The Confusing Perspective On This ‘Floating’ Trash Can Photo Is An Optical Illusion That Hurts My Brain

trash can

iStockphoto / Hopfphotography

Is this trash can floating above the sidewalk and hovering in mid-air? Obviously, no, it’s not. That would be impossible. It’s an optical illusion that was photographed on the street and shared on Reddit a little while back and I still can’t get it out of my head so I’m bringing it to you gentlemen today.

What’s happening here is pretty simple, there’s a stain/pool of water sitting in front of the trash can that appears like a shadow, and even though I know what’s happening my brain still sees a floating trash can. So what appears to be the shadow of an impossibly floating trash can is nothing more than some schmutz on the sidewalk.

Let your mind marinate on this for a moment and tell me it doesn’t begin to feel like the walls are melting after a moment. Again, I 100% realize what I’m looking at here but my brain still refuses to see it unless I focus directly on the puddle. You can also see the Reddit post right here.

Reddit / Seyfaro

Based on the Reddit comments I came across re-posted on the UK’s Yahoo! it appears as if I’m not the only person whose brain is having trouble separating what I’m looking at from reality:

“Holy f*** that took way longer than it should have,” one person remarked. “Man I had to read the comment[s]… my brain couldn’t make sense,” a second similarly said. “Fooled me for longer than I’d care to admit,” a third confessed.
As some eagle-eyed Reddit users have pointed out, the optical illusion in the photo is all thanks to a perfectly placed puddle.
“The bin is placed on the ground. And a little closer to the cameraman there’s a puddle. So it looks like the bin’s shadow,” Reddit user Ntetris explained. “It’s just a little bit of water placed just right to make it look the the bin is floating.”Fl
Translation: What looks like the bin’s shadow is actually just a puddle.
Don’t beat yourself up if you still see a floating bin after reading the explanation of what’s going on in this photo. Like one Reddit user noted, “I know what’s happening, but I can’t fix my brain.”

I don’t know about you guys but I could really use a few hours of mindless entertainment from those Magic Eye books from the 80s/90s where you had to cross your eyes to see the hidden design. That’s the sort of entertainment I need in my life right now, the kind that eats up time but requires zero brainpower.