Hoaxes & Rumors

Debunked: 1959 German Water Tower Incident

Debunked: 1959 German Water Tower Incident

An image allegedly shows a “water tower” which – after being approached by an Air Force squad – began to hum and ran off.

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It’s not true.

Let’s first take a look at the story and photo which have circulated online together for over a year.

On maneuvers in Simbach, Germany in 1959, USAF Lt Ron Day and his squad encountered an apparent water tower; a massive structure so tall its main body was obscured by mist and low clouds. They judged it was 300 ft tall on 4 seamless 10 ft wide stilt-like legs. Suddenly they felt a ‘vibrating hum’ and the legs moved with ‘a weird, fluid bendiness,’ striding away at an astonishing rate, & vanishing in the mist.”What you don’t know can hurt you-1860-1998″

The Photo

The image above is an altered version of a photo manipulation created by artist Dmitry Maksimov, known also as “tebe_interesno,” a Russian artist from Moscow. The full image was discussed in a January 30, 2009 article at Toxel.com, which links to the artist’s LiveJournal page. The original image can be found there, dated March 26, 2008.


Readers have suggested that the image above is meant to depict a character from the video game series Half Life.

The Story

A tale which has circulated with the photo since early 2014 tells of an Air Force unit which approached a water tower in Germany in 1959. The “tower” suddenly began to hum and walked away, implying that it was some sort of alien being or machine which had been disguised as a water tower.

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There seems to be, however, no mention of this story in any literature we could find, even among UFO accounts. It would appear that this back story was created to accompany the black and white cropped version of Maksimov’s artwork.

To date, the only place we have found this story is on Pinterest when accompanying the image above.

Bottom Line

The 1959 German water tower incident never happened. The story seems to have first appeared on Pinterest around 2014 as a fake back-story to a work of art published in 2008 by Russian artist Dmitry Maksimov.

Updated December 7, 2015
Originally published May 2015

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