There is an optical phenomenon called looming in which objects at sea appear to be floating in the air above water level. In Spring 2021 such an image photographed went viral online.
Apparently this phenomenon was well known throughout history among coastal communities as it appears as a sign for bad luck in legends and myths. Along the German North Sea coast it is a common superstition that loomings announce severe floods and houses or cities that are seen that way will be submerged and lost. (see the post on vineta) It’s interesting to note that in the superstition the city is first elevated above and then submerged under the sea level.
This image is also a case of looming:
It shows lake Michigan apparently with the skyline of Chicago in the distance. The accompanying text reads: “Due to the curvature of the earth, the city isn’t visible over the lake from here: the image is a refraction of the real skyline projected above the horizon. Like the boat in David Morris’s image, this is an example of ‘looming.”
According to the National Geographic article, similar illusions of floating cities also appear on land, particularly in arctic regions due to the extreme temperatures. During the gold rush in the 19. Century, reports of mysterious cityscapes became very popular. agical cities foating Cities floating above ground are also a popular topic in science fiction literature and film. There are numerous reports of travelers seeing city skylines appear out of the fog or above the ground, ofter referred to as “Silent Cities”.
Read the full article here.