30 ridiculous moments and bizarre sightings caught on Google Earth
Google Earth allows us to travel the world from the comfort of our living room. Global satellite imagery, as well as drive-by car-mounted cameras, have revealed some of the world’s funniest and strangest sights. As fun as it is to see enthusiastic dogs or Cold War submarines, one can’t help but wonder what these people were up to or why they built these monuments of weirdness.
1. The new Western
A lot of the sights you can find on Google Maps are pretty awesome. National parks, landmarks, historical sites—you name it. Amidst the splendor, you can find all sorts of oddities. Some of the things captured on Google Street View, especially, are beyond-words weird. It is sometimes even beyond-picture weird. Like wow, that’s weird.
Take this shot for example. Some guy on a horse is chasing some poor kid down the street, and is the guy on horseback holding a stick? If anyone knows what is going on in this photo, please, contact us and let us know. We’re definitely confused.
2. Just another day
Seeing a person chasing someone else down on horseback is weird enough, but imagine seeing someone wearing a horse mask just strolling down the street. Sounds crazy, right? That’s what we thought, too. Apparently, we’re all wrong, because this gem exists.
In another case of fact being stranger than fiction, the Google Street View camera has captured a rare specimen. Half horse, half person, this majestic beast roams the concrete jungle looking for trouble. Whether or not they found it is yet unannounced. If you see this person, stay out of their way. They will likely charge and bray as they barrel down the street.
We’re not entirely sure what this thing is, but we’re definitely scared. This photo was captured by a Google Street View vehicle somewhere in France, and we can only hope the driver didn’t see this thing and swerve into oncoming traffic. Just look at it.
Is it a person wearing a mask? Is it a statue? Some weird kind of bike rack? Is that its bike? We have so many questions, and we’re not sure how many of them we want to know the answer to? Whatever the case, this bizarre French cryptid has our attention, and we are staying far away from it.
4. Dive, dive, dive!
People wear funny things all the time. Lady Gaga had her meat outfit, women put up with a lack of pockets on a daily basis, and there are some people out there who think corduroy suits are fashionable. We all make mistakes, but it’s one thing to rock a pair of Heelys almost ten years after they stopped being cool and another thing to march down the street in a wetsuit.
We’re not saying that you can’t wear a wetsuit while walking down the road, we’re just saying that it looks a little… out of place. The fact that the guy on the left also seems to be menacing the Street View vehicle with some sort of small rake also has us concerned.
The real heroes of our story are these two dudes, dressing in full battle regalia, duking it out on the lawn with some foam weapons. Whether these guys staged the duel as an elaborate prank to gain internet fame (well done, in that case) or they were just practicing for their next Amtgard meetup, we aren’t sure.
These guys are making sure that they’re ready for a battle at any time, practicing during twilight hours as they are. Sadly, the Street View camera doesn’t show us who won the match. Our bet is on the guy to the right. He has a shield.
6. There he is!
One of our funny favorites is this guy, who did one of two things. Either he figured out when and where the Street View van was going to be, dressed up, and staged the photo, or this guy has been walking around his hometown dressed as Waldo for an unknown number of days, waiting for the right moment.
No matter how he went about life leading up to the capture of this shot, we’re all glad he did what he had to do to make this shot happen. It’s not every day that you get to find Waldo. Well done, pal.
7. Drink up
From overhead, satellites capture images of things that observers on the ground might not otherwise be able to see. Take this logo, for instance. It’s faint enough from overhead, and we’d bet that it’s practically invisible from down on the ground. It probably just looks like a bunch of corn lined row to row, or whatever else this dirt might hold.
What happened here? Was this the site of an old Coca-Cola plant? Is the land owned by someone who really likes their soft drinks? Maybe it’s evidence left behind by some exceptionally ambitious graffiti artists. Whatever the case may be, it’s destined to remain a mystery for now.
8. Cooler than an elephant graveyard
Simba and Nala thought that an elephant graveyard was the coolest place near the Pridelands, but they’d clearly never heard of an airplane graveyard. Located in Arizona, this weird sight is the final resting place of what appears to be well over a hundred airplanes. Maybe even over a thousand.
We never really thought about what happened to airplanes once they’d served their purpose in the skies. Scrapping them for parts seemed logical, but that probably isn’t an economical option. It appears that the answer is to park them in the middle of the desert and hope people forget they’re there.
9. Not just potatoes
Idaho is known throughout the US as being a state that exists solely to provide the rest of the world with potatoes. While that’s not entirely untrue, Idaho also has tons of churches, including ones tucked into the valleys of the wilderness areas that cover the state. (It also has some really choice ski slopes.)
But with all that land and no neighbors in sight, one church decided to send a message of goodwill to anyone viewing from above. The church itself is about a half hour away from anything, so maybe they’re hoping someone will see their message and decide to pay them a visit.
10. Lines in the sand
One of the cooler things you can view on Google Earth are the Nazca lines in Peru. These geoglyphs are massive drawings carved into the Earth by civilizations that are long-since gone. Geoglyphs exist elsewhere on the planet, but the Nazca lines are probably the most famous. So unlike the petroglyphs you’ll find gleaming from the rocks of the Mojave Desert, these will glean from above.
These massive Earth carvings are best viewed from within the atmosphere, but they are so large that satellites can easily capture them. The geoglyphs are particularly common in South America, where the arid mountaintops of the Andes preserve the ancient artwork.
11. Hero of the night
Drawings on the Earth aren’t passé. Whether it’s in the form of crop circles, corn mazes, or dirt carvings, people in the present day are just as into creating massive works of art as their predecessors were. Now that we have helicopters and computer programs, it’s easier than ever. Easy and, in this case, entertaining and fun.
Some people take advantage of their rooftops as an opportune canvas. Up there, they don’t have to worry about anyone trampling their masterpieces. In this case, someone wanted to make sure Batman knew exactly where to go in case they ever needed him.
Manmade stuff is pretty cool, but let’s change gears for a second and talk about the weird and wonderful things that nature was hiding from us until satellites scanned the world. Sure, there are lakes and craters and volcanoes, but what about nested landforms?
What we have here in the center of the photo is an island nestled in the middle of a lake in the middle of an island within an even larger lake. It’s like one of those Russian dolls where smaller and smaller versions of itself nest within the outer doll. Maybe there’s another lake on the tiny island.
Sometimes, satellite views reveal a little more than just the unexpected. The all-seeing eye of Google sometimes catches people on their worst days. We just hope that they can look back at these photos in the future and find humor in them, even if their initial reaction was far from laughing.
Like this photo. We’re not entirely sure how the car ended up on its side, but there it is, tipped over between two parking spots. We’re pretty sure the car’s owner was less than thrilled when they came outside to find their station wagon taking a nap on the pavement, but it’s definitely still funny.
14. Rough day
The person with the tired station wagon isn’t the only guy having a rough day on Google Maps. A drive through Scotland on Street View reveals an unfortunate situation that we’re sure has confounded all parties involved. Just take a look at this sad, sad scenario.
The poor woman whose car ended up in a ditch after a poorly-executed turn is being helped by a couple of people who appear to have arrived on a motorcycle. Hopefully, they all phoned a friend and got some help, because we’re pretty sure that motorcycle won’t get the car back on the road.
At least it was clear that no one was hurt in either of those car accidents. Google Maps has plenty of images of wrecks, for better or for worse. Ones like this ship have evidently been there a while. It’s sprouted trees and everything, becoming part of nature itself. Fun stuff!
Others are more recent, with their metal skeletons poking out of the water. These abandoned remnants spark a lot of curiosity and speculation. An image on Google Maps might hold the answer to the question surrounding the fate of the infamous Malaysia Airlines flight that went missing in 2014.
16. A man in the sand
We humans have the prodigious ability to see faces—even when none exist. And this ability is seen aptly here with the face of the Badlands Guardian in Alberta, Canada. The same things happen in pieces of old toast and even art. The ability is hypothesized to stem from our supremely social nature. We need to recognize faces and the subtleties within them to function.
Those without such abilities often have brain damage. And this damage occurs usually to a very specific part of the brain (called the fusiform gyrus). People with this damage suffer from a disorder called prosopagnosia, which essentially means that they can’t recognize faces. The debilitating disorder makes it extraordinarily difficult to communicate.
17. A giant, pink bunny
This bunny is just one of the many things you can find in Italy. While it might not be as jaw-dropping as the Dolomites, or as enticing as the miles of wine-tasting country or mountainside cities, it is certainly bizarre. Honestly, it’d probably be better for your sanity to see the Dolomites. Probably better for your overall health, too.
Regardless, the bunny’s name is Hase. It (he/she?) is about 200 feet across. Apparently, it’s a creative project constructed by a group called Gelitin, a Viennese art group. It took five years to create, which is a long time considering that it’s just a large, pink bunny. if you want to find it, just look up details on the Colleto Fava Mountain in northern Italy’s Piedmont region.
18. Dolls, unfortunately, breathed to life
These dolls were apparently made in the midst of a thinning population. Seen via Google Street View, the dolls both creep and inspire. Well, actually, the only thing they inspire is fear. So if you’re looking to sleep for a full eight hours free from night terrors tonight, it’s probably best you move on to the next slide. It will be moderately less terrifying.
If you’re still here, you’ll earn a little backstory on the reason these dolls exist. The population of the town where these were created thinned from an already low 300 to a staggeringly low 30. Tsukimi Ayano, a former town resident, made the dolls to represent the people who had left or passed away. In total, the dolls she made numbered something like 350.
19. We found the Millennium Falcon
This was the ship used to film the Star Wars movie series. Yes, that Star Wars—not the terrible one filmed by George Lucas. It was blessed by the holier-than-life Harrison Ford, and walked on by the divine C-3PO. But because the film was so famed, the producers of the series didn’t know where to store it. They settled on this discrete location barricaded behind some shipping containers.
They hid the ship behind several shipping containers at the Longcross Film Studios. More specifically, this gem is located in the Longcross Film Studios lot. So Star Wars fans can thank Google Earth for helping discover one of the most famed vehicles for fictional space travel ever to exist.
20. Pigeon people
Another strange sighting in Japan, these pigeon people exist to steal your soul. And steal away they will. That is the famous Shakespearean saying, right—the silent pigeon people steal on? Anyways, these pigeon people are terrifying. And I’d recommend you try and avoid this place if you can.
While every town has its pigeon people, not every town has them in this same eerie capacity. And I guess we can leave it to Japan to supply these weird antics. They have all the good sushi and, apparently, all the good creepy images of pigeon people. Thanks, Google Earth, for finding us this gem of the creepy kind.
21. A giant guitar
Some things come in many sizes. This time, that thing happens to be a guitar. Scoped from a Google Earth view of Argentina, this giant guitar is there to remind those on the lookout of the never-stopping music of life. Or, if the music is stopped, it’s there to re-enliven its presence.
Well, actually, that is kind of a lie. The guitar was created because the farmer who owns the land upon which it was built had a wife who loved to play the guitar. So, to pay homage to her while at the same time entertaining those who might fly by above, he cut-in this beautifully large guitar. Either way, it should help inspire you.
22. Elephants stampeding
This rare image of elephants stampeding is caught by—you guessed it—Google Earth. And what it shows is the herd mentality of elephants in full swing. The reason they move in herds like this (also known as parades) is because they are primarily social. And because of this, they like to move in groups of around 50 to a hundred.
Normally, the more social and animal the larger its group size will be. We humans tend to aggregate into groups of many, many people (just think of New York!). This particular parade is gleaned from the Zakouma National Park in Chad, Africa. While you wouldn’t want to be found in the midst of this herd, viewing it from above is quite the sight.
23. KFC from above
Some of us like our deep-friend chicken here on Earth. Others of us like it from above. And that’s what Google Earth is providing us here. It shows us, in other words, what some people are now calling “mapvertising.” This mapvertising is aimed toward people who would rather spend their time at work googling images of quirky things from above than entering data into spreadsheets.
Other popular mapvertising signs include the largest Coca-Cola advertisement that exists (as pictured earlier). It’s primarily made of coke bottles—70,000 to be precise. This image of Colonel Sanders—probably the most fervent inducer of type II diabetes to exist—you”ll find lingering in the vast nothingness of the Nevadan desert off Extraterrestrial Highway.
24. “Portal to Hell”
This image, taken in New Baltimore, New York, shows one of the many glitches you can find when zooming in on Google Earth. And, unfortunately, it is one shaped such that you will forever be creeped out by this disturbing and unseemly part of town. Okay, it’s not really the town that is eerie—it’s just the image. Point taken.
But regardless, the creepiness imbued into the image by the terrible Google Earth mistake is enough to strike fear into the fearless, timidity into the brave, trepidation into the incorrigible. If you’re not afraid of this image, you probably need help. And I’m not talking about help with your yardwork. Jokes aside, Google is obviously not without its camera glitches.
25. The S.S. Jassim ferry shipwreck
Probably the most famous shipwreck in history is the Titanic. Famed for being “unsinkable,” the easily sinkable ship set its sights toward the bottom of the Atlantic in April of 1912. Less known is the sinking of the S.S. Jassim. This ferry, whose final embarkment ended in the Red Sea, was purposed as a ferry. Now it’s laying capsized off the coast of Sudan, Africa.
If there’s a positive to be found in this shipwreck, it’s that it will now likely become an entirely new addition to the Wingate Reef ecosystem over which it crashed. And this new addition will add fun vivacity to the panoply of fish and other reef-dwelling species that inhabit the area like it’s their new aquatic playground.
26. M.C. Google?
M.C. Escher was one of the most prominent artists of the 20th century. While not truly appreciated until he was around 70, the man created mathematically-inspired art that defied the laws of physics. Google Earth seems to replicate his ambitions with uncanny ease.
This image, taken from a Google Earth view of Paris, France, shows how some things can appear different than they are—and in a very Escher-esque way. So here, we have buildings that are bending and contorting in ways unallowed by the natural laws of physics. So if you’re looking for some mind-bending illusions created by Google Earth imagery, I invite you to stare at this image for a few weary moments.
27. Hippos en masse
Here in Tanzania Park, we see several hippos trying to find themselves some food, quite successfully I might add. The main thing these hippos eat is grass and aquatic plants. Which means you’re lucky that you’re not on the menu of these eight-ton beasts. Or if you are, it’s likely only because you’re not good at circumnavigating a safari.
Still, however, these animals are extraordinarily dangerous, responsible for an astounding 2,900 people per year in Africa alone. If you find yourself there on some sort of safari, then, you should probably stay back and enjoy their massive presence from higher ground. Otherwis,e you might find yourself one of those unlucky 2,900.
28. The Grand Prismatic Spring
This geological gem is found in none other than Yellowstone National Park. Primarily, it is the result of extremely hot geologic activity. The area beneath the spring is extraordinarily hot, which creates an inhospitable environment for bacteria in the center. This creates the limpid, pristine blue.
Around the edges, the water cools down and allows for different bacterial mats to form. These different mats are different ecosystems of bacteria, each feeding off of the results of the others. These different mats make up the different florid colors we see as we move from the center of the scolding hot water to the edges where it is less—but still—hot.
29. Aliens in lounge
Aliens get tired, too. And this nonexistent entity is taking a little rest. Well, in reality, this is really just some weird artifact photographed at a local garage sale. Spoiler alert: it’s not real. Sorry, world. Actually, aliens in the form of tetrapods is a bizarre and tenacious belief. So we are happy to burst this bubble if it exists in any size, shape, or form.
It isn’t, however, certain from the where this image hails. Is it Arkansas, the land of Calico Rock and great Southern BBQ? Or is it from Nevada, the land of enticing slot machines and desert wastelands? The only person who holds these facts is likely the perpetrator of this setup, the human who performed the Google search, and those who attended this eccentric yardsale.
30. Wayne’s World
This blast from the past of Mike Meyer’s character-driven career is likely the result of an early day Halloween costume or attendance at some weird convention. Maybe it was something having to due with a type of Comicon gathering. Or maybe they’re just two dudes and a girl who like to play dress up.
Whatever the answer, these three make up the power-trio of the century, reminding us of the fun times bestowed on us by frizzy blonde hair and trucker-hat wearing fiends everywhere. And, if you haven’t seen Wayne’s World, it’s probably a task you should set yourself to within the next 15 minutes. Party on, Wayne; party on, Garth.
Contributing writer: Taylor Brown