Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Fairest Illusion of Them All

Posted on April 30th, 2019 by

Written by Aleese Holst, Lauren Lowe, Leigh Hanefeld, and Taylor Graft

In early January of 2019, two brothers entered a department store, and they were taking mirror “selfies” for fun. They definitely did not expect to come out of the store viral sensations. As they were taking selfies, they noticed that an illusion was created. Click here to see the video.

Were you confused by the video? Well, the explanation is more simple than you may think. So, why did you not understand the illusion at first? First, you were unaware of the context of the video. In other words, you could not see where the cameraman was standing, or where the man in the mirror was standing. Second, it is hard to see the frame of the second mirror initially, you were unaware that there were two mirrors. The image from the first mirror bounces back and forth between both mirrors, causing the illusion in the video. Two mirror surfaces bounce the light that is caught between them creating what looks to be an infinite image (“Infinity Mirror – Types of Infinity Mirrors”). The image is bouncing back and forth between the two mirrors. Below is an image that replicates the infinite images of the mirror box.

Picture 1

So, what is an infinity mirror? Essentially, it’s a pair of parallel mirrors. The angle of the mirrors parallel to one another creates a series of smaller reflections, creating the illusion of continuing to an infinite number of smaller images. As both picture number one and the picture below show, there seems to be an infinite image in the mirror.

Picture 2

Picture 3

Above is a picture of what the scenario would look like if you were a bystander. Man 1 is holding the camera at about a 45 degree angle from Mirror 1. Man 2 is standing in front of Mirror 2. Man 1 zooms out the camera on Mirror 1, while Man 2 is turning from front to back repeatedly in Mirror 2. As the video showed, the motion by Man 2 and the two mirrors bouncing light back and forth creates the illusion that Man 2 is rotating in front of Mirror 1. The result is the appearance of several identical men, almost appearing as if there’s an “infinite number” of this one man. The picture below is also an example of what the set-up looked like.

Would you like to perform this illusion on your own?? Here are a few tips and tricks on how to do it yourself!:

  1. Have two mirrors about 10 feet apart (though distance isn’t extremely important)
    1. Hint: use two mirrors that have very small or no borders so the illusion is a bit more intense– when the borders are seen in the photo (as seen above), it takes away from seeing the illusion since you can tell there are two mirrors present.
  2. Have one person stand in between the two mirrors.
  3. Have the cameraman face the camera towards the mirror (at about a 45 degree angle) that the person in between isn’t looking at.
  4. Zoom in and out while the person in the middle looks forward and backwards– this will make it appear as if the person is looking towards and away from the mirror they’re looking in. if you zoom in to the smallest face you can see and continue to zoom out, it’ll seem as if there’s multiples of that person!
  5. That’s it! It should appear as if there is an “infinite number” of the person in between the two mirrors. Enjoy and show all your friends!
  6.  Picture 4 shows the set up. Picture 1 shows you what you should see (we used a croc) when looking right at the mirror; remember to use mirrors without borders so you don’t see them in the illusion!

Picture 4


Infinity Mirror – Types of Infinity Mirrors. (2019). Retrieved April 09, 2019, from http://www.mirrorhistory.com/mirror-facts/infinity-mirror/

Jain, S. (2019, March 11). This Man’s Mirror Illusion Has The Internet Freaking Out. Take A Look. Retrieved April 09, 2019, from https://www.ndtv.com/offbeat/this-mans-mirror-illusion-has-the-internet-freaking-out-take-a-look-2005808


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