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Now you can ruin people’s eyesight by making your own Magic Eye pictures

In the halcyon days of 1993, schoolchildren across America were suddenly stratified into the haves and the have-nots, the gifted and the peasants, the Illuminated and the blind. The dividing factor? Those who could see the stereogram images in Andrews and McMeel’s Magic Eye books, and those who could not. (The emotional devestation of this conflict was best captured in Kevin Smith’s 1995 documentary Mallrats, in which a hapless young man is driven to madness by his inability to see a simple sailboat.) For years, rumors swirled on the playgrounds of Earth about how these dark magic portraits were crafted. Elf-hair paintbrushes dipped in unicorn blood? Satanic rituals backmasked into Rush records? Computers, maybe?

It turns out it was computers. And now, thanks to programmer Ian Pearce, that dark power can be yours. Pierce has crafted a simple Javascript tool to allow users to make their own Magic Eye pictures, complete with those garish pink or green backgrounds that made properly focusing your eyes twice the chore it should have been. The painting tools are pretty limited, but it’s still enough to make basic shapes or words for people to laboriously peer at. Or, you could get your revenge and invite your friends to stare at a blank Magic Eye, reveling in the knowledge that, for once, you’re not the idiot fruitlessly staring at an empty swirl of meaningless neon static.

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