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Invisible X is an exploitable caption used to describe photos in which the subject is posing in a distorted position that would possibly be caused by handling or interacting with an invisible object. Originally appearing on LOLcat images, the phrasal template “Invisible X” gradually spread across non-feline photographs as well.
While the details of the original instance and its caption are unclear, both “Invisible Sandwich” and “Invisible Bike” began appearing online in the summer of 2006, coinciding with the rise of Caturday. The earliest mention of “Invisible Sandwich” was posted on sports blog McCovey Chronicles on July 27th, 2006. The earliest appearance of “Invisible Bike” can be found YTMND on August 20th of that year.
Throughout 2006, these photos were reshared or mentioned on humor site Daily Haha, the Straight Dope message board, Flickr, 4chan and gaming forum Octopus Overlords. In October of that year, “invisible sandwich” was the first caption of this type to be defined on Urban Dictionary. The same month, “invisible sandwich” cat was also used in its first YTMND.
The first “Invisible X” image on I Can Has Cheezburger was posted on January 17th, 2007. Collections of these LOLcat images were posted to MentalFloss in 2007, Buzzfeed in 2010, and humor sites Innocent English and Socialphy in 2011. Additional images can be found on Flickr and I Can Has Cheezburger. The single topic blog Invisible Sandwiches was created in July 2009 to collect photos of people posing as if they were about to bite into a sandwich, inspired by the cat photo.
Invisible Bike Mural
In May 2008, San Francisco based artist Josh Zubkoff and several friends painted a mural of the Invisible Bike cat on to the side of a three story building. Zubkoff shared a gallery of photos documenting the process the next day. Deemed the world’s largest LOLcat, the mural was featured on Laughing Squid, I Can Has Cheezburger, Fark, and Reddit.
Laughing Squid – The World’s Largest Lolcat, An Invisible Bike Mural