Thanks to Google Maps, we now have the ability to view some of the most incredible sights on earth, all from the comfort of our homes. The mysteries of the pyramids of Giza, the breathtaking sights of the Himalayas, and the playful creatures of the Galapagos Islands can now easily be viewed with a few quick searches on Google Maps. Not only that, but our every day commutes have been simplified and improved, revealing better routes, road closures, accidents and traffic jams, all thanks to Google’s awesome technology! Exploring Google Maps has also revealed some carefully planned pranks and advertising tactics, never before seen wonders, as well as crimes taking place in broad daylight. Read on to discover the location and the stories behind some of the strangest sightings found on Google Maps.
10. The Badlands Guardian
Coordinates: 50°00’36.3″N 110°06’46.8″W
The Badlands Guardian was first discovered on Google Earth in 2006, located in the Badlands region near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. The figure resembles a human head wearing an Aboriginal headdress. A recently created road leading to an oil well on the sight gives the appearance of the figure listening to headphones, with the oil well making the ear bud itself. The feature was entirely created by erosion and the impact of wind and water on the land, shaped entirely by the elements and without any human intervention. Its shape is estimated to be a few hundreds of years old.
9. Blood Lake
Coordinates: 33°23’54.4″N 44°29’03.0″E
The image of a so called blood lake, located near Sadr City, Iraq, was initially discovered in 2007 by Reddit users and many began speculating what the cause of its macabre color could be. The strangest theory for the lake’s color is that it is constantly being filled with blood discarded from a nearby slaughterhouse, although this has never been proven to be true and seems highly unlikely. Other theories suggest it could simply be due to pollution, water-treatment processes, or sewage. Since the initial photo was taken however, the lake, named Lake Vermelho, has resumed to its normal color, so we may never really know what the cause of its bloody color was.
8. KFC Logo
Coordinates: Not longer available
Scanning through the Mojave desert somewhere near the mysterious Area 51 has revealed a strange and familiar image – that of Colonel Sanders, the KFC logo. This was not a message meant to communicate which fast food chains the aliens prefer, or to profess their love for fried chicken. The massive 87,500 square foot logo was created from 54,000 colorful snap tiles as part of an aerial marketing tactic, literally putting KFC on the map. The logo took 6 days to complete but as of April 2007, it was unfortunately removed. This is not the first time a familiar brand has appeared on Google Maps – images of the Firefox and Coca-Cola logo, as well as the domain for Australia Tourism have been spotted, in an attempt to reach new audiences with their unique take on marketing.
7. The Proposal
Coordinates: No longer available.
In August of 2008, a Google employee named Michael Weiss-Malik decided to top his original proposal to his fiance Leslie with the Proposal 2.0 – a proposal that would be visible and captured (at least for some time) on Google street view. When Michael heard about Google’s pre-announced Street View visit outside of his office at Google’s Mountain View location, he gathered a group of his friends and coworkers and planned his proposal. As the Google car passed, he held up a sign asking his fiance to marry him, while others held up various signs, such as the one seen above saying “hi mom”. The image was visible for a few years but has since been taken down. Michael even had a blog titled Marry Me Leslie where he wrote about his proposal.
6. The Music Video
When the country band Gunnar and the Grizzly Boys released their music video for the song ‘Could Be Me’, many thought it was likely that the video was filmed by a Google Street View car. Many critics however haven’t been fooled, and believe it is highly unlikely that this could occur in the first place, as the band’s faces are clearly visible in the video, a practice that is against Google’s policies. The notes to the video address this very doubt, by stating that “to protect our friends at Google who bent the rules to make this video possible (and their jobs), we can’t disclose when and where this was filmed.” Would someone at Google truly risk their job? Maybe. Regardless, the band received a lot of attention because of the video, so if this was a prank, it certainly worked in their favor.
5. The Phallic Shaped Church
Coordinates: 41°50’31.6″N 89°29’11.7″W
From the ground, the Illinois Christian Science church located in Dixon, Illinois, USA looks like your typical place of worship. Upon discovery, aerial images seen on Google Maps however have caused quite a stir, as the church has quite a phallic appearance. The architect behind the design of the building reportedly designed the church with the intent to curl around a large tree located on the property and avoid having to cut it down. Of course, no one ever expected the church to have such an appearance. It appears the church didn’t much enjoy the attention it received when this strange resemblance was discovered – updates on their Facebook page reveal that the shape of the church may soon be changed to resemble a fig leaf.
4. Pigeon People
Coordinates: 35°42’14.7″N 139°33’27.8″E (street view)
On an unknown date sometime between 2009 and 2012, a series of strange sights were captured on Google Maps along the Tamagawa-josui channel in West Tokyo, Japan. These involved a large group of what appeared to be people wearing pigeon masks, gazing at the Google car as it drove past. Many wondered what the reasoning behind the strange masks involved, and who exactly these ‘pigeon people’ were. Upon further investigation, it turned out that this was a flash mob prank carried out on Street View, put together by a group of students from a nearby art school called Musashino Art University. Now that we know the story behind this photo, it becomes a lot funnier and a whole lot less creepy than initially believed.
3. The Almere Crime Scene
Coordinates: 52°22’35.6″N 5°11’53.9″E (Google Earth view)
In April of 2013, Reddit users identified another strange sighting on Google Maps. From a distance, the image appears to show what could be a bloody corpse being dragged off the pier in the lake, in a park near Almere, Netherlands. Shocked, users began investigating and went so far as to contact the local police about this, but because the pictures were between 1 to 3 years old, there was little evidence the police could find. Upon closer investigation however, it was revealed that the image showed a dog owner and his pet who had likely climbed out of the water and ran across the pier, leaving a wet trail behind him, a trail that due to the color scheme looked like blood. If you look closely, you can notice the man wearing a white shirt and what appears to be a large dark colored dog in front of him.
2. Airplane Boneyard
Coordinates: 32°09’20.82″N 110°49’48.28″W
One of the most incredible sights to explore on Google Maps is the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, located outside of Tucson, AZ. This area is commonly known as the Boneyard because of what it features – a storage site for old aircrafts. Stretching over 2600 acres of dry, desert land, the Boneyard is the largest aircraft storage facility in the world, home to over 4400 retired aircrafts, including aircrafts that have been used during World War II. Because of the low humidity and lack of precipitation of the Mojave desert, airplanes experience little rust and corrosion and can keep their shape for many years. The site has become a popular video location, being featured in Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s music video for the song “Learning to Fly”, as well as in the movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
1. The Richmond Crime Scene
Coordinates: No longer available.
One of the more gruesome images that appeared on Google Maps was that of a crime scene investigation taking place. In the image, the body of the victim is seen lying along the railway tracks along Sandford Ave., in Richmond, California, with several officers nearby. The city has a history of violent crime, being named the 7th most dangerous city in the US in 2009 (the year the photo was taken), with 6 murders having occurred near the rail yard featured in the photo. The victim in the photo was identified to be 14-year-old Kevin Barrera, whose gruesome murder remains unsolved to this day. Upon discovery of the picture, Google updated the image out of respect for the victim’s family.
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