Has Google Earth Caught Someone Disposing Of A Dead Body … Or Is It An Elaborate Hoax?

4 Jun

Google Earth Body Disposal

Is this someone disposing or a body, or is it a cartographer’s ‘Easter Egg’?

As some of you will know, I’m a bit of a fan of Google Earth. Indeed, I’ve even gone as far as providing interactive Google Earth layers to accompany my book For Those In Peril On The Sea. When I was messing around on it today (as I often do when I’m procrastinating rather than writing), I came across something very disturbing. If you zoom to 52° 22.594’N 5° 11.899’E (which looks like it’s somewhere in the Netherlands), there appears to be a man who is preparing to dispose of a dead body by dropping it over the side of a pontoon into a lake. There even appears to be a blood trail along the dock leading to the pontoon. I’ve added a screenshot here, but if you want to check it out for yourself, click on this link here (Note: This will only work if you have Google Earth installed on the device you’re using to view this).

The question is, what’s actually going on here? It could be what it seems, that Google Earth actually managed to capture someone just as they were getting rid of a body, but it could also be a practical joke. If it is, it’s a very well-planned one and it’s unlikely it could have been perpetuated by a Google Earth outsider. Instead, it could be technologically-advanced version of something that has been going on for as long as people have been making maps. This is that map-makers have a tendency to include ‘Easter eggs’ within their maps (these are little surprises for those who look especially carefully).

The most famous example of this is the ‘elephant’ contour on a map of the Gold Coast in Africa that was added as a bit of a joke in the 1920s. A more recent example, is the words ‘Oh Yuck’ on a map provided to West Point students.

It may be some time until we find out the truth behind the Google Earth ‘body disposal’ image, but whether it’s a real event or a practical joke, either way it’s pretty creepy!

Update 4th June 2013: It seems I’m not the only one to have noticed this (which is hardly surprising), and there were a flurry of stories it in mid-April 2013. The leading theory seems to be that it’s a dog which has been jumping into the water and then running along the dock (the apparent drag marks being cause by water dripping from the dog as it goes). However, to me this doesn’t seem to match with what is shown in the picture. Specifically, there is nothing that looks like a dog in it. While I don’t think it’s likely that this is a real body dump, I think the possibility that it was an intentional set up by someone who knew that Google Earth was going to be recording photos on that day is still the most feasible answer.


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From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

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5 Responses to “Has Google Earth Caught Someone Disposing Of A Dead Body … Or Is It An Elaborate Hoax?”

  1. Jack Flacco 04/06/2013 at 15:24 #

    I’ll tell ya, if this is true, it sure makes for some great story. No way can it be a dog, though. It looks too real for that.

    • cmdrysdale 04/06/2013 at 17:14 #

      Yeah, I didn’t think the dog idea was viable either. I did briefly toy with the idea that is was a zombie attack, with it being a hunched figure looming over a body, but that, I figured, would have been bigger news!

      Apparently, someone from a local TV station when out after this story originally broke (which was in April as far as I can work out) and drew a chalk outline on the deck where the ‘body’ supposedly is!

      Anyway, whatever’s going on, it’s something very odd. However, it does strike me this would be a great premise for a story, where the protagonist thinks he’s got away with murder only to suddenly find a picture of himself on Google Earth disposing of the body. All he could do would be to hope that no one else stumbled across it – it would be one hell of a mental time-bomb that would drive him mad as he waited and waited, wondering each day if that was going to be the one where someone else finally found it and reported it to the police. Might need to think about that one!

      • Jack Flacco 04/06/2013 at 19:48 #

        All law enforcement has is a photo taken a few hundred miles+ from earth’s surface with very little detail of the assailant and the victim. I’m sure some astute individual can find fiber, DNA, or blood samples from the scene if, in fact, it was a murder disposal site. Still find it hard to believe it’s a dog. Looks like a curled human laying on a deck.

      • cmdrysdale 04/06/2013 at 20:23 #

        Given the location where this is, I think as long as the police knew there was a body in there, they’d find it pretty quickly. In fact, it’d be a pretty poor place to dump a body – too shallow, no currents and even if it was weighted down, a corpse would bload and float. You’d really need somewhere deeper or somewhere like a large river if you wanted to dispose of a body and have a good chance that it wouldn’t resurface. However, it’s the perfect spot for a prank since it would be very easy to find. All you would need to know was when the pictures were getting taken, and there must be quite a few people who would have known that.

  2. cmdrysdale 06/06/2013 at 22:45 #

    That’s a very good critique of why this is a bad place to dispose of a body. Now I know who to ask next time I need to get rid of someone…I mean if I ever need to get rid of someone!

    But seriously, I agree that this would be a really bad place to dump a body if your aim was to make sure no one found it, but then again a lot of people who commit crimes aren’t exactly rocket scientists and haven’t actually thought through what they’re doing before they do it.

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