Two Sided Mirror

5 12 2007

Don’t believe any emailed rumors you may have received about secret two-way mirrors placed in dressing rooms and restrooms. Find out for yourself whether these secret mirrors exist. If you are close to it, a two-way mirror is actually easy to detect through sight alone.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy



Step One

Realize that a popular email about two-way mirrors you may have received is a hoax. It is simply an urban legend that has gained credibility as it has gone from one recipient to the next. You can check suspect stories you hear against the urban legends database at


Step Two

Understand that a two-way mirror is specially treated glass that allows light to pass through in both directions, but which also reflects light back into the room. If lights are off on one side of the mirror and on in the other, those on the bright side will see a reflection and those on the dark side will see through the glass.


Step Three

Know that because they function as windows, two-way mirrors are generally set into the wall; they are not hung on a wall. If the mirror is not flush with the wall, it is most likely not a two-way mirror.


Step Four

Test the mirror. Cup your hands around your eyes and place your face next to the mirror. If it is a two-way mirror, you will be able to see something on the other side—unless there is absolutely no light on that side.


Step Five

Turn out the lights. The two-way mirror only works if light is more intense on one side. With the lights off, you will see through a two-way mirror. It may take a few moments to detect the mirror as your eyes adjust.


Step Six

Tap the mirror. A two-way mirror will produce a hollow sound like a window because there is no backing on the other side. A regular mirror will sound dull.


Tips & Warnings

  • The “fingernail test,” recommended by hoax emails and passed around online, does not work. In fact, it simply reveals where the reflective surface is on the mirror; some mirrors have the reflective surface placed on the surface, and some have glass laid over it.
  • Be ready to get strange looks if you try to detect a two-way mirror in public!
  • Though breaking a mirror will show you exactly what you have been looking at, it is not recommended.



2 responses

5 03 2009

Yeah okayy..this is a lie. I know for a fact that they are legal in New York State, they had 1 in my home town. I am embarrassed to say this, but my friend worked at a store && his job was to check the double-sided mirrors for shop-lifters. There is only a little opening where they look through to check, but girls have to be in girls fitting rooms, && men in men’s fitting rooms. But my “friend” got fired for video-taping a woman trying on a bathing suit in a fitting room. So I know for a fact that they are allowed in fitting rooms in New York State. Unless they are completely lying to me, along with a couple other people, which obviously could be a possibility..

9 10 2009

I want to two sided mirror.

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