Phantom Tent City on Roof

According to a rumor that circulates among the population of South Carolina's Hilton Head Island, there's a group of Mexican immigrants living on top of one of the local supermarkets. It may be the Bi-Lo Supermarket, or the Port Royal Plaza, or the Harris Teeter. Supposedly this tent city of roof-living immigrants tapped into the store's electricity and even diverted the air conditioning system to cool their tents.

The Island Packet News is pretty sure that the story of the rooftop tent city is just an urban legend:
by all official accounts -- and satellite imagery available through Google Maps -- there's never been a sign of anyone squatting on a grocery store roof on Hilton Head. The Sheriff's Office says it has never had any evidence of people living on the roof of the store, and Bi-Lo officials say the story is just an urban legend, though a particularly potent one. Company officials would not agree to let a photographer on the roof of the store, but a Packet reporter who was able to get near the roof also saw no signs of habitation.

This urban legend is new to me, though I'd be surprised if other towns don't have similar rumors. I'll have to do some research into this.

My wife and I often think we hear things moving about on our roof. We assume it's possums, rats, or crows. They can make a lot of noise. I assume a belief that an entire tent city of immigrants is living on a roof must stem from similar causes.

(Thanks, Joe)

Places Urban Legends

Posted on Thu Jan 03, 2008


As if these oh-so-curious photographers couldn't take a helicopter ride over the store...
Posted by coit  on  Fri Jan 04, 2008  at  09:52 AM
Another "oh, those HORRIBLE illegal immigrants!" kind of thing. Farfetched, but strangely the kind of thing people who want to believe it, believe it.
Posted by Some One  in  Michigan  on  Fri Jan 04, 2008  at  09:56 AM
They aren't Mexicans, they're Martians. We sent a series of probes to Mars, they sent a research team to us.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Fri Jan 04, 2008  at  07:42 PM
A few months ago I remember seeing a store about a guy who had been living on the roof of a store here in houston. The store had some sort of stack on top that was hallow and he had managed to climb up there and tap into the stores power. He had a TV, Bed, fridge, etc. The police kept trying to catch him put head slip away every time.
Posted by Tim  in  houston, texas  on  Sun Jan 06, 2008  at  12:19 AM
Reminds me of the stories that come around every few winters about cities in WA & OR sending their homeless to Honolulu or when I lived in Boston, cities in NH, VT, & ME sending their homeless to the shelters in Boston...of course, none of the alleged transplants can be located but the average person on the street swears that it's true...
Posted by michael  in  Honolulu, HI  on  Sun Jan 06, 2008  at  05:21 PM
I've heard an equally bizarre story about a rather more famous store: Harrods. My sister, when she had a holiday job there many years ago, was told that there was a gang of people who lived in the store. That is, they hid at closing time, and then sneaked out and ate food from the Food Hall, slept in the beds department and so on. Somehow, they were never caught - but in the morning, the beds needed making, and there were crumbs in them.... I'm surprised the myth hasn't been revived with asylum seekers as the suspects.
Posted by Mr Henderson  in  London, UK  on  Mon Jan 07, 2008  at  01:00 PM
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