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Modern Mysteries

'Phantom islands' plagued historical maps

By T.K. Randall
July 30, 2017 · Comment icon 16 comments

Mapmakers have made some serious blunders over the years. Image Credit: Paolo Forlani
Until recently, maps and atlases were plagued by non-existent islands, mountain ranges and countries.
It's bizarre to think that in an age where satellites have been used to produce detailed maps of the surface of Mars, there can still exist maps of the Earth showing locations that are entirely fictional.

One recent example, which was discovered just five years ago, was 'Sandy Island' - a supposed landmass that existed between Australia and New Zealand.
It was removed from maps after a surveyor ship "undiscovered" it back in 2012.

Other examples identified over the years include the "island" of California off the west coast of the United States, a non-existent sea passage known as the Strait of Anian and even the Mountains of Kong - an entire mountain range that was once thought to stretch across Africa.

Such geographic errors, along with other blunders and mapmaking mistakes, are documented in the book The Phantom Atlas: The Greatest Myths, Lies and Blunders on Maps.



Source: News.com.au | Comments (16)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by BeastieRunner 7 years ago
Islands are one thing. Mountain ranges are another. How do you add that in by accident?
Comment icon #8 Posted by paperdyer 7 years ago
Well, ancient travelers weren't always where they thought they were.  Look at Columbus who thought he was in India.  It's always easier to copy a mistake than to take the mistake out and be ridiculed for it.
Comment icon #9 Posted by UFOwatcher 7 years ago
Always amazed me old maps were as "accurate" is they were. On the other hand I have an adult friend that totally believes the Earth is hollow with a hole at the pole because he and his girlfriend have seen maps therefore it must be true. sigh
Comment icon #10 Posted by jarjarbinks 7 years ago
Now that you are awoken (you were probably already awoken), imagine about the rest of everything. not only in map, but in history, science, politics, etc.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Nnicolette 7 years ago
I think the name sandy island suggests it could have easily washed away... But has anybody heard of the mandela effect changes to the map? I think 2012 is when it was all said to have changed.
Comment icon #12 Posted by RoofGardener 7 years ago
Wow.... wouldn't that be the COOLEST job in the world ? Going around confirming the existence/non-existence of these islands and mountains on behalf of the map makers ?  bring bring.... bring bring... Hello boss; I can confirm that the Bahama's exists... I'll be checking the Dominican Republic next. background noise of laughter and clinking glasses The background noise boss ? Oh.. that's just the other people in Nippers Beach Ba.... errr..... Geological Survey outpost. Got do dash... byeee...
Comment icon #13 Posted by Ozfactor 7 years ago
I wonder what future generations will think of our present map of the universe ?
Comment icon #14 Posted by ChaosRose 7 years ago
Maybe they used to exist, but now they're under water. Just a thought.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Essan 7 years ago
Not quite - someone posted a blog on the internet saying that they thought Mandela had died in prison (omitting to explain who was SA President in 1994) - and a bunch of people read it and then "remembered" the same ...... so they posted it on the internet too, causing a few more people - mainly on conspiracy forums - to "remember" history as being different as well   Since then, various conspiracy forums members have "mis-remembered" a number of very significant things such as the words spoken by a movie character or the lyrics of a song, which "proves" "something" happened.   But the actu... [More]
Comment icon #16 Posted by Nnicolette 7 years ago
I am aware, but also discovered the phenomena because i am %100 sure that i read Berenstein Bears growing up as well as a few other things that changed. I dont thinkk faulty memory explains when i was learning to read and asked my dad how to pronounce berenstein because the ei was new to me. I clearly remember many things from a younger age than most (1) and verified them by my parents. There is a young boy who is a physicist who suggested a reason this happened and i quite agree with him and suspected the same, but its another topic entirely which the less intune willl cry "prove it!" If i t... [More]


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