When Google Street View first came onto the scene, opinions were divided. On one side of the fence, people were raving about the technical prowess, believing the project to be a monumental feat of engineering. However, on the other side there were the cynics, shunning the service as the largest breach of privacy in history. But that wasn't the only controversy...
Within days there were reported sightings of: murderers in the act, creatures from the other side, and downright creepy people lingering on the sidewalk. Amateur spies soon flocked to the "digital" streets in an attempt to debunk some of these fascinating mysteries and discover who (or what) was behind some of the creepiest images on Google Street View.
10 The Japanese Pigeon Cult
If you ever find yourself in Japan and have to turn to Google Street View to find directions to Mitaka Station in Tokyo, you might notice a strange flock of half-man, half-pigeon hybrids forming a valley of death on the sidewalk. But don’t worry; the Birdman is merely a creature of legend.
When writers from the Japanese blog, Daily Portal Z, noticed Google’s Street View Cars roaming the area they saw the perfect promotional opportunity. However, the strangest thing about this picture isn’t the 6-foot bird-headed monstrosities, but the two bystanders in the background. They don't seem at all phased by the sight before them…
9 The Field of Scarecrows
Near the town of Suomussalmi in north-east Finland is a sea of scarecrows almost 1,000 strong, standing on a random field on the side of the road. Since 1994 these menacing, motionless figures, known as “The Silent People,” have been displayed to motorists on Highway 5. Twice per year the Suomussalmi Youth Workshop change their clothes and give them a little pampering to ensure they'll withstand the test of time.
Even to this day, the artist behind the installation, Reijo Kela, refuses to offer an explanation, forcing residents to come up with their own conclusions. Most consider it a tribute to the country's fallen heroes, but there are plenty of others out there with more sinister, less patriotic conclusions.
8 The Body on the Road
When citizens of St. John’s in Worcester, England, noticed what appeared to be a dead body lying on the side of the road, they immediately alerted the police. The face down corpse of a young girl with her shoes removed and arms by her side looks like a scene from a horror movie.
Upon further investigation the police discovered that local resident Azura Beebeejaun - aged nine at the time - fell over while playing with her friend and thought it would be funny to pretend to be dead. Google’s Streetcar just so happened to be in the right place at the right time.
7 The Corpse-like Humanoid
When residents of this apartment block in Nancy, France, found out that they'd been visited by this scraggly haired monstrosity, they sought to remove it from Google's database as children in the area were allegedly frightened out of their wits.
As it happens, the corpse-like humanoid is not an alien, goblin or undiscovered ghostly entity; it’s merely a Tiki Statue. Perhaps what’s even creepier is the location itself. From the picture it seems like a harmless apartment balcony; however, Tiki statues are used to mark the boundaries of sacred sites. Perhaps there’s something sinister going on inside the flat itself?
6 The Mannequin Graveyard
At first glance this scene from the streets of Chile looks like a group of mummified corpses spilling out of the dumpsters, but on close inspection, they're nothing more than a collection of mannequins - although they're almost equally as creepy.
Notice the decaying brownish hue of the plastic and how some of them have missing limbs and heads – as if they weren't disturbing enough. The one lying on the floor even has some Hellraiser-esque spikes sticking out of his skull! Makes you wonder what drove the store out of business. Who wouldn't want to buy clothes from models like this?
5 The Gas Mask in the Forest
This man was caught crouching between two trees in the Mexican forest as Google’s Streetcar drove past. He didn't do a particularly good job of hiding. It’s not clear what was going on, but he was almost certainly up to no good.
The three most popular theories circling the Internet are: he’s a drug peddler running a (not-so) secret meth lab deep in the woods, he thinks we're living in some kind of post-apocalyptic world where the air is poisonous and humans live underground, or he was just playing a harmless game.
4 The Couple Dragging a Body
Zoom in far enough and Google Maps can be equally as strange as Google Street View. From a distance there is nothing conspicuous about this body of water in Almere, Netherlands, but zoom in all the way and you'll see what looks like a couple, dragging a dead body across a blood-soaked pier to dispose of in the lake.
After much deliberation, users of Reddit disproved the mystery of the dock murder, discovering that it’s just a couple walking their dog. The streak of “blood” is nothing but drippings that the wet mutt left behind after taking a dip in the lake.
3 The Kidnapped Naked Man
A naked man climbing out of the trunk of a car is always going to look a little suspect. When this pic turned up on Germany’s Google Street View, the conspiracies came rolling in. Was he kidnapped? Was he cleaning out his car after committing a murder? Is his dog alive or dead? What’s in the strange yellow bottle? Was the umbrella the murder weapon? There were so many twisted, criminal conclusions.
Turns out this man was washing his car naked (as you do) and decided to chill out in the trunk when he needed a half- time break.
2 The Horse Headed Man
A few years ago this mysterious image of a horse-headed man, photographed in the Hardgate area of Aberdeen, Scotland, had the Internet looking on in bemusement and wonder.
The sighting has since become one of the most popular attractions on Google Street View, which has prompted dozens of people to come forward and claim to be the face behind the strange mask. Sightings have since occurred in Germany, Norway, England and Wales. Apparently he has cropped up on other Google Street View images, too. However, it's highly doubtful that this is the work of one man.
Rather anticlimactically, "Horse Boy's" head isn't a freakish genetic anomaly, but a cheap mask found in most fancy dress stores.
1 The Montana UFO
Finding unidentified flying objects on Google Street View isn't exactly challenging, but whether or not they contain visitors from another world is a different story altogether. When you're mapping the entire world with 360 photographs, glitches will inevitably occur.
But it doesn't stop ufologists scouring Street View for "proof." This picture from Trout Creek, Montana is definitely one of the most convincing. UFO hunter Scott Waring believes that this "blemish" is undeniable proof, stating "You can see there is an object with a roundish head on it sticking out from the top."