We've reported on a fair share of strange, spooky, and odd finds in satellite images and elsewhere. So when a TikTok video featured multiple Billy the Puppet figurines from the "Saw" movie franchise and were all purportedly found on Google Maps Street View, we decided to take a closer look.
The video was viewed nearly 5 million times in its first 24 hours. It was published by the @googlemapsfun TikTok channel on May 4, 2021.
In total, 10 of the "Saw" tricycles with Billy the Puppet were visible in the first 360-degree picture on Google Maps. As the camera moved into a gated area, it was shut.
The last few photographs showed a descent down some stairs, passing a hooded figure.
Clowns were visible in the final picture, as were more iterations of Billy the Puppet.
Google Maps and Google Earth were both tagged in the video, as both share the same maps, satellite images, Street View pictures, and user-submitted photographs.
Despite the scary music and the strange situation, the video simply showed nothing more than a bit of clever marketing for the iLocked escape room company in St. Petersburg, Russia.
For readers unfamiliar with escape rooms, the activity offers groups of people the opportunity to safely solve often complicated puzzles within one or more locked rooms. Participants are encouraged to look for clues and to try to solve the puzzles as quickly as possible.
As for the escape room marketing pictures in the TikTok video, readers can look at the photos for themselves. The coordinates for Google Maps are: 59.921104,30.3506614. They were posted to an Instagram page by the same person who manages the TikTok channel, which signaled that posting the video was all in good fun.
The pictures were not captured by a Google Maps Street View car. Instead, the user-submitted photographs were shot by Nikita M. for the iLocked escape room company.
The most popular video on its YouTube channel showed a "Saw"-themed escape room scenario.
On May 1, 2021, the company posted to the VK social media website that the government was forbidding the company from conducting business due to "lawlessness" by other locations that operated under the iLocked brand.
The post provided details about a purported injury sustained by a boy during a quest themed on "The Hobbit." It did not appear to have anything to do with "Saw."
According to the post, the cited injury wasn't reported until 10 days after he participated in the escape room.
It's unclear when the escape room might reopen in the future.