man.

At first glance my brain tells me that this must be a teepee because no other option makes sense. A u-turn (and a streetlight?) in the middle of the desert is madness. At least a teepee would make sense in this environment. Maybe this used to be part of Route 66? It reminds me of that scene in Cars when they're lying asphalt in Radiator Springs, but I'm not seeing any car shops or cars. I actually attempted to google "u-turn in the desert that looks like a teepee" for answers because I'm an idiot (and I have to hit 200 words for this entry), but I couldn't find anything. I guess it will forever remain a mystery.

10 Potato In The Sky

This really does look like one of those baby white potatoes you can buy at the supermarket in those little bags. You know the ones.

I had no idea Mercury looked like a potato, but now it's officially my favorite planet. Potatoes are hands down my favorite way to get fat. At first I didn't believe this was really a picture of the planet Mercury, but it actually checks out. This color and texture is kind of deceiving, however. Although the color of Mercury varies depending on how the atmosphere reflects and absorbs sunlight, it actually has a dark gray, rocky surface that's covered by a thick layer of dust. So much for it looking exactly like a smooth brown potato. It's still perfectly round and small, though. Mercury is actually the smallest planet in our solar system, in case you don't remember your third grade science facts (you're welcome). I'm still trying to figure out what the bare strip is- you know, the part that looks like it's been peeled. It's visible on some images but not visible on others and I can't find anything about it on the Internet. Let's just pretend that God got bored and started peeling Mercury for the hell of it. Yeah, let's go with that.

9 Which Is It?

If someone hadn't added the "ripped bus seat" caption I would have thought I knew exactly what I was looking at, but the caption made me look twice and now I don't even know anymore.

Out of all the misleading images I've posted, this one should win an award. I thought I had a handle on what it was, but then I zoomed in and I wasn't sure anymore. Is it a picture of a small boat in the middle of the ocean, or is it a rip in a bus seat? I seriously couldn't tell, so of course I looked it up. And it is (drumroll please)...

An aerial view of a boat from the sky, taken by a drone. I found the original poster on Reddit and he went into detail about the exposure and filter he used, so it seems like it's the real deal. He said he didn't even notice that it looked like a rip in a bus seat until someone on Instagram mentioned it. So which one did you see first? A rip in a bus seat or a small boat in the water? Maybe if you saw what was really there you were homeschooled or never took the bus to school. My brain was telling me that it was both, so I don't know what that means. It could only be one or the other.

8 Look Again

At first glance this looks like music notes drawn by someone with really bad handwriting, but NOPE. It's cross-country skiers captured with a drone, of course. Did you have to look twice?

I'm not sure who originally posted this image, but it's certainly made the rounds on Reddit. Two musicians on Reddit actually transcribed this into real sheet music and created an audio of it being played (because they clearly had a lot of time on their hands). Funnily enough, it doesn't sound that bad! I guess they can call it "An Ode To Cross Country Skiers?"

If the caption hadn't told me what I was REALLY looking at, I'm not sure I could have figured it out on my own. It's clear that it's not really music notes, but it's hard to tell what these tiny people are doing just by looking at their distorted shadows. Now that I know that they're skiing it seems like it should have been obvious, but when I first saw this picture there was no caption to help me out and I had no idea. I definitely recognized the notes, though, even though I knew they weren't really notes. I wasn't in band all those years for nothing!

7 Crowd Or Shaggy Carpet?

If it weren't for the lamp to the left, this would totally look like a crowd in an elaborate concert venue. The texture of the carpet looks exactly like a ton of people with their hands in the air! Is it the lighting? The angle? Obviously it's a combination of both, because that's nothing but shag carpet and the legs of a chair and no photoshop has been used.

Our brains want to make sense of shag carpet because who the hell has shag carpet anymore? Is it making a comeback and I just don't know about it? God, I hope not. That stuff is like a dirt trap.

Because our brains aren't used to us being eye-level with the carpet, we had to come up with something that made sense. Instead of carpet we saw a bunch of people having a good old time! At least we saw something fun, right? The real question is, why the hell was this picture taken in the first place? Who hangs out on the floor with their camera? Were they trying to accomplish the crowd-at-a-concert effect on purpose? If you're going to trick my brain then I at least want to know why. So many questions and I guess we'll never have the answers. Oh well.

6 News Worthy

This image fooled so many people that it even made the news! 

Texas photographer Micah Horn tweeted this picture of his cotton harvester at night, completely unaware that it was going to confuse everyone who saw it and become a viral sensation. This picture was just one of many of the farming pics he had taken that night, but it was the only one that mattered. The post literally exploded on social media because the harvester looks uncannily like a stage at a music festival and the cotton looks exactly like people. I still don't know how, but it's true.

Needless to say, people on Twitter were shook. It seems like everyone who saw it was fooled into believing it was a shot taken from this year's Glastonbury festival (or something similar).

As it turns out, cotton can be harvested at night. Brandon Brieger, Micah's friend and a cotton farmer from Ropesville, Texas, was the one behind the wheel. He told Buzzfeed News he shared his friend's photo "to educate people on modern-day farming practices." Well, job done, Brandon! Not only do we know that cotton can be harvested at night, but we also know that the brain is a filthy liar.

5 Large NOPE Found In Garage

No, you're not looking at a massive 9-legged tarantula, thank God. That's a circle of nine Ring Tailed Lemurs, although God knows what they're up to. If I walked in a garage and saw this I'd nope the hell out of there too.

I think the human brain has trained us to stay away from anything with a lot of legs (or anything that LOOKS like it has a lot of legs). It doesn't matter that this is actually a bunch of adorable lemurs, because my brain sees nothing but legs and it's screaming AH HELL NAW, even as I type this. I don't know what kind of lemur-coven this is, but they look like they're conspiring and it doesn't look natural. It looks like they're up to no good (or they're just eating). Either way, I wouldn't want to stick around and find out.

I know it might be hard to believe (it's not), but a guy didn't just walk into his garage and find a crap load of lemurs. This photo was actually taken at Qingdao Forest Wildlife World in Qingdao, China, and they're actually circling around a fruit bowl. Nom nom. Maybe this is their way of getting people to stay away from their food. Hey, whatever works.

4 Sunny Side Up

No, this isn't the egg you ordered sunny-side up. This is a white cat with a clementine on its back, but it sure fooled me. I almost scrolled right past it.

Can we all do a slow-clap for this cat's owner? Because this is genius. I guess one day they just looked down and thought their cat needed a yolky center. Thank God they captured the moment and posted it to Reddit. What kind of pet owner would they be if they DIDN'T seek social media fame with this picture? I totally would. If it weren't for that one little ear sticking out, it would be perfect. Not that I noticed the ear the first time I saw it- I didn't. I was just wondering where the bacon was.

Kitties have this wonderful ability to curl into themselves when they're sleeping until almost every part of them is missing. I would love to be able to do that. If a black cat did this then it would look just like a black hole. Dogs are usually too bulky to pull this kind of thing off, but as we saw in a previous post, it's possible if you get the right angle.

3 Thank God That's A Chair

I guess I've seen too many thongs in my day, because my mind went straight to hell when I saw this picture. He looks like he's pulled his thong way up over his pants and I can't stop staring.

This dude did nothing but sit down like an ordinary person, but his chair choice is a little...unfortunate. I actually have similar chairs at my kitchen table, but I've never given any thought to how it looks from behind when I'm sitting down. I will now. I don't think the fitted shirt is helping matters, though. Or the fact that his lower back is flush against the back of the chair. It looks like he just sat down to enjoy some craft beer in a thong, but thank God he didn't. I'm pretty sure the woman to his right would have a very different expression on her face if that had been the case. Or maybe she would have been into it. As my mother-in-law always says, it takes all sorts.

This picture has ruined this style of chair for me now. I will forever see it as "the thong chair" no matter who sits down in it. And now I've got "The Thong Song" stuck in my head. Awesome.

2 Surf's Up, Dude

At first glance I thought this was a guy riding the inside of a wave, but then I noticed there was no surfboard and that this is nothing but ice. Crazy.

I've never been to Iceland to see the "Ice Caves" (or seen anything like this) so I guess that's why my brain immediately thought this guy was surfing. Guided ice caving tours are apparently quite the tourist destination in Iceland, and I can see why. Just make sure you have a guide. Guides are important.

Apparently not all of Iceland's ice caves look like the picture above. The one in this picture is technically called a glacier cave. Iceland's blue glacier ice caves are only accessible between November and March (also known as "the crystal caves") and they are completely formed within a block of ice. Apparently other ice caves can be white, blue, or even black. That would be pretty cool, too.

Iceland is basically nothing but a big, icy wonderland. The Lofthellir cave is filled with magnificent ice sculptures year-round, the Víðgelmir is filled with ice sculptures during the summer, and there's also a  man-made ice tunnel inside Langjökull glacier. Wuuuuut. Clearly Elsa lives there, there's no other reasonable explanation.

1 Glazed Donuts FTW

My fat butt saw Krispy Kreme, y'all.

How do these snakes look exactly like glazed donuts?! Clearly God is playing some kind of cruel trick on us. I guess this is our punishment for gluttony.

My brain chooses to see food whenever possible, especially when it's delicious carbs, so I'm not surprised that this picture had me fooled. But apparently I'm not the only one. The image, first tweeted by Twitter user @beatriizz, included the caption "wow look so pretty." People didn't think it looked pretty, though, they thought it looked delicious. The image went viral right after it was posted because people were confused as hell.  See for yourselves.

Once again, peoples' collective confusion made the news. The unusual white markings on the snakes look just like icing sugar because life isn't fair. One Twitter user refused to accept reality, tweeting, "what kind of donuts have scales on them?" That's the question we should all be asking ourselves.

In case you were wondering, these snakes were identified on Reddit as pastel albinos on the left and pinstripe albinos on the right. Saying that, Reddit also identified them as "Hot Glazed Original from Krispy Kreme," so you might want to take that information with a pinch of salt.

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