It’s known as the Casimir effect, and you just need two mirrors placed in a vacuum a couple of centimeters apart. It creates a quantum electrodynamic force, otherwise known as a mass-negative place of space-time in between the mirrors. Technically, you could launch a wormhole from here, which offers travel that’s faster than light!
It’s a pretty cool effect, proving that mirrors really are a trip (sometimes in more ways than one).
Mirrors can also cause an illusion if you stare into them for too long, and anyone who’s played Bloody Mary will agree. Sit in a dark room 3 feet away from a mirror and stare into your reflection for at least 10 minutes. Slowly, your face will start to distort, eventually looking wax-like. Some Bloody Mary players have reported seeing other faces, monsters or animals. This is called a dissociative state, and scientists are investigating why mirrors make us hallucinate.
Glass and Mirror Shop Secrets
Humans aren’t the only species smitten by mirrors. Some animals can pass the mirror self-recognition test, while others can pass a different type of test for recognizing their reflection.
Elephants fail the mirror self-recognition test, but show other signs of self-recognition. Gorillas failed the mirror test for years, until it was discovered that making eye contact for their species is reserved for very specific events. Some animals that pass the mirror self-recognition test include bottlenose dolphins, magpies and orangutans.
Mirrors don’t just reflect images, but also sound. British soldiers used mirrors in World War II to capture sound waves of incoming enemy planes and helicopters. Before radar was developed, acoustic mirrors were the only option for hearing quiet sounds.
Some acoustic mirrors were created on the British coast and still stand today, including the Denge sound mirrors. The biggest one in the world is 200 feet long and in Malta, though the general public can’t tour it.
Want to find out more interesting facts about mirrors? Like, for example, did you know a true mirror was invented that doesn’t flip your reflection? How about the fact that natural mirrors exist on the moon?
Call your local Murray Glass shop for all your glass and mirror needs, including a few fun facts like babies can’t self-recognize in mirrors until they’re 2 years old!