Optical Illusion in Mirror Is Freaking Out the Internet: 'Glitch in Matrix'

A mother and daughter's realization of the different reflection produced by a mirror, despite a visible item not being in front of the mirror, has left the internet confused.

In a viral video, the English mom recorded her daughter acting out the trippy moment. The video has since gained over 3 million views in just three days and can be seen here.

"She has noticed something, someone explain this," asked the mom using a text-to-voice generator. "Watch until the end," she added, before dubbing the realization "mind blowing."

The young girl stood right up against the mirror, with her feet pressed against the skirting board. "And then look down, you can still see your feet," despite the mirror only being hung from the waist up, and not facing the feet, the calves and feet were perfectly visible in the reflection.

The viral clip similarly left viewers, many of which claimed to be far older than the young girl, just as baffled.

"I'm 44 and I don't get it. I literally just had this conversation with my 13-year-old daughter about how crazy it is," wrote one TikTok viewer.

"So you're telling me I can see the full outfit in a mirror if I get closer? Nice to know, I never realized," noted another, while others went as far as to jokingly dub it a "glitch in the matrix."

The explanation behind the reflection-based confusion is a relatively straightforward one and a case of simple physics.

When it comes to reflections, the ray of light that approaches the mirror is called the "incident ray" while the ray of light that reflects off it is called the "reflected ray," as explained by Physics Classroom.

"At the point of incidence where the ray strikes the mirror, a line can be drawn perpendicular to the surface of the mirror. This line is known as a normal line," it said.

"The angle between the incident ray and the normal is known as the angle of incidence. The angle between the reflected ray and the normal is known as the angle of reflection," Physics Classroom continued. "The law of reflection states that when a ray of light reflects off a surface, the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection."

Essentially, the closer you stand to a mirror, the wider the reflected ray and the wider the image you can see will be.

This video isn't the first time a visual image has caused confusion on TikTok, with a viral video of a seemingly color-changing hat going viral on the app in December 2021.

In the popular video, a woman showed her brown hat up close to a lamp before moving to the other side of the room to a different light. As the hat moved, it seemed to change colors to a shade of green.

Unlike the law of reflection, no definite answer was given, but the woman behind it all speculated that "different temperature light bulbs with varying color distribution of these wavelengths," caused the confusion.