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Most of us love to be fooled! We know that illusionists like David Copperfield do not really fly. That magicians like Paul Daniels or Penn & Teller can always work that impossible trick. Or that escapologists following in the steps of the great Houdini, will beat the clock. And do you know the 'impossible' drawings of M.C. Escher?

The world of optical illusion is similar. We know that we are being tricked, but we are not always sure how!

Magic Tricks and Stereograms

You have surely seen those 'Magic Eye' computer-generated pictures which, if you can focus your eyes correctly, turn into a real 3-D picture. Try the one below! There are lots more on the Web - do a search on for example '3D magic eye stereogram'. (There are even instructions on how they work and how to make them.) Unless you look at them in the right way, they are meaningless. Many things in life are just the same! Looked at in one way, they just don't make sense.


"Try it the other way round"

A friend of mine, who enjoyed mending things, had several sayings like this: "If it doesn't fit, try it the other way round!" and "If all else fails, look in the handbook."

His first comment is what is sometimes called 'lateral thinking'. In other words, we should look at a question or problem from a completely different angle.

Here are some puzzle pictures which can be looked at in two ways. Test yourself! (Answers at bottom of the page)

people object

1. People or object?

youngold

2. Old or young?

paris

3. What does this say?

triangle

4. Where does it start?

candy

5. Lots of candy sweets! But what else can you see?

 

Magic Eye How to See 3D
Copyright © 1995 by N.E.Thing Enterprises. All rights reserved.

 

You must place your face near the screen, and try to look 'past' the surface of the screen.

shadow3

6. Shadows? Or what?

dots

7. Just dots?

Making sense of life

There is often more than one way of 'seeing' something, or understanding it. And a lot of times the one way we didn't think of looking is the most important way of all! Sometimes, we see what we want to see. Or think that we see! It's so easy to miss the key to the whole situation! A poet 2500 years ago, wrote, "The stone which the builders would not use is now the chief cornerstone."

Recently I was watching a magician doing tricks. He opened a tin of cat-food and started eating lumps of cat-meat with a fork. "I don't know how he can do that," said a friend, sickened. In fact, the 'cat-meat' was lumps of chocolate Mars Bar, which he had put into the tin from the bottom. We cannot always trust our eyes, or our judgement!

Our online magazine suggests to you that there may be new ways of looking at life, new ways of dealing with problems, and understanding why we are here. And is there any handbook to life that makes sense? So think the unthinkable, question your ways of looking at things and start on a voyage of discovery!

Answers:

1. Two faces, or a flower jar.

2. Beautiful girl: She is facing away from you, looking to the right Ugly old woman: She is looking towards you facing right.
Called 'The Boring Figure' and first published in 1915, drawn be W. E. Hill.
3. "Paris in the Spring", not "Paris in the the Spring".
4. Looks OK until you try to build it.
5. Just candy sweets, or ten flying balls made of candy.
6. Shadows, or perhaps the most famous face in history - Jesus.
7. If you cannot see her, stand back from the screen.