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Mirage in Huangshan City ? Not this time

The Huangshan city mirage  generated some wildly speculative claims amidst a whirlwind of media misinformation and hype.   In a nutshell the...

The Huangshan city mirage generated some wildly speculative claims amidst a whirlwind of media misinformation and hype.   In a nutshell the reality was just a winning combination of bad chinese translation combined with hyper-sensationalist reporting. All the buildings in the footage are real buildings, not visions or illusions and actually stand where they were filmed, only surrounded by floodwater and mist.

Huangshan City in Anhui Province, China was one city out of a number affected by the 2011 flooding in 12 or 13 provinces.  By the 14th June 2011 the water had exceeded warning levels  in reservoirs and inundated the city.

Click to Enlarge - Huangshan City
Googlemap image with key identifying landmarks
within frames in the 'Mirage' video.
 ( See: Frame1, Frame2, Frame 2a, Frame3 )
Incredibly, video footage of the floods, as the waters slowly rose above low lying areas of the city were broadcast, sensationalised and then spread by western media.

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 limited, if any, cross checking of facts in order to increase readership traffic to their sites.   Predictably the YouTube videos went viral, along with the emergence of the inevitable conspiracy and prophecy theories of hologram technology, 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 did strike me as a little funny that a lot of news sites did try to provide rational scientific explanation of the 'phenomenon' 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.

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. These can be identified in the main picture of this article above.

Click to Enlarge Image
Hunagshan Mirage False
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



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The Official Auki Henry: Mirage in Huangshan City ? Not this time
Mirage in Huangshan City ? Not this time
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The Official Auki Henry
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