Warning: This “Stranger Things” optical illusion may haunt your dreams.
The internet is freaking out over this “Stranger Things”-inspired optical illusion, which hides an image that might be scarier than anything from the most recent season of the show. A video depicting the terrifying brain teaser currently boasts 14.7 million views on TikTok as puzzlers’ minds are flayed over the scary sight.
[Warning: Spoilers Below]
“You can only see this portrait with your eyes closed,” intones the illusion’s creator @rishi.draws in the trippy clip, which depicts a multi-colored negative of Eleven, the clairvoyant protagonist from the Netflix series.
To achieve the spine-tingling vision, the viewer must stare at the white dot in the middle of her forehead for 30 seconds and then close their eyes, per the clip.
They’re then instructed to tilt their head up towards a “bright light source” — doing this during the day works best, per the clip — and open their eyes. After about eight seconds, a negative visage of “Eleven” will materialize in front of their face like an optometrical jump scare, per the video.
Needless to say, the frightening effect sent shudders across social media with one TikTokker writing, “Wow – that was way cooler than I expected.”
“I WAS LIKE NAHH I DON’T SEE IT AND THEN SHE WAS RIGHT THERE LOOKING AT ME BRUH,” shuddered another.
“Help it won’t go awayyyyy,” cried one terrified TikTokker, while another claimed that they could still see the ghostly image while looking at the comments.
The delayed jump scare effect is due to a principle called afterimage, which occurs when one spies a previously seen image when that image is no longer present, according to the Illusions Index.
“Negative afterimages exhibit inverted lightness levels, or colors complementary to, those of the stimulus and are usually brought on by prolonged viewing of a stimulus,” the site writes. “They are best seen against a brightly light background.”
They add that this retinal specter, at least in part “because some cells (cones) on the retina do not respond to the present stimulation because they have been desensitized by looking at a previous stimulus.”
This isn’t the first star-powered optical illusion to send social media users running for the hills.
In July, puzzlers were losing their minds over this creepy image, which makes celebrity’s faces look hideously distorted like a fun-house mirror.