More “Moving” Countries and Changing Geography

World globeMany people remember islands, land masses, and countries in alternate locations. Some of those memories are startlingly similar.

I discussed this in two previous articles. The first was about Sri Lanka’s location, since that had attracted considerable comment.

The other article was about checking older maps, in case newer maps have been altered for political reasons. I showed the process I’d used to clarify Sri Lanka’s location, then and now.

However, specific countries and land masses seem to recur in our discussions. I’m moving those comments to this newer post, so they’re all in one location. (No pun intended.)

Many of the “altered” locations are around the Indian Ocean, but some are not.  New Zealand and land masses around Korea have been the most surprising (and consistent), so far.

So far, the major location discrepancies seem to relate to:

And then there are odd media references, such as the globe in the movie, Dazed and Confused. Are they pranks, Easter eggs, or the kinds of references that document a dramatically changing global landscape?

Courtesy of

Dazed and Confused globe scene. What's that land mass?
from “Dazed and Confused,” (c)1993 by Universal Studios / Gramercy Pictures / Alphaville.


What's that land mass west of Australia?
from “Dazed and Confused,” (c)1993 by Universal Studios / Gramercy Pictures / Alphaville.

Compare that with this satellite image:

Satellite map of Indian Ocean area

(Note: Some comments were originally at the Major Memories page, and moved here so they’re easier to follow.)

[UPDATE: Comments are now closed.]

354 thoughts on “More “Moving” Countries and Changing Geography”

  1. [Edited to focus on just one memory.]

    The other is a geographical shift that happened to me and two family members last year. We were driving up to Washington State from Arizona and took the I-5 all the way up. When we passed out of CA and into Oregon, we saw this incredibly steep hill that had three lanes on each side, 3 going down, 3 going up (slow lanes for semi trucks). This road had no switchbacks at all and looked like a giant concrete slide from a distance. We crawled up that thing in our car. Well, this past March of 2015, we were driving back through there in a large moving truck and I’d been dreading climbing that hill the whole time – it was steep enough that I remembered it and worried that our load would shift when we went up the second time. As it turned out, we did climb some hills that were steep after leaving Weed, CA and crossing into Oregon, but we never saw that steep ramp of a hill again. We talked about it being somehow “gone” all the way home. I’d heard of this kidn of thing happening to other people, but it was the first time it happened to me – and I have two other witnesses – my son and my husband.

    1. Jill K,

      I have driven that section of I-5 multiple times in the past (though it\\\’s been at least 10 years since the last time) and I know the hill you are talking about. Like you mentioned, there are lots of other hills but this was THE hill, and I remember it just as you described: straight, with multiple lanes to allow for the slow trucks to drive in the right lane. I drove my 30 year old beater car up that hill once and wasn\\\’t sure we\\\’d make it! I remember crawling up the hill in 3rd gear. It was summer and it was really hot, but I had to keep the heater blasted in the car to keep the engine from overheating. I remember if you\\\’re driving the other way (south) going down that hill, you can see mount Shasta.

      Looking at the map of that area, I don\\\’t remember I-5 turning east at Grants Pass Oregon the way it does before heading south again. Grants Pass itself looks too far north, and I remember I-5 basically continuing due south from Grants Pass (with hwy 199 branching off SW toward the California coast.) You had to drive through grants pass to get on 199, which I\\\’ve also driven multiple times). Does that area look different to you too? I\\\’m pretty familiar with the area, having moved between Oregon and California several times.

      1. FJ, I have driven I-5 from Seattle to San Diego and back quite a few times ( between 1989 and 1997) and I also briefly lived in Portland in 1991. After reading your post, I examined a map and found a few discrepancies from what I remember.
        I don’t recall the sharp bend at Grant’s pass – I remember I-5 going roughly straight from Grant’s Pass, OR to Yreka, CA. I don’t remember the specific location of Grant’s Pass, but I had wanted to visit Ashland, OR and I had thought about stopping by there on one of my trips. I looked at a map at the time and travelling to Ashland would have required a significant detour to the east off of I-5 (on 66 maybe), so I decided not to take the time. But now, I-5 goes straight through Ashland?!
        The last time I drove through Portland (summer of 2013), crossing over the Columbia River (the border between WA and OR) seemed very odd to me, but I never thought to look at a map at the time. Looking at a map now, the sharp bend the Columbia makes passing by Portland is completely new to me. In my memory, the Columbia ran roughly east/west, with only a slight bend. Portland and The Dalles were roughly the same latitude as Longview and Astoria (now Longview and Astoria are much farther north). Because of this, Highway 26 ran southwest from Portland (now it goes northwest).
        Also, in the past few years, I have thought of making a trip sightseeing along the Oregon Coast. Highway 101 travels along the coast. One of the places I wanted to see was the Tillamook Cheese Factory. The factory was not close to the coast, though – I would have had to take Highway 6 inland a distance. But looking now, it is located on Highway 101! Wow!

  2. Hello:

    After reading the comment about Columbia being spelt Colombia, I looked on Google and saw it was spelt Colombia, now. Today, (1/4/ 2016) I took a photo of an upside down map at the restaurant “Outback Steakhouse”. The map has Columbia spelt with an U.


  3. Fiona,
    I find it odd ( a pattern?) , that so many people are mentioning Columbia and Colombia in so many ways. The river above in Jasmine’s post and of course the country/word throughout the site. And we have talked about the Columbia space shuttle disaster also, strange, that word keeps showing up. Mike H.

    1. Mike H., thank you! This is one of many reasons why I’m so pleased that you’re part of this community: I hadn’t connected the Colombia/Columbia geography issue and the Columbia space shuttle memory. (How did I not think of that, myself?)

      Sure, it might be a coincidence, but what if it’s a marker… and people are supposed to forget it (or blur the memory) almost as soon as they see it? (Cue the Twilight Zone music! LOL)

      1. The connections go much deeper. Here’s just one for starters – the Columbia pictures logo was painted by the artist that did the Interview With A/the Vampire book cover art. For extra laughs he did an image for Chic Fil A for a calender.

    2. I was noticing that too Mike H.
      This might be nothing, but I posted on the new alternate memories page a few days ago, about a change in the St John’s bridge in Portland OR. The bridge is located on the peninsula that connects the Columbia and Willamette rivers (the bridge crosses the Wilamette). The bridges longsitude is, you guessed it, -122.76558920000002, which Mike H pointed out as a recurring coordinate on the geographic locations page.

  4. Fiona ,I’m happy to be part of the community! I had a thought and checked the “Dans letter” thread, to see if the Columbia / Colombia word might show up, nothing yet. But worth a try. We do have vowels again A,E,O and U. Now where is I?? Unless it means eye/ or I as in us. Mike H.

  5. Ecuador is now in South America bordering Peru and Colombia. I remember only Peru bordering Colombia to the south and Ecuador was situated either between Panama and Colombia or Panama and Costa Rica. I was acquainted with a girl from Ecuador my first year of College and remember seeing it on a map….that was 2002-2003, it remained that way until recently. I just noticed the change around the first of this month.,-82.9377068,4z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x9409341c355d34b5:0x69d40ccfc9c6e32b

  6. I’ve experienced another geographical shift. I just checked a world map, idly wondering if there have been any changes, and noticed, to my great surprise, that the continents seem to have shifted even closer together than the last time I checked, which was a couple months ago. Since when is Africa attached to Asia??? And since when can you basically walk from Morocco to Spain?? I recall Africa being close to Europe and Asia, but not that close! And certainly not connected to Asia. It seems like the continents are getting closer and closer together, or as if our world is shrinking. I wonder when it will stop? Are we heading back to Pangea? Or have we actually been moved to another planet that resembles Earth, but is actually smaller, and our “Matrix” is slowly being adjusted to show our new geography, slowly so there isn’t widespread panic?

    Here’s the satellite image I was looking at, among others:

    I don’t have links to the ones I referred to when I originally noticed the other geographic changes, but I was at the same location I am now. Latitude 43.770888 and longitude -79.291162

  7. Hello all, I’m 100% certain that either Russia has almost doubled in size or North America has decreased in size as  I was taught in geography class (1965 to 1979 and my best subject after science) that Canada was just slightly bigger than Russia (USSR was larger but it was made up of many countries). So… I was taught that CANADA and not Russia was the largest country in the world.  100% , NO DOUBT!
    In this reality however Russia is almost twice the size and I remember that it was only a very small percentage smaller, I’m trying to remember the exact numbers but at the moment it eludes me. I just checked out old images of world maps just to verify what I remembered and It looks like The Americas have been compressed horizontally (more on the West than the East) and Asia extended, also South America is farther out into the Atlantic and closer to Africa with the shift happening in Mexico and the Caribbean. I thought that a major slip happened sometime this morning (Jan. 7, 2016) as I had a weird disjointed feeling. I only found out about this sight within the last week and I have quite a few of the same memories as mentioned here, I’m 56 with an almost photographic memory so finding so many things that has changed is both exciting in my scientific mind and a little/a lot scary (alittle/alot in my memory). when I had the feeling this morning I thought that I would look for anomalies and found this huge geographic one. I only watch science and documentary programs and only this past week I watched a program on tectonic movements which showed the continents as I remembered them but going back and watching this same show today that it’s changed to whats on the web today. I want to go back to my reality thank you very much, the one with Skippy peanut butter.

    1. Sorry I meant to say Jiffy peanut butter, I’m just a little frazzled. I looked at the world maps again today and Greece was NEVER further south than Italy, I spoke to a very intelligent close friend of mine and quizzed him on some of the anomalies without leading the questions and half were the same as mine, I asked him where Greece was located and he said “to the right of Italy in the northern section” I then said “its not to the south? Are you sure?” and he responded “no way” and was incredulous when I told him otherwise. This individual was a VP with one of the largest banks in the world and reads three to four books a week so his knowledge of the world holds a lot of weight with me and I’m of Italian immigrants so Italy on the maps was always scrutinized carefully, as was what’s around it. I told my friend about the places that I thought were wrong and he is going to check it out and I’ll let you know what his response is. One other wierd thing, yesterday Japan looked to be too far north and today on the exact same map it’s back to where I remember it to be.

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