Upside-Down Chicago Skyline Seen From Michigan Shore

Published On 05/07/2015 Published On 05/07/2015
Courtesy of Joshua Super

Chicago isn't something you're supposed to be able to see all the way from Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan, so that's why Joshua Super ruled out the city's skyline as a possible explanation for the strange object he saw hovering over the horizon on Lake Michigan while on a recent camping trip with his girlfriend. The spectacle, which they captured in photos, left the two scratching their heads, and left Super nearly convinced that something other-worldly was rising from the depths of the lake.

"Honestly, when we were watching it from atop that sand dune, neither of us had a clue of what it was, nor ever figured it out that night," Super said by email. "At first we thought maybe really strange rain/cloud patterns, but it was too machined to be that. We had ruled out Chicago since we knew there's no way it would be that close, and the pattern didn't really look like a city skyline anyway."

That's because what they were seeing was what's called a superior mirage, or a unique phenomenon that occurs when warm air builds up over cold air and distorts light, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune. Because of the mirage, the skyline appeared to be upside-down, which would make it pretty difficult to distinguish the city's signature skyscrapers 60 miles away. Here's a closer look:

Courtesy of Joshua Super

"I've never been much of a believer in aliens but I thought either it was a craft from another world, or some secret government operation going on in the middle of the water," he said. "Looking back now it seems silly, but really we had just never seen anything like it."

The whole experience remained a mystery until he saw an article in the paper about the mirage, but said he feels lucky to have been able to capture such a rare sight with photos.

Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and wishes he could have seen this in real life. Send news tips to and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.