Jack O’Lantern: the Halloween Legend!

The Irish brought the tradition of carving pumpkins into Jack O’Lantern to America. But, the original Jack O’Lantern was not a pumpkin, because they did not exist in Ireland. Ancient Celtic cultures in Ireland carved turnips on All Hallow’s Eve, and placed an ember in them, to ward off evil spirits. The origin of Halloween has its roots in the Roman or Celtic festivals, and in the beginning was the Celtic New Year, the “Samhain”, which is celebrated between October 31st and November 1st, or the Parentalia festival, in which…

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Kenova’s Pumpkin House

Every year the former mayor of Kenova, West Virginia takes his historic home along the Ohio River and turns it into an incredible Halloween-theme attraction. All it takes is three weeks, hundreds of volunteers, and about 3,000 pumpkins! Kenova is located in far west West Virginia, at the split of the Ohio and Big Sandy Rivers. The population, at the last count, was just over 3,000, so probably it’s no coincidence that Ric Griffith, owner of the house on Beech Street, on the National Register of Historic Places, decided that…

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The William Wallace Monument, in memory of the Glorious Battle of Stirling Bridge.

The proud and combative Scottish, since ancient times, proved to be a people who, despite not having a single political, cultural and linguistic identity, gave a hard time to anyone who tried to invade their territory. Not did they surrender to the Romans, the conquerors of nearly the entire known world of their time, and who had occupied the rest of Britain. But not only that, the Scots were to make raids in the territories dominated by the Romans, so that the emperor Hadrian decided to build a defensive wall,…

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The mystery of the ghostly house along the Martesana watercourse.

There are some stuffed animal, a big bear, some dolls, a Santa Claus probably beheaded. And a stationary clock, who knows how long, without hands. Those who pass by, along the pedestrian cycle road, cannot do whitout notice it: along the Martesana watercourse, in via Idro, here is a house that seems like something out of a horror movie. Many stop to immortalize it, on the web many people ask who are the owners (because it seems that no one has ever seen nobody). Of course, it is a ghostly…

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Did you know that Ancient Greek Funerals were decked out in celery?

When we leave flowers on a grave, we leave lilies, roses or other kind of common flowers. Sometimes, they’re fashioned into a funeral wreath. Most people don’t know is wreaths date back thousands of years! But ancient Greeks used vegetation to honor both victories and the fallen dead, and today, their Olympic olive wreaths are still familiar. But once something was different, in fact, in ancient Greece, the most potent way to show love for the dead was with a wreath of celery. Back then, it was a very different…

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Phare de Trézien

182 steps face visitors to this 37 meter high lighthouse, with a range of 23 miles. Built in 1894, it stands inland, 500 meters from the shore. Its white beam sends out a long flash every three seconds and short one every second. Guardian of the coastline, it keeps watch over the Iroise sea and the hundreds of boats that cross the Le Four channel. Sailors, guided by its light, entrust it with their lives….. Do you like lighthouses? Visit the dedicated section on our site!

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The cult of “Santa Muerte”: pre-Columbian deity venerated even today

“El que apura su vida, apura su muerte” “Who accelerates his life, accelerates his death“. This Mexican proverb describes the death, common and certain destiny of every living being. Yet, despite death is an obvious epilogue of our existence, it is not so obvious how to deal it during our earthly stay! There are people who consider it as a deity who address to, able to change our fate. Patron of the poor, prostitutes, prisoners, the Santa Muerte is the deity whom the “poor” of society ask help. The cult…

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Food and Drink on the Graves. A curious tradition~

Lot of cultures all over the world observe practices that involve leaving food or drink at the graves of loved ones. There are different specific traditions, but often people leave food and drinks that the deceased particularly enjoyed in life, or that held some special significance to them. Even if the Christian churches have, for centuries, regulated the liturgy and ceremonies for the dying and the dead, people everywhere have created their own death traditions and have often retained them in addition to those of the official Church. Food and…

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Tokyo Skytree: an incredible view from 451 meters high!

Tokyo Skytree, is a broadcasting and telecommunications tower in Tokyo, and at a height of 634 metres, it was the world’s second tallest structure, after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It was inaugurated on May 22, 2012, and it is also the world’s tallest freestanding tower, exceeding the height of Tokyo Tower, previously the city’s tallest structure, by 301 metres. The major role of Tokyo Skytree is to transmit electric waves in a stable manner free from influences of super tall buildings that have been increasing every year. The area…

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Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl: the Tragic Legend of the Aztec Lovers who turned into Volcanoes.

Myths and legends of every people of the earth are closely linked to the territory in which they are born. So it was also for the Mayans and the Aztecs who lived in Mexico before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. In this zone, two of the many volcanoes of that land rich in history have become symbols of a tragic love story. Volcanoes were very important to the Aztecs: in their pantheon, the deity that represented them was Xiuhtecuhtli, the god of the day, of heat and fire, the…

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Vinárna Čertovka: the narrowest street in Prague has a pedestrian traffic light!

Vinárna Čertovka is known as the narrowest street in Prague. The half-a-meter-wide path is probably more of a staircase than a proper street, but that hasn’t stopped people from celebrating its peculiarity. Only one person at a time can pass through the thin passageway, which cuts between two houses in one of the historic city’s neighborhoods. There’s absolutely no space for two people approaching from opposite ends to pass one another, and so, to remedy this problem, someone installed a traffic light on either end of the street. With the…

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Bar Bianco or “Il Pasquino” Restaurant: just another italian lost place.

Someone, speaking of many (indeed, a great many) years ago, remembers this place as “Bar Bianco”. Here, according to local sources, in particular milk and all its derivatives were served. Subsequently, it became famous as “Ristorante il Pasquino”, a meeting place also for baptisms and receptions. According to the documents found inside, I think it is abandoned since 2001. And it’s a shame, because this building is really nice, with a large outdoor area where you probably played live music and there was dancing, private parking, a terrace with a…

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Notre Dame des Laves

We are at the foot of an active volcano, where sits a church miraculously spared by its lava. France’s Réunion island is no strangers to volcanic activity, in fact, since the 17th century, it has seen more than a hundred eruptions from one volcano alone, the charming Piton De La Fournaise. So when the mountain rumbled in 1977, residents of the nearby village of Piton Sainte-Rose were prepared. But the weirdness, however, was that the flow of lava, which sped down the mountain’s slopes until the Indian Ocean, parted miraculously…

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2 Millions of People per Day: Shibuya crossing in Tokyo is the busiest in the world!

Strange…but true! In a metropolis like Tokyo, one of the biggest tourist attractions is a crosswalk, not a historical monument, a museum or a park. Shibuya is a shopping district in Tokyo with a population of approximately 208,000 people. Once the site of the Shibuya family castle, this major shopping and entertainment center is truly a city that never sleeps. The opening of the Yamanote Line in 1885 transformed this area into a hot spot for Japan’s youth but not only, providing a large fashion district and exciting nightlife. Identified…

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Hachiko, the faithful dog.

After a profound demonstration of devotion for his master, a dog becomes the symbol of loyalty for an entire nation. Eizaburo Ueno, professor in agriculture science at Tokyo University in Japan, had long wanted a purebred Japanese Akita dog. He had looked for the perfect Akita puppy for a long time, until one of his students encouraged him to adopt Hachiko, from the Odate city in the Akita prefecture of Japan. If there was one thing that Professor Ueno could count on, it was certainly the sight of his loyal…

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Götz von Berlichingen: the legendary German Knight of the Iron Hand

Götz von Berlichingen was born in Germany around 1480, around the time that even those belonging to families of the small nobility with few means, like him, very often became soldiers of fortune, in the pay of the highest bidder. Before his 17 th birthday, von Berlichingen it seems that to have enlisted in the army of Brandenburg-Ansbach, and was in the service of the Holy Roman Empire for the two following years. At the age of 20, von Berlichingen is said to have stopped serving the Emperor, and assembled…

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Colorow’s Cave

In the middle of a suburban Denver neighborhood, there is a cave that once provided comfort for a prominent Ute chief and his people. Before the European settlers went west, Ute, Arapahoe, Cheyenne, and other nations roamed the mountains and plains of Colorado. Even if a lot of the evidence of their existence has been lost, or probably destroyed, some of this sites still remain, but you have to know where to look to find them! For example, in a Denver, Colorado, suburb, there is one of these fascinating historic…

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Göbekli Tepe: the most mysterious Archaeological site in the world.

We are in Turkey, where this strange hunter-gatherer architecture believed to be the oldest religious complex known. In 1994, German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt and his team unearthed a handful of findings that continue to revolutionize the way archeologists think about Stone Age man, in fact this important archaeological discovery will probably lead to reconsidering everything that until now had been supposed on the evolution of primitive man. Today’s theories state that only after the advent of agriculture, and subsequent sedentarization, did our Neolithic ancestors come to perform religious practices. The…

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Pontusval Lighthouse.

The savage beauty of the Pays Pagan coastline, known as “Shipwreck Shore”, has long been feared by sailors on account of its granite rocks, strong currents and the tradition sourronding it. For a long time the area was frequented by ships seeking shelter in bad weather near l’Aber-Wrac’h, the Ile de Batz or the port of Pontusval. However, in the 19th century the lighthouses of Ile Vierge and Batz were not visible in heavy fog and strong currents would pull boats towards the Beg-Pol rocks, causing many shipwrecks in the…

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Miracle Mike: The chicken that lived for 18 months without a head

Mike the Headless Rooster was a specimen of Wyandotte cockerel who, according to the stories of the time, lived for 18 months after his head had been cut off. Although this may resemble the classic urban legend, the story is fully documented and testified by the pages of Time Magazine, Life and many other newspapers of the time. The story of “Mike the Rooster without Head” begins about seventy years ago, in April 1945, when an anonymous chicken was born on an anonymous farm. Here, a farmer beheaded a chicken…

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SVL: the Very Fast Soviet jet-propelled Train of 1970

Before high speed, which today we consider a service almost obvious, railway companies around the world were looking for different tricks to make their convoys fast and able to travel huge distances in a short time. During the 1960’s, Americans, followed by the Soviets, experimented with turbojet trains. The idea was that, like a jet aircraft, the train is propelled by the jet thrust of the engines, rather than by its wheels. From Russia, in 1970, a futuristic project arrived that today appears to be decidedly vintage, a piece of…

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Pinch ‘n’ Sip: in Edinburgh, you can assemble your cocktails via kitschy claw machine! ~

Here we are: Yes. It’s all true! Strange but true! At a subterranean Edinburgh bar, in Scotland, every drinkers can assemble their cocktails via kitschy claw machine. At Hoot the Redeemer, a subterranean bar in Edinburgh, alcohol comes in many crazy and unusual forms. Hoot the Redeemer is a 50s-styled New Orleans funfair-themed dive bar and here, amidst the 1950s-themed decor, sweet-toothed patrons spoon boozy ice cream straight from the carton, and competitive drinkers play board games on the backs of menus. Furthermore, arcade gamers can win a bespoke cocktail…

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France: La Maison Sculptée

We are in a quiet village, where an incredible work of outsider art, appears like a hidden treasure trove of paintings, sculptures, and carvings that seem to bring the architecture to life. In 1968, Jacques Lucas and his wife Marie-France bought a row of abandoned houses that had been in ruins for decades. They were located about thirty kilometers east of Rennes in the northwest of France. So, they worked for over a year to make their new property habitable. Lucas met a painter and sculptor named Robert Tatin, and…

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Turnip Jack-o’-Lanterns Are the Root of Halloween traditions~

Of course, many people herald Halloween as an American festival of ghosts and ghouls, but most of the activities associated with this time of year are rooted in European folklore and tradition. For example, the pumpkin carved into a jack-o-lantern, is of course an American introduction, but it quite literally has its roots on Europe, where people have been carving turnips and other root vegetables for centuries, to ward off evil spirits. In 2015, the United Kingdom was in pumpkins shortage due of a wet weather. As a result, some…

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Ireland’s Hungry Tree

We are within the grounds of The Honorable Society of King’s Inns, Ireland’s oldest school of law, founded in 1541 during the reign of King Henry VIII, where an 80-year-old plane tree is devouring an iron bench. We know most trees feast upon a steady diet of carbon dioxide, water, and sunshine, which they absorb through their roots and leaves. However, it seems that some trees like to absorb other things as well! The Hungry Tree in Dublin is an 80-year-old London Plane tree that’s currently in the process of…

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Longyearbyen: the Norwegian town where it’s illegal to die.

Longyearbyen might just be one of the strangest and particular towns there is to visit in our planet. But that’s sure, it is the most Nordic part of the world. Here the streets have no name: streets in Longyearbyen are numbered, and residents require an “Alcohol Card” in order to purchase drinks. This, it seems, was a relic from the town’s old mining days where miners were given a “rations card”, which they used to get a drink or a bottle of beer. It’s considered polite custom to leave your…

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Colorno: the sad story of suffering in the abandoned asylum.

Colorno, the italian abandoned psychiatric hospital near Parma, still seems to make its walls speak. Inside now there is nothing, only crowded blankets, clothes, old weelchairs and scattered documents, but the souls of so many suffering still remains. It was closed in 1979 with the Basaglia law, which also takes on the modernization of the clinical setting of psychiatric assistance, establishing renewed human relationships with staff and society, fully recognizing the rights and necessity of a quality patient life, followed and cured even in territorial structures. Now the inner courtyard…

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Baunscheidt’s Lebenswecker: The 19th-Century “Life-Awakener”

On an unspecified day in 1847, the German inventor Carl Baunscheidt sat in his own garden, suffering from the pain his hands caused by gout (or perhaps rheumatoid arthritis). The man tried to defend himself from the mosquitoes that were trying to sting him, but in the end one of those annoying bugs got the better of him, and he managed to poking him on his painful hand. As the classic and itchy mosquito bite formed, Baunscheidt realized that the pain was gradually alleviated. The inventor later wrote, in his…

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Venice and The Collapse of St. Mark’s Bell Tower

It was the year 1902 and San Marco and Venice were not very different from what we know today. The Basilica and the bell tower were standing, similar to today, since the twelfth century, although with many changes and renovations due to natural disasters (lightning) and malicious, such as fires. The bell tower, in particular, was in a very precarious equilibrium, and until 1776, when it was equipped with a lightning rod, it was itself the main driver of electric shocks that, over the centuries, had damaged the structure tens…

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