Atlantis & Beyond: 8 Legendary & Mythical Movie Settings Which People Believed Were Real

by Karina Thyra 2 years ago in feature

Below are 8 mythical places; some of them might have been based on real places, but it's hard to distinguish where fiction ended and reality began.

Atlantis & Beyond: 8 Legendary & Mythical Movie Settings Which People Believed Were Real

The Earth as we know it is almost 5 billion years old. It has been through a lot of changes, and has evolved just as much as we have. Our planet has witnessed countless births, blood and gore, and even two devastating world wars in known history. Something so old, naturally, has many secrets; some myths regarding the ancient places on Earth has been around since time immemorial, and though they've lived on through legends, we've never seen traces of their physical existence.

Below are 8 such mythical places; some of them might have been based on real places, but with the urban legends surrounding them, it's hard to distinguish where fiction ended and reality began.

  • Location: Ancient Canaan
  • Inhabitants: Humans (very sinful humans)
  • Featured In: The Last Days of Sodom and Gomorrah (1962)

The tale of Sodom and Gomorrah — a pair of sinful cities which incurred the wrath of God — has been widely used as a precautionary tale to condemn vices and sinful lifestyles. The obliteration of the cities may be true and grounded in reality, which makes it all the more tragic.

If the cities actually existed, it's plausible that a natural disaster obliterated them; a low-angle asteroid, in particular. The theory is that this meteor hit the Alps causing a landslide, and the plumes were enough to set anything in its vicinity ablaze.

7. Atlantis

Atlantis in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island/ Warner Bros.

  • Location: In or Near the Mediterranean Sea; Atlantic Ocean
  • Inhabitants: Alleged to be Merfolk
  • Featured In: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012), Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001), Aquaman (2017)

The tale of the lost city of Atlantis has been around since time immemorial — although, it was Plato who popularized the tale. The story was passed down through generations before it reached Plato, and may have been based on true events. A highly advanced Minoan civilization lived in Santorini island in Greece but disappeared suddenly after a volcanic eruption. Just like what we saw in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Atlantis was once a great city and rises only if the water level is low enough, and no, there aren't any merfolk. Still, my favorite story is one of the many legends that says Atlantis is beneath us and the survivors and their descendants have evolved to have fish-like qualities in order to adapt to their new home.

6. Bermuda Triangle

Bermuda Triangle/ Percy Jackson/ 20th Century Fox

  • Location: The three vertices in Miami, Florida peninsula, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the mid-Atlantic island of Bermuda.
  • Inhabitants: Sea creatures/monsters/ extra-terrestrials
  • Featured In: Gulliver's Travels (2010), Spy Kids: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002), Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)

The Bermuda Triangle, which as we saw in Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, is home to various sea creatures which also includes the ferocious legendary monster, the Charybdis. This area has long been notorious for seemingly 'swallowing' aircraft and ships when they pass this dangerous area in the sea. As much as that's scary to think of because we have only explored less than 5% of the ocean, the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle has long been solved. Ship traffic, crashing to coral reefs, and shallow waters are some of the many reasons why Bermuda is the shipwreck capital of the world.

  • Location: Somewhere in Great Britain
  • Inhabitants: Humans
  • Featured In: Camelot (1967), Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), King Arthur (2004)
Camelot is the legendary setting of the tales of King Arthur. It was first mentioned in passing in Chrétien de Troyes's poem Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart. Camelot is said to be the place where King Arthur and Guinevere were married, and also where he gathered his knights at the round table. Unlike other places in this list with supernatural attributes and therefore, inhabitants, we can safely assume that Camelot is populated by humans.

  • Location: Alleged to be in Mato Grosso region, Brazil
  • Inhabitants: Humans
  • Featured In: The Lost City of Z (2016)

Colonel Percy Fawcett, a British surveyor, made an attempt to locate the City of Z, probably inspired by a document known as Manuscript 512. The document was believed to be written by a Portuguese bandeirante João da Silva Guimarães, who said he had visited the place in 1753. Guimarães described the city in great detail, but he did not provide a specific location. One of the possible legends that may have influenced Fawcett's ill-fated attempt to locate the City of Z was that of Kuhikugu. The place did exist, and is said to have contained 20 towns and villages where nearly 50,000 people once lived.

The Lost City of Z, a book written by David Grann, has been adapted to film starring Charlie Hunnam as Col. Percival Fawcett and Tom Holland as his son Jack. The movie will have its initial release on October 15, 2016.

3. Shambhala

Photo credit: Naughty Dog - Uncharted 2

  • Location: Tibet
  • Inhabitants: Advanced enlightened beings
  • Featured In: Shambhala (2012), Uncharted 2 (2009)

Shambhala is a mythical kingdom often confused with Shangri-la, a fictitious place based on Shambhala described by James Hilton in his 1933 novel Lost Horizon. The ancient mythical kingdom of Shambhala has significance in Buddhist and Hindu traditions. In Buddhism, it means 'pure land', and in Sanskrit it means 'place of peace'. It is said that only those of pure heart can get to live there, and will never get sick, age, or die. Many say that it is a physical place located in either Siberia, the Himalayas, or an abandoned monastery in Tibet. Since Shambhala is prominent in ancient religious texts, it is likely that this realm is close to what we westerners call 'heaven' or 'paradise'.

2. Agartha

Photo Credit: Media Factory- The Children Who Chase Lost Voices

  • Location: Center of the Earth
  • Inhabitants: Advanced race of beings
  • Featured In: Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011)

Agartha is said to be a city found within the Earth's core; in some texts it is said that Shambala is a part of it. Nevertheless, like Shambala, the inhabitants in Agartha are advanced, intelligent, and 'extremely long-lived' beings that are said to predate even the homo-sapiens by over a million years. There are a lot of alleged real-world entrances to Agartha found throughout the world, here are 5 of them:

  • Kentucky Mammoth Cave, in south-central Kentucky, US.
  • Morona-Santiago in Ecuador, discovered by Juan Moricz.
  • Mato Grosso, Brazil - City of Posid
  • Himalayan Mountains, Tibet - the entrance to the underground city of Shonshe is allegedly guarded by Hindu monks
  • Rama, India - beneath this surface city is a long lost subterranean city, they say, also named Rama

Though the place sounds like a lot of mumbo-jumbo, ancient beliefs held by Buddhists, Native Americans, Indians, and Tibetans alike all theorized about the city of advanced races living beneath us. Legend has it, they'll come back to retrieve this upper physical world in due time.

1. Biringan

Image: Dulfo Pi Dulfo via YouTube

Location: Somewhere between Sta. Margarita and Gandara in Northern Samar

Inhabitants: Ethereal beings; humans who don't have philtrums

Featured In: No major movies — yet!

To a sophisticated mind, Biringan and the tall tales surrounding it are just silly fairytales made up to scare people who dare to do anything that could harm nature in any way. Supposedly, if you're cruel to nature, you'll be trapped and tortured in the lost city of Biringan forever. Biringan is an invisible city, but unsuspecting travelers may stumble upon it at night. A person can be lured or invited to go here as well. The place is supposedly somewhere between Sta. Margarita and Gandara in Northern Samar. In some cases, people who claim to have been there appear to have been possessed by demons.

The place is said to be comparable to the most modern city in the world — this is why people who have supposedly been there never wished to come back to their homes. According to the older population in Samar, Biringan is advanced in medicine and technology; hence, those who are lucky to come back to our world supposedly had advanced knowledge of healing.

When the inhabitants of Biringan visit Samar, they are said to be looking for fortunate individuals who will dwell among them in prosperity. Residents of Biringan are said to have no philtrum (that groove in your upper lip), as it is said that these ethereal beings do not possess a single wrinkle in their bodies, not even on their lips.

Although Biringan hasn't been the setting for a major movie yet, this mysterious city and its technologically & medically advanced residents are crying out for the big screen treatment. Hollywood: take note!

Some of the places in this list may have once been real places but have become so wildly exaggerated through the millennia that it's difficult to distinguish the fact from the fiction; it is after all, more intriguing to put a spin to stories to make them more appealing to the human mind. If there is anything we learn from legends though, they have a basis in reality. Who knows what we might discover through the years?

Karina Thyra
Karina Thyra
Read next: Best Customizable Games
Karina Thyra

Fangirl of sorts.

Twitter: @karinathyra 

See all posts by Karina Thyra