Ghostly mirage appears over river in Huanshan City, China - (UK Daily Mail) Mail Online
Now, if this were true, it would be the most remarkable version of a Fata Morgana I had ever heard of. The Fata Morgana is a large-scale mirage that can cause distant landscapes to appear in a twisted, distorted manner, displayed above the horizon. It is rare and amazing, but not unknown. Still, for these buildings and trees to appear so clearly, so sharply, seemingly just a few hundred yards down the river...
Well, it turned out that they looked like that because they were, in fact, just a few hundred yards down the river. Some online commentators had suggested this was all the result of a sloppy translation, perhaps of people saying "Look how lovely it is to see these buildings floating in the mist," and some overeager writer decided to fabricate a story around it, and that's exactly what it was.
I took a quick visit to Huangshan after I saw the initial report. Not in person, of course, but via Google Earth. And it looked like a nice place. Lovely river, lots of bridges, lots of views downriver, almost all of which would include some buildings along the way.
(According to the second linked article, the "mirage" is actually a view of buildings on the boat-shaped island on the lower left.)
I zoomed in and took a look at the city in close-up. It looks very nice. Lots of things that looked like residences, and some tidy, clean things that were either industrial facilities, or educational centers, or maybe government buildings of some sort. I zoomed in closer to one bridge, where it seemed like the landscaping on one bank left something to be desired. And I noticed something else in the river.
What is that thing? It's just by itself, not connected to anything. Apparently parallel to the course of the river, but nearly one third as long as the river is wide. And on closer inspection, it appeared to have...