Puzzling Pictures: 35+ Times People Captured Surreal Moments IRL
You may remember learning about surrealist art in high school. The unconventional art style focused on bizarre, weird, or dreamlike scenes. The Surrealist movement, which found its peak in the early- to mid-20th century, was based on Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic findings, which makes sense when you see the dreamlike style of unconventional artworks that seem like they were conjured from the deepest part of our unconscious mind.
As they say, life imitates art, and that is true even for the unnatural style of surrealist art. It may just be an optical illusion, a trick of the light, or lucky timing, but even today, we can find cases of surrealism outside a painting at a museum.
For this listicle, we created our own gallery of surreal photos that occurred purely by coincidence yet look like something out of a fever dream.
Kung Fu Cat
Move over, Po. The days of Kung Fu Panda are over! It is high time the world gets to know the kung fu cat. Compared to Po, a lethargic panda, they are far more hard-working. The kung fu cat trains even in the dark of night.
If we found our pet doing this, we would send them to train in the mountains immediately. This is the kind of scene that belongs in a modern art museum. It raises many questions and we are not sure if we want the answers.
This is what modern art feels like. They put something incredibly random in the exhibition hall and call it a piece of art. It sounds ridiculous, and honestly, we’d hate for any professional surrealist artists to walk into a modern art museum.
As we previously mentioned, surrealist artworks are random, often playing with perspective and distortion. The layers of the molding are messing with our eyes. We know it’s just a switch on the wall, but it also looks like it’s at the end of a long hallway.
We can almost hear the bird screaming “MINE” like those seagulls from Finding Nemo. On another note, if it’s a chicken sandwich, would it be considered cannibalism if this bird ate it? Judging from the talons, it’s probably an eagle or some other bird of prey.
We are laughing just imagining this person’s situation. The poor fellow was probably trying to take a photo of their sandwich for their Instagram. All of a sudden, this flying dinosaur swooped down and seized the food. Their lunch was ruined. However, it made a fine surreal shot.
Due to the rise of affordable mobile phones, almost everyone has a pocket-size smartphone these days. Hence, gone are the days of phone booths and spare changes. Although we do not miss the sensation of touching those dirty phones, we do miss the aesthetic value of these phone booths.
There still seem to be some left in the Hokkaido region of Japan, and they’re well-maintained, too. This one, however, refuses to give up its retro aesthetic. On a snowy night, it looks like the lonely payphone is sporting a white afro.
No, this isn’t Photoshop. Someone actually caught this glorious phenomenon in the night sky. We can imagine goth folks setting this photo as a profile picture for their Instagram or Twitter accounts. This is a prime example of nature’s surrealism.
This photo feels as if it came from Marvel’s Dr. Strange, though many netizens commented that this skull looked like a “Death Eater mark.” The skull has a more mundane name. This is apparently the Rosette Nebula that resides between Monoceros and Orion constellations.
We all know cats. They are sneaky and curious, and their antics often lead them to trouble more often than not. And yet we cannot get enough of these critters. Half of their time is spent exploring the hidden corners of anywhere they call home.
If there is a small gap in any of the furniture, you bet your cat will shove their fluffy faces in those crevices. This tiny monster found a slit under their human’s vanity and couldn’t help but smush under there. Thus, a new design for a mythological creature was born.
It’s been 12 years since Adele sang about setting fire to the rain. Aside from the catchy beat, the lyric confused people as rain tends to put out any fires. But, after seeing this photo, we concede that Adele was right.
This gorgeous fountain resides in Abruzzo, Italy. This ethereal sculpture by artist Nicola D’Antino is a huge attraction in L’Aquila. The “Fountain of the Sun” was specifically designed for this fiery effect. When the morning sun hits the fountain, the water catches the red sunlight and glows like lava.
Avid gamers love incorporating elements from their favorite game into their fashion and other accessories, even in subtle ways. Sometimes the universe beats us to the punch and implements it in our lives. If that’s not surreal, we do not know what is.
Cyberpunk 2077 fans would be thrilled to see this photo since this fellow looks like he materialized from that universe. Nature (biology) may have taken his hair away, but it also replaced it with a neon lights mohawk. Who knows? He might even be related to Lisa Simpson.
The surreal universe has come up with yet another new species. You may know of the special breed of goldfish called the “bubble eye goldfish.” This time it is the bubble eye doggos. Perhaps these two species are distantly related.
Judging from the extra tail on his head, we suspect he might even be related to unicorns. Jokes aside, please be cautious about exposing your pets to bubbles. While it’s true that dogs adore playing with bubbles, keep in mind that they are potentially hazardous to their health.
Just another day in Florida! It’s the only place where you can see surreal events on a daily basis. Who knew crocodiles also liked to lounge on mattresses like we humans do? The crocodile looks so comfortable, we’ll ignore the fact that it’s litter.
Director James Cameron should take inspiration from this photo. If a thousand-pound heavy alligator could fit on this mattress, Jack could have easily fit on that door. There is nothing we can do now; it’s been more than two decades, after all. At least the crocodile seems happy.
Wasps are terrifying. We understand why bees exist; they pollinate flowers, which is vital for our ecosystem’s survival. They have a purpose for existing. Meanwhile, the only thing wasps do is stab people. Even worse, they give their insectoid relatives a bad name.
It is bad enough that these terrors can fly, but it turns out they can float on the water. The bible talked about Jesus Christ walking on water. It said nothing about wasps walking on water! Still, it’s cool to see surface tension in effect.
When we asked for white Christmas, this is not what we meant. Halloween terrors should remain in October. They should not see the lights of the holiday season, yet here we are. If we were the house owners, we would have burned our house to the ground.
Even if we didn’t go to such extremes, we would have invited an exorcist as this house is surely infested with devils. If we woke up to see that thing peeking through our window, we would’ve had a heart attack. This listicle is about surrealism, not sinisterism.
Puppies are a blessing to this universe. These furballs were once wolves in the wild and now they are in our house getting belly rubs. If that is not surreal, we do not know what is. The bizarre nature of dogs doubled this photograph.
This lil pupper found their own pair of slacks. We fear they might even start spewing some dad jokes. We’ll forgive them for being so cute. You can tell how much joy this shot brought the family from the second person’s reflection.
Hide your kids. Captain Hook is here with the flying Jolly Roger to abduct your children and take them to Neverland. As cute as a Disney-esque trip to Neverland sounds, the adults wouldn’t see it the same way. Though we wonder how the ship ended up in California.
Shouldn’t they be in London? Jokes aside, this is actually Sutro Towers in San Francisco. The folks living in San Francisco know very well how cold and foggy the city is. Sometimes it’s so dense you can’t see what is right in front of your face.
If we were to judge the photos from this listicle accordingly to how likely they were to end up next to a Dalí painting, this one would probably come in first. This is what most surrealistic art feels like—they are random and illogical. They will make you question and think.
This is basically a vegan’s nightmare. We have no explanation as to why this person is standing so proudly in the middle of a thousand pig carcasses. Then again, this is the theme of surrealism. It’s all about illogical and confusing images.
You learn new things every day. Today we learned that dogs are just as flexible as cats. At least, we hope they are. If not, this particular pupper must be very uncomfortable. We hope he was rescued soon after taking this photo.
Unlike cats, dogs are not liquids, but their mischievous personality can still get them into trouble. This is especially true if you have two identical-looking dogs. We can only hope that this was two doggos and not one stuck in the trunk.
Cats—yet another thing that humanity was blessed with. These apathetic fluffballs don’t care for you as much as dogs do. Not that humans care; the internet can’t get enough of them. Honestly, we understand why. How could anyone resist not cuddling them after seeing that fluffy face?
They are as confusing as they are cuddly. These critters get into odd positions and spots that defy the laws of nature. Look at these two fur babies, for example. It took us a while to understand where one cat ended and the other began.
The days of gushing over Michael Jordan are over. Why idolize people like Shaq or Jordan when you have Vladimir Lenin? He plays better than the NBA players despite being dead for almost a century! Maybe it’s time the NBA drafted him for the season.
Though we doubt he would ever give up politics in favor of sports, that doesn’t mean we can’t admire his sporting prowess and apparent natural talent. Even as a statue, he can lob a basketball and get nothing but net.
Due to inflation, virtually everything in every market has become more expensive. Hence, you will often see smaller portions at more expensive prices. Sadly, even the dairy and meat market took a hit as well, even on a biological level.
It seems like mighty cows have shrunk down to the size of sparrows and can fit perfectly onto a fence post. In the past years, teacup piglets and Pomeranians had become massively popular. Perhaps it’s time for teacup cows to shine.
We have never seen a street at night look so beautiful yet terrifying. We can totally imagine ourselves walking down this road on a summer night with a good friend by our side. Maybe we would even enjoy some beer or cup ramen on the way.
However, there is a scary factor about this street—the night is a little too dark. You can’t even see what is literally on the next block. What lies ahead is unknown and even the stars are hiding from whatever is hiding in the dark.
They say love is finding someone to complete the parts of you that were lacking. They fit right into your life in ways you could never have imagined. And it seems like cars, too, can find their soulmates. Just look at these two…
Thanks to the magic of reflection, the red car completes the blue one. The two convertibles and glass were in the perfect position where the reflection could perfectly align with each other. It also helps that both cars are of similar or identical designs and shapes.
Surrealist photography is not as easy as taking pictures of your meals. Aside from the right lighting and angles, you might need someone athletic or flexible who can hold an odd position long enough for the photographer to snap a picture.
We sincerely respect the dedication of this model. Although we cannot interpret the message of this art, we can definitely see how hard she is working. In case you cannot tell, she is standing on her hands. That is no small feat.
Is this not the coolest sky ever? It feels as if witches are about to fly out at any moment. This sky surely ended up on someone’s Slytherin mood board on Tumblr. We don’t blame them—this is gorgeous. We didn’t even know that the sky could take on this color.
You would be surprised to learn that this is not photoshop, nor is that Big Ben. The sky of South Dakota had actually turned green during a harsh storm. This happened due to a chemical reaction between a thunderstorm and the sun.
When you think about it, life for plants is very boring. They don’t get to move around and see the world. They are born in one spot and grow there until death. Even though they provide us with so much, we still cut them down.
This cactus had enough of this self-sacrificing. Why give your life up and stay in one place to cater to others. Hence, they broke the laws of nature and tried climbing up the walls of this cliff to unite with their fellow cacti. We hope the cactus found joy.
It feels as if this sheep had come out of one of Del Toro’s movies. We wouldn’t be too surprised if he was indeed an alien. As much as we love these fluffy sheep, we had never seen one with such a rich black coating.
Neither have we seen one with eyes so far apart. They look more like a cartoon character from Nickelodeon. In case you haven’t caught on, those are not actually their eyes. Those copper circles are just oddly placed tags, and their real eyes are covered by wool.
This photo is perfect for any anti-bullying campaign. Not even Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer can resist homicide if tested for long enough. The poor guy can’t help that he was blessed with such a funny nose. His peers should not have made fun of him for it.
Now look at what happened. They are littered on the floor like confetti while a horrified mall security guard can only watch as he flies away. We hope Rudolph hires a good criminal lawyer, though it might be hard for him to plead innocent as there is photographic evidence.
Well, he was certainly born to a fireman. We have no doubt that the fire department saved millions of dollars in water bills by hiring this guy. If you would like to do this at home, try drinking Coke and eating Pop Rocks. We assure you that you’ll hurl water like this person…
…although we cannot assure you of your safety (please do not do it. We were just kidding.) This talented fellow should’ve auditioned for the role of a waterbender in the Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action show. The production will save a lot of money in CGI.
We don’t know if we should be impressed or horrified. We are glad these majestic giants found a home; they deserve it since their home had been heavily compromised. However, we cannot help but worry about the people who used to live there.
Polar bears are the most dangerous bear species in the world, after all. We have good reason to fear for the humans around them. We can tell you for sure, Goldilocks will not be coming out alive after invading the home of this bear family.
This is the umpteenth time we are showing our appreciation for cats in this listicle and we regret nothing. These majestic creatures deserve poetry to be written about them. We understand why the people from ancient Egypt worshiped these fluffy little critters.
It seems the owner of this cat would have done. We can tell since they commissioned various artworks of their furry friend for their living room wall. This show of affection is what black cats deserve after being subjected to unfair myths for centuries.
There is no way we can appreciate things like snails or oysters in our diet. We won’t survive for too long in France as we hold no appreciation for Escargot. We are content with our Taco Bell order. At the very least, it doesn’t bother us like this dish does.
It seems as if someone gouged out the eyes of a crocodile and put it in a soup. In this kitchen, when you look at your food, it looks back at you. Just thinking about it for too long makes us nauseous.
We thought that was a ghost at first. If that were the case, we would have been less terrified. At least we’d have an explanation. However, there is no reason for a praying mantis this large to exist. We highly recommend this person close their garage door.
Someone once said that Australia holds all of the devil’s pets in one place. We can finally understand what they meant. We were considering taking a vacation there, but after seeing this, we are considering changing our plans…and moving to another planet.
This is perhaps the worst thing you could come across in the wild if you did not know what this is. We prefer encountering an angry brown bear over this atrocity. It looks like someone murdered a person and their zombified corpse tried to climb out of its grave.
This is why you will never see us foraging in the wild. This is actually a variety of fungi that grows in Europe. It’s literally called the” Dead Man’s Fingers.” Yikes, we are never visiting Europe. This is not surreal; this is sinister.
We’re sure you’ve heard of ASMR, and have likely heard some of it. Well, apparently, there’s a visual equivalent to ASMR. Those videos that show layers of paint or ice being cleanly peeled off a surface apparently deliver a satisfying feeling that replicates ASMR.
We have no doubt this picture would go viral among fans of the visual ASMR. And even if that doesn’t appeal to you, the perfectly intact imprint of the speed sign is a piece of art in and of itself.
Imagine waiting for months to harvest your sweet potatoes only to dig this out from the ground. If it were us, we would have called the cops. Who knows? Someone might have killed someone and hidden the body in our backyard while we were unaware.
We recommend that this person hire an exorcist. If this sweet potato spoke, it would have said, “I yam death.” If the owner of this potato put this back in the earth, an entire body might grow out of it. This is yet another case of sinister rather than surreal.
Finally, we have something unnatural that takes our breath away from its sheer beauty. The world may show you abominations such as a giant praying mantis or a hand-shaped, evil sweet potato. However, they also have views like these. Perhaps that’s what makes our stay worth it.
It feels as if a Led Zeppelin song had come alive. If you’re ever in the Seattle area, we suggest you take a drive to Mt. Rainier National Park. The eponymous mountain is so high, it could effortlessly pierce the clouds and cast a shadow on it.
We are not quite sure what this actually is. If we didn’t know better, we would have assumed this was a screencap from some futuristic science fiction film, or perhaps a remake of 2001: A Space Odyssey—it reminds us of the monolith from the film.
Whatever it really is—the person who posted this didn’t say—we can thank nature for giving us this surreal image. A thick layer of fog has perfectly obscured whatever’s around it. Is it a billboard or a chic building design? We’ll never know,!
We will humbly admit that we are not the most knowledgeable when it comes to automobiles. Sometimes it is better not to know about things you cannot afford (yet). However, we do know that wheels are a crucial part of a car.
They are literally responsible for taking you to your destination! Admittedly, the one part about cars we do know is that hubcaps are just there for decoration, and no one was harmed when some poor driver’s car decided to shed its hubcap.
This looks a lot like a poster for a horror movie. This could also be a fine prompt for aspiring writers and filmmakers. When you think about it, these two could be the Bonnie and Clyde ghost dimension. It could be the new Twilight (with a better love story).
Maybe these two mannequins were doomed and could only be together in the afterlife. Maybe the horror Bonnie and Clyde gangs up on gullible passersby at night and scares them. If we have a nightmare about mannequins tonight, we know why.
We’ve talked a lot about artforms, so we think it’s worth noting one that can get neglected by older audiences. Tattoos are art, and we’ll die on that hill. It takes a combination of creativity and precision, something you’ll find with other artistic mediums.
We’re in awe of the highly detailed tattoos this couple is rocking. Our only question here is if this was an accident or if the girl saw the perfect opportunity to take a photo to mess with her friends…and the internet.
We have heard the tongue-twister about lumberjack woodchucks, but tree-chomping pups is new to us. The doggo looks so proud at having widdled away at the massive trees. The glowing eyes, however, make it seem like a more sinister act.
On a more serious note, we hope the dog got out of there as soon as this photo was taken. We’d hate to think that this poor doggo got hurt if the tree toppled over while he was hanging out in the woods.
Chicken Little was right! The sky fell and one brave photographer managed to capture the moment that it did so. Just kidding! This isn’t some catastrophe nor is it an art exhibit; it’s merely a beautiful array of solar panels.
It almost looks like someone lined up paintings of the sky, rather than simply being real-time reflections of it. What makes it even more jarring is the perfect blue sky shown on the panels, despite the seemingly overcast sky above.
We wouldn’t be too surprised if someone told us this was painted by Pablo Picasso. This kind of bizarre and surreal art style is synonymous with him and his work. We have all seen his famous works of distorted human faces.
However, this was not painted on any canvas. This was a real-life photo taken with a mere camera. This is not a mutated human with two faces, either. It’s two people who were in the position at the right time.
Please stop watching the new Puss in Boots movie for a second and take a look at this masterpiece. Is this not the most adorable thing you have ever seen? How anyone could be this cute? The parents of this toddler don’t need to buy sugar since this child is sweet enough.
Perhaps we have finally reached a conclusion to the bigfoot mystery. There is no mythological monster frolicking in the woods. It’s simply an adorable child who is too small for their giant boots. This little baby could probably fit in one boot if she tried.
Please BEElieve us when we say this; we are trying very hard not to make any bee puns. As you can see, we miseraBEEly failed. Even the bee hive is displeased at our weak attitude. We can’t help it; these bees are a little too perfect for puns.
All the same, that half-smile is all the encouragement we need to keep workshopping our bee puns. This BEEutiful hive is merely a case of pareidolia. We all know that bees don’t express their emotions in ways we humans can understand.