Hidden Message


Can you read the message encoded in the image?  A few months back I posted about embedding hidden messages in images. Since then I’ve come across a much better way of doing it, using the lettering in the image above.  Lettering? What lettering?  You may not even have been able to spot the lettering yet. I’m not sure who invented it, but it’s brilliant – I just copied the style of lettering from another demo, on the wonderful website of Michael Bach.  It’s clever because to read the message we have not only to achieve a figure/ground reversal, but also because the distracting objects in the picture are seen as if from above (the default view the brain expects), whilst the hidden lettering is seen from below.  So we have to switch two modes of viewing, figure and ground, and also view from above and view from below.  And then I’ve added scene cues to make it even harder.


However there is a way of revealing the message easily – just blur the image, as in the version below.  Without all the distracting detail in the sharp edges in the scene, all that’s required is a figure/ground reversal, and recognisable letters become the most salient features in the image for the brain.



In my first post on this question, I showed a straightforward exchange between the words Truth and Lies with reversal of figure and ground.  I wanted to tweak that, to add the additional reversal between letters seen from above and from below.  To see that ….

To my eye, the weighting of the upper version here favours TRUTH so strongly that I can only read the word LIES one letter at a time.  I’ve made the reversal much easier in the lower version, and to my eye, when the image flips, the word Lies emerges with a real punch to it.

Oddly, I don’t find that blurring this image makes it any easier to recognise the lettering, so I’ve not added a blurred version.  If you try it and the letters jump out with blurring, let us know.

2 thoughts on “Hidden Message”

  1. It’s not a font you can just download anywhere as far as I know. I constructed the text letter by letter in a graphics package, copying the lettering from Michael Bach’s site (see link in post). It was hard for me!

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