By Tim Binnall
A beachgoer in New Zealand was left scratching her head when she spotted what appeared to be a ghost ship floating over the water. The wondrous scene was reportedly noticed by Monika Schaffner while visiting the community of Mount Maunganui last week. "It was like seeing something unreal," she marveled at the mesmerizing sight of a ship seemingly hovering in the air, "I thought my eyes were playing a trick on me." Schaffner was so flabbergasted by the inexplicable flying object that she pulled over to the side of the road to captured it on film.
While a ship floating over water would undoubtedly be a fantastic event, her initial reaction was, in fact, correct as Schaffter witnessed a phenomenon known as Fata Morgana. The natural optical illusion occurs when layers of warm air and cold air interact and cause a distorted reflection to observers watching from a distance. As was the case with Schaffter's 'ghost ship,' spooky effect has been the source of several similar strange sightings, usually of the 'ghost city' variety, that have made the news over the years.