Well to get things started I had to change the title around but I decided not to change most of the body of the subject because it was, well, already done. Mirages don’t just occur in the desert so that’s why I decided to change it around. So the topic at hand is mirages and as usual the weirdness or eeriness that they inspire is many of us.
What is a Mirage?
Well to get started it is an optical illusion to some degree. It is something that the natural eye sees but is not there in the sense of it not being what it appears to be. We are in fact seeing the heat waves and most often the light waves that are distorted from the observer’s location. Although the ones that have the heated air influencing them are actually called “heat hazes” like those created from the engines of jets and what not. Still they are all developed and seen differently from the influences of the hot and cold air. There are two major types of mirages, inferior and superior.
These are the more common ones we see in the desert areas that reflect like a blueish or clear low lying body of water in the distance.
Are the ones that reflect of the tops of the “true” objects in the distance making them seem taller or larger than actual life? I often see this driving into the city in the early mornings and the city appears to be much more massive than it truly is.
What makes them Eerie or Weird?
Well to me and I believe most people will agree, is that they play the tricks on the eyes of making you believe or question what is really there. In the hot desert it was known to throw off hikers and travelers, those lost to the demise of the hot desert sun, thinking that a body of water was just ahead. It could lead people astray in a heartbeat and often in the wrong direction. However it doesn’t always occur or only occur in the desert. It also occurs on bodies of water like the ocean. Sometimes sinking ships or leading people astray. Think about how often this might occur in the Bermuda Triangle.
This is the really weird part. Named from the Italian translation for Morgan le Fay, from the Arthurian Legends, this type of mirage flips between the two, superior and inferior, in a matter of seconds. Sometimes anyways. It can make objects in the distance seem like they are moving and even bring into view the refracted images of objects lying below the horizon of the earth’s curvature from the observer’s point of view.
You should check out the story of the Bismarck and its fight against the Suffolk and Norfolk. Pretty interesting how mirages helped out this ship during this battle.
Thanks for Reading,
Joshua Crane Dowidat