People in the Chinese cities of Jiangxi and Foshan were stunned when a mysterious “ghost city” appeared hovering above the clouds. According to a report from Mother Nature Network, images from eyewitnesses depict a shady skyline sitting on top of the clouds, with skyscrapers extending up into the sky.
Despite creative explanations like a haunted city appearing from another dimension, or a glitch in ‘The Matrix,” there is actually a perfectly reasonable explanation for the phenomenon. Scientists have identified the cloud city as a mirage caused by bending light, called Fata Morgana.
The mirage was named after Morgan le Fay, a character from the tales of King Arthur. Fata Morgana mirages appear when light refracts and interacts with different layers in the atmosphere at different temperatures and densities. This causes light waves to bend, resulting in our perception of an object that is not actually there.
The mirage in China was likely just a reflection of the cities below the cloud line that had been refracted by changes in atmospheric density and pressure. Fata Morgana mirages have showed up throughout history, with sailors reporting floating castles and ships hovering above the surface of the sea, like the Flying Dutchman.
Eyewitnesses in China remain spooked about the apparition, which was surprisingly vivid. Some conspiracy theories have arisen, but many people find it hard to believe something so real could just be a figment of their imagination.