Warning: This Stranger Things optical illusion may haunt your dreams.
The internet is freaking out over this Stranger Things-inspired optical illusion that hides an image that might be scarier than anything else from the show’s final season. A video showing the terrifying brain teaser currently has 14.7 million views on TikTok as puzzlers’ heads snap at the frightening sight.
[Warning: Spoilers Below]
“You can only see this portrait with your eyes closed,” points out @rishi.draws, the creator of the illusion, in the trippy clip, which shows a multicolored negative of Eleven, the clairvoyant protagonist from the Netflix series.
To achieve the goosebumps vision, the viewer must stare at the white dot in the center of her forehead for 30 seconds and then close their eyes as shown in the clip.
They’re then instructed to tilt their head toward a “bright light source” — doing this during the day works best, according to the clip — and open their eyes. After about eight seconds, according to the video, a negative face from “Eleven” appears in front of her face like an optometric jump scare.
Needless to say, the scary effect caused shivers on social media, with one TikTokker writing, “Wow – that was way cooler than I expected.”
“I was like NAHH I don’t see it and then she was right there looking at me BRUH,” shuddered another.
“Help it won’t go awayyyyy,” shouted one terrified TikTokker, while another claimed they could still see the spooky image while checking out the comments.
The delayed jump scare effect is due to a principle called afterimage, which occurs when one snoops on a previously seen image when, according to the Illusions Index, that image is no longer there.
“Negative afterimages have reversed levels of brightness or colors complementary to that of the stimulus and are usually evoked by prolonged viewing of a stimulus,” the website writes. “They are best seen against a brightly lit background.”
They add that this retinal specter is at least partly “because some cells (cones) on the retina are not responding to the current stimulus because they have been desensitized by viewing a previous stimulus.”
This isn’t the first star-powered optical illusion to make social media users go wild.
In July, Puzzlers lost their minds over this creepy image that made celebrities’ faces look horribly distorted, like a mirror in a funfair.