Two viral images purportedly showed luminous beams of the moon penetrating clouds and producing a rare visual phenomenon by V Boltik, mysterious light beams overnight above the ocean or a view in Hatillo, Puerto Rico, showing rays from the sun crossing the clouds vertically and creating the illusion of huge buildings.
Outer Banks Vibes/Facebook

On June 30, 2024, Facebook displayed in my personal feed a post showing quite the amazing image. A user named Khan Rashid posted the image on June 27 in the Wonderful Pictures group. Rashid’s caption read, “This happened in Hatillo, Puerto Rico. The sun’s rays crossed the clouds vertically, creating the illusion of huge buildings.”

The image appeared to show beautiful vertical light from the moon shining down through the clouds onto the ocean and near a beach.

Two viral images purportedly showed luminous beams of the moon penetrating clouds and producing a rare visual phenomenon by V Boltik, mysterious light beams overnight above the ocean or a view in Hatillo, Puerto Rico, showing rays from the sun crossing the clouds vertically and creating the illusion of huge buildings.

In my research, I also located a second, very similar image showing a view facing the opposite direction on a beach.

Two viral images purportedly showed luminous beams of the moon penetrating clouds and producing a rare visual phenomenon by V Boltik, mysterious light beams overnight above the ocean or a view in Hatillo, Puerto Rico, showing rays from the sun crossing the clouds vertically and creating the illusion of huge buildings.

Users commonly posted one of three captions with these two images. For example, other than the Puerto Rico caption, a second caption read, “The luminous beams of the moon penetrate the clouds, producing a rare visual phenomenon. V. Boltik.” V. Boltik apparently referenced the name of a user. The third caption displayed, “Mysterious light beams overnight ocean.”

The First Image

To find reposts of the images, I first performed reverse image searches with both Google Images and TinEye.com. Unfortunately, TinEye.com displayed no results. TinEye.com is handy for old internet content but doesn’t do so well with locating reposts of newer images. Thankfully, Google Images located numerous results eventually leading me to the apparent source of both images.

On June 26, the RPG Lovers Facebook page posted one of the images with the caption, “This happened in Hatillo, Puerto Rico, the sun’s rays crossed the clouds vertically, creating the illusion of huge buildings.”

One day earlier, on June 25, the El Terror Te Observa Facebook page and @LuisADomDaly X user both posted the same image and caption.

On June 17, a Facebook page named I Bed You’ve Never Seen This Before posted the image with the caption, “Mysterious light beams overnight ocean.” The caption included nothing about Puerto Rico. Hours earlier, a user named LEUCOPHAEUSOLITARIA posted the image on DeviantArt.com, only writing, “Fascinating!”

On June 14, users posted the image on Threads, X and a blog hosting articles written by AI. One of the posts on X read, “Mysterious light beams overnight ocean. Credit: Outer Banks Vibes.” That post helped me find the apparent source.

On June 13, the Outer Banks Vibes Facebook page (@alexlexobx1) posted the image with the caption, “Mysterious Light Beams Overnight Ocean.” The post displayed over 76,000 reactions, 2,600 comments and 19,000 shares.

According to OuterBanks.org, Outer Banks is “a chain a barrier islands located off the coast of North Carolina in Dare County with over 100 miles of shoreline.”

Users Discuss First Image

Users commenting under the Outer Banks Vibes post seemed split regarding if the image was real. Some users mentioned God and moonbeams. Others claimed someone faked the image with Adobe Photoshop or AI.

For starters, one user linked to a Wikipedia page about light pillars.

In one of the more interesting comments, a user said, without providing evidence, “It’s a time-lapsed map of moonbeams. It’s multiple pictures taken over a period of time and they’re stitched together to make this. Moonbeams occur after storm clouds separate during a full moon. The excess condensation in the air creates the equivalent of a rainbow and the moonlight looks like it’s traveling down.”

No one in the comments supplied evidence confirming the definitive origins of the image.

The Second Image

As for the second image referenced at the beginning of this story, let’s backtrack a few days so we can also review these posts in reverse chronological order.

On June 24, Facebook user David Bisetto posted the second image with the caption, “V. Boltik. Outer Banks. North Carolina. U.S.” As I continued my research into past dates, the user named V. Boltik appeared to be the source of at least one of the images.

On June 20, the @ShiningScience X user posted the second image with the caption, “The luminous beams of the moon penetrate the clouds, producing a rare visual phenomenon. V. Boltik.” This post was likely the most popular one displaying the image on X. The post displayed it racked up over 465,600 views, 143 replies, 3,700 reposts and 20,000 likes.

Earlier on the same day, the David Attenborough Fans Facebook page posted the same image and caption later shared by @ShiningScience on X.

On June 16, the Cloud Formations Facebook page posted the image with the caption, “It’s getting harder to tell what’s AI and what is truly good photography. I like this picture and hopefully it’s not AI. The luminous beams of the moon penetrate the clouds, producing a rare visual phenomenon by V. Boltik.”

On June 14, the Outer Banks Vibes posted the second image with the caption, “The luminous beams of the moon penetrate the clouds, producing a rare visual phenomenon, by V. Boltik.” The post displayed over 31,000 reactions, 487 comments and 6,400 shares. It’s unclear V. Boltik also created the first image.

Users Discuss Second Image

In the comments under the second image, one user wrote, “WOW! A waterfall of moonlight! Spectacular!” Another user also posited, without providing evidence, “The effect is not at all uncommon but it is hugely and unnaturally exaggerated in this picture.”

A different comment referenced the fact users write text prompts asking AI to create content. That comment read, “‘The luminous beams of the moon penetrate the clouds, producing a rare visual phenomenon.’ Sounds like a good prompt.”

Other commenters also expressed skepticism. One user wrote, “Those light beams look superimposed on the image. And the highlights in the clouds make no sense.” A different commenter said, “I’m doubtful of this.” Another person submitted, “Too good to be true.”

Like the comments under the first image, no users appeared to provide evidence regarding the origins of the second image.

Other Images from V. Boltik

My searches for someone named V. Boltik produced no further information that might lead me to contact a user with the same name. Vitaliy Boltik might be the person’s name but I could not confirm that detail. What I did find in my search were several other images also credited to the same user also appearing to be either generated by AI or heavily enhanced with Adobe Photoshop.

On Jan. 14, a user posted an image with the caption, “Magnificent photo by V. Boltik.”

A different user posted another image on May 11 with the caption, “Northern Lights. NC. 05/10/24. Photo Credits: V. Boltik.”

Then, on June 21, a user posted, “(Photo by V. Boltik) has no name, I call it ‘Tears of Selene.'”

At this stage in my research, I believed the images might be a mix of real photography combined with some extra work performed in Adobe Photoshop. A user also may have used AI tools to create some of these images. It’s unclear exactly how the one or more persons who originated these images created them. I highly doubt they’re raw, untouched photographs. However, I would like to find more data before coming to a firm conclusion.

I contacted the Outer Banks Vibes Facebook page via Messenger to ask about the purported V. Boltik user. I will update this story if I receive a response. Further, it’s possible these images all originated in the private Facebook group OBX Live. I’m still looking into the matter.

For more reading about interesting lights in the sky, I recommend, “Examining the ‘Chris Bledsoe Says This Is Footage of a Real UFO’ TikTok Video.”

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