Phantom Settlements

An explanation of phantom settlements

Phantom Settlements
Photo by Tabea Schimpf / Unsplash

(First referenced by Eleanor Peck in Saltmarsh 3)

From Wikipedia:

Phantom settlements, or paper towns, are settlements that appear on maps but do not actually exist. They are either accidents or copyright traps. Notable examples include Argleton in Lancashire, UK and Beatosu and Goblu, US.[1]

Agloe, New York, was invented on a 1930s map as a copyright trap. In 1950, a general store was built there and named Agloe General Store, as that was the name seen on the map. Thus, the phantom settlement became a real one.[2]

There are also misnamed settlements, such as the villages of Mawdesky and Dummy 1325 in Lancashire on Google Maps.[3]

There is a humorous conspiracy theory that the German city of Bielefeld is a phantom settlement, despite its population of over 300,000.[4]

Paper towns can also be abandoned settlement construction sites that are no longer being built because of the owner's shortage of money.[citation needed]

Phantom settlements often result from copyright traps, also known as mountweazels, which is when a false entry is placed in literature to catch illegal copiers.[5]