The strange-face-in-the-mirror illusion

An intriguing article has just been published in the journal Perception about a never-before-described visual illusion where your own reflection in the mirror seems to become distorted and shifts identity.

To trigger the illusion you need to stare at your own reflection in a dimly lit room. The author, Italian psychologist Giovanni Caputo, describes his set up which seems to reliably trigger the illusion: you need a room lit only by a dim lamp (he suggests a 25W bulb) that is placed behind the sitter, while the participant stares into a large mirror placed about 40 cm in front.

The participant just has to gaze at his or her reflected face within the mirror and usually “after less than a minute, the observer began to perceive the strange-face illusion”.

The set-up was tried out on 50 people, and the effects they describe are quite striking:

At the end of a 10 min session of mirror gazing, the participant was asked to write what he or she saw in the mirror. The descriptions differed greatly across individuals and included: (a) huge deformations of one’s own face (reported by 66% of the fifty participants); (b) a parent’s face with traits changed (18%), of whom 8% were still alive and 10% were deceased; (c) an unknown person (28%); (d) an archetypal face, such as that of an old woman, a child, or a portrait of an ancestor (28%); (e) an animal face such as that of a cat, pig, or lion (18%); (f ) fantastical and monstrous beings (48%).

Caputo suggests that the dramatic effects might be caused by a combination of basic visual distortions affecting the face-specific interpretation system.

The visual system starts to adapt after we receive the same information over time (this is why you can experience visual changes by staring at anything for a long time) but we also have a system that interprets faces very easily.

This is why we can ‘see’ faces in clouds, trees, or even from just two dots and a line. The brain is always ‘looking for faces’ and it is likely that we have a specialised face detection system to allow us to recognise individuals whose faces actually only differ a small amount in statistical terms from other people’s.

According to Caputo’s suggestion, the illusion might be caused by low level fluctuations in the stability of edges, shading and outlines affecting the perceived definition of the face, which gets over-interpreted as ‘someone else’ by the face recognition system.

More mysterious, however, were the participants’ emotional reactions to the changes:

The participants reported that apparition of new faces in the mirror caused sensations of otherness when the new face appeared to be that of another, unknown person or strange `other’ looking at him/her from within or beyond the mirror. All fifty participants experienced some form of this dissociative identity effect, at least for some apparition of strange faces and often reported strong emotional responses in these instances. For example, some observers felt that the `other’ watched them with an enigmatic expression – situation that they found astonishing. Some participants saw a malign expression on the ‘other’ face and became anxious. Other participants felt that the `other’ was smiling or cheerful, and experienced positive emotions in response. The apparition of deceased parents or of archetypal portraits produced feelings of silent query. Apparition of monstrous beings produced fear or disturbance. Dynamic deformations of new faces (like pulsations or shrinking, smiling or grinding) produced an overall sense of inquietude for things out of control.

If any Mind Hacks readers try the illusion out for themselves, I’d be fascinated to hear about your experiences in the comments.
 

Link to full-text of article.
Link to PubMed entry for study.

270 Comments

  1. Tom Hartley
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    I had a quick go at this. Didn’t notice a strong illusion, but some adaptation phenomena kicked in at about 1:30. Seemed like waves passing over the face (a bit like the effect of binocular rivalry), certain features becoming more/less prominent. I suppose it could give the impression of another face, but not very striking. Small eye movements abolished the effect and it was hard to maintain fixation. Might be worth trying for longer or with a dimmer light.

    • Tibz
      Posted September 19, 2010 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      I tried too, and my experience was quite similar to Tom’s. Am I supposed to stare into my eyes? I kept zooming in on various features of my face that didn’t seem that familiar to me… a blemish here, my eyebrows, the shape of my nose, etc. However, I didn’t perceive it as a face other than mine; I just thought that I never was that familiar with my face to begin with.

      Perhaps I ought to try it for longer too, with a dimmer light.

    • jhenny grace
      Posted September 29, 2010 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      nice story

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted January 31, 2011 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      Dimming the lights does help. I prefer candle light. And the light should not be focal in the mirror.

    • nibru
      Posted February 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      one thing as some of what you are saying on this is some what true but i am sorry to tell you that that is wrong most of the time when you see thouse faces in the mirror let me just tell you from experiance they are verry real and are not always a part of you whether any of you choose to belive me or not that is your choice but warning for avrage person if you have low caunshis awairness or week free will that thing that sometimes looks back in the mirror will take over and even change you meantialy and or physicaly sometimes positive some times negitive depending if u can controle it and not let it controle you but from my experiance with this when i stair in to my eyes and will forceavly diolate my pupiles so far its the most affective for me and once i notice the eyes change signifacantly i hold my eyes rate wher they are enless i want to go deeper in.. but there not always the same set of eyes or sometimes even eyes but usaly once the change begines to take place the puiple will expand over the iris ir the entire eye gos black and in the center where the pupile is usaly located there will be white ring or a dot but as i concintrate in this state the natrual energy flow in the room changes and alows me to have influance over objects enregy and some times even outher people for example just last night wall going in to this state my puiples where diolated in the form of cat eyes and my natural hzl eyes turend bright mixture of yellow with a red pin stripe and i am not the only one who saw this my three friends that did not belive me sat and wached as i showed them and as i turened from the mirror and would gaze in to there eyes they would still be the same with the cat eye or the solid black and have even taken pitures that show even more detail but when i look in to there eyes i get this great senciation of energy flowing through me and some times i have even been known to raidate a slight transparent glow of gold green or blue and i could slighty move peoples arms by moveing my own if i think hard enough and as i inhale whale in this state EVERY time the lights in the room or glow around me would dim and exorabe in to me and as i would ex hale energy would poor through me and the light would grow so bright and there are manny wierd experiances i have had experianced both more believeable and some rilly hard to belive and understand but there is proof behind all of it but to the people who have shared similer experances as me and would like to possabley learn a little more or people who understand and wish to convirse please feel free to email me only thing you need to get a reply is to tell the truth and be openminded

      • shyshyshy
        Posted March 26, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        I had a similar experience I stared at my eyes in the mirror and my pupils would get bigger then go small and then get bigger and smaller and ny face started turning pink and purple it was really weird

      • jules
        Posted April 15, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        my mirror seems to be a doorway into a realm of that other beings inhabit. I fear my dabbling has allowed something into my life. my entire perception of life has changed because of this… what sort of energy cold i have brought upon my life?

      • rcarosin
        Posted April 15, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        …just remember who you are – before you looked into the mirror, and know that it’s like learning that the world is round and not flat… It shouldn’t change you yourself – your essential self, but it can change your perception of things… Don’t let fear rule you… You have made it this far, so carry on… Just because the world is round and not flat, doesn’t mean you have to struggle now… Carry on normally and give understanding to yourself… It’s always been there, it’s not something new… Why should you have any fears now? Relax… Enjoy… Carry on!

      • Anon
        Posted April 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        Dr. Glenn Morris recounts similar in his books – ‘Path Notes of an American Ninja Master’ might be the one it’s in, can’t remember, hope this helps someone. Thanks for being honest.

      • dipshit
        Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        All i have to say is, your story sounds like complete bull shit. Everything you just described is physically impossible. I could believe the whole story about how YOU saw it in the mirror. But the rest is complete bull shit “i turened from the mirror and would gaze in to there eyes they would still be the same with the cat eye or the solid black”. You cannot simply stare into a mirror and force your pupils to form into cat like pupils/solid black eyes. I wouldnt even bother asking for the pictures, because for all i know, you could be wearing contacts or you couldve photoshopped the pictures.

      • errdog
        Posted August 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        Holy crap, punctuation please!

      • Uneedschool
        Posted August 6, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        Please go back to grammar school or at least consult a dictionary.

      • Eric
        Posted August 6, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        Like a teen girl with a pregnancy scare, you sir, need some periods.

      • Carl
        Posted September 13, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        i did this years ago and i seen ,horns redish face ,it was pure evil.how can we explain this i never did anything like that again,and i sure hope that thing wasent real and looks at me,

      • justme
        Posted April 5, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

        Can you please contact me?

      • Lydia
        Posted August 21, 2014 at 2:58 am | Permalink

        I’m a little bit interested but feel as though I should push it away and not indulge myself in this again. Hundreds of other women I saw and felt switching and staring at me at a rapid pace. Beautiful, hateful, mysterious people. A little scary. Sometimes men as well though tonight it was only girls. Honestly I’m scared because they feel like so much more than just my imagination. Is it ok just to ignore them?

  2. Posted September 18, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    I never tried this with a mirror, but the effect is all to familiar. Me and my girlfriend 20 years ago would stare into each others eyes for long moments. Ah, the good old times.

    On several occasions, starting at the exact same moment for the both of us, this illusion started. A rapid series of faces of young and old people would start.

    While it felt uneasy and erie to me, it scared the hell out of my girlfriend, who is a believer of afterlives and reincarnation. She believed those were the faces of people we once were. To me, the strangest fact was that this effect would start and stop at the exact same moment for the both of us, and that it has never happened that she or me saw the faces while the other did not.

    Also, after it happened a few times, we began to recognize the faces and their order, but this felt so bad that we looked away for a second as soon as it happened. It isn’t a pleasant feeling, so we started to avoid it.

    I do not think my room was as dark as suggested above. I seem to recall this happened in the daytime too.

    • caleb
      Posted October 22, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      does this really work i mean come on how in the world does this happen.Does it matter who i stare at

      • Raine Carosin
        Posted May 30, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

        It helps to think clearly and simply with love of all those who are spiritually around you and in your heart… simple as that…

    • john petersen
      Posted January 31, 2011 at 4:25 am | Permalink

      my friend and I also did this together quite on accident at first,innocently looking at each other to observe which eye or both do we actually focus on while talking to others. then we fell into the “eye thing”.when we both relaxed our eyes and looked at both of the other persons eyes at the same time,it started to happen,a quite literal simultanious feeling of unfamiliar connectedness between both of us. then the first time for me,,, the scariest face I’ve ever seen, and then my buddy had to talk me into looking again and then faces that wern’t scary. faces of women,men,old young also faces of beings that did not look human. We tried it a number of times and every time,simultanious feeling while the other person’s face melts out and turns into others.Please bare with me on this: one of the last times we did it we were “in” that state of changing face for longer than usual and then surprising us both,we connected phsycically and were talking or being told something at the same time without either of us talking at the same time.. We both heard the same thing at same time ,,, one mind? I also did it in s mirror and I definitely saw my mothers face clearly!Not looked like her, but more than that somehow …. I also did it with my dog by holding a piece of food between my eyes. A dog will usually look away you know,,,,, while holding the food there, the dog stares for long enough to see the change of faces. What I saw were the same type of repeat change but the faces looked alien ape like for lack of a better term, but my point is Very different than what people turn into

      • phillip
        Posted July 12, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        same experiance.

        my triger was a coment by Ramtha (JZ Knight) facing your Necromancer.

        did not know what this was about.

        every time the faces started i pulled away (scary)

        then one night – I just kept focusing on “GOD Loves me and has only love for me”

        i projected this love towards these faces and it brought a release that i can not explain.

        it felt as if all the energy(beings i have ever been) had been released

        all the people i hurt or who hurt me – was relaesed – very healing experiance.

        only focusing on GOD loves me and sending love and forgiveness release into these faces in the mirror made them apear and then go away.(I could see a release & change in them)

        until there was no more faces.

        eventualy my own face dissapeared and i was looking at a blank mirror.

        maybe we came back to release all those captured within our creation. (Same way some one did 2000 years ago – removing the veil so we can see beyond what he physicaly had to go and do in Abrahams bosom with all his believers stuck there) Greater things than these will you do he said.

        Matter is energy captured. we capture energy by focusing on it. and we can also release the energy captured beyon time by using a mirror. becoming free off all the mind forms we have created.

        awesome

      • Raine Carosin
        Posted July 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        A W E S O M E!!!!

    • Sarah
      Posted February 23, 2014 at 1:37 am | Permalink

      Amazing, i’ve been completely fascinated with this exact same thing, my husband & i do “staring” and have the exact same result. It starts at the exact same time & we both know when its happening, you can almost feel your face morphing… truly the most fascinating thing ever to get to these spaces & without drugs

      • Raine Carosin
        Posted February 23, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        It’s so cool that we can discuss this fascinating subject… :-}

  3. Posted September 18, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    I’m scared to try this as it sounds so weird. Even understanding the psychological basis for it, I think it would be frightening.

    I’m pretty sure it’s been the basis for a whole load of myths and stories of the occult.

  4. Mark Swayne
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    This seems highly reminiscent of the “Bloody Mary” ritual/game practiced by (at least) American children at sleepovers. See http://www.snopes.com/horrors/ghosts/bloodymary.asp for more info on the ritual.

    I think this illusion was known, but not recognized as such, by generations of children.

  5. Victoria
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Huh. Didn’t most people try this when they were kids? It was a common childhood game where I grew up! We’d scare ourselves silly.

  6. Kapitano
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    I did this 20 years ago – there was a minor craze for it among teenage boys at my school.

    One boy always saw himself turning into a monkey, another became a stranger, but I don’t recall any reports of seeing emotions in the reflected face.

    In low light levels I saw the edges of my face blur and become highly bulbous. As soon as I moved my eyes to see the blur in more detail, the reflection snapped back to normal and took maybe a minute to redistort.

    In higher light levels…I turned into my mother, who is still alive.

  7. Paul
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    I’ve seen this suggested as an exercise to access past lives. I suspect it’s a combination of light trance, visual distortions caused by optical fatigue and pareidolia. Weird though.

  8. Patrick
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    We did the experiment too. My friend did experience a strange movement within his face, like when staring at a spiral for some time. He reported that his mouth began to change his shape.
    I did experience the disappearance of my facial features. I only saw my eyes and a plain, skin-coloured area beneath them. Further, I also experienced this feeling of otherness, like I’m not staring at me anymore, that was kind of scary. My friend didn’t report this feeling.

    Anyhow, it was very interesting trying it out for ourselves.

  9. Posted September 19, 2010 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    Your comment about the stability of facial features got me thinking a bit. Do you know if a probabilistic phenomenon could be happening here? In other words, studies of visual illusions have shown that the mind works in a fairly sophisticated way to establish probabilities about what is being seen. Is there a situation in what you describe where perhaps this probabilistic scheme is not functioning? What does it mean to be ‘not functioning’ in that case?

  10. Angie
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    Hmmm…I saw someone who looked suspiciously like Bumi, the Earth King from Avatar: The Last Airbender.

  11. interaubis
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    A very well-known brazilian writer, João Guimarães Rosa, published in 1962 a short history named “The Mirror” (O Espelho) where the character does this experience.

  12. Tina
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    We definitely used to play this at summer camp! Waay too creepy, If you saw Bloody Mary in the mirror, she was supposed to kill you.

    I seem to remember hating to see my face in the bathroom mirror at night as a teen as wel, because it just was too creepy. Maybe this is where that came from.

  13. alexholcombe
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    Years ago I noticed that even in normal viewing conditions (dim light not needed) that while viewing a face in the periphery (staring at a point away from the face), after several seconds I can see major distortions, esp. if the person is talking or otherwise moving their face. I suspect the mechanism is similar here, degraded bottom-up input from adaptation and dim light, but seems to kick in faster by simply viewing faces peripherally.

  14. Posted September 19, 2010 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    1) I, 45, experienced this very robustly and consistently (as did my daughter, 14).

    2) illusion sets in after about 30 seconds.

    3) I experienced three distinct phenomena: a) smearing of facial features all over the mirror surface; b) grotesque deformation of specific facial features (nose turned into tapir-like snout); c) appearance of other people’s faces (hostile looking australian aborigines)

    4) in a rejected article I submitted to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Stefano.bertolo/Strange_Face_in_the_Mirror_Illusion I drew the same connection Mark draws with the Bloody Mary game. Submission was rejected for lack of notability

  15. Ann
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    This explains the old halloween trick where girls sit in a dimly lit room and look in a mirror to see the face of their future husband – though I iguess the hair brushing and apple eating are superfluous. I’ll try it later and report back.

  16. Min
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    I did this as a child – the most prominent effect I got was seeing my face become silver and start glowing around the edges – or transform into that of an old woman, with all the creases in my face accentuated.

  17. Andreas
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    We often tried the ol’ psychomantium growing up. The feeling that someone is looking at you is creepy. My face would morph into a pig’s (somehow, most of us saw ourselves as pigs), as an old man, woman and just plain strangers. Convincing strangers.

    It’s fun.

  18. Steve
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    This works as described I am not recommending this particular variation But I used to do this some years ago when under the influence of a well known crystalline compound prepared from lysergic acid.It was quite common to see other faces and even alien looking people. But once I saw my face slowly age until I was a skull which I saw as clearly as I see my face normally. This rather put me off repeating this pastime.

  19. Gary
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    While at Uni years ago I would sit after a few drinks or whatever and absent-mindedly stare out of the window of our dimly lit lounge. At night the window would almost become a perfect mirror.
    I was freaked a couple of times at the sight of my dead grandfather’s face looking back at me. Glad I’ve just read a decent explanation.

  20. Cheshire Squirrel
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Ah hah. Great job.

  21. Adam
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    I did it and saw hook handed black man covered in bees. What’s up with that?

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted January 31, 2011 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      …just fleetingly crossed my mind, too… but, going to ignore it totally… (shiver)…

    • Luc
      Posted July 16, 2012 at 1:37 am | Permalink

      Dude, that moviemyth haunted me for 15 years or so. Quit bizar. However just gazed at myself for the third time, and thought it would be time if google knew what it was. So everybody thanks for his and her explanations.

  22. johnk
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Oh yes.

    This effect is heavily stimulated by psychedelic drugs.

  23. chris
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    i been doin it for years
    i am sure people know of this. it isnt new.

  24. flappity
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Strange that this has never been noted in an academic publication. It’s been used in occult circles for a century as one of Austin Osman Spare’s “death postures.”

  25. chris
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    i guessed years ago we must have a facebank and it is wired to search allied to a need to know basis of friend or foe – put simple

    aside~
    interestingly i think the ‘second’ or other immediate thing your brain looks for is your hand – for a very different reason i imagine – i wont go into my research – but i cant be the only one to experience certain effects

  26. colin
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I just tried this with a friend: first time I was quite far away from the mirror (~2m) without my glasses and my face just kept going black, coming back into colour and going black again.

    The second time I was much closer (and on my own) and after 2 minutes my eyes went dark and grew, and so did my lips – again it would flicker into view and then go away. Then I’d have a really evil expression for a few seconds, before going back to normal. Then back to the big black eye sockets. Then suddenly it went permanent, a really clear evil monster face: a mixture of Golumn, some kind of parrot mouth, and Shannon from 27bslash6.com. *blink* *blink* *blink* Um…it’s not going away…! and then I ran in to my flatmate’s room.

    For the record I’m a 22yo, not easily flappable, man, and this had my heart pounding like when we used to scare the crap out of eachother as kids.

    Anyway, a very cool piece of illusion (once I’d calmed down) – and if you get the happy faces that Caputo mentions I’m quite jealous.

    For lighting I just had the door open and the lights on in the next room, lighting me from the side. Enough to see my face clearly, but as Caputo mentioned in the paper: with “attenuated colour perception”

    Enjoy!

  27. chris
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    for anyone interested – the dim light mirror gazing is an interesting meditation.
    1 we are so used to seeing our vanity/own image reflected
    2 once you are getting the effect – you can do several things with your thinking – try to not think about what you are seeing/doing is one – but let it remain occuring almost as ‘peripheral’ vision aka known as trance – other meditations are aplicable – what you do or dont think of – try telling your brain it isnt a face – try empty head meditations [many well known methods]
    disclaimer for people on the edge of sychosis who will find it easy and most likely to do it alot if they try it.
    remember – what you see is all in your head as recored from outside stimulous or created fusion of such in your head?

  28. chris
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    stimuli? :)

  29. Posted September 19, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Used to do this in college, but thought it was the drugs.

    Great to go back and see it again. Awesome and creepy.

  30. chris
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    if you havent worked out how/why man has been doing this dim light mirror gazing since ancient times – study the lighting conditions next time you look in a still pond calm waters ~ highly variable – admittedly we lead busy lives but that scientist only just noticed is more apt than discovered :) still waters clear clearly always and still run deep :) how fascinating would not only the stars have been without tv but imagine the only mirror is your daily visit :) and it is not crisp and full of vanity :)

    • dipshit
      Posted July 20, 2013 at 2:35 am | Permalink

      i have no idea what you just said.

  31. snoobie
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Just look into your own eyes as you are a few centimeters from the mirror. Identity will flip back and forth for a bit. That person in the mirror is you, then you’re back over on the other side. If you do this for awhile, and then just bring your attention to the light bouncing off your skin, and instead of looking in your eyes, you look at your eyes. You’ll notice a completely different person staring back at you and this persists for a bit. Gotta love the mind. ;-)

  32. fionn
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Scientologists use this to weird people out in their brainwashing sessions. You’re instructed to stare at another church member for hours… after a while you see horrible things.

    In acting class, they used to get us to do exercises where we stared into each other’s face for a long time, while mirroring what we could see of other people’s movements in peripheral vision. After a while, you would see strange things in place of their face.

  33. edubs
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    most hallucinogenic drugs have this effect as well but without any staring required. all faces tend to morph into something unfamiliar. I’m guessing it works by the same mechanism of over analyzing facial features. I have tried it both drug induced and sober and the effects are very similar.

  34. Alkis
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    This happened to me as a kid by accident many years ago. I was in the bathroom, had washed my face and was thinking about something, absent mindedly letting my gaze fall through the mirror.
    When I took note of the transformation I freaked out and literally jumped back! I didn’t try it again even though I hazarded a pretty accurate guess as to how and why this happened — I always liked optical illusions.

    So, sometime later I tried again, in a “controlled” enviroment, mentally prepared. Well, I just didn’t have the guts to sit there for more than 3 minutes, tops! My face looked distored, evil, smiling smugly, looking down on me. I couldn’t see my eyes due to the light, but the shadows in my eye sockets created the illusion of huge black abyssal eyes. The form of my face was constantly fluctuating, but always smiling and becoming more and more terrifying as time passed. There was nothing logically scary about the face, apart from a nearly paranoid sensation that I’m looking at myself who is me but not me and is looking back at me, no looking DOWN on me with a terrifying, otherworldly visage. It’s kinda like repeating your name out loud too many times until it sounds weird and alien only worse.

    Anyway, after trying a few times I decided I’ve had enough and didn’t allow myself to go that deep into the illusion again. I actually don’t know if I can still do it or if there’s an inhibition that won’t let me.

    On another note, I’ve enjoyed talking with friends at night on the balcony and one told me not to look him in the eye when I’m talking because my face shifted and became someone he didn’t know. Someone he was afraid of.

    Lastly, too many years ago as a very young kid I was looking at my mom sleep in a moonlit room until her face changed too and scared me so much I was seeing that face in my nightmares for a long time, until at an unspecified time years later this stopped once and for all with no apparent reason.

    Hope this story was of use/interest to you =)

    • Elena
      Posted September 19, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      I only just remembered, but something similar happened to me as with your mom. I was sleeping in a tent with my brother, and his face in the moonlight creeped the hell out of me. I had to stop looking at him.

    • Posted September 29, 2010 at 5:56 am | Permalink

      That scary stuff happened to me too, when I was a kid: One time at night, he was scared because my face kept turning into his neighbour and that really, really freaked me out!

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted January 31, 2011 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      thanks for sharing (all of you), but to refer to your friend’s “don’t look me in the eye when you’re talking to me” = I find it often nowadays when I am with my hubby and we’re close: there’s a total array of different faces. It used to embarrass me but after a while, I started to “understand” that it wasn’t a personal “attack”, but the oneness of Soul… and I stopped being scared and paranoid, and jealous. Once I was able to Be without intense feelings and just to relax and let the Universe Turn in its natural path in and around me, without taking everything personally or “interrupting” the flow, I am now able to Be Natually Me. Also, communication being the key to success: having us all open our hearts and minds and sharing, I am not alone, trapped in fear, but knowing and being free. The Truth Shall Set You Free. Good to know that actually opening one’s mouth and speaking or communicating in some way does help, especially if one is telling the Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth. It’s good to be able to “eat” good fruits. Thank you to all of you and may we keep communicating so that no one is left alone in the dark, trapped by fear of the unknown. (There’s no more a horrible feeling than having a question unanswered…)

  35. eveningperson
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I recall a person recounting an experience he had during a conversation with a friend, when the friend had an impression that another person was in the first person’s seat, at the same time that he had the feeling that his body was being occupied by someone else.

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted January 31, 2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      sorry to natter so much, but this is why it is important to be Faithful…

  36. eveningperson
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I first noticed the way people’s faces seem to change in dim light a long time ago, and I can recall thinking about it when (long story) I was unexpectedly stuck in a boat on a lake overnight with a group of people. We had no light except a torch (flashlight) that we tried to conserve, and the natural light of a starry sky. In those conditions you can see just a little more than a silhouette, and although one knows who the other person is and what they look like, the brain cannot properly acquire the correct image.

  37. Posted September 19, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I believe it is also worth considering the respondent’s belief/ non-belief in the paranormal as a significant parameter in conducting the study to ascertain if such can greatly affect one’s illusory afterimage and specifically if the said variable evokes a certain type of character on the perceived visual image of a given subject.

    • Posted September 20, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      This is a good point. Skepticism would definitely make the amount of suggestibility go down.

  38. ben
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Off topic, hallucinogens produce some weird effects too.
    You have to wait like half an hour, but after that ANY face you stare at does all that.
    haha

  39. JD
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the root cause of the soul-stretching terror that can be felt by staring into the mirror whilst tripping face.

  40. Kelsey
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    I brought my desk lamp into my bathroom to do this. On the first go I didn’t see anything, but for my second attempt I draped a towel loosely over the lamp so that the room would become even dimmer. I stared into my eyes for a bit, then contemplated the symmetry of my eyebrows, then I felt a sudden, intense feeling of disassociation with the face in front of me. I could only describe it as though the face in front made a slight movement, like a twitch, which I had not, or did not think I had, made. I reacted with fear, and had to turn on the overhead light and leave the bathroom.

  41. medicus
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    How is this not hypnotic suggestion.

  42. o0o
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    variants of this phenomenon turn up in several “magick” instruction books also.

  43. Scott
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 4:09 am | Permalink

    It’s funny, I tried this years ago before ever reading this article. It was creepy each time I did it, but I definitely saw a different face in the mirror and couldn’t make out who it was. All I knew is that it made me REALLY uncomfortable.

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted January 31, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      it’s a bit like sibling rivalry… we grow up selfishly thinking we are all and suddenly, to know we are all part of one (big) body, we react in different ways: sometimes it is through guilt because we have always thought our thoughts to ourselves and not understood that The Creator hears everything, and sometimes through fear because of things we have done in secret which are now transparent. That’s why confession is good for the soul and communication helps us all… There is nothing to fear but Fear Itself… I found that to accept the new things as I get older and give myself leave to understand new things, I liberate myself from fear, for it is only the unknown that causes us to imagine the worst case senario, and knowledge that empowers us to “see” the truth and understanding the power of our own words and sentences to make our reality a place in the mind to be eternally happy in… :-}

  44. deeds
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    This has quantum writen all over it.I believe we have discovered (and opened) the Higgs boson (smallest particle that gives everything mass)and possibly that gives rise to the change (?)

    One or two things.
    It either is things are changing in our universe,
    Or two..We are just becoming re-aware of whats going on since God spoke us into being..
    Either way..I see so many faces everywhere my eyes come across , for so long now they are literally driving me totally insane.

    • Monster
      Posted September 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Clearly.

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted January 31, 2011 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      don’t let yourself flow into insanity – rather, understand that The Whole is flowing around you and not always “personally” “at” you or “for” you, but in harmony, and to start to feel insane, you are losing control, so just step back a bit, think a thought for yourself and be cool. You are not insane and there is no reason to be. Just be yourself. (TO THINE OWN SELF, BE TRUE.) It used to be so scary for me: I actually ended up in a mental home. But, slowly, I’ve learned to calm down and accept that there are things that just are and things that other people don’t (or used to) not talk about. I’ve learned to speak and communicate to those who I can trust, and of course, those who don’t act like I’m from Mars. There are people like that, who don’t “understand” for whatever reason they keep secret in their hearts, and it hurts, but there are people one can talk to. It’s easier now for us to communicate on all levels using the internet and not being confined by space and time. It is a little what it is like inside the freed mind once the barriers of fear have disappeared. It is an actual act on your part to be real and not just “let yourself be made insane” by the supernatural side of life. Years ago, if some one saw an Angel, they were locked away and the key was lost. It was that bad back then. Now we have come to a wider conscience where we are able to accept what makes us comfortable and learn from others how they made themselves comfortable again in this amazing Life.

  45. Danielle Francois
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I did this a lot as a kid when I was depressed or frustrated. It was sort of mesmerizing, the face would morph and sometimes if I did it for long enough I’d have to touch the mirror to make sure it was still a mirror and hadn’t become liqid like alice through the looking glass.
    I’d do it under many different cognitions,..sometimes I’d think deeply and the face was unimportant, sometimes I’d stare at in digust as it transformed sometimes it moved like if it was another person…the end result, although at first it was a dissociative feeling, was tranquility

  46. Posted September 20, 2010 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    This is very interesting.

    Some years ago I observed this illusion in a dimly-lit room; I had never heard of it at that time and it came as a complete shock, so it certainly wasn’t suggestion.

    As I recall, I turned into the kid from the cover of U2’s album “Boy”. Which is not a huge change (my hair at the time was basically like his).

    However, at the time, I was stoned, and I attributed the illusion to that! It’s amazing to hear that it’s something that happens when you’re sober as well…

    • Joe
      Posted September 26, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      I’ve had the same experience while stoned. I think that this is common because being stoned makes you fixate unnaturally on things, including your own face in a mirror. I know that ordinarily I don’t really like to “look at myself in the mirror in the morning” — is this as bad as they say? — instead I am looking to see whether e.g. my hair is tidy.

      Love your blog btw.

  47. Posted September 20, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I can get the effect without dimming the light. I just keep my eyes fixated in one place and remain ultra concentrated on any differences or movement that occur in my perception.

  48. GreenEgg
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Is it just me or do the percentages in the first excerpt add up to 204%?

    • Brian
      Posted September 20, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Some participants likely experienced more than one of the effects described.

  49. Jen_
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Question: if this illusion is caused by the facial recognition receptors in our brain trying to find something familiar, wouldn’t this work with staring into a photo of yourself? Does it?

    • Posted November 12, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      I was wondering the same thing, since some a lot of people said that something similar happened when looking at someone else’s face. So would this work for any face you stare at, even a photo? The only difference I can think of is that a photo isn’t 3D, like the mirror or having a person right in front of you; I’m not sure if that would make any difference.
      Anyway, I’ll be trying this then and I’ll post here if anything happens. If anyone else wants to give it a shot, let us know what happens! :)

  50. Posted September 20, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    I used to do this for a solid half hour or so on a low dose of mushrooms. I always found it to be a very ego-dissolving experience.

  51. Oliver
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    The earliest surviving text known about this effect was in 50BC by the poet Parthenius of Nicaea… about Narcissus who thought he saw a beautiful relection and eventually he turned into a flower…

    before that it was probably passed down in stories among people who noticed the effect…

  52. Oliver
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Also .. there’s this – worship in front of a mirror…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayyavazhi_and_Hinduism#Worship_in_Front_of_Mirror

  53. Posted September 21, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I did this accidentally as a teenager. It happened so often shortly after my father died (when I was 15) that I came to wonder whether it was a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder.

    My father died suddenly of a heart attack during the night, and when my mother woke to discover this, she freaked out and was unable to speak clearly or do anything useful. I had to go into their room, see the corpse (which, by then, had been dead for several hours, and thus looked very different from how my father looked in life), realize my father was dead, and call 911.

    After that, I was haunted by nightmares with the image of that corpse. I also tended, when looking in a mirror, to see my own face shift into the corpse’s face (again, looking not at all like my father’s face had in life). Both of these effects went away after about one year.

    I have to say that it’s quite a relief to know that the shifting face in the mirror is a common optical illusion, and not a sign of severe mental distress. It scared me deeply when I was a kid.

  54. Alkis
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    @Oliver (#10484)
    The way I’ve heard the story being recounted since I was a kid was that Narcissus sat by the banks of a lake looking at his face all day because he was very beautiful indeed and well THE narcissist. He didn’t see some other face, just his own. One day he fell into the lake and drowned and in the place where he used to stand a flower grew, so the people called it narcissus.

    Paulo Coelho in the Alchemist mention’s a variation where the lake started crying after the boy’s death, until she was twice her original size. A nymph approaached and tried to console her about missing Narcissus and his beauty to which the lake replied, “Was he really that beautiful? I never noticed! It was just that in his eyes I could see my own beauty reflected”.

    • Oliver Slay
      Posted September 21, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      @Alkis (#10507)
      Possibly, there are many versions… tho I don’t know in which he fell and drowned – I thought he killed himself…

      A nice retort by Paulo… but Narcissus shunned every other man and woman’s advances… which is why Nemesis tricked him into looking at himself… till he realised it was himself and he could never have himself..

      The Hindu link I sent in #10489 is more relevant I think.

      • Oliver Slay
        Posted September 24, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Here’s the experience described in Popular Science 1896, by William Romaine Newbold (via Books.Google.com):

        http://bit.ly/aw90EZ

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted January 31, 2011 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      that reminds me of the time I was in hospital, and I couldn’t sleep. All the wards were locked up and after banging on the locked door for quite a while, the night nurse came to see what I was complaining about. I told her I couldn’t sleep. Anyway, she let me come and sit with her in the office. While I was there, it was just her and I, and I was looking into her eyes and I saw a nurse, fully clothed in uniform and at a bit of a distance, walk passed… BEHIND ME!!! I turned to see who and what and there was nothing and all the doors were still locked…!!!! Alternate or parrallel universes????

      • Erik
        Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:05 am | Permalink

        Are you crazy? I really think you went insane.

      • Raine Carosin
        Posted June 28, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        Yes, I did go crazy in there, more so because I was locked up as well, but before being locked up, I had very “abnormal” experiences, so all in all, I had to find sanity and it took a long time because there was no communication of help from anyone, just the notion that they all took that I was crazy… No one cared to talk to me and find out if they could help in any way… Just strong medication and herded like sheep…

        I’ve just taken this and copy/pasted for you to have a squizz at: it’s from a newsletter that Stephen Wagner does on the web at about.com.
        (This newsletter is written by:
        Stephen Wagner
        Paranormal Guide
        Email Me | My Blog | My Forum) That might help you to find his blog. People write in about their own strange experiences.

        “I have seen, heard, and felt a lot of strange things, but this one is terrifying,” reports Arran. “I was in my house in Blantyre, Scotland, where I had heard knocking on the walls. But this time I was standing there when I looked in the mirror and saw a tall, fat figure walking towards me. It had to be a ghost because it couldn’t be anything else….” Read more.
        See More About: true ghost stories scrying ghost hunting

  55. James
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    I tried it once about 10 years ago. I had just finished watching Stigmata on DVD around one in the morning. After mulling the film over for a couple minutes, I felt compelled to kneel in front of a nearby mirror and stare into my own eyes. The lighting conditions were exactly right. Unfamiliar green faces flooded over my own one-by-one as I continued to stare unwaveringly. What I don’t understand was the voice in my head talking about God that sounded exactly like Enrico Colantini’s character in the film. When that was over, I broke out of the trance and wrote it down. It read like a piece of Christian mysticism. That was my only experience with the phenomenon, but it’s very fascinating to me that other people have experienced it, too. Has anyone else heard a voice as well?

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted January 31, 2011 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Yes. Too many sometimes. (It gets crowded sometimes!!) In 1985 I ended up in a mental institution when I was so confused by it all.) Thank Heavens I have been able to learn how to Be Myself and not be swayed by the crowds that sometimes gather… Of course, finding God’s Voice has helped very much and is the reason I am able to be Free and as “normal” as is acceptable by Society… :-}

      • Erik
        Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:08 am | Permalink

        How did you end up in a mental institution and how did that all start?

      • Raine Carosin
        Posted June 28, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        It’s a long story, Erik, and methinks, if you’re really interested, you can send me an email to pierreandraine@telkomsa.net, and I can send you an except of my book so you can better understand all that took place in my life to lead up to being taken into a mental institution… Sorry but I’m rushed today and haven’t got the time to write, but also, you can go to southafricanartists.com and look me up (Raine Carosin) and you can read my short biography if you’re in a hurry… And each picture I’ve done has a short biography of why and what,if anything, happened to the painting… You’re most welcome to ask me anything, but pls understand that today I’m rushed, and have quite a bit to do… Looking forward to your communications… Kind regards, Raine

  56. Posted September 22, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Couple things.

    Your eyes get tired of starting at something for long periods of time, it tends to wear on them. This likely results in the strain on them attempting to find edges and much like any other optical illusion can result in odd colors or edges around an object.

    And yes, I think the heightened perception is more likely found in those who are more open to preternatural phenomenon. Personally I don’t believe I can by hypnotized so my reaction would be less than one who could.

    Finally, I do want to try this because I experience a dissociative feeling when staring at someone while they talk. Particularly as a kid listening to my dad at the dinner table. I’d stare at him long enough that I felt like my “consciousness” was receding farther back into my head, or that my arms were really long and not quite mine. A change of focus snaps that right out.

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted January 31, 2011 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      When I was about 5 or 6, I also stared, but at my GrandFather, and his face became so tiny, as if he was receding from me… It was weird and I still remember it… I have the vague recollection that I experienced a little fear at the thought of him leaving me… and then his face came back to normal…

      • Erik
        Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:10 am | Permalink

        I’m sorry to comment again but, why did you stare at people all the time? Thats really creepy..

      • Raine Carosin
        Posted June 28, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        It is wrong to believe that I stared at people all the time… LOL!!! It just happened that way at that time…

  57. xyz
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    When my son was a few weeks old I was holding him and we were looking at each other in a normally lit room. After a little while, a sudden look of absolute terror took over his face and he screamed. We broke off and he recovered quickly, but his expression was so clearly that of genuine horror. I thought at the time it might have been some distorting illusion, and wonder if it was the same thing as this.

  58. Posted September 23, 2010 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    I discovered this phenomenon many years ago as a child. I used to stare and be fascinated as my reflection changed and I definitely got a sense of “otherness.” Other times, as an adult, if I was particularly tired, my reflection sometimes would not seem like myself. I have also done what one of the other commenters did, and stare into someone else’s face and see it be distorted to the point of near non-recognition. This has happened with family members, significant others, or colleagues.

  59. josh
    Posted September 24, 2010 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    This just blew my mind…I did it for like 20 minutes trying to hang on to the different faces that appeared. At one point I slowly moved foreward and it looked as if my bones were stretching the skin on my face.

  60. Posted September 24, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    This particular illusion (mirror self-distortion) is described in meditative traditions going fairly far back, as several others have pointed out. It’s great to see someone studying it from a scientific perspective.

    As to the “suggestion” question, I think there is little doubt that the effect is mediated to some degree by expectancy, since most perception is mediated to varying degrees by expectancy because mammalian perceptual processes involve “categorization”, however, it seems very unlikely to me that it is “caused” by expectancy.

    In other words, I do think it is useful to study this illusion neurologically to learn better how human perception operates. This seems to me to be a fairly distinctive illusion regarding faces, and even more so regarding our own face, although there also appear to be individual differences in its expression, from what I hear.

  61. Hootie
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    Great article. I stumbled across this phenomenon a few years ago, looking at myself in a bathroom lit only by a candle. The wave of disassociation hit me after about 30 seconds, whereupon I perceived a mischievous figure evilly smiling back at me. I quickly shook myself out of a state of fear, and left the room feeling unsettled.

    I’ve often thought back on that, and have given people the advice of “If you ever want to freak yourself out, just really look at yourself in the mirror for a few minutes”.

  62. Nando
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    As a fat old man once said: “Science is always discovering odd scraps of magical wisdom and making a tremendous fuss about its cleverness.”

  63. Posted September 25, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    My friends and I used to do this all the time as children. I always found the transformation of my face facinating.

  64. jl
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    I used to do this regularly. I always interpreted it as your eyes relaxing so that they no longer dart about. The result is that the bits of short term memory that are making up the image you see empties, and your brain fills in the gaps. If you stare at a brick wall in this way you can see all the gaps in the bricks disappear, creating a plain textured wall. I always assumed that when I stared at my face the details were disappearing from memory and pareidolia was kicking in to make my face appear to be a different one.

    • Alkis
      Posted September 28, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      @jl (#10847)
      As a kid I’d stare at the tiles on the bathroom floor until either the horizontal or the vertical lines disappeared. If I stayed completely still and did this for longer periods of time then all the lines dissapeared over a small area in front of me and I was left with a purely white floor. I’ve also managed to turn a brick wall to pure red without lines in between. Lastly, while walking on a pavement with lines, there’s a sweet spot a few meters in front of your feet which when stared at causes the lines on the road to seem animated as you walk.

      Endless fun :p

  65. AP80
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    I have always seen demonic faces staring back… REALLY creepy stuff. Incidentally, some forms of Kundalini Yoga practice this.

  66. jhenny grace
    Posted September 29, 2010 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    this article has been has going around my usual haunts.

  67. Posted September 29, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Will try this soon, but meanwhile:

    In candle-light condition looking at a girlfriend I had at the time made her face foreign, and at times appear as someone else.

    Once out in a dimly-lit field, looking at my friend as he was smiling made his face morph quickly into sinister expressions and back.

    This all seems to have an underlying theme – perhaps being close to a boundary of visibility – where the brain needs to fill in many details of the face seen, things go ‘wrong’ :)

  68. Jürgen
    Posted October 5, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    I have tried this manny times I even learned to controle it!….I realised its called the third eye! its one of ones shakras. My experience has lead me to see my face starting to blur then my face changes into a misty kind of formand starts flashing faces but to fast for me to recognize the faces I saw. Later I saw a glow around my head and everything becomes brighter. It changes constantly while im focused on my eyes. This has been mastered by manny people ! research it. Your shakras are you spiritual energy levels and the third eye is one of them, it makes you see past the fisical sins we are not fisical but spirits(emosions in motion). our bodies are only vehicles in witch we transport our souls. That why you have a sub conscious and a conscious mind to channel between these two…..

    Think about it this way you live in a fisical world, that why you forget about the spiritual dimension. You were grown up in a world that told you and showed you that spiritual things are scary when we should except it as we have excepted reality!

  69. Anonymous
    Posted October 7, 2010 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    While staring at my sleeping wife’s face when the dim moonlight is between crescent and half, I have seen the face of every lover I ever had. It’s terrifying despite the fact I know it’s an illusion. I’m always grateful in the morning when I wake up with her and not one of the others.

    I never told her I stare at her while she sleeps. She would probably think it’s creepy. I just think she’s beautiful.

  70. Jesse
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I’ve done this many time with my buddy back in the day.. Creepy stuff.. I saw some very disturbing things varying from demons to just crazy deformed faces melting or “zombifying” in a way. Sometimes it would just be a blank face, but most of the time it was something terrifying. We did this mainly with each others faces, I’m kinda too scared to do it with MY face.. But yeah, same with that guy and his girlfriend, it happened for both of us at the same time. I guess our eyes begin to tire about the same time. Fun experiment, but its pretty chilling!

  71. Toni Carriero
    Posted October 26, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    very strange thing happened to me this morning i got to work and i went to the bathroom to check something in my eye, when i looked at myself i noticed that the colour of my eyes were not the same,my eyes are very dark brown so i got closer and noticed that they were so light in colour light brown, a bit of grey and green.i freaked until i noticed that they looked just like my dads eyes, looking at me i noticed that he was sad and a little upset. i asked my co worker to look and she did see the different colour in my eyes,,, it lasted maybe 10 minutes..i believe that my dad was telling me something terrible is going to happen not to me but to someone close……..

    • erobert
      Posted December 15, 2011 at 2:01 am | Permalink

      Woah, thats amazing…sp did your actual eye change color have you asked any doctors if this was possible? That is just amazing

  72. supriya
    Posted October 31, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    i was looking for this kinda thing being reported on net..cause we came across a case in our psychiatric ward where a patient of schizophrenia…described this very unusual symptom.whenever she looks at herself in the mirror she sees image of someone else. we had a lively chat n discussion about it. was it an illusion, or hallucination.

  73. Raine Carosin
    Posted January 2, 2011 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    So, I have a mirror across from my bed where I can see myself in relaxed positions, and it works better with candlelight to reflect the other images that I’m a part of and communicate with on a daily synchronised manner. But that’s not the funny part. I started to have the symptoms of migraines, the diamond shining lights in a zig-zag fashion around the left side and no pain… fortunate for me, i think, i took two panados directly after the incidents. anyway, so, besides that, which only recently started to happen, the other night i was starting to prepare to record some music for downloading, when i noticed that i started to feel strange and that part of reality was fading from my right vision. I went to tell my hubby, and as I walked passed the television set, i noticed that i was unable to see the left hand side of the people on the screen, although the rest of the “set” was intact. Hubby’s face was also disappearing on his right side and when I got back to the pc, i noticed my arm along with my right hand was disappearing. it was quite uncanny, but not frightening. it was like i was becoming invisible, but so was my image, whether on the tv or real like my hubby or my arm… I told my hubby that if this was what it was like to “pass over” or to “die”, then it was fine by me. Strange, eh? But anyway, back to the mirror. In ancient times there was a religion (Order of the Mirror or something like that, or perhaps I just read it in a book) and I’ve always looked at myself in reflections as another person. When I lie in bed and “see” the other people with whom I share this synchronised reality, I’m calm and watch and listen with enough concentration without exerting myself. I have once spent a whole week concentrating on the lottery numbers, ending up with 4 out of six numbers, and one helluva headache, so I don’t persue that dream anymore, so I just do things lightly nowadays and just accept that there are things that do have rational explanations that I just haven’t heard yet. Of course, for me, God is the most rational explanation, us being made in His Image, so, I don’t have any fear that side. Well, God Bless You and if there is perhaps something else, I’d love to know. Feel free to contact me. Kind regards, Raine Carosin

  74. Enrique
    Posted February 19, 2011 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    I believe in this, I stare at the mirror and put focus in my eyes and I can see myself as a monster, it’s creepy really!

  75. Raine Carosin
    Posted February 19, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    just wanna say that at first “change” the face doesn’t appear friendly at all, but that’s because you must “focus” and it takes time. just relax and flow as normal and you will “see” your normal “self”… remember, we are all made in the image of God, so just relax and gaze with wonder and awe, not with trepidation and expectations of horror, for if that is what you are after, that is what you’ll get…

  76. Raine Carosin
    Posted March 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    So, there we have it… we now know that staring into the mirror can open the mind into believing in the other side… as well as other things… maybe I’m not being too clear, but what I really want to write is that I’ve discovered a portal… It’s really “in my world” and it’s amazing. I know I am not able to use it, although I am aware that it is useable by others, mainly animals, and that’s quite cool by me, ‘coz the Creator knows me and obviously I can handle it… it’s totally amazing and like when I had my vision of Eternity in 1986, it has again changed my outlook on life… amazing stuff… Wonderful things happen when you Invite God Into Your Life, literally… Amazed, I am.

  77. Hallel Rosenberg
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    Through the mirror one see’s all.
    He sees God and the devil,
    The user the avatar, the feared and the loved.
    The people who are in you and out.
    Twin souls from other dimensions staring in the mirror back at their reflections which are you.
    You see infinity and perhaps…beyond.

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted May 13, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      beautiful poem… a thousand good thoughts to you and yours. do you know who wrote it? if you did, very well done. I have copied and pasted it for my own delight. Best wishes, Raine

  78. Thor.
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 3:39 am | Permalink

    Am I the only person who has done this and just seen their own face? Interestingly I did this years ago (having never heard of this ‘phenomena’) and all that happened as I was a little scared of my reflection, but I feel obliged to point out that I have always had a strong aversion to mirrors. I’m calling bullshit on this one.

  79. Raine Carosin
    Posted May 13, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Well, it’s quite a while since I wrote, but since “then” I have found that I am now totally at ease. I can see “the whole body” and the interactions that affect me, and the love that surrounds me, and like the poem above, I can see God and the Devil, and the twin souls, and myself as I really am, all complicated and simple as one, not moving against “my thoughts” but moving with them in perfect harmony with the Creation, and sometimes there are little hitches, but, that’s life in a nutshell… hahahaha… Anyway, it’s very amazing and wonderful and totally breathtaking to be able to SEE me as fully as that… and to feel comfortable and at ease and loved… it’s like being able to actually SEE LOVE. Well, I won’t write any more for now, and wish you happy trails with your everlasting lives doing whatever makes YOU happy and content and fills those around you with the same. For those of you who follow darker thoughts, well, I only hope that you will come into the LIGHT and not be ashamed of anything ever again, for no matter what you have done or what you have thought, there is FORGIVENESS for every one… May the Creator, by whichever name you choose to call, always be your first and foremost port of call in all times so that you are not mislead… Best regards, Raine PS Living in front of a mirror is not a lifestyle, by the way, or a religion, it’s just another way of looking at one’s SELF.

  80. Thom C
    Posted May 30, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    The first time I did this it was really sureal almost. I stared into the mirror and my face started to change shape into what I think was a gorilla, but only the left side. I looked away because it did kind of give me the creeps. I did it again but instead of what I got the first time I looked and saw a face that looked like it was decomposing…almost skeletal. The mind does play some interesting tricks on us.

  81. Sara
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I had actually discovered this when starring in the mirror. Now I know what’s really going on. :) Thank you.

    What I see in the mirror after a point is just a slight difference, and maybe I’m not doing it right. But it’s still my face. Only it doesn’t feel like it belongs to me anymore. And my reflection stares back with this serious almost wide eyed expression.

    It makes me nervous.Then I shift and everything is normal again. My face is my own again.

  82. Antwoord
    Posted July 11, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    I like how they say “never before described”! Why are scientists always trying to take credit what occultists and mystics have been practicing for hundreds of years? Stay classy science.

    • George
      Posted February 27, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Considering all those occultists and mystics described supernatural occurrences with mirrors, and these scientists are describing actual brain functions, I’d say they’re talking about something never before described, at least never before described accurately. Should they have written “something never before rationally investigated, and instead explained away as magic or the supernatural by the intellectually lazy and ignorant” instead? Would that have been classier?

      This was a nice article, but some of these comments… Ignorance is one thing, but how do so many people become flat out delusional?

  83. Puckrex
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Abraxa in the book Introduction to Magic explained the alchemic technique of mirror. Anyone knows that? … I think that Abraxa is relevant for occultists and mystics, and strange-faces are very esoteric.

  84. Posted August 10, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    I used to do this meditative exercise but whats really weird is when you do it sitting accross from someone and stare in there eyes soo much that you see spirits through them. Trust me. Those are not illusions thats the spirits side coming through,

    • Raine
      Posted August 10, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      my experience, exactly. that’s why I have stated that it’s important to have a good and clear point of view when you think something and have good relations with all and sundry. fear is the initial experience, but acceptance settles in and a really peaceful experience can take place.

  85. Bob
    Posted September 18, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t done this but something with much the same effect. I was laying in bed about 30 minutes ago and looking into the television screen opposite my bed. whenever I focused in my face it started to resemble a skull, after this it changed back to my face but started to distort until my face looked like something resembling that Scream painting. I found this page by chance by googling what happened in an act of questioning my sanity. Thanks for restoring my ability to sleep and saving me a fortune on psychiractric treatment!!

  86. Carolyn
    Posted October 4, 2011 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    I did this today. I had a friend pass away this weekend and I was hoping the “mirror gazing trick” would help me communicate with him a little better. I did see his face; It scared me senseless so I stopped. I did it again a few hours later after I gathered my thoughts and feelings about it. My face began to fade to white, then black and then I saw trees. He was found in the woods so maybe these are linked together? Then it would fade back to a face, but not my face. I’m not quite sure who’s face it was, to be honest but it was a face. Then the eyebrows began moving up and down and the hair line kept getting higher and lower while the skin tone faded from white, to yellow, to orange, to light blue. But yellow showed up the most. I did this for about a half an hour, I lost track of time I guess because my boyfriend began banging on the door. I almost feel disturbed about it. The faces I saw were a bit unsettling but I couldn’t help but continue to do it.

    I tried doing it again tonight but my eyes are exhausted. As well as my body. It surprisingly took a lot of effort and strength from me. To those of you who haven’t tried this yet and want to, just know it can be a bit upsetting. Not saying it will be, but I know personally, I have felt very strange all day.

  87. Phyllis Grant
    Posted October 22, 2011 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    This has been happening to me for years.. I keep gtting labeled as Psychotic. They keep wanting to put me on Anti-Psychotics but this is not Psychosis. I know when these faces are there and they wake me up sometimes to come Visit. I avoid them mostly now because I slip into them almost immediately when I go to Visit. I see a woman she has a very broad face and large eyes. I see men. I have known one who had her throat slashed. I saw her as a Serf in a field of wheat. I Feel sometimes what they need from me. Its understanding. I am not afraid of them. I just sometimes have to not look in the mirror if I don’t want to see them.. I know when they want me.

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted October 22, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      …thank you for posting your news: just remember that you are not at the beck and call, you are a friend to those who “mirrored” your friendships and you have a life of your own to live, so, of course, make time when YOU are available, and remember, you don’t need the mirror – you can be anywhere and do your communications… if you are confused, please do try to find some one to speak to who is involved in “being sensitive”, or a medium, or a psychic… all these people who have experiences with being able to see through to the other side have had a hard time in their lives because of narrow points of view, but, for myself, although my path was hard, i was able to take the anti-psychotic medication, on the lowest dose, to appease those who dictated that I needed medication, (and I figure that it DOES help) and I have made choices of whom I share my inner thoughts with and whom I attempt to not get into conversation with, for many people out there do not accept that there is an afterlife and that eternity does exist, and some of them are quite difficult to talk with, so I don’t open my mouth to mention anything to do with the things that are on my mind which are not material or of this world… You are most welcome to write to me, but I would recommend more that you find some one in your area with whom you can communicate… It’s awful to be caught between those who want you to be medicated and not have any one in your court… You may feel like the whole world is against you – but do not fear… just pray (communicate) with your Creator and I am sure you will find a support system or group that will help you to understand yourself better… Sorry so longwinded, but I’m just feeling that you need support to know that you are not alone at any time in the daily struggles of life… You CAN succeed in living a “normal” life with those around you… and find friends that accept you for what you are and don’t try to change you to suit themselves or their pocket… Warmest wishes, Raine Carosin

  88. mmtt
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    I just experienced this a few minutes ago. I’ve seen it many times in my life but tonight I reached a different level with it.

    As a child I saw my face changing into different styles when I gazed into the mirror. I would become Mexican… and other things.

    And over time it mainly has become more of a psychological thing. My face will shift in ways that really cannot be expressed here. The closest way to describe it would be the thoughts you have when on drugs – if you have done them. These are thoughts that illuminate the depth of the mind.

    They are not ‘normal’ thoughts – not at all. So naturally it can be horrifying. I’m afraid of it, still. I don’t want to look into the mirror and see something different than how I imagine myself to be. And this isn’t really a ‘body’ image thing – it has a spiritual element. Who is that, in the mirror? Who is behind those eyes? I forget who I am, that there is a ‘me’ – as I go about my day.

    Anyway, tonight I got to thinking – why does this happen? I believe the reflection hallucinated in the mirror of your own face – is sort of like the REAL you. One develops thoughts of who they are, what they’re supposed to be like – based on what others see in them and so on. It just happens. A self develops with its own story.

    When you hallucinate in the mirror, you’re seeing through all of that in a way, into something else. The closest way to describe it is yes – a spiritual world. I do not think this world is separate from ours. It is just that over time we lose the ability to see the truth of ourselves.

    • Raine
      Posted October 24, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      … a note to all: just remember that whether you are looking into the mirror or not, you are the same as you were a moment ago… it’s normal to have a fright, at first, but just be logical about it… as it has been said: there’s nothing to fear except fear itself…

  89. Bryan
    Posted October 26, 2011 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Anyone else notice that the percentages in the article come to 208%?

  90. jim
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    I turned into a cat once.
    Like a lion face man.

    and please…

    try do this on ANYTHING, everything becomes distorted or weird how do you think so many ghost and alien reportings has happend lol.

    There is no metaphysical, out of this world or paranormal thing going on here.

    light trick and something to do with the center of the eyes…

    Humans are very easily suggestable, if you genually believe in the christian god, he is now real in that persons life.

    If we wasnt so afraid of death we wouldnt need religion.

  91. jim
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Please study Egypt…far more real information than this mumbo jumbo afterlife, talking to people bs…such a scam.

    please study egypt.

  92. Alysyn
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    I am only 16 years of age. and glad I came across this article! I’ve been doing this for years, ever since I was around 5 or 7. I did it today, off guard more like, when I was staring at one of my eye (it was twitching) in the dim lighting of my room. by surprise My face started to change again, being familiar with this happing, I ought I try to figure what it looked like again. It seemed to look like little vines coming out of my face, brown vines, I was a man, smiling, It was so powerful, so evil. I didn’t stop, and concentrated when the man then opened his mouth wide, gone… I was instantly terrified, I feel like I’ve seen him before. I find this very peculiar I recognized the face to one of my nightmares I had the other night, I remember my dreams very well, I write them down If it’s something interesting. I’m very fascinated with illusions and how the Brian is triggered to everything, and I feel relived by this article, so thank you!

  93. Randy
    Posted December 11, 2011 at 4:13 am | Permalink

    Tried this one time about 10 years ago after listening to Art Bell. And had a hair raising experience. After about ten minutes of looking into the mirror staring into my eyes, I suddenly noticed what I can only describe as a gremlin face with yellow eyes, dark skin, and short horns staring and smiling over my shoulder while Im looking in the mirror. I quickly stopped and rubbed my eyes after about passing out. I then looked in the mirror again with relief just saw my face. Turned to leave the bathroom and saw this creature again with a mischevious smile looking at me, then he darted out of site towards the living room. I thought I was seeing things. So I stopped and took a breath again, and proceeded out of the restroom, only to find him smiling at me in the living room. He darted around so fast, he would make a motion, and before you knew it he would be on the other side of the room. I then ran out of the house totally on alert, wandering what have I done, its like I let something out of the mirror. The weird thing is I dont remember anything else that happened that night. I have never seen this thing again, and I absolutely wont ever stare into a mirror again. This experience has definetely made me a believer there is more out there that we dont know. And no, I was not on any drugs, I dont ever drink. I would like to know if this has happened to any one else.

  94. StoneyNY
    Posted December 27, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    I woke up at 1:30 AM because my room was uncomfortably warm. I decided to get some water. I then proceeded to the bathroom. As I passed the mirror I felt a strong urge to stare at myself. I put my fingertips together in a meditative prayer style position and began to clear my mind also doing some slow breathing and Bruce lee style calm arm movements(sounds silly but it really calmed me down)after I was completely calm I gazed at my reflection and it became very foreign to me. I saw various, rapid changes in my face. I scared the crap out of myself, It was amazing. Our universe is so vast and our minds so powerful. Will we ever know our full potential?

    • Raine
      Posted December 28, 2011 at 1:04 am | Permalink

      i personally don’t think so… what i do believe, however, is that in the eternal that we are much like the worms that metamorphosize into butterflies… it seems, in my imagination, to be a never-ending story… in this realm we see the worm and then the butterfly, fortunately, so as to have a picture in our memories to jog us when we get depressed… so, no, I don’t think we ever get to a point where we know our FULL POTENTIAL, but we can do the best we can with what we have at our “now” time and that should be good enough for anybody… some do their worst, but, we hope it won’t touch our lives… thanks for adding your story… since this story started here on this site, I’ve been able to become comfortable with my “image” in the mirror, and realise that it’s not always what people look like that defines them, but how they are INSIDE… so, therefore, I communicate, whether I’m looking into the mirror or just ambling along my way in life… Some one once said that we are all parts of one body and it’s good to meditate on that sometimes…

      • menotyou
        Posted January 3, 2012 at 12:35 am | Permalink

        2012!!!

        lysergic diethylamide acid does it without having to stare or dim the lights.

      • Raine
        Posted January 3, 2012 at 1:17 am | Permalink

        dunno what acid you’re talking about and too tired to look it up, but I like the way I travel in my mind without any additives – just me, a presumtuous assumer that reckons the acid you are referring to is some type of drug or medicine or something external… i like to be clean and clear… so, yes, i checked and it is the age old acid trip you’re referring to… i might just be able to warn you that putting stuff into your natural/supernatural body (however you thinketh) is NOT GOOD… just like alcohol that grabs a hold of all your life and tosses it into a gutter, so, too, do all those “additives” grab a hold of your precious minutes and toss them onto the garbage… I write from serious experience and you are warned: I’m sure you don’t want to be like me and go thrashing through the trash to retrieve a least some parts of your memories of life… for the record, i gave it all up and survived this far… all the “addictive” stuff does is MESS WITH YOUR MIND and doesn’t allow you to KNOW that what you’re experiencing is GENUINELY yours or a result of the “drug” and one gets confused and it’s not anything i would promote… so, DON’T go promoting it here using me as an excuse to line the pockets of those who just “dig” your promotions… sorry if I’m off the deep end here, but it’s not cool for people to just write here without thinking what the implications are for those who come after us… I mean, a child or a grandchild grows up and reads this and reckons: hey, let’s try it out… I’d hate for any kids or future kids to grow up and be tempted to “go the easy way” into what we are discussing here: the mirror illusion … please don’t let your writing reflect poorly into the future…

  95. Damien
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 2:30 am | Permalink

    I was searching for this and i found it!
    I have had this for a long time when i look in the mirror I see a “demon face” looking back. its really ugly and it smiles very evil.But it does not scare me. The brain is a wonderfull thing.I am relieved I am not the only one in a way :)

    • Raine
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      and a big smile there to you, too… i, too, am so glad i found this “conversation” and “open-mindedness” because I thought I was crazy… it’s good that one can keep communication lines open… “communication is the key to success”… thank you once again for a great site…

  96. Emily
    Posted January 19, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    It has happened to me quite a few times, that’s why i tried to find something about it on the internet..My face just looks different kind of actually, I thought maybe that’s how other people see me. But I also looked kind of sad and serious. However it creeps me out..

  97. Nibz
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    I found this article while I was searching for the meaning of faces changing during sex. I have experienced this many times with different partners. The setting and circumstances were similar to the explanation of how to achieve this in the mirror. For example the room was dimly lit and I was looking directly at my partner for an extended period of time. I would love to hear why this might’ve happening and if it is has relation to this exercise.

  98. Raine
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    the same happened to me a long time ago and I asked my partner why, and he replied that it just is so… not a satisfying answer, so, with this discussion here on the site going on, I’m relieved of my worries about it, having found my own understanding that we are all of one body and that spiritually connected, we have the invisible bonds tying us all together, and the main invisible bond is love for another person (ps: hate can also form an unwanted bond, as well as fear) and then the word. My main problem now is dealing with my agitation in wanting to be alone, but not being able to, and my struggle is to come to terms with being a part of the ONE which we all are and finding a happy medium for my own sanity’s sake… I think that it would be wonderful if people like Alison du Bois and “Bones”, and other people who deal with spiritually and “ghosts” can tell us how they balance their personal lives when dealing with interpersonal relationships that are happening as we go through our lives, day by day… I have found that being selfish with my inner time and sanctum, doesn’t help at all, but rather to tackle problems that arise within head-on and sort the matter out in the NOW, and not later… Praying helps a lot, but I’m finding that in today’s world, the spirits that are not good and kind are getting bolder and bolder and cheekier and that sometimes drives me to distraction… In those moments, I “pick myself up” and get busy with something constructive, as it seems that there will always be “mischievious” spirits (for want of a better word) in the atmosphere and we just have to find good ways to deal with all these things… I have been following this article for quite a while and you can reference my previous posts, but yes, face changes happen during sex as well, and also, I have experienced the “prickly beard” sensation and the sensation of other faces over mine without having a mirror to see or being in the company of other people or a person. There are songs which reference women “running to the mirror” to assert or assure themselves of love, or “pick me ups” advised to people to go to the mirror each morning and tell yourself you’re a good guy, etc. One can protect one’s self with words and then, on the other hand, some use destructive words and have to bear the consequences… Love is definitely the answer: Love yourself and then others can love you… Anyways, I’ve waffled on for ages now and really must get on with my chores… Let’s keep this page updated on the spiritual journeys we are all on and how we learn to deal with our problems and questions and post our solutions, and perhaps it can help at least one person… Everything counts in large amounts… Ta muchly, best wishes, raine

    • ann
      Posted March 8, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      firstly, this thread is revolutionary.

      there is no space such as this where we are able to come together (for free) in a pursuit to seeking the truth. this type of freedom only happens when public knowledge is archived – or in other words, where there is a type of liberty to speak of one’s own experiences.

      personally, i’ve had many experiences similar to these that have been mentioned. i have recently come across the “mirror phenomena” by accident but other experiences include:

      seeing past lovers during sex

      and seeing someone who i knew inhabit a strangers’s body; i could tell by recognizing their eyes. this conversation was not a passing moment, the eyes stayed; and when i walked away to get a glass of water for me and my friend michael, michael’s eyes turned black. when i sat down again, his eyes were recognizable.

      to this day, i’m still not sure exactly what is happening although these experiences happen to me daily. as i try to project reason on to it i become more confused; but what i’ve come to realize is that the “reason” that i apply to it is a synopsis of passed memories and cultural syntax anyway and that REAL truth can only be found in the state of friction between reality and the dream state.

      raine, your testimony speaks volumes to me. especially your testimony where you found yourself in the midst of thousands of other voices. for me, its painful actually and i’m having a difficult time seeking a type of peace and silence – or focusing energy on my well being and getting ‘better’. they don’t seem to leave perhaps i can’t find enough courage to be left alone.

      • Raine
        Posted March 8, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        Well, as we both only speak from personal experience, I can tell you that I’ve been able to understand that “we are NOT EVER alone”… this is due to me remembering my childhood and always being in “conversation”, but of course, growing up and going into adulthood with some severe and some seemingly insignificant “traumas”, I did tend to forget that I wasn’t alone. I also had a terrible head injury, where I felt that I had only come back to life because I had asked God, while in the midst of the fear of dying, to let me live and I would live my life in His Glory. So, “coming back to life” at the age of 18 or 19, can’t remember, I was totally confused and had to learn to bathe and dry myself, – just one of the things that my mind had forgotten… anyways, so, that I know now: I am not ever alone. So, please, let me thank you now for writing to me about this: I firmly believe that in opening up so that we leave legacies of our own truths that perhaps the new children will be able to relate and not feel the anxious fear of being the only ones to experience something, but know that we are a part of billions of souls who have experienced many different things and that a small percentage, maybe, will amount to quite a few people experiencing the same things… so, that’s wonderful that this is out there on the web for our other “brothers and sisters” to read and relate to, and realise that they are not alone. So, back to the “face in the mirror” phenomenon. It’s strange in the beginning, but once one gets over the fears, one is able to become comfortable knowing that it happens even when we are not looking in the mirror. To be loved is wonderful, and when one realises that you are loved by more than one person; in more than one way, it is quite overwhelming, but again, one must accept it graciously and understand that this is what keeps our souls healthy and happy and informed. God is the Love. God is the Word. So therefore, the Word is Love, as well and the many other connotations that can be combined. So our thoughts are very important. This is why I urge people to make their “voice” heard. It’s more that one can hear it for themselves, than for other people to hear. In this way, your thoughts (communications) can divert or change the way one is feeling. I used to be abolutely, horribly jealous, and, although God is jealous, for us as humans, jealousy shouldn’t be a part of our make-up as we can’t handle it properly. Anyways, so being this horrible green monster (taking the thoughts to be my very own and very real) I one day went into the kitchen while hubby was on the balcony, and asked myself: where and what is hubby doing. The answer was that he was with another woman, and I was able to laugh about it because if I had asked and he was not in my prescence, I would have thought he was physically with another woman. So, the Desiderata (you can look it up) states that many fears are born from wild imaginings (or something like that). So, being able to understand that I couldn’t trust my imagination to tell me the truth, and also understanding that since my head injury, I still had a lot to learn, and this is why I appreciate this page on the internet, to explore and learn and understand. Now I’m finally getting to your letter. I’m so glad you could share as openly as you did about your experiences. It will take me some time to read and reread your own testominy, so that I can understand as best I can, so I shall fully reply when I am ready. But, in the meantime I can say that the pupils of the eye enlarging to seem almost black is a sign of love. The parrot is a fine example of the pupil dialation showing mood. When the pupil is a pinpoint, it is a sign that the person is not favouring you or the situation well. Now, we cannot see our own pupils, but we can feel the emotion. And of course, our curiosity leads us to the mirror to see pupil dialation for ourselves. LOL!!! So, I shall be soon writing to you when I have my ducks in order if there is any great revelation that I come to when combining your written words with my understanding and coming to a new conclusion – for every day we live, we learn new things and like a tree we blossom and bear fruit and then sleep and then awaken to a new Spring… Thank you so much for sharing… I’m sure there are many who will be as excited as I am with your writing… That’s the wonder of our Lives – in finding that we are not alone and finding that most of those who “surround” us are not malevolent, but kindly and sincerely hoping for good thoughts to and from us… So, go well, dear Ann, and do write in the interim if you want, and I shall be thinking… (and working and doing chores… LOL!) Warmest wishes, Raine PS You have the power (with word thoughts) to change any one’s mind from being in your way, to being a helpful part of your day or night… Perhaps they are just having a hard time and hitting out into their darkness and not seeing the Light!!! And once you’ve changed them – or their attitude into being happy to know you, then you will have touched other peoples souls, too, and your circle of happiness will expand and slowly you will stop feeling clausterphobic in your own space and find solace in knowing you are surrounded by souls just like you… I hope that helps… Write anytime and, of course, I’m still learning myself every day, new things and sometimes have to change what I believed yesterday… Strange world, but good when one feels comfortable in it and worthy to be a part of such a privileged few…

  99. Joe
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Hi,
    I have seen a friends face change before and he looked like an older happier man. Nothing in resemblance to his normal features.

    I tried gazing in the mirror at myself then started relishing different faces. As they developed my eyes slightly left concentration and the faces disappeared.

    I my face and body also started fading into darkness and at one point was a dark silowet of myself, with the background of my bedroom wall and poster in color.

  100. Tim Acree
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    I discovered this phenomenon by accident.
    I’m relieved to know I’m not going insane.
    And yes, it occurred in a dimly lit room.

    You need to be REALLY relaxed for this to work. But to be honest, I don’t recommend it. Not only did my face begin to distort, I felt another presence, almost as if mirror me was someone else entirely. And then I felt this energy sort of vibrating through me, and it felt like something was about to burst.
    I’ll admit though, part of me wants to try it again.

    oh, and for the record, I was entirely sober. I don’t even drink coffee.

  101. Tim Acree
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    follow up observation:
    This is FAR more difficult with audio distractions. I think your mind has to be very still; no distractions.

    • Tim Acree
      Posted February 25, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      just for the heck of it I googled, “biblical mirror references.” This is what came up:
      “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

      I’m not christian… but that floored me.

      Also, some of you have mentioned visions/perceptions of both good and evil, of light and dark. Well isn’t it fitting, then, that this occurs in dimly lit rooms?- where light and dark collide.

      • Raine
        Posted February 25, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        amazing, isn’t it? especially when one takes a relevant verse and meditates upon the meaning in the most fullness thereof that one can… and I’m sure that “in order to be loved, one must love one’s self” also pertains heavily with reference to “seeing” one’s self in the mirror in such an unusual way… thanks for putting in your comment… (just as a matter of interest: one cannot believe in the Bible until one ACTUALLY DOES, and that requires reading and understanding it…) – and that takes a verrrry long time… :-}

  102. michelle
    Posted February 26, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    This is something that I use to do a long time ago with a weird boyfriend. Glad to see, 20 years later, that the things I saw were pretty normal.

  103. Herblawz
    Posted March 25, 2012 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    I’ve been doing this. Just today I stated into the mirror and started concentrating hard. I have visual snow and I see it as a more spritual thing. But as I’m staring at myself I become very distorted and sort of fade into visual snow… My reflection disappears. This feels very spritual but I was wondering if anyone else can do this.

  104. Raine Carosin
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Just had to find the energy to write to you all who are interested: last night, put off all the lights and went to bed. Propped up against the headboard, in the total dark, with the dressingtable mirror as usual, right in front of my vision for the last six years, I lit up a cigarette. In the dark the coal glowed bright red in the reflection of the mirror and I prepared to relax and get ready to drop off to sleep after a puff or two. (Now, I’ve already mentioned this in a previous comment about the following:). When I took the second drag of the ciggie, again, like before, the coal burned bright red, but this time in a different position on the reflection, even though I hadn’t changed my posture or position. Why this happens I still have no idea. It seems as if there is a total shift in reality and space and time when this happens. I mean: the red light of the coal, which was the only thing I could see until it faded after a moment, until the next pull, should be in roughly the same place and not dart all over the place for a few nanoseconds, and definitely should not move what seems like a metre to the right… Odd, I tell you… If somebody has the time, one day, perhaps there will be some collaboration on this and it can be studied… Of course, I don’t know how it could be studied, but, where there’s a will, there’s a way… At my age, now nearly 50yearsold, it doesn’t worry me, but it still is interesting… Warmest wishes, RAine

    • Posted April 27, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

      I hope nobody minds, but I copy/pasted this from my MINDHACKS email and think that this might explain the movement in the mirror, which I have written about in earlier posts on THE FACE IN THE MIRROR ILLUSION… (I am going to have my eyes tested this coming week and mayhap there might be a further explanation of why I tend to think that the glow of the cigarette moves in the mirrored reflection)…

      The latest Journal of Neuroscience features a study on the neuroscience behind Akiyoshi Kitaoka’s famouse Rotating Snakes illusion and to celebrate they’re made a ‘Rotating Brain’ illusion for the front cover.

      This type of illusion, often called a peripheral drift illusion, was thought to occur due to slow drifting eye movements but this new study suggests that it is more likely to be explained by rapid but tiny eye movements called saccades.

      Brain-shaped version of Akiyoshi Kitaoka’s “Rotating Snakes” illusion. In its usual presentation, the image consists of concentric circles of stepwise luminance gradients with curved edges, which produces a strong illusion of rotation in most observers. New evidence suggests this illusion is produced by transient oculomotor events such as microsaccades, saccades, and blinks, rather than continuous drift.

      Despite the fantastic cover I expect the journal to outdo itself next time and have both an article explaining the neuroscience Brocken spectre as well as an image you can hide up a mountanside to create 20 metre tall ghost-like figures.

      Link to study (via BoingBoing)
      URL: http://wp.me/ptsTD-5NM

      • Raine Carosin
        Posted July 25, 2012 at 2:00 am | Permalink

        just an update: had my eyes tested and the specialist said my eyes were fine. i wear prescription glasses normally, but when looking into the mirror I usually don’t. My own personal experience with being able to see what is on the other side of my wall one night, and this phenomenon of the red cigarette butt light in the dark flitting around is very interesting, but I’m so busy with day to day things that I hardly get around to studying it seriously… Anyways, just thought I’d let you know… kind regards, raine

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted July 26, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      I SOLVED THE MYSTERY OF THE “MOVING CIGARETTE LIGHT IN THE MIRROR”

      I wrote previously that I couldn’t understand why (in the dark) my cigarette’s burning end glowing in the mirror in the dark kept on moving a big space, but last night I was trying to stretch my neck and I looked up and behind me to the headboard, and then it made sense: on the metal headboard, there is a brass ornamentation which reflects the cigarette glow back into the mirror at night while I’m smoking, and causes me to think that the “cigarette glow” is in the wrong place according to my specs in the dark… hope this makes sense… sometimes it’s hard to concentrate with any kind of pain in the body… but, the mystery is solved and now I don’t have to be so “frightened” by the strange angle of the reflected cigarette glowing in the dark, reflected in the mirror… I just have to laugh at myself!!!!

  105. barbar
    Posted May 5, 2012 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    I experience it but I actually saw myself in all the reflections I saw but they were all in different time periods I saw one of me in a wedding gown looked as if it was maybe 1856 by the style and anothe rone look even older like around 1800. Then I saw a scary one then I saw me really old then I kept gazing in a certain position n I made myself disapere

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted May 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      amazing… i don’t think we’ll ever get to the end of the things that the mind is capable of…

  106. jesus
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    I saw a face with my factions, but a totally evil look on it. My eyes shunk, turn black and had a little spark on them. My bear start to grow but then I loss concentration and had to focus again, almost the sameting happend exept that this time it was my hear the one that grow b ut it look like some kind of mud or a bunch of bees all together. I was all freaked out for that almost a full hour. Is this normal?

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted May 17, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Well, firstly, “normal” is not the word to use, because each of us has our own sense of “normal”, but because we are communicating about the same subject: if you read a lot of the previous entries, you will see that a lot of people, including me, also experience “fear” when first embarking upon this experiment. I think this is because we don’t know what to expect. So, what I’ve discovered is that over time, one loses the “fear of the unexpected” and becomes used to seeing “things” and eventually, one learns to see one’s whole self (we are all part of one body) in fragments… and we learn to understand that we are not in peril, but merely observing ourselves into the reflection. It would therefore seem to be normal to see “frightful” things upon our first real look at ourselves, so what I suggest is that you read all the entries on this subject and realise that you are not the only one who has experienced “fearful things”, and then you can progress to be able to not feel fear and therefore start to see the lovely things and start to feel comfortable with yourself as a whole. It’s a big conversation and not all can be done in one day, so take it slowly and keep your eyes upon The Creator and His Kingdom. Ask for His protection if you haven’t already asked Him, and walk with Him in confidence.

      • Nicholas
        Posted July 13, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        @Raine Carosin
        Not everything is some huge metaphor for life. It’s the brain stem trying to make sense of nonsensical information like in dreams.

        Stop trying to convert people on a mindhacks message board, it’s bad taste and completely off topic.

      • Raine Carosin
        Posted July 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        ag, Nicolas, this is a very interesting subject for me and I enjoy each comment and it’s like having a long conversation… and for me, every one here who has commented and shared is like some one invited into a lounge and we’re all discussing and thinking about the same topic, and we are all sharing our opinions… i like this page very much and enjoy this subject and will continue to “say” hi to all those who comment, because it seems that no one else is saying hi, even though they read the comments… this is MIND HACKS and if I’m not welcome on the couch, then that’s fine, I’ll take my opinions somewhere else, but if it’s okay with all concerned, I’d like to be a part of this conversation for as long as possible… And besides, how can anybody possibly be converted just because of one person’s point of view? That’s quite insane. The great thing about this conversation is that we are all talking about the things that happen with the mind… particularly about looking into the mirror and how the mind reacts… i appreciate your point of view, but, gees, i’m just enjoying the conversation and my coffee…

  107. AddHomonym
    Posted May 27, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I was just asking people about this phenomenon and someone posted a link to this article.

    I did this as a kid in my bathroom mirror except I always had very bright lights and needed to focus upon a single spot for the duration. Once the eyes moved, the illusion was broken and I found it almost impossible not to look at the strange things I witnessed. This made for short “sessions”.

    One time, likely one of the last times I tried this, I noticed what appeared to be yellow light glowing from beneath my skin. I was able to hold this image in my mind’s eye unlike the melting and morphing of my face. I ran down to the kitchen and mixed up a paste made of Cumin or Corriander, or some yellow spice and then applied it to my face in the same pattern.

    As it turned out, my paste was actually more like a dye and I went to school with a sort of vague, blotchy jaundiced look for a couple of days.

    I think I like to think of this more in the light of a budding love for science rather than evidence of a psychotic episode.

  108. Posted May 28, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    The year was 1994. I was 18 years old visiting family in WV. On one particular night, staying at my uncles house, I set up camp in my uncles living room. He gave me a pillow and cover and said the couch would be most comfortable. I had a movie going, VHS for the record. The couch directly faced a large bay window which faced a creek and wooded area that you could not see because it was dark outside for one and also because the light was turned off and the reflection from the TV caused a mirror effect on the window. Not long into the movie I gave notice to my reflection starting with my feet. I slowly looked up my body to my legs, then to the waist area on to the chest, all rather quickly, for the record and when I got to my face, it was not a face at all, it was a skull. I rubbed my eyes, just like in the movies when someone sees something they cannot believe and so they rub there eyes to sort of adjust there vision and I did that only my face was not a face at all but that of a skull. It scared me, it froze me. I could barely move and was terrified. I pulled the cover over my head and somehow found sleep.
    My uncle woke me up the next morning. The TV was static, he said “You fell asleep with the TV on.” I replied “Yea, I guess I must have.”
    I never told him. Never told anyone really…

    That’s my “ChangingFaces”, true story.
    -DV

  109. Imogen
    Posted June 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I tried this a while ago, and my face just turned into my friends face, I got her facial features and I looked like her

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted June 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      that’s nice… shows a close relationship… thanks for sharing :-}

  110. Rachel
    Posted June 14, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    I did this the other day; but not on purpose… It just happened… It was me but it wasn’t me;it looked better than me and it was at a different angle slightly; and I suddenly felt like I was trapped in my body and my soul wanted to jump into the body in the mirror) :( I was in a school bathroom by myself and the lights are not really that dim… Maybe a little at the time. If anyone knows anything; please e-mail me at luxallsop@yahoo.com

  111. Nicholas
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I tried this illusion a year ago and I still can’t look into my own eyes after I saw.

    I gave it a shot thinking little of it, thinking it might be a cool experience but I guess I’m the 48% in this experiment. I tried it in my bathroom, as that mirror is the largest, turned on a night-light behind me and watched the reflection of my right eye.
    Nothing happened for a few minutes, but just when I was getting impatient my face began to change. I can’t describe in words what I saw, nor can I picture it again in my mind’s eye if I try, but it plagued me with nightmares for weeks and I am left with noticeable fear of mirrors that begins to persist after anything longer than a quick glance.

    I actually wish I had never tried this experiment.

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted July 2, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      In reply to Nicholas: Hi. I can relate, because the first time I looked into my eyes in the mirror, I became increasingly paranoid, but because I was persistent (I had to find out my own truth), I stayed with it, noticing how my eyes’ pupils reacted to “me” and I had to remember all sorts of things while doing it, like: this is me, I have nothing to be frightened of; and – we are all one body and various other scriptures, including the most important one: that G-d is Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent. Having my Faith in Him saved this person from fear of my own reflection, and I was able to face “myself” (over a period of time) with absolute assurance that He is my Protector and that NOTHING reflected in the mirror or in the “likenesses” could harm me without His consent, and that kept the balance for me. I know you will get over your fear in good time and have faith that you will have a good journey discovering yourself. Thanks for sharing. Warmest wishes

  112. Kenji
    Posted July 9, 2012 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    Hmm, nobody will ever see this comment, but anyway. I was really excited to try this, but really nervous at the same time.

    I’m extremely short sighted, but I took off my glasses for this. It only took a few seconds for my face to start distorting, because well, my eyes suck. I did it 3 times.
    The first time I tried it, I started looking like an elderly version of myself. The second time I did it, my face morphed into a demon looking face. It creeped me out, but I had to do it again, it felt addictive! Then I did it for the third time and my eyes instantly turned black, my skin looked scaly and gross and my mouth turned into a snarl with razor sharp teeth.
    I’m terrified of what I might see if I decided to do it again..

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted July 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Kenji… I always keep up with this page, so I have read your entry… Not to worry, a lot of us have a “scary” experience in the beginning… do not be afraid that these are the only “sights” you’ll see… It’s a principal of one being “scared” or “fearful” to begin with, so obviously, in our fear of the unknown, our first sighting will be of fearful things, but as one realises that this process goes on whether in front of the mirror or not, one shall be able to catch a glimpse of one’s self at a more “amicable” situation within the mind and not project a fearful image of the imagination… It’s a case of being patient while one “normalises” the incidents… Thanks for writing… I really appreciate it… Warmest wishes, RAine

    • Natalia
      Posted April 3, 2013 at 5:01 am | Permalink

      omg thats so freaky! YOU are so weird for trying it THREE times! haha I was SO freaked out when it happened to me (by mistake!)

  113. haley
    Posted July 10, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    I looked at myself in the mirror.. and I found myself out to be some sort of a creature. I looked wicked!!! Like a mermaid or something… my eyes faded and were just biig and black but a hit of bright green
    My face had light streaks going across it and my nose was wicked!!!!!!! Its so cool what you can get your eyes to do.

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted July 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      so glad to get your comment: a lot of people are fearful and that “reflects back”, but as you observed, it is quite a very INTERESTING phenomenon… I used to, back in the seventies, stare at a mark on a wall and make it disappear … amazing stuff… how cunningly are we made, eh?

  114. Tish
    Posted July 15, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    I hadnt read this article until I tried it for probably what felt like an hour. I saw all of these. A biker man, a Victorian woman, a lion, an alien, but most horrific was not when half my face was missing but when a demon stared back at me. I thought I was hallucinating or dissociating and if was fun but this scared the shit out of me..

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted July 15, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      thanks so much for sharing that… i’ve been doing it for years and years now and have dismissed the “scaries” as ocassional passersby, but often I see my departed family, and also those who are living and are close to me… it’s a comfort to me that we – meaning: my family and friends – are still in the same world, even though sometimes “world’s apart”… thank you again for sharing… hope you won’t be scared in the future… :-}

  115. Cole
    Posted July 18, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I am curious to know if this experiment could relate to something that occurs for me regularily. You see, everytime I look in the mirror I don’t quite feel as if I’m looking at my reflection and I feel a bit uneasy.

  116. non
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    I’ve experienced this by accident. I guess I feel not as creeped out, since it’s merely an optical illusion………..

    but the light in my room, after i shower was always kinda dim. I’ve always looked in the mirror etc… well one night i decided to just kinda gaze at my face and my reflection just turned into the features of an old person, idk if it was a man or woman, or maybe an aged version of me, but whatever it was, i was terrified and quickly looked away. and ever since then i’ve been very hesitant about looking in mirrors too long in a dim light

  117. non
    Posted July 24, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    also wanted to clarify, that i did respond with fear….even typing my story gave me goose bumps right now

  118. Chris
    Posted July 30, 2012 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I tried this about 25 years ago some short time after ingesting LSD.

    I went into a bathroom at a Restaurant and found myself looking in the mirror.
    I had never heard of this exercize also called Scrying.
    I have no idea why but I began focuing my gaze on the reflection of my pupils in the mirror trying to keep my focus straight on with both eyes trained on the pupil straight ahead in the mirror.

    Eventually other faces appeared over the reflection of my face.

    Above I see Stefano Bertolo mentioned seeing the face of an Australian Aboriginal. I am of Caucasian ethnicity so when I read Stefano’s report I had to comment because I also saw such a face.
    I also saw the face of some kind of Cat such as a Lynx and a Wolf… I think.. eh it was 25 years ago.

    At the time I tried this I never knew these visions were common human experience and pretty much forgot about it.
    Interesting to see my it is apparently not abnormal and people are working on its causes.

  119. Hannah
    Posted August 31, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Haha I did this and my face turned into v (v for vendetta)

  120. Stew C
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Hey there, I tried this out by accident while experimenting with just different types of meditations. I was focusing mainly on my left puple (eye) and found that indeed through peripherals, my entire face changed. It seemed to be three different “illlusions” that of an older version of myself, a scarred/deformed version of myself, and something more monterous, almost like what you would percieve to be an inner demon. (Or your worst possible self).

    It was my own experience which led me to search on the interwebs to see if anyone else had ever tried this and it brought me to this article

    To say the least, it was an interesting experience that I try every once in a while and definitely recommend to any one with an open mind. :)

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted September 7, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      cool and thanks for sharing… I keep posted on comments on this site. It helps in gaining a greater understanding to human behaviour. Ta.

  121. Jana
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    I’m baffled. I introduced my sister to a co-worker, and as he responded to my introduction, his face looked like it did a blurry shift to the left side – just for a second. I was spooked, and so when walking away, I began telling my sister about my experience, she interrupted and finished my description of what had just happened as she had also seen it.

  122. Lynn
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed reading what Philip July 2012 stated. I believe in the same thing as what he has said! I have not tried this experiment but will and will use only positive thoughts, as I am a bit afraid of the results by just “watching” And I am a firm believer that positive thoughts can make the negative go away and lead a person to a much happier life!

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted October 13, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Excellent attitude!!! They say a leopard can’t change its spots, but it can sure change its attitude!!!! I apply that in my personal life. :-}

  123. Posted October 13, 2012 at 3:53 am | Permalink

    I’ve been afraid to look into mirrors in the dark for years. So many reasons, so many things come to mind.

    I remember doing it as a child, as suggested by one of the “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” books, and getting the crap scared out of me. I told my mom and she explained it to me as, “In the dark, you can’t see all of your face, so your imagination fills in the blanks.” I thought this was very insightful.

    One time our family was staying in a motel, and my sister and I were sharing a bed, just settling down to go to sleep and facing each other. In the dim light, she started screaming that I was making a “witch face”, but my face was completely relaxed.

    In the movie “Lost Highway”, the couple is in bed and the wife is silhouetted; her face is completely in shadow. At that moment the husband sees the face of the creepy old man on her face.

    And now, here in my new house, there is a window right next to my computer and I can see my reflection in it at night. The first time I saw a man, almost a male version of myself, but with sadder eyes. I’m looking now and I see myself, first more beautiful than I really am, then as a fat woman, then with staring eyes too big for my face. It is frightening but not as much as it used to be.

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted October 13, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      It is quite a mysterious phenomenon. But, with the right attitude towards it, it needn’t drive any one crazy… The first thing about this phenomenon is the fact that it happens to lots of different people and so one doesn’t feel isolated. Your Mom’s explanation is very accurate and helps to calm the soul. It is just that we are all curious about as to whether there is any real “vision of another person” reflecting in the mirror, and so without any way to prove or disprove, it leaves us perplexed. Anyways, with this site open to opinions and personal experiences, we can only keep learning from one another and find support. :-}

  124. Tonya
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    I tried this some years ago. My face would distort then disappear altogether. Its definitely interesting.

  125. Charles
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    I tried this last night.
    About 3 minutes in Shrek suddenly appeared through the mirror and we had the following trade of words:

    Shrek: “Hey Ogirls!”
    Me: “I’m actually a guy-”
    Shrek: “Did you know..”
    Me: “Know what?”
    Shrek: “That Onion…have layer”

    The glass then exploded and I quickly dashed out the room

    • Stew C
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Uh… Kay. Lol

  126. kismoore
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I gave it a go and the results were extremely frightening. It felt too real. I saw a fairy in my face. What scared me is the “feeling”.. I felt like I changed in my neck and ears. They felt “tight” so I enlisted my husband to hang out with me while I did it again. This time, I turned the lights up to normal and I put on my gold-leaf earnings. I put a whimsical memory of my childhood in my mind and bang! My husband saw the change to. He described exactly what I saw and felt. Pointed ears, bright blonde hair in tight, tiny curls, “bright light” in my eyes, and white pale skin. The mirror seamed like glassy water. What’s the deal? I’ve been afraid to look in the mirror any time I’m alone in a room ever since it happened. No battering please. I’m freaked out by it.

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

      Face changes, as you can see from this “column” is something that we all decide to or decide not to get used to, so that we can have our bounderies in place. Firmly. There are lots of unexplored things in this world, particularly because they don’t make money, and this is one of those things that go unexplained as time goes by and people are striving to make it through their lives. It is a very interesting subject dear to my heart… Take some time off and read all the comments and you’ll be amazed at how you can start to feel less strange about what happened to you… I see all sorts of people, and sometimes have dialogue; but that’s just me keeping myself busy as I go around doing the chores I must do everyday. The Creator is in The Temple, which is between our ears, as we are part of the one BIG body, and somehow we all fit into it together to make a whole, and so, yeah, I could ramble on, but the main thing is for you to feel relaxed as you go about your life, once you realise that this goes on all day and every day in your life and just because you’ve only noticed it now, doesn’t mean that you have to be freaked out for the rest of your life… Carry on normally… It’s the best we all can do… Warmest wishes, Raine

      • kismoore
        Posted December 7, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        Thanks.. comments taken to heart. Seems to me, she’s someone close to my heart. Maybe someone I miss or even want desperately to be. Ever since I posted here, about the experience, I’ve been dreaming about unicorns with wings that have my reflection in their eyes. Nice dreams and their voices sound like bells. Really nice dreams.

      • Raine Carosin
        Posted December 7, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        I’m glad that you’re coming to terms with the Universe that loves and surrounds you… It’s quite important to get along with your inner circle… I don’t know how else to phrase it… Well, you’re most welcome to write anytime – I’m on the www and there’s places to contact me anytime you feel you need to… But I think you’ll be fine… Not every one is going to “agree” with you, so I always have a this saying: Let’s agree to disagree… I mean, we all don’t see things the same way at the same time… That’s the glory and the wonder of it all… Warmest wishes

  127. Posted December 11, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Cool that I found this. I have been using this ‘technique’ for about 20 years now, and have had many many amazing experiences I attribute to my ‘gazing’. After learning to hold my gaze for a very long time, I would watch my image first shift through a multitude of different images, both benevolent and malevolent in appearance. Some appearing very powerful, others perhaps frail. After an indeterminate (it varies) amount of time, I will eventually ‘land’ at a place that I call my ‘Cosmic Shadow’ or ‘Personal Cosmic Portal’, in which the images have ceased, and what I see is a shimmering figure in the form of Dark Energy, or Dark Light. It is quite difficult to arrive there, as any thought or even the slightest ‘flicker’ has a tendency to bring one back to the beginning; but if you persevere, this method is the quickest thing I can think of to bring you to a deep and profound realization of the mysteries of ‘Self’.

    Good Luck, and Peace Profound be with You!

    • Posted December 11, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

      Thanks so much for stopping by… any other snippets of info you can think of will most certainly help those who are frightened when they first “see”… And, of course, it’s not easy to get to a point of comfort, or rather, the comfort zone which differs for each individual, so as I request: anything that you have learned will help those who find this site in answers to questions that are embarrassing or awkward to ask… Thanks again for stopping by here… I love this chat page here on this particular subject… Best wishes, raine

  128. Andrew
    Posted January 2, 2013 at 3:26 am | Permalink

    Ive done it many times once i saw my freind others nothing and somtimes my face slowly deforms into another human, i could of sworn i saw one move(blink or smile at me), somtimes it would just happen when i look in a mirror for a few seconds and i see somebody else. But i havent seen a parent or any family members(that i know)

  129. Zico
    Posted January 4, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    This is quite weird indeed. I tried it and I felt like my eye sockets were very, very dark. Sometimes it seemed like my entire face got more angrier, meaner, and the whites of my eyes got brighter and brighter.

    What’s really made me back away though is that I felt like the person looking back at me was in distress, almost unsure of himself, or highly anxious. At some point, I saw a hand on the reflection’s mouth (my mouth) almost as if it were shutting me up. I think that did it for me. haha.

    What scared me most though is some of the comments here in the thread and what some people had seen.

    So, what do you make of what I saw?

    I love your blog by the way !

  130. saki
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I saw different faces everywhere for example in the toilet marble,in the kitchen granites,on trees and other stuff but the problem is that the faces are always the horror one…ths is getting me very upset and i’m sure its not my imagination,the faces are always scary,i can see the eyes,nose etc…please help me out!! thanks

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      the calmer you become, the more time and “space” the image has to form properly, and you will “see” better… It’s like looking into a pool of water… If the water is disturbed, you have a “weird” image, but when you are patient and wait and watch, the water becomes calm and the picture becomes clearer… :-}

  131. Adam
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I had a few experiences like this myself, sometimes with a mirror, but another time with a blank computer screen. Once about 13 years ago I was at the the computer lab in my highschool after just finishing a typing lesson. I had shut down the computer and for some reason I decided to stare at my reflection in the black screen. As i did, I noticed my face start to change shape with the evil smile and demonic appearance that other posters have described. One interesting thing I did notice while doing this is that the longer I started it looked like my face was decomposing, like that of a rotting corpse…it looked like my nose had rotted off and my eyes were sunken in.This actually didnt scare me at all, but after reading some of this thread I think it was odd to happen in such a brightly lit room. Maybe someone has some more insight on this?

  132. Rando72
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Heh, not new at all, ever played the game bloody mary?

  133. joseph
    Posted February 3, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    I noticed something much like this many years ago, not from long periods of staring, but from seeing instantaneous images of myself reflected in a mirror while in a darkened room during a thunderstorm at night. What struck me was that my reflection, as it appeared in the brief or flickering lightning flashes, always looked sinister or aged or deathly, or like a malicious stranger, but never exactly like myself and never “nicer” in any way.

    Oddly enough, I am generally over-trusting of strangers, so the tendency towards negative impressions can’t be attributed to misanthropy.

    My brother and I once experienced a related phenomena while playing in a dark room, when we noticed a disturbing face in the folds of a blanket that was wadded up on a chair awaiting a trip to the laundry room. It was so disturbing that we grabbed the blanket and shook it out and threw it back on the chair, only to have a new and equally hideous face appear. We fought with this stupid blanket for at least ten minutes, re-wadding and crumpling it in all manner of ways, trying to get rid of any semblance of a face, but they appeared no matter what we did so we finally folded it all nicely up in a rectangle and put it under the chair. It was funny and disturbing at the same time, almost slap-stick in its uncanny persistence, and though we kept laughing at the faces, sometimes they made the hair on our necks stand up.

  134. Dan Page
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    I would hate to say this but you guys who actually believe in this hokey-pokey must be going insane. The desriptions I read of here are pure delusional. Now before all you “new agers” get upset, hear me out for a short narrative and my brief story: I tried, and tried and tried over and over again to see “the grey alien”, “the two faced monster” the other side of myself, the world and future beyond, ect.——-. Just me and myself in a dim dark or even totally opaque oom trying to see some visions. Nothing to see, but my aging face, some stupid illusions (looking at myself in a mirror in the dark) but with high hopes and an overly inquisitive mind, I still didn’t see shit. I would like to note here that I am fully aware of the altered state of mind, I have connected before with the supernatural on so many different planes I cant even describe here. This “mirror trick” is merely a joke. I am not ignorant of the unknown, but alllowing oneself to force his mind to create illusions in any shape or form using deliberate methods to trick yor own self snd mind is completely absurd. I have visited “the other realms and worlds” myself many times under so many circumstances, but this “mirror trick” is nothing but a parlor trick. Real reality is all around you. The grey alienn, dead grandmother, old you- future you and the mosters are all just figments of your own over-blown imaginations. If you want to know what really matters when it comes to ste0of0mind and unconcious exercises, you bette read up on the paranormal topics before your gullible head falls for another parlor trick. I would love to entertain your comment and responses, just post or email: phantomfighter27@aol.com, so open your mind but not so much that your brains fall out.

    • HappyHimitsu
      Posted March 17, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      That is too bad Dan. Now just because you didn’t see anything, does not mean it does not exist. Since when did the world revolve around you?

      I have been doing this for years, and so has my Sister, I have also practiced it countless times with friends.

      Sucks to be you I guess?

  135. Pricakes
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Hi there, I thought my experience with this would perhaps enlighten a few minds, so I am more than happy to share…

    Basically, a very long story made brief- Two years ago I did this once when was a little high one night (perhaps that’s where I went wrong) after stumbling upon my reflection in the mirror whilst trying to kill the minutes…

    At first the thought that had possessed me was “wow, I’ve never actually thoroughly examined at myself in the mirror, in fact, I can’t even remember how I look!” It was that very dangerous line of thinking that triggered what happened next.

    After staring at myself for a good 2 minutes things started to get weird, my mind went places…

    I started to think things like “wow, my eyes are actually a weird feature, same with my nose, in fact why is my nose even positioned right there in the centre? why is this considered normal?” Questioning every single detail on my face until suddenly I managed to think “who am I what am I? What is this thing staring back at me?!”

    That was enough for my hyperventilation to kick in, I was losing it. I didn’t know who I was, I couldn’t associate the person in the mirror with the person speaking in my mind and the person heavily breathing.

    I felt as if there were several versions of me at that point, and the real version of me was hovering above watching the entire thing unfold.

    This train of thought lead to me look around and question my environment… As soon as I started to doubt my surroundings and not even know where I was (I was in my bedroom at the time), I started to forget basic things like how to walk, I didn’t know how to get to my brothers room amidst this panic attack- heck- I didn’t even know I had a brother didn’t know what that term meant and if he had a room. I was battling with several identities to try and survive and reclaim my memory and persona back.

    Eventually, I managed to crawl to my brother in a complete mess, he helped me calm down completely.

    This actually stayed with me for THREE WEEKS. I was in a constant state of paranoia and even suicidal as I was willing to “end” “life” as a way to prove I was real and also to end this agony.

    Now that I reflect upon this horrible experience, I’ve learnt that the mind can end itself.

    So I WARN you, PLEASE think twice before doing this, If you aren’t susceptible to anxiety attacks and capable of maintaining sanity then you’re good :)

  136. Melissa
    Posted March 25, 2013 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    I accidentally discovered this mind hack. Tonight, I decided to stare into the mirror (in my dimly lit room) because I’d heard that after you let your eyes relax you’re able to get a better grasp on your appearance. However, once my eyes began to relax my face started morphing into an animal/old person and I was terrified. I tried it again and the same thing happened. Totally freaked out, I googled it (of course) and found this article… So thankful, too, because I thought I was going crazy and had schizophrenia or something.

  137. Lucid dreaming and i
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    [...]I recently tried lucid dreaming, I don’t know if this has anything to do with the mirror trick, however, my face in the mirror seemed to replicate one in my dreams. You might think of this as cool, or interesting. It is not, at all. I saw myself in my dream. I saw myself in the mirror, the following happened in the same order, in the dream and in the mirror:
    1. Slight blending in of my face into the darkened wall
    2. Everything turned much darker than it started out at first.
    3. My eyes and mouth started to turn black and almost seem to wither.
    4. I began to transform into a morbid and ugly creature.
    5. I disappeared and reappeared with focus and non focus.

    Let me explain to you what a lucid dream is. A lucid dream is a phenomenon that can actually be controlled, it is where you are awake in your own dream. During my dream I experienced a common yet frightening occurrence. This is called sleep paralisis, I was unable to move yet I was fully aware of the real world and my dream world. I was able to hear, smell, and feel the real world. In the dream world, I was able to see, expericence and control others, yet not myself. In my first attempt, I was unable to wake until my brother woke me up. In my first dream I saw demonic and maybe possessed people, people that I recognized but i didn’t know them. In my most recent dream, I saw me as one of these creatures, but only for a split second, because I removed the thought. (Which is very difficult, it comes with practice) it scared me in the dream, for the first time ever. I am able to wake on my own now, and I remember my dreams very vividly. I looked in the mirror and saw the same face I saw in my dream. My own, yet not my own. Lol it’s hard to explain. I guess what I wanted to ask was, is it possible that lucid dreams can be linked with the mirror illusion? I have had many experiences with post dream illusions, however none this strong. It was almost as if the mirror told me to look into my own eyes.[...]

    • rcarosin
      Posted March 28, 2013 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      I am no guru in this matter, so I do hope that you get a lot of replies… My only thought at this moment is for you to realise that you will get stronger in being able to be in control – it’s your inevitable growth as you exercise your will… I always stress that it is very important to have a good relationship with The Creator of Everything, so that you can look “into your temple” and know that He resides there, as well as in everyone else, every soul, and everywhere, and is Almighty… All else can have power, but are not All Powerful… It takes time to build a proper relationship with The Almighty, as one is thwarted at every turn by forces that would like to use you for their own purposes… Anyways, you’re more than welcome to write if you have any questions for me, but I do hope you get lots of insight… I would suggest a read of all the entries here to get a feel for the vast array of experiences… We are all so uniquely and cunningly made, that it’s impossible for us to really put each other into “slots”… Warmest wishes to all, raine

  138. elliott guzmanelliot
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    You know how when you say a word a lot and it starts to feel weird saying it as if its a new word to you? Well that’s how it felt when I did this mirror illusion. It felt like I was looking at someone else or that I was seeing my own self in the mirror as everyone else saw me in life.

  139. Natalia
    Posted April 3, 2013 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    If I got to this page is because i was freaking out because this happened to me so i looked it up on google. I was at this gas station (about at midnight after a weekend getaway) and i go in the bathroom and dont mind the light nor the huge mirror just went in and when i was done and washing my hands i took a glance at the mirror and keep washing my hands, but then im like “wait a minute” and i look back at myself (because when i just glanced at myself something looked off) and i look again and OH MY FREAKING GOSH. My face was DEFORMED. It wasn’t me. I was SO SCARED. It wasn’t a monster or anything. It just wasn’t me. My nose was crooked, noticeable to the right. my lips were off too, kind of like tilted (i know descriptions are hard right now but bare with me) and my eyes were different, probably bigger, more round than naturally possible. (like very round, like an image or drawing) and my skin also looked weird. pale, a different shade, even. The light was obviously dim and all (by then i was just freaking out and so scared about my reflection) when i go back in the car first thing i do is look it up on google. I tend to thing all these things are psychological so i just assumed something was off with me. And this article comes up. It made total sense. Big mirror, dim lights, silence, etc. So now i feel a little better about it but every time i think about it its really freaky.
    Thanks for all the info!

  140. grace
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Well i was sitting infront of this really old tv and my face started changing i was quite scared at first and i didn’t know what was happening so i tried to controle it but its not easy and didnt really work. I only saw horrible monster faces my (alive) brothers face and my face but slightly distorted.

  141. tomstafford
    Posted April 15, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Some follow up publications by the original author

    When wearing a mask:
    “Mask in the mirror: the living mask illusion.”

    http://www.perceptionweb.com/perception/fulltext/p40/p7089.pdf

    When two of you do it together:
    “Strange-face illusions during inter-subjective gazing”

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053810012001924

  142. Kate
    Posted May 4, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I have done this numerous times and just now decided to do research on this. For some odd reason, I only seem to decide to look in the mirror after someone has passed away (which I do not find out about until after I have done the “staring in the mirror.” On two different occasions, I looked in the mirror and saw someone I could not recognize; then later found out from a friend that this person passed away (a person that I have met only once before). This really is a fascinating thing. I discovered doing this on my own, before doing any research. What I do is go into my bathroom, light a candle and turn the lights off. Then my face is about a foot or so away from the mirror and I stare into my eyes. My eyes go in and out of focus and everything goes black, then a few seconds later I see the apparition of another “person.” Whether it truly is another person or not, I’m not quite sure. But I do believe there is some sort of paranormal sense behind this; well in my case at least.

    • rcarosin
      Posted May 4, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Thanks so much for sharing… I am finding it more and more relaxing to understand that I’m part of a whole which has free will to be here, there or everywhere… Hard to explain, but it does help, even when I’m not looking in the mirror. Sometimes, though, there’s an evil that appears and seems to taunt me, but I guess that is just the way it goes in general life: good and bad live side by side… :-}

  143. Geess
    Posted May 31, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for posting this article. I’ve noticed this myself, late at night, erm….. sitting in the bathroom, lit only by a small nightlight. My reflection starts to go crazy, and I start seeing faces that vary from reflections of myself as a younger person, and elements of faces I know well, it’s REALLY REALLY odd. I can replicate it at any time, and I came to the conclusion that the low light was just confusing the brain about recognizing which face it was looking at. Fascinating, and a relief to know I’m not alone!!

  144. hannah
    Posted June 4, 2013 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    I did this exercise before i read this article.. i stared in the mirror, first i smiled at my reflection, then i cried. Then i kept saring and it felt like i didn’t recognize myself anymore. it felt like another person was staring at me. It was quite scary, as i knew it was me but the moment i thought to myself ‘am i crazy’, it seened weird. If i had not thought that i could have arried on staring, and

  145. pow wowwer
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    What if you look into the same eye one at a time?
    each for a few minutes, does you mind go backwards?Does the perception in your brain reverse ?

    • rcarosin
      Posted June 17, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      You asked the question, so you do the experiment and see what answers you come up with… And keep in contact with those others who experiment with you…

  146. Abeir
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I’ve been doing this since my teen years.
    I just never noticed that I was using a large mirror and dim lighting. I see my face distorted.
    Sometimes I see how much I resemble my mom, like too much. but that’s it.

  147. rcarosin
    Posted June 26, 2013 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    I wrote a song about perception and perceiving one’s self in the mirror. I posted it on youtube for you all – warmest wishes, raine

  148. Sam
    Posted July 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Okay, so a few
    Years ago I was I a rut. Most of my childhood actually. Had a very negative outlook on life and was not(and still am not) comfortable or happy with myself. I smoked weed every day for years and worked shit jobs and did literally nothing else. My one friend Steve who I had always been close to and I used to jam and record music and smoke and take other drugs together. I had always suspected him of being a bit crazy. Never making much sense with what he was saying and just a weird kid. At a particularly low point in my life when I was about 16 me and Steve broke into my brothers house stole money and brought several LSD tabs which we consumed. Never taking this much acid before was exciting and to top it off we ended up taking exstacy as well. So after a while it all kicked in and we were both
    Laughing and jamming and hallucinating mildly. Then boom. We peaked and something eerie hung in the air. Neither of us were talking and the hallucinations were getting worse. Then I noticed Steve staring. At first in a small hand held mirror that happened to be down in the garage where we were then after him laughing and pulling faces ( me assuming he
    Was just tripping) he started to state at me. Awkward as it was we were both tripping so I eventually stared back. My memory from this point on is vague so bare with me/ we connected on a level I have not experienced before, he showed me things, I heard things, and I felt him moving my body and generally manipulating me. This sounds a bit gay I’m realising but as far as I know I’m not. I remember glimpses of him saying ( it’s for the music) as we always wrote together and other similar things like showing my in my mind is as rockstars. Anyway I blacked out and most of these memories have taken time to recover. I barely saw him after that and never could look at his eyes because when I did for a second I could feel myself slipping into this ‘trip’ that I was so scared of. After this I quit drugs and completely turned my life around. Now over time I observed Steve and my sister who was also close to Steve mirror gazing and gazing into each other usually drug induced and slowly slipping further from reality. I can now not talk see or hear either of them without his Heart throbbing fear that If I look in their eyes ill go insane. I still to this day cannot make proper eye contact with people. I’m depressed. I have no friends and I’ve driven my gf insane to a point that she has left and we don’t talk. So after all of that I have this deep paranoia that it is me that is insane or twisted. That Steve my sister and now my gf were so disturbed by what they saw in my eyes that they lost it. My eyes seem empty to me and I’m so scared to look for too long. This soul gazing mirror gazing mind hack optical illusion has truly scarred me and prevented me from any sense of self or normality. I warn those who read this, if your not comfortable with yourself or positive and unafraid. Don’t do this. Figure yourself out another way. Then when you wish to see deeper delve away. Just don’t forget who you are as I fear I have. If you have any words of support or information it would be appreciated. I’m only 18 so my life is still hopefully ahead of me and I don’t want to spend it in a lonely fear.

    • Sam
      Posted July 29, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      I also have some interesting theories about this connection and it’s applications in certain fields in life. Things like celebrities, musicians etc. would it not be weird if this phenomenon was the cause of some of the world great artistic accomplishments. Whether getting in touch with ones self or another on such a level were things so pure just flow naturally. It also answers the question of why so many artists, musicians go insane. From personal experience. Though I dread thinking about it. When I connected with Steve on that level. We “imagined” a song which I do remember to an extent. Several days after the incident I heard a identical song on steves fb that he had gone and recorded. Trippy huh. Tripped me the fuck out. But I have to say it was the best song we had ever written.

  149. Inane
    Posted August 18, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I tried this out for the first time, different sections of my face would darken as if the light source in the room were changing (which it wasn’t, of course), the onset of the illusion being 10~20 seconds, and after that the dark parts become translucent (I could see past/behind my face and make out the grain in the wood of the door behind me), I decided to stop for the time being since it doesn’t seem to take long and it’s almost like I’m being snapped awake unexpectedly despite being perfectly aware and cancelling it of my own accord.

  150. Nathan Parham
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    You all realize you are just making yourselves have hallucinations without drugs right….

    • Inane
      Posted August 21, 2013 at 4:12 am | Permalink

      Uh yeah… That’s why it’s intriguing.

  151. Posted August 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Sarvodaya and commented:
    The creepy “Bloody Mary in the mirror” game has been explained!

  152. Eamon
    Posted August 27, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    I will not lie, but nothing major happened to me when I tried this. I probably lasted under a minute because I was pretty scared before I got into one. I looked at my eyes, my nose and my face and before I got REALLY freaked out, my pupils starting shaking from left to right when I was looking directly into my right eye and I don’t know why it happened, and then it looked like my nose was shrinking, like width wise… It was very freaky, and it weren’t even that bad compared to what others have seen. But it scared me, and I’m never doing it again.

    • happyhimitsu
      Posted August 27, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      I have been doing this perceptual ‘exercise’ for most of my Life to date, with no ill effects other than engaging in psychological ‘dialogue’ with some of the darker aspects of myself, as I would see them in the mirror.

      I would advise anybody to continue with this exercise as it can lead to some profound levels of self-discovery and is a tool that virtually anybody with the ability to see can use.

      In Lakech Ala Kin.

      Peace.

  153. Why you ask
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    I can’t look at my mirror the same way again! This is a great article btw!!!! Read all the comments on here also. This sounds REALLY similar to a game I used to play with some of my friends you know we’re your in front of a mirror with only a candle lit in the room and then you spin around a few times singing “bloody Mary Bloody Mary your not scary” you sing that three times then look in the mirror. It scared the crap out of me because someone was in the mirror but now I know why so this doesn’t haunt me anymore! But still why does your brain think this way?!?!? Very interesting :)

    • Posted September 2, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      I agree that it would be an interesting study to see why we see what we see… I keep up with this “study”, and because it’s informal, it helps a lot because it’s written by people who have an avid interest in the subject… :-}

  154. Kseniya
    Posted September 21, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    PEOPLE! THIS IS NOTHING TO PLAY AROUND WITH!!! I have a sister who was perfectly “normal” until she took abnormal psychology, while attending a university and the teacher had them do this experiment. She continued her studies but a year or so later, she began to start behaving rather oddly, my mother told me she would catch her sitting in front of a mirror frequently “just starring at herself.” She had would bounce between being herself to behaving oddly and then one day, upon visiting them both at my mother’s apartment I caught her sitting in front of a mirror starring at her self with the most unusual look on her face, in broad daylight, light in the room, not dim or dark. She later exhibited “full blown” schizophrenia. My mother use to say (an old wives tale from back in her mother’s day) that if you stare long enough into a mirror you will see THE DEVIL! From the comments I am reading her on this site and from the results of the test performed on 50 people by the psychologist who tried this; 66% saw huge deformations of their own face, 48% saw fantastical and monstrous faces, 28% saw an “unknown” stranger, 18% saw a parents face with traits changed, of these 10% were “deceased!” and 8% were alive, the remaining 18% saw animal faces, CAT, DOG, PIG or lion. I believe I read that some of you mentioned seeing; cats, dogs, pigs. I looked up this Italian “psychologist” Giovanni Caputo who’s article is suppose to be in a Journal called Perception, and cannot find any information about him! I was curious if this experiment dated back to when my sister got sick in 1975, she was age 21 or 22 and has been living in a “group home” since! Personally, I believe it has more to do with the OCCULT than it does with psychology, maybe we should listen to Old Wives Tales and be a bit more superstitious! Superstitous tales and folklore were not made up based on nothing! So keep this in mind before you decide to risk, your MIND and worse YOUR SOUL playing around with something that “maybe” you shouldn’t! – -Look what happened to the little “boy” in the EXCORSIST.

    • Posted September 21, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      I personally agree that one must exercise caution… You have to be strong in your faith to overcome the horror of not recognising one’s self… a strong sense of logic is required… and that logic is not written in a psychology textbook… It’s true that superstition is more than just illogical bs… when one remembers the one “don’t walk under ladders” one can understand that it is dangerous as things like a tin of paint can fall, or the climber may fall or whatever… use good logic to look at things, even if it’s just your face in the mirror… it may change, but that doesn’t mean that you have to…

  155. Roger
    Posted October 10, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I did this thing 30 year ago as an occultist. It is an old technique of occult studies to discover how you look in your past life. I was surprise how this is being studied scientifically. Of course the goal of this present study is scientific explanation of why it happens rather than mysticism. I got this technique from a book entitled, “Psychic Energy”.

  156. Dave
    Posted November 7, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Noticed that i could change my face in the mirror after staring at it was something i used to do and it is indeed very weird. also works if you stare at someone for prelonged period of time, i chaangedmy friends face into an old women then she started to look like a girl in the year below. truly is the weirdest thing i have ever experienced, i told her and she thought i was off my trolley!

  157. Jim Marsalis
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    In her book Sybil Exposed, Debbie Nathan says that Dr. Connie Wilbur taught this as a method of determining whether or not a patient had multiple personalities! This would obviously lead to a plethora of such diagnoses.

    This was in the late 60’s, before the book Sybil, which appeared in 1973.

  158. Paraclesus
    Posted January 26, 2014 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    This is an actual initial in many occult mystery schools of the western mystery tradition (alchemy, qabalah, etc) — it’s called facing the “dweller on the threshold” somehow the mirror acts as a visible look into the collective or subjective subconscious world of archetypes, past lives, etc, some call it the astral realm, some call it yetzirah. Really something I wouldn’t dabble with haphazardly even if you are a sworn materialist/rationalist, the truth is stranger than fiction.

  159. Lillyput
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Cool read. It is a bit odd that science just picked up on this. Its been used for a very long time. Gazing has been used for more than just entity alignment. I have wondered about the facial recognition we have and people with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia. Could the reason some people being diagnosed just view others through a distorted perception based on a malfunction og this facial recognition system. Just a thought.

    • Raine Carosin
      Posted February 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      That is interesting… I’m schizophrenic, and I have managed to be able to find a sense of calmness by just “relaxing in front of my mirror”… It helps me by showing me that I’m “alone”… Of course, with all the other stuff that’s kinda mystical that goes on, it may get hectic, but usually I’m able to gain a sense of self… Anyways, just thought I’d comment… :-}

  160. Posted February 22, 2014 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    Hello I tried this while standing and looking into my bathroom mirror,strange thing was that my face just blended into the surrounding wall and it looked like I didn’t have a head.Recently though while talking to a friend in a dimly lit room with lots of eye contact and not looking away, his face changed into an older person with cropped grey hair and he looked older.My friend is bald where did this completely different face/hair come from.

  161. Hern
    Posted February 26, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    for as long as i can remember as a young child and even now at over 35 years of age i have been able to do this. with not only my own face but other people as well. i experience the full range of emotions depending on the form gazing back at me. not just face but full body morphing has taken place.

    • happyhimitsu
      Posted February 26, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      Since my first comment on this thread a couple of years ago, I have been delighted to see the overwhelming response from people who have tried this experiment.
      I have been doing this form of ‘gazing’ for close to 30 years and I have gotten many interesting perceptions from it.

      If you can hold the gaze past all of the faces, eventually you can end up at a place where you are just a shimmering silhouette of energy, and if you can get past this state, you will see an entirely new world.

      I would compare it to watching the way sand morphs when it is placed on top of a drum and you move through the frequencies.

      The first time I ever made it past that point, I found myself in world much like this one, but I could see gnomes and creatures where before there was only plants (I was gazing at my yard outside in the early morning, it took me about an hour of moving past levels before I entered the new octave).
      After watching a particularly interesting gnome riding a creature that looked like a donkey, I decided to try and do it all again and see what was on the next ‘level’ after that.
      This time it was much easier, I only needed to hold my gaze for perhaps 15-20 minutes before I felt myself reaching the ‘other side’ and ‘zzzggssshhhhwwhhiiiip’, suddenly everything was MUCH different.
      This time, where before there were plants in the ‘first octave’ (and then plants with gnomes and critters in the second), now I was looking at a world filled with energy, and the plants no longer appeared as plants the way we see them, but like dense creatures of energy that were very dense and stuck to the ground.
      I would then see (and hear) multicolored waves of energy come towards me like waves from the ocean, and these ‘ripples’ would hit the dense creatures (formerly plants) and the dense creatures would use the energy to start moving about in a strange undulating motion like they were trying to use the energy to get off the ground.

      It was then that I realized the strange waves of energy was the wind. I was SEEING the wind!

      Anyhow, it’s the only time to date I ever managed to hold gazing to such a point, but I am getting so excited thinking about it I think I will have to start trying it again!!

      Have fun and be safe!!! :D

      • Posted February 26, 2014 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

        Hiya… Glad that you had the time and energy to write us… I am pushed for time, but I can add that I’ve also been watching this thread for a long time, and I haven’t tried anything further since I was trepidous, but I have had a wormhole experience, plus a few times, sitting in front of my pc, the surround has faded away and I was not sure where I was… Anyways, will keep watching the posts and hopefully have time to explore the exciting world we live in!

      • Posted March 18, 2014 at 2:06 am | Permalink

        I just had to record a story of a strange encounter, loosely involving a mirror of sorts… Here’s the excerpt from my short story GHOSTLY MEMORIES which is shortly published at voicesnet and/or allpoetry…

        “…Now, there’s this one story that I have to relate. It involves mirrors. I also remembered this incident last night and it’s quite important to document it, as I belong to a “blog” called The Strange Face In The Mirror where people get to discuss the oddities that surround the mysteriousness of the mirror…

        Further back in time, 1982/3 to be sure, I worked as a receptionist. My little cubbyhole office, was partitioned off with thin wood and on either side of me, two other offices, similarly partioned… There was a glass window (and this is what I remembered last night!) which had strips of vertical mirror running down it, so one could see through it, but also, well, could see behind it, or one’s self…

        Customers would come to my “kiosk” and give me cheques or the Sales Staff would enquire for messages and we would be separated by this window with it’s little cave-like hole through which I could pass the messages or receive the cheques…

        One day, like most, I anticipated the arrival of one of the staff. He was the strangest of the lot, in my opinion. Not strange as in ugly strange, but in the sort of mysterious, well-dressed, handsome person… Still to this day I won’t be able to pick him out in a line-out… I just remember the grey pin-striped suits were so stylish and arresting, and I would marvel at the chosen tie and shirt…

        Let me just let you into the bigger picture here… It was the first job I got after my head injury, and I hadn’t worked for several months before that… I had prayed like crazy to get a job as sitting in the flat in Johannesburg was driving me bats… It happened like a dream… I saw the ad and made arrangements to be get a lift to my appointment… The person who gave me the lift, could only take me halfway, so I had to walk the rest of the way… It was strange, because as we were on the road, I saw what appeared to be the hugest entrance way stretching up into the sky and wide as my eye could see, and my lift suddenly said: “I can only take you this far…” and dropped me off… I had to pass under and through this entrance way… If you can imagine an entrance to a mansion… Anyways, not preturbed, I prayed as I walked through and got the job… That instant, that one sales person took on the strangeness because he peeked through the door of the main office as I was being interviewed and I had the awareness that he mental telepathed to me that he was Italian…

        Anyways, I attributed most of the happenings those nine months as part and parcel of my head injury…

        Back to the kiosk…

        So there I am working, and the salesman comes in… Now what I noticed everytime, was that he never ever looked like the same man… There was always something different about him, not in clothing, but in height, or hair colour, or the shape of the face… It was weird… I don’t mean he had dyed his hair… But, who knows… He was the man in the grey pin-striped suits… And he had a magnificent smile that would just dazzle the lights …

        One day he comes in, and you won’t believe it, because I still find it hard to believe: he is walking towards the kiosk, and before I know it, I’m standing in front of the window and he is suddenly there and our hands are up against the window pane, which suddenly isn’t there anymore and I’m passionately kissed… RIGHT THERE…!!!! And then the window and the partitioning appear and it’s like nothing had happened and he’s walking away… “

  162. Sharon
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    I find all of this very interesting – I had a similar but differnt experience a few years ago when my Mother was dying in hospice. Sometimes I search the Internet at lunch looking for others who have also experienced it but have so far only found one – a lady whose baby was dying in her arms.

    It happened in a dimly lit room, light in the room was off but there was light from the corridor which was to my back. My Mom was in some kind of pain/drug trance and was sitting propped up with pillows and rocking herself back and forth slowly with her eyes closed. I was sitting by the bed watching her as it was too dark to read.

    After awhile it seemed that her faces started morphing, faces transparently superimposed over hers almost covering her own features. There was a cycle of men and women and then a neandratal or ape like one and one too frightening to look at that came after that one. I had to close my eyes each time it got to that point in the cycle. I just could not bring myself to look.

    This went on for hours and I was both fascinated and frightened. It did not seem to affect my Mom at all as she was far into either pains or the drugs trying to combat it. Finally I fell asleep. It did not happen again although I spent a lot of time sitting beside her at night as she would be frightened when she awakened.

    I talked to my friends and relatives about this. I had two ideas of my owbn as to what it might be. As it was a hospice bead I thought perhaps these were spirits of the others who had passed there trying to express themselves through my Mom who was barely alive. The other was that these were her past incarnations. (someone else has mentioned this about the mirror gazing in previous replies to this article) Some I talked to thought it was the fight for good and evil for her soul.

    Anyway if this is common not many write or talk about it. I would be interested to know if this has happened to others besides myself and the lady with the baby.

  163. Posted March 18, 2014 at 2:03 am | Permalink

    I just had to record a story of a strange encounter, loosely involving a mirror of sorts… Here’s the excerpt from my short story GHOSTLY MEMORIES which is shortly published at voicesnet and/or allpoetry…

    “…Now, there’s this one story that I have to relate. It involves mirrors. I also remembered this incident last night and it’s quite important to document it, as I belong to a “blog” called The Strange Face In The Mirror where people get to discuss the oddities that surround the mysteriousness of the mirror…

    Further back in time, 1982/3 to be sure, I worked as a receptionist. My little cubbyhole office, was partitioned off with thin wood and on either side of me, two other offices, similarly partioned… There was a glass window (and this is what I remembered last night!) which had strips of vertical mirror running down it, so one could see through it, but also, well, could see behind it, or one’s self…

    Customers would come to my “kiosk” and give me cheques or the Sales Staff would enquire for messages and we would be separated by this window with it’s little cave-like hole through which I could pass the messages or receive the cheques…

    One day, like most, I anticipated the arrival of one of the staff. He was the strangest of the lot, in my opinion. Not strange as in ugly strange, but in the sort of mysterious, well-dressed, handsome person… Still to this day I won’t be able to pick him out in a line-out… I just remember the grey pin-striped suits were so stylish and arresting, and I would marvel at the chosen tie and shirt…

    Let me just let you into the bigger picture here… It was the first job I got after my head injury, and I hadn’t worked for several months before that… I had prayed like crazy to get a job as sitting in the flat in Johannesburg was driving me bats… It happened like a dream… I saw the ad and made arrangements to be get a lift to my appointment… The person who gave me the lift, could only take me halfway, so I had to walk the rest of the way… It was strange, because as we were on the road, I saw what appeared to be the hugest entrance way stretching up into the sky and wide as my eye could see, and my lift suddenly said: “I can only take you this far…” and dropped me off… I had to pass under and through this entrance way… If you can imagine an entrance to a mansion… Anyways, not preturbed, I prayed as I walked through and got the job… That instant, that one sales person took on the strangeness because he peeked through the door of the main office as I was being interviewed and I had the awareness that he mental telepathed to me that he was Italian…

    Anyways, I attributed most of the happenings those nine months as part and parcel of my head injury…

    Back to the kiosk…

    So there I am working, and the salesman comes in… Now what I noticed everytime, was that he never ever looked like the same man… There was always something different about him, not in clothing, but in height, or hair colour, or the shape of the face… It was weird… I don’t mean he had dyed his hair… But, who knows… He was the man in the grey pin-striped suits… And he had a magnificent smile that would just dazzle the lights …

    One day he comes in, and you won’t believe it, because I still find it hard to believe: he is walking towards the kiosk, and before I know it, I’m standing in front of the window and he is suddenly there and our hands are up against the window pane, which suddenly isn’t there anymore and I’m passionately kissed… RIGHT THERE…!!!! And then the window and the partitioning appear and it’s like nothing had happened and he’s walking away… “

  164. haxterix
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I’ve experienced this phenomenon many times since my childhood, even resulting in profound effects on me in later years. I believed then, as now, that what we see is actually a visual representation of our soul, the distortions resulting from ‘corruptions’ of our purity. I will even go so far as to say that it may be the faces of our own personal demons staring back at us, laughing. I see it when looking into other people’s eyes too, and to this day I don’t feel comfortable looking directly at people for this very reason.

    As a side note, I want to add that staring is never enough for me to trigger the reaction. I must always ask “Who are you? Show me!” for the effect to happen.

  165. Posted March 24, 2014 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    You all might find this photograph interesting… At first glance it looks faked, but what happened is that the Mom of the girl in the photo, blacked out her face to protect her privacy. http://paranormal.about.com/od/ghostphotos/ig/Paranormal-Photo-Gallery/Mirror-Ghoul.htm

  166. devark
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    It’s the cones in the back of the eye getting tired. Focus your eyes on any point without blinking for long periods of time and you can produce the effect.

  167. Adam Kincaid
    Posted May 11, 2014 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    When I stare myself in the mirror. My face will start to distort. I have seen a demon, men that I never met, and one had a resemblence to Jesus. At first this used to scare me. Not so much anymore.I had tried methods to expell the demon, but with no success. Are there ways to expell this evil within myself? Prayer hasnt worked yet, nor trying to exorcise the demon. The only thing I havent done is what my religon forbids me to do, and that is consulting a medium.

  168. graphics4college
    Posted May 16, 2014 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    Only planned on doing the this a couple of minutes. Ended up doing it for nearly 15 minutes… Yeah it was crazy

  169. Diana
    Posted August 16, 2014 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    Hi

    I see hundreds of faces in my mirror, they last only for less then a second. There is humans and there is non-human but no deamons. For me it´s the same when looking into oher peoples eyes, they shift faces, it could be that everything exist at the same time… Di.

  170. Natalie Mecklenburg
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    So could this mirror thing be tried on windows? I’m only asking because I’ve stared I to a mirror for quite the time with dim lights on and nothing happened. However I look into a window and I see a pale reflection of myself, As I continue to stare into the window, my face changes form. The first time I did it was scary for me because as I kept staring, I felt as if that different face were outside right close to mine and I got the chills really bad and still do. Or sometimes my face will turn into two demonic looking heads and just start shaking wildly. So could this all be like the mirror affect all only it’s a window?

  171. kiara
    Posted September 23, 2014 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    Finally, theres an explanation for what I use to do as a child..I remember at about 7 years old I would stare at myself in the mirror ..I would stare right at my eyes and after about 10min or so I would get a feeling that I wasnt”myself” and mind chatter would start I would hear within me questions like who am I?,what am I doing here?,and just get the feeling that I’m someone else its so weird but then it would go away after i stop staring …


18 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] 19, 2010 by Angie Holy cow you have to try this! Over on Mind Hacks they have a post discussing the strange face-in-the-mirror illusion (Caputo 2010). Get yourself in a dimly lit room and plop down right in front of a large mirror, if [...]

  2. [...] first man diagnosed with Autism who is now 77 years of age and very well travelled as well as an intriguing study using mirrors and giving valuable insights into how the brain processes visual information (mirror, [...]

  3. [...] The strange-face-in-the-mirror illusion [...]

  4. [...] The strange-face-in-the-mirror illusion « Mind Hacks The strange-face-in-the-mirror illusion. Interested to heard ppl’s experiences of this in the comments. [...]

  5. [...] segundo li num comentário do Mind Hacks existe mesmo uma historieta de nome “O Espelho” de João Guimarães Rosa no qual é [...]

  6. [...] The strange-face-in-the-mirror illusion [...]

  7. [...] The strange-face-in-the-mirror illusion An intriguing article has just been published in the journal Perception about a never-before-described visual illusion [...] [...]

  8. [...] a comment » The face in the mirror. Via [...]

  9. [...] This article has been going around my usual haunts. Basically, if you’re staring at your own face in the mirror in a dimly lit room without blinking, your face will slowly start to shift until it turns into something totally different. As the comments on the article demonstrate, the reaction fall into three categories: 1. Huh, I thought everyone had done this as a kid. 2. Way too creepy, man. I’m not trying this if you paid me. 3. I tried it, and it was awesome/awful. [...]

  10. [...] your experience The following section (enclosed in dashed lines) is copied/pasted from this post on the Mind Hacks blog (which is a pretty cool psychology/neuroscience blog that I recommend you [...]

  11. [...] at yourself in the mirror. What do you see? In a new study, 66% of respondents say that after ten minutes, they begin to see deformations. 48% start to see a [...]

  12. [...] projections from the unconscious mind, I was surprised at some people’s reaction to a recent study in which subjects were asked to stare into a mirror for a period of time, and then report what they [...]

  13. [...] The strange-face-in-the-mirror illusion. This is a wonderful blog you should all subscribe to. [...]

  14. [...] The strange face-in-the-mirror illusion “An intriguing article has just been published in the journal Perception about a [...]

  15. [...] Get the details to experiment on yourself here. [...]

  16. [...] The strange-face-in-the-mirror illusion- Mind Hacks, September 18, 2010 [...]

  17. [...] Cetera Home » Blog » Commentary » The face in the mirror The face in the mirrorThis article has been going around my usual haunts. Basically, if you’re staring at your own face in the [...]

  18. [...] One psychologist set up an experiment where he had 50 people gaze at a dimly lit mirror for 10 minutes. Afterward, participants wrote down what they saw, if anything. Before we share the results, bear in mind that this was not a slumber party and no one was told they’d see anything horrific beforehand. [...]

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