We may not realize it, but Google Maps has revolutionized our lives in more ways than one. Most of the apps we use wouldn’t be possible without their tech, we no longer have to rely on bystanders for navigation, and for the first time, we can actually see all the travel destinations we’d never be able to visit in high detail.
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That being said, there have been times when Google Maps has managed to give us quite the creeps, too. People have found some bizarre and mysterious stuff just looking through Google Maps and its Street View feature, which ranges from harmlessly creepy to downright horrifying.
10 A Possible Scientology Base
Scientology is a weird mix of science and religion—with quite a bit of aliens thrown in—that we really don’t have the space to get into right now. Every time we get to hear about it is when a Hollywood celebrity gets associated with it, which is probably for the best as it’s all too complicated to understand.
What’s weird, however, is that there are a bunch of sites around U.S.A. and the world suspected to be scientology bases. One of them is the Trementina base in New Mexico, which is visible from Google maps. It’s just two overlapping circles with diamond shapes in their centers, and someone has clearly gone to great lengths to make it.
While most people thought that it was a facility meant to flag aliens making their way to Earth (or something), an ex-scientologist denied that, as that would be ridiculous. No, the facility, according to him, actually has a sensible purpose, which is to guide other members towards L. Ron Hubbard’s works that have apparently been written on gold sheets and kept in titanium boxes.
9 Sandy Island
Mysterious things have been appearing on world maps ever since we started making maps. Because our maps were consistently updated with input from explorers and cartographers, it wasn’t uncommon for an unknown piece of land to show up on them.
While it’s an error most of the times, on occasion, maps do contain things we had no idea existed. Take the Sandy Island in the Pacific Ocean, which showed up on some maps but not others. In reality, there’s nothing there and has since been removed by Google Maps. It’s not entirely an error, though, as the island has been showing up on maps since at least 1876. It was first recorded by a whaling ship called Velocity, and we still have no idea what it is they saw there.
Some say that it must have been a raft, though others believe that it’s a magical island that only shows itself to the worthy.
8 Giant Disfigured Bunny
Imagine just browsing through Google Maps and accidentally running into a giant, disfigured pink bunny out of nowhere. Located in Northern Italy, its face is all out of shape and visibly screaming, giving the whole thing an even more unsettling vibe. If you stumble upon it, you may assume that your app is glitching, or that someone actually went to great lengths to build a giant creepy bunny for people looking from above. Fortunately, it’s the latter, and it doesn’t involve the occult.
In reality, the bunny is a part of an art installation by a Viennese collective, and is meant to serve as a hangout spot for visitors. One of the members says that it’s supposed to be a huge thing that makes you feel small, which it probably does if you see it up close. From afar, though, it has that look of an abandoned, mangled bunny so many horror movies begin with.
7 Nogoro, Japan
If you’re ever exploring the Japanese countryside on Maps, chances are that you’d stumble upon the sparsely-populated village of Nogoro. From a distance, it may look like it’s full of people casually chilling around all over town. Zoom in a bit, and you’d realize they’re actually lifeless dolls. We hope you didn’t do this when you were all alone at night.
The village is actually on its way to being completely abandoned, as its residents keep leaving it for better opportunities in the cities. The dolls are made by a woman called Ayano Tsukimi as a tribute to its departed, which is inexplicably the only way she could come up with to do that. We don’t know about you, but knowing that all of those dolls represent someone who is now dead does raise the creepy factor of the whole thing for us.
6 Underwater Pyramids
While we’re strictly against conspiracy theories (unless they’re creepy or awesome), mysterious locations found on Google Maps have done their part in giving credence to many of them. One of them is the underwater pyramid found on Google Maps in the Bahamas.
Many tabloids and conspiracy-lovers hailed the discovery as proof of aliens, Atlantis and a wide variety of other things that probably aren’t real. It was found by a conspiracy theorist, too, though that doesn’t mean that the structure doesn’t actually exist. Some experts believe that it may have been something built by an ancient civilization, though they also admit that there’s no way to disprove that it’s not a secret alien base.
5 Pigeon People
If you explore the streets of West Tokyo on Maps, you may run into a row of people just standing and looking at you. They may come across as people just staring at the Google’s Street View crew out of curiosity, except all of them have their pigeon masks on. Aside from the legitimate question of ‘where did they even get so many pigeon masks to begin with?’, it’s all rather inexplicable and unsettling.
As it turns out, the pigeon people were locals who knew about the Google crew, and wanted to appear in the final photo of the street. It’s all rather harmless and fun, provided you knew the explanation.
4 Abandoned Gas Masks
Exploring Pripyat in Ukraine – the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history – is a horrifying experience in general. Literally a ghost town with abandoned buildings that won’t be inhabited again for a long, long time to come, it has that dilapidated look we here at Listverse thoroughly love.
The creepiest sight in the whole town, however, has to be the room full of abandoned masks, which is saying a lot in a town full of creepy sights. We don’t know if it’s so disturbing because there are so many of them, or that they’re child-sized and located inside an abandoned school.
3 El Bronx , Colombia
El Bronx in Bogota, Colombia had managed to earn the reputation of one of the most dangerous places in the city before it was demolished. One of the most crime-riddled regions in the country, it certainly didn’t make for a nice walk at night, or any time of the day really.
While the area doesn’t exist anymore, Google’s Street View Crew managed to capture it at the peak of its glory. What may look like normal streets of a slum is made multiple times more horrifying if you knew that the neighborhood was known was child prostitution and murder. Some of those buildings also housed murder victims at times, who were then fed to starving dogs as a message to rival gangs.
2Ariel Castro’s Blurred-Out House
When it comes to highly-publicized, gruesome acts of crime, very few cases manage to grip national conscience like that of Ariel Castro. He kidnapped three women and kept them hostage for over nine years, and was only arrested when one of them escaped with her six-year old child (whom she conceived and gave birth to while in captivity). Castro was charged with multiple counts of rape, aggravated murder, kidnapping and attempted murder, among others.
So how is it related to map locations? The house Castro kept the women in could be seen on Google Street View, except that it’s completely blurred out. We’d say that it’d have been equally creepy if the house was just there, but seeing it blurred out because of the seriousness of the crime somehow makes it even more disturbing.
1 Murder Victim
For those who’ve always wondered if Google Maps has ever accidentally recorded a serious crime, we’re here to tell you that yes, it has. The case in question was of a 14-year old boy in Richmond, California, whose dead body showed up on Google Maps. It was seen with police cars and a bunch of detectives standing around, suggesting that it was taken after the body was found.
Understandably, the images brought back some emotions for the victim’s father, who immediately requested Google to have it removed. It was gone from their maps within days, though it does make us wonder if Google Maps still has accidental images of other serious crimes around the world.