Background of the myth:
Huangshan City in Anhui Province, China was one city out of a number affected by the 2011 flooding over 12 or 13 provinces. By 14th June 2011 the water had exceeded warning levels in reservoirs and inundated low parts of land near the city.
|Click to Enlarge - Huangshan City|
Googlemap image with key identifying landmarks
within frames in the 'Mirage' video.
An all too literal translation of the english interpretation describing the surreal sight of the buildings looking mysterious as they rose out of the mist above the flood waters ironically fell foul of the 'Chinese Whispers' phenomenon and was circulated via news websites, touted as being an amazing mirage with never before seen clarity.
Presumably this misinformation was passed on in the same hurried fashion endemic to modern media that does away with cross checking of facts in order to increase readership traffic to their sites. Poor journalism indeed!
Predictably the YouTube videos for this event went viral, along with the emergence of a multitude of conspiracy and prophecy theories ranging from hologram technology experiments, the second coming and otherworldy portals.
The truth of course is a little more mundane than the fiction and just doesn't sell a story, the poetic romanticism of 'floating' buildings suspended in mist above the river may be lost in sloppy translation but it strikes me as odd that the worlds media had not linked this footage to the 2011 China floods. It was a mildly amusing that a lot of news sites did try to provide rational scientific explanation of the 'phenomenon' they were reporting on by including videos of scientists explaining how mirages work!
I don't think any amount of science can help them when it comes to poor language translation and lack of basic reference checking however. However if one thing should come out of this whole thing it is that real people have died in this very real flood. Hopefully there's a very real but very unfortunate story that the media SHOULD be covering instead.
The Video Landmarks for your Reference:
For easy identification the coloured key and identifiable landmarks/buildings are marked for you below with the corresponding slides from the video.
Click to Enlarge Image
|Click to Enlarge : Not a 'mirage' after all, Easy to identify Huangshan City landmarks in the video.|
The Video (complete with incorrect reporting )
that started it all off