Chronosynclastic Infundibulum (aka Rotating Snake)

View a stomach-turning fullscreen version.

What you’ll be seeing here is a stationary image that looks as though it is alive, squirming, slithering. Stare if you dare.

WARNING: This high can cause extreme dizziness and could provoke epileptic seizures. If while staring at this you feel very dizzy, immediately look away and cover one eye. Do not close both eyes! Doing so could prolong and increase the intensity of the attack.

How It Works

This visual high was developed by psychology professor Akiyoshi Kitaoka of Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan. Kitaoka theorizes that when our eyes see alternating light and dark shades of color in a particular order, such as in this illusion, they will naturally assume a prescribed route of motion within the object on which they are concentrating.

Kitaoka and other psychologists argue that our eyes will assume a motion of right when processing the black and dark grey patches in this illusion, and a motion of left when processing the white blocks. Because Chronosynclastic Infundibulum has so many varying patches in so many shades and shapes, the eyes become overwhelmed. They start assuming directions right and left in all the circles, trying to make sense of it all. If we concentrate on one spot of the pattern long enough, the eyes will eventually process all the information. You’ll know this when the motion of the circles will appear to slow and then stop completely. To get the motion started again, all we need to do is re-overwhelm the eyes by shifting your focus around the page. You’ll soon be caught in an endless cycle of wrong assumptions and right corrections, of stationary spirals appearing to be animated, alive, and in constant stop-start motion.

Though Kitaoka’s theory sounds logical, the fact is nobody has unequivocal proof of why exactly Chronosynclastic Infundibulum works. What we do know is that it is very, very intoxicating.