- A viral TikTok video shows cloaked figures on Google Earth near Rhyolite, Nevada.
- But the figures aren’t people. They’re part of an art exhibit called the Goldwell Open Air Museum.
- The cloaked statues were created by Belgian artist Albert Szukalski in 1984.
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The United States has dozens of abandoned towns that are filled with oddities, but nothing quite compares to a group of statues in a ghost town in the West.
In a viral TikTok video, user Jason Cline shared what he told Insider was one of the most unusual spots he’s seen – located in Rhyolite, an abandoned mining town in Nevada. The TikTok video, which Cline posted on May 17, has 18 million views at the time of writing.
In the video, Cline shows a view of Google Earth and zooms into the ghost town of Rhyolite, which is about 193km outside of Las Vegas.
Cline describes the town as having more than a dozen “creepy men in white cloaks” that are visible on the virtual map.
@jason_cline Really weird things found on google earth. ##secrets ##googleearth ##strange
On Google Earth, Cline navigates to an area of the desert where there’s a set of concentric white circles. As he zooms in, he points to an image of a ghost-like figure riding a bike. He rotates the camera’s view where there’s more than a dozen cloaked figures.
At first glance, the figures Cline points to in his TikTok seem life-like, but in reality, they are statues of an installation created by Belgian artist Albert Szukalski. Szukalski created these two exhibits in 1984, and over the course of 16 years, he built five other large art installations in the surrounding desert area. Together, they form the Goldwell Open Air Museum.
The figures that are arranged in a line make up Szukalski’s work titled “The Last Supper,” and the statue riding a bicycle is called “Ghost Rider,” according to the Goldwell Open Air Museum.
According to the museum’s website, “The Last Supper” is a modern-day and American-Southwest representation of Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous fresco.
The installation was originally designed to withstand the desert’s elements for two years, but it’s survived for decades and is still standing today, according to the museum.
The “sculpture has not only stood the test of time but has lived on to become the “genesis” piece of the Goldwell Open Air Museum,” according to the museum’s website.
Cline told Insider that he had previously visited the museum and knew it would be a great topic for a TikTok video.
“I’m always on the lookout for interesting or weird things,” he told Insider. “But in this case, I knew of the museum from in person, so I went to Google Earth to see if there was a street view or photo of it and sure enough there it was!”
The museum is free and it’s an easy stop for travelers heading to California’s Death Valley. At the time of writing, the museum is closed due to COVID-19, according to its website.