A mysterious image will appear when you search Google Maps for Kazakhstan and move into a far corner of the map: a 5-pointed star within a circle, which looks suspiciously like a pentagram.
Since it was discovered by a Google user, there have been several guesses online as to what it means and why it was put there, and most of them have something to do with devil worship. Because the area is isolated–the closest city is Lisakovsk, which is about 12 miles away–and is also the site of some ancient ruins from the Bronze Age, many believe it to be the perfect spot for a symbol associated with ancient, devilish rites.
But an archaeologist says she thinks she knows what created the shape, and it has nothing to do with the Lord of Darkness.
“It is the outline of a park made in the form of a star,” said Emma Usmanova. According to Usmanova, the star–which was a popular symbol during the Soviet era–is made up of roadways which are lined with trees, which make the shape show up all the better in aerial photos.
But some think the area is an abandoned military site, and has nothing to do with either a park or an area of worship.
“It’s probably an abandoned surface to air missile site,” said Kurt Yates, a Live Science poster. “I was a military pilot and these things are all over the place in areas that use(d) Russian (Soviet) air defense systems. The shape has something to do with how their tracking radars work. Considering the size of it and the proximity to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, I’d say it possibly was used for tracking Soyuz rockets or some such.”
This isn’t the first time an odd shape in the landscape has emerged in aerial photographs; recently, it was brought to light that a landscaper in Germany found photos showing groups of trees planted in the shape of swastikas.