The incredible surrealist optical illusion of a Manchester’s floor

At first glance it may seem that the floor of this corridor came from an illustration of Alice in Wonderland or from a painting by some illusionist artist, but it is only an optical illusion. The floor is actually perfectly level, composed so as to create the illusion that one risks falling from on the one hand. The corridor, made up of 400 porcelain tiles, is located in the showroom of a company called “Casa Ceramica” in Manchester, England. Built at the entrance of the company hall, the floor illudes…

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Erzsébet Báthory: the Countess which was taking a bath in the blood of young virgins

The Hungarian Countess Erzsébet Báthory was beautiful, wealthy and mighty: she had everything every woman could dream in the 16th century. But despite this, her needs were always new and urgent, including one, among the many, more strange (and creepy) than others: the desire for blood. Before going into what was her violent nature (so much to make Mary Tudor pale, called “the Bloody Mary”, but this is another story), it is necessary to clarify her story and its context. Erzsébet was born in Nyírbátor, in the north-eastern part of…

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Morteruelo: the Spanish pâté which inspired someone write a poem about it.

Here we are: We are in a little municipality located in the bare landscape of Cuenca, Spain, where, every year, people gather to answer a very important question: who makes the most delicious morteruelo in the world? There are differet varieties of morteruelo, but in its most basic form, is a pâté, sometimes called pâté de fois gras Manchego, consisting of pork liver, spices, and a variety of meats ranging from rabbit to partridge to quail. The name come from the tool most usual for making it: in fact, chefs…

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Gorica Bridge in Berat, Albania, and its curious legends.

We are in Berat, a city located in central Albania with an ancient history: it is considered the cradle of a multiculturality among the most unique in the nation. The city develops on the two banks of the river Osum, and is famous for some place of interests, like the Ottoman white houses, the city’s castle, where many people live still today, and the many mosques opposed to as the Byzantine churches. Just the peaceful division between Muslims and Orthodox Christians has created a curious legend, handed down orally, which…

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Victorian ‘Post-Mortem’ Photographs: truth or myth?

There are lot of stories about dead people being propped up on stands to seem alive and photographed. But the reality was different…. As we know, victorian England had a particular relationship with death. Do you remember the funeral for pets? Because Victorians often died young, quickly, especially for injuries and infections, people invented elaborate grieving rituals to give meaning to their loved ones’ ephemeral lives. All of this happening at the same time with advances in photography, that led to the prevalence of post-mortem photos, where Victorians would take…

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Dr. Gloom’s Crypt of Curiosities in Baltimore, Maryland ~

Baltimore always been a little strange, but this creepy museum might push it over the limit. Baltimore, especially at night, is certainly interesting, with its legends (stay tuned!), but probably you’re bored of the classic tourist destinations….so, why not visit Dr. Gloom’s Crypt of Curiosities? It’s located in the back room of Protean Books & Records, and the collection is a tour through peculiar artifacts from all over the world, like ghastly recreations of cryptids, characters from folklore, Fiji mermaids and mummified remains. The original Crypt of Curiosities was first…

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Oak of the Witches: between fairy-tale and mistery.

This enchanting 600-year-old tree is so magical it inspired the very famous story of Pinocchio. It has stupefying dimensions: 24 metres tall, with a circumference of 4.5 metres, and the foliage has a diameter of 40 metres. We are in a Tuscan forest, where live an enchanting oak tree, with thick, mossy branches that stretch horizontally and giving it a strangely squashed appearance. The old tree has many names, and, of course, its fair share of legends and traditions. According to one local legend, witches once gathered around the 600-year-old…

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Roccascalegna: history and legends from the medieval castle in the heart of Abruzzo.

Roccascalegna is a small town situated at 455 meters above sea level, in a valley right of the Rio Secco, a tributary of the Aventino river, in the inner mountains of the province of Chieti, midway between the mountains and the sea; its 1400 inhabitants are called roccolani. In all likelihood, the founders of Roccascalegna were the Longobards who, since 600 AD, permanently occupied the actual Molise and southern Abruzzo, after having descended from northern Italy. Consequence of this was the alignment of the Byzantine garrisons on the shores of…

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Inside the Hoia Baciu forest, one of the most haunted place of the world.

Perhaps Dracula’s stories were not enough to make Transylvania a place full of mysteries and a perfect theater for horror and ghost stories. There is another spectral landmark in the homeland of the vampire prince: this is Hoia Baciu, just outside Cluj-Napoca, Romania’s second city of Transylvania. It has been called the creepiest forest in the world, due to the numerous apparitions and disappearances that take place there. It defies the investigations of soil scientists and attracts Romanian witches, sword-wielding Americans, and people who try to clean the forest from…

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The true (and dramatic) history of Pocahontas: the first American Native died in England.

Pocahontas, the Native American princess, is known by most as the sweet young redskin who fell in love with Englishman John Smith during the initial period of British colonization. In 1995, Disney produced a beautiful animated film, which tells the encounter and alleged lovestory between John Smith and Pocahontas. Although Disney movies are notoriously fantastical tales, many people have believed that, in this movie, true events were told, even if somewhat fictional. However, this representation is very distant from historical events, and from the girl’s real life. It seems that…

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Why British Royal Navy Sailors Preferred Their Booze on Fire?

If today a flaming alcoholic drink is either the work of a skilled barman or a terrible mistake, just two centuries ago this ritual was commonplace among members of the British Royal Navy. Setting fire to rum helped sailors regulate their spirits, and perhaps, find a little sense of control amidst an otherwise chaotic life at sea. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the life aboard any Royal Navy ship signified brutal battles, unavoidable disease, and, to survive to it all, an inordinate amount of alcohol. To keep the seamen…

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Centralia Ghost Town Church: stronger than the fire ~

A mine fire has been burning under the deserted town since 1962, but this church is still standing! Over 50 years ago, a mine fire started below the small town of Centralia, in Pennsylvania. Some people says, that it was caused by a pile of rubbish that has turned on the coals in the pit, but no one knows the truth. Some attempts were made to put out the fire, with about $7 million spent, but at the end efforts were interrupted. In the 1980s, the underground blaze had spread…

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Uravan, Colorado: a buried uranium mining town ~

The story of this Old Mining Town: From the A Bomb to abandonment – the whole town was torn apart and buried in order to prevent an environmental hazard. Only a simple caution sign remains of this old mining town, that warning all those who dare to venture close enough of the dangerous radiation levels beyond the barbed wire, and a story about an event which had change the world. On this remote site in Montrose County, Colorado, was once a company town of U.S.Vanadium, that had only one objective:…

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San Colombano hermitage: it’s carved into a cliff in northern Italy, and it is named after the saint who killed a dragon.

We are lost in the Leno Valley, of Trento Province in northern Italy, near to the San Colombano lake, where the solitude is taken to another level and isolation literally to new heights! It is somewhat expected for a hermitage to be hard to reach, and San Colombano is partly a natural cave, and partly excavated into the rock-face and it’s located over 120 meters above the ground right in the middle of the valley’s vertical cliff face. It’s been there since the 8th century and climbing is the only way…

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How the cat Simon earned a military medal.

For centuries, a close relationship of mutual esteem and affection has linked a category of rough men and accustomed to every danger, the sailors, to a small pet that today tends to associate with photographs on social networks and quiet family life, the cat. Cats are intelligent predators with a strong natural instinct for hunting and eliminating rodents. Because of this, they have been used on numerous ships across the world as killers of rats, mice, and various other disease-ridden animals. The rats climb on board using the peaks that…

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Vietnam, at the koi cafe you drink with the carps between your feet….

…and the water covers the entire surface of the floor! This is not science-fiction. The Koi bars are a typical tourist attraction in Vietnam, and its peculiarity is that you are surrounded by a pond full of koi carp. The fishes, with their characteristic reddish color, are always around the tables of customers who often give them a few crumbs of food. Mr. Nguyen Duoc Hoa, the owner of a restaurant located in the district of Tan Binh, had to renovate the dining area, and decided to cover the floor…

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The Codex Gigas: the Devil’s Bible.

The Middle Ages is certainly not an era devoid of mysteries and strange symbolism, but the Codex Gigas is a real puzzle for the experts of ancient writings. The book is the largest medieval manuscript, with a height of 92 centimeters, a width of 50 and a weight of 75 kilograms. Initially, the pages were 320, but 8 of these were lost, fueling a mystery that has lasted for almost a thousand years. Literally meaning “giant book”, the Codex Gigas was created in the 13th century. The manuscript contains not…

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The incredible story of Titanic Orphans.

It was the night of April 14, 1912, and RMS Titanic, the Ship of Dreams, was sinking. As we all know, nobody was spared from the terrible experience of dread on board, everybody, men, women, and children. Michel Marcel Navratil was almost four-years-old at the time, and his brother Edmond Roger Navratil was two-years-old. They survived the disaster only because there was a place for them on Collapsible D, the ninth and final life-saving vessel that was lowered from the Titanic’s side. The two brothers were placed in the boat…

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Basilica of Saint Bernardino da Siena: the Saint is guarded here.

This church was built, with the adjacent cloister, between 1454 and 1472 in honor of St Bernardino of Siena…. In the year 1400, a twenty-year-old man came to the door of the largest hospital in Siena, while a terrible plague was raging through the city. Every day died at least 20 people, and many of them were those who were needed to tend the ill. The young man had come only because he wanted to help the others, and for four months Bernardine and his companions worked day and night…

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The Danse Macabre of Hrastovlje: a very rare Medieval Fresco hidden until 1949

The Church of the Holy Trinity of Hrastovlje, Slovenia, is decorated in its interior with a rare example of a “macabre dance” almost completely intact, dating back to the last years of the Middle Ages, in 1490. The hypotheses about the building’s origins are two. According to the first, it is a Romanesque church from the 12th century, while the second sees the church as an Istrian variant of the architecture of the early 15th century Venetian Renaissance. The church is located within a series of defensive walls built by…

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Octavius, the ghost ship and its frozen captain with a pen in hand.

The world is filled with a cornucopia of stories, misteries and legends, and when we read or listen these, we travel on a different dimensions. These stories, are food for thought for all those who love a good mystery, and the story about the Octavius ship is quite intriguing. In maritime tradiction there are a lof of stories of ghost ships, of ships that sail the world’s oceans with a ghostly crew and destined never to make port. This is a story that involves a mysterious disappearance and a Captain,…

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Ever take an ice cream bean for dessert?

Money may not grow on trees, but ice cream beans yes! Discovered in Central and South America, ice cream beans are legumes that when split open, produce lima-bean sized seeds wrapped in a fluffy covering that looks like cotton candy and its flavor is similar to vanilla ice cream. In tropical swaths of Central and South America, you can find candy bars long about 30 centimeters, dropping from tree branches. Produced by Inga trees, ice cream beans are actually legumes, and like many seeds, they appeal to our sweet tooth…

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The Nuba Survival

In an isolated field near a dilapidated barn stands this chilling portrayal of the situation of the Nuba peoples of Sudan. This disturbing sculpture is made all the more powerful by its odd location. In fact, its frame is an half-collapsed barn, surrounded by a remote field in the village of Checkendon in south Oxfordshire. There are no signs leading to the striking sculpture, or plaques explaining its meaning. The sculpture it’s in a very peculiar place, and the falling down barn is particular, as well with it’s multitude of…

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A new lava island was born to Hawaii, but only for a few days.

Hawaii’s ongoing eruption created new land, but only for a few days… Last week, a small new island was born. Yes, a real island, surrounded by water and smaller than a continent, and emerged just a few meters off the coast of Hawaii’s Big Island, formed by the lava that’s been flowing from Kīlauea since May. All beautiful, but a few days later, the small island had already transformed, and on Monday, July 16, it had become an isthmus. The island formed near the northern end of the area where…

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Spanish Fortress: the castle of L’Aquila

The Spanish Fortress of L’Aquila know as “il Castello” by the Aquilans, is one of the most impressive Renaissance castle in Central/Southern Italy and was built in the 16th century, when the city had become the second most powerful city in the Kingdom after Naples. In 1528, to punish the citizens for their rebellion, Viceroy Filiberto of Orange ordered to build a fortress in the highest spot North of the city, according to the project of a renowded Spanish architect, Don Pirro Aloisio Escriva, also a great expert of firearms.…

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Pylsur: Icelanders make a very, very good hot-dog!

Here we are: Compared to more intimidating Icelandic specialties, for example sour rams’ testicles or fermented shark, the three-meat Icelandic hot dog, named pylsur, is a more appetizing national dish, and it’s also said to be absolutely delicious. This hotdog features a variety of meats (lamb, pork, and beef), two kinds of onions (crispy-fried and raw) and a selection of condiments, including ketchup sweetened with apples and special sauce known as remolaði. The latter sauce is the Icelandic version to France’s remoulade, a mayonnaise-based condiment made with pickles, vinegar, and…

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Protect your library with terrible medieval Book Curses!

In the middle ages, creating a book wasn’t easy, and could take years: a scribe would bend over his copy table, illuminated only by natural light, because candles were too big a risk for the books, and spend hours each day writing letters, by hand, careful never to make not even an error. To be a copyist, wrote one scribe, was painful: “It extinguishes the light from the eyes, it bends the back, it crushes the viscera and the ribs, it brings forth pain to the kidneys, and weariness to…

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The Ravens of the Tower of London: an ancient legend which has lasted for 400 years.

For many centuries the world-famous Tower of London, built in 1078 on the north bank of the Thames, is guarded by a small flock of imperial ravens, regularly enlisted in the United Kingdom Armed Forces. These winged soldiers receive a privileged treatment: they are cared for by liveried servants, fed with first choice meat purchased in the nearby Smithfield Market, and their health is constantly monitored. However, they too have obligations: they can not leave the Tower. A legend, whose origins are unknown, links the destiny of the British Crown…

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Kostel svatého Jiří: the medieval church haunted by the ghosts!

Kostel svatého Jiří (St. George’s Church) in Luková, Czech Republic, has been neglected for more than 40 years. Believing it to be haunted, the congregation refused to set foot into the church, which slowly fell into decay. Until it was saved by ghosts! It’s true: in fact still today, thirty creepy ghosts now inhabit this 14th-century church. The church, was consecrated in 1352, was victim to an unusual number of fires over its long years, and was partly rebuilt and restored many times. The last creepy event happened in 1968…

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Donauquelle: the great Danube river starts here.

The start of the great Danube, which flows over 2,700 kilometers, through 10 countries, before to flows into the Black Sea, can be found in the small german town of Donaueschingen. Donaueschingen is a pretty old town, located about an hour and a half drive from Stuttgart and its most famous tourist attraction is the Donauquelle, the source of the Danube, “Donau” in German, marked by a charming small blue pool of water. The basin is framed by wrought iron fence and a group of allegorical statues sculpted by Adolf…

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