To find the strangest sights on planet Earth, sometimes you need to sit back and take in the big picture.
Earlier this week, Manchester residents were baffled to discover ‘phantom’ buildings popping up all over the city on Google Maps.
Twitter user Kimberly wrote: “What the f*** are these weird phantom buildings on Google Maps. They’re just clipping into other buildings. They’re not real. WTF.”
While some users suggested it was a glitch in Google’s app, others speculated it may be evidence of Russian hacking or even a portal into a higher realm.
Whatever the truth may be, the sighting is only the latest in a long line of bizarre – and creepy – discoveries by Google Earth’s cameras.
A submerged car which led to a grisly discovery, Scientology signs and sinister artwork by a convicted murderer – these photos will leave you wondering what else is hiding in plain (or plane) sight.
This chilling picture of a submerged car incredibly solved a cold case mystery that had baffled police for more than 20 years.
William Moldt, 40, was reported missing from Lantana, Florida, on November 7, 1997, after failing to return from a night out, but cops failed to find any leads.
In 2019, however, the vehicle was dredged out of the water and Mr Moldt’s body was identified after a previous resident of the area spotted it during a Google search.
Disturbingly, the photo had been online since 2007, but no one noticed it.
Found near Mesa Huerfanita, New Mexico, these strange symbols look like the work of the occult – or even aliens.
In fact, they are said to be Scientologists’ aerial signposts marking a bunker that includes a huge vault “built into a mountainside”, according to the Washington Post.
The newspaper said the tunnel was built to hold the works of L Ron Hubbard, the science-fiction writer who founded the church in the 1950s.
The publication added: “Former Scientologists familiar with Hubbard’s teachings on reincarnation say the symbol marks a ‘return point’ so loyal staff members know where they can find the founder’s works when they travel here in the future from other places in the universe.”
It looks like a scene from a horror film, but this snap of the Beatrixpark Dock in the Netherlands isn’t thankfully what it seems.
The picture went viral as concerned viewers feared they had stumbled upon the sight of a bloodied body being dragged into the water.
Yet it was actually the sight of a wet dog leaving a trail on the wooden floor as it rushed towards the shore. Stand down, internet detectives.
Dwarfing the Italian coastline, this huge shickwreck could once be spotted from the skies and is a painful reminder of a horrific disaster.
The cruise ship Costa Concordia capsized and sank near Isola del Giglio in January 2002.
Despite a six-hour rescue mission to bring passengers ashore, 27 were killed – along with five crew and a member of the salvage team.
Two years later, the ship was refloated, but this photo shows the sheer scale of the tragedy.
This aerial sculpture of a baby-like creature looks sinister enough – but it was actually created by a convicted murderer.
Notorious Scottish gangster-turned-artist Jimmy Boyle was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1967 for the murder of another gangland figure, William “Babs” Rooney – which he still denies.
He served 14 years and designed the 100ft sculpture, which lies at Hunters Hall Park in Craigmillar, Scotland, while still in jail.
A blood-red lake outside Sadr City in Iraq has led to a number of grim rumours over the years.
While a local once said he was “told by a friend” that nearby slaughterhouses often dump blood into canals, no official explanation has been given.
Other, less macabre suggestions include that the colourisation comes from sewage or a process to treat the water.
A particularly scary sighting of the more manmade kind was spotted by Google Earth in 2006 flying over Utah.
Utah look away now – this image of what appears to be a live cruise missile was snapped sailing freely over the US state.
Others, however, believe it is a jet airliner with dark coloured wings.
Discovered at the Upper Tobol Reservoir in Kazakhstan, this ominous-looking pentagram sparked claims of Satanic cults.
Conspiracy theorists even claimed that if you zoomed in on the picture, two locations would come up – one named ‘Adam’ and another ‘Lucifier’.
As is often the case, there is a simpler explanation. The outline is actually said to be a park designed in the shape of a star – popular in Soviet-era construction.
Dwarfing nearby fishing boats, the unnerving image was captured from above in 2016 in a popular crabbing spot in Whitstable, prompting residents to scuttle away – perhaps even sideways – in fear.
Apparently passers by saw the creature slip sideways into the water as two young boys fished nearby. But others have claimed the image could easily have been photoshopped.
Never was the Liverpudlian catchphrase ‘Calm down, Calm down’ more appropriate when a monster shark was sighted in the city’s Albert Dock in 2010.
Again spotted on the increasingly alarming Google Earth, the shape was said to be a basking shark which had grown to a terrifying 35ft – and might have been old and looking to die.