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People are finding chilling images of deceased loved ones on Google Maps years after they passed away

Google maps
(Image credit: Twitter)

Google Maps is a handy tool to have while on the go. Remember the days of printing out directions and maps found online? Those days weren't so long ago, but virtually everyone now is able to navigate unknown and unfamiliar locales thanks to the power of a simple app. You can even 'see' your destination thanks to Google Maps' Street View. 

This Google Maps tool isn't new, but it's making the news thanks to a strange discovery: multiple people have reported that they were able to see the faces of their deceased loved ones on Google Maps. 

The conversation started with Leslie Barraza, who told CNN that she was able to see her deceased grandfather sitting outside his farm in Durango, Mexico, while playing with the app. She posted a 13-second screen recording of Google Maps' Street View to prove it.  

She wasn't the only one. Another individual reportedly searched for her deceased grandmother's address and found an image of her sitting in her front yard. 

How does Google Maps' Street View work?

So how is this possible? No one is coming back from the dead here - these images were simply captured before the individuals' deaths. 

Google Maps' Street View is, in a nutshell, generated by a camera mounted on a Google Map Street View car, which travels down as many roads as possible to generate those images you see online. With so many roads in the United States and the rest of the world, Google can't necessarily access all of them, nor can the company update the images more often than ever few years or so. 

Creepy? Or a sentimental reminder?

The answer to whether the discovery is creepy or a sentimental reminder of a loved one depends on who you talk to. However, there appears to be a consensus that seeing deceased loved ones on Google Maps' Street View is certainly chilling, to say the least. Want to see if a loved (deceased or alive) appears on Street View? Search for their former home address or place of work to see if their familiar face appears. 

How to find someone missing in your life

While these discoveries happened by accident, if there's a loved one missing in your life, there are ways to potentially track them down and uncover more about them. You don't need to be a private investigator, and you don't even need to hire one. Start with one of the best people search services, and as long as you know a few basic details about the person you're looking for, you should be able to find a trace of them online. The best people search services pull information from digitized public records and put it in one place for ease of searching, then sort the information by individual. You can find information such as addresses, phone numbers, social media accounts, and more - and even if the person is deceased, this information can lead you down a path to knowing a little more about their life. 

Sophie is a born and bred New Yorker who, paradoxically, loves being in the great outdoors. Her favorite pastimes include running, baking, and writing. She also spends her time volunteering and leading volunteer projects with the Good+ Foundation and Achilles International when not providing information on the best deals, products, and services on the internet to TopTenReviews readers.