Exorcist Illusion – Twisting Necks

Thomas Papathomas, Tom Grace Sr., Marcel de Heer and Robert Bunkin
Rutgers University, USA

The “Exorcist illusion” is a tricky variation of the hollow-face illusion. We rigidly fused a concave mask and convex torso and vice versa (a challenging sculpting task around the neck). We then painted these rigid “statues” realistically and rotated them. Even though they have no moving parts, they create a compelling paradoxical illusion of twisting necks! The torso rotates in one direction and the face rotates in the opposite direction; thus the neck twists in a strange fashion, similar to the “Exorcist” movie (1973). Also, if a viewer moves in front of the statue, the neck appears to twist dangerously.

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