CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Internet

Gaze at 'ghost ship,' the latest optical illusion haunting the Internet

A spooky video taken in Florida shows a ship appearing to float above the horizon. What do you see?

Since the infamous white/gold blue/black dress, the Internet has been buried in optical illusions -- the cigar in the brick wall and the cat with the hole in its side, just to name a couple.

Here's today's look-twice, then look-again, then share-on-Facebook adventure. Is that boat floating on the water, or flying through the air?

It brings up memories of old "In Search Of" episodes about The Flying Dutchman or the Mary Celeste, haunted ships with mysterious crews.

This short video was posted to YouTube on Wednesday by a user who knew exactly what caused the illusion.

"Snapchat I took of a rare Fata Morgana Mirage at Cocoa Beach, FL," wrote YouTuber Friends N Feeders, who then linked to the explanation of a Fata Morgana. Wikipedia offers up the technicals: rays of light are bent when they pass through air layers of different temperatures in a steep thermal inversion where an atmospheric duct has formed. But almost more interesting is its history: named for sorceress Morgan le Fay of King Arthur legend, these mirages were once believed to lure sailors to their deaths.

While the Cocoa Beach mirage is short and sweet, there are better examples of a Fata Morgana online. Especially good is this nice sharp one from 2010, which shows a sailboat really cruising along, apparently in thin air.

Watch it long enough and you'll inevitably have your attention drawn to the GIANT APPLE on the beach. The poster says that's from a TV commercial being filmed that day. Or maybe that's what Morgan le Fay wants you to think.