You won't believe your eyes!

Fata Morgana
Muir Glacier. near Juneau, Alaska
June 21, 1885

Not to be reproduced without permission from the Alaska State Library. Photo by Richard C. Willoughby, "Silent City of Muir Glacier": Alaska Historical Collections, Alaska State Library.

"...There, hovering above Muir Glacier, was the mirage of an entire city complete with flat-topped houses made of brick and stone, ships, tall elm trees and churches with onion-shaped domes..."

Described in "Fata Morgana" by Steven C. Levi in Alaska Magazine, July, 1990, page 48.

Richard C. Willoughby, an Alaskan prospector, claimed to have seen this amazing mirage a a number of times. He led tours of Glacier Bay and the mirage site and made a fortune selling reprints of this photograph of the mirage.

The mirage was largely believed to be a hoax. No one but Willoughby had ever seen it (not even the tourists who toured the glacier), and Willoughby, who was not a photographer, could not explain how he took the photograph of the mirage. He may have simply purchased a cast-off negative of a city from a travelling photographer, printed photographs from it, and passed off the fuzzy image as that of the mirage.

If Richard Willoughby had seen a real arctic mirage, it might have looked something like this one.

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