Crater Lake: the deepest lake in the United States, and once the site of epic destruction that lives on in myth.

Crater Lake, Oregon, has been known different names. It was first known, to non-Native Americans anyway, as “Deep Blue Lake,” as named in 1853 by its discoverer, John Wesley Hillman, an American prospector. Later, in 1885, it was dubbed Lake Majesty, and finally Crater Lake. Today Crater Lake and the Crater National Park that surrounds it are popular destinations for hikers and campers, but it was once the site of enormous geological upheaval, and one of the largest volcanic eruptions ever witnessed by humans, so terrifying that it has been…

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#TodayInHistory – July 31

July 31 – Some important events on this day. 30 BC 👉🏼 Battle of Alexandria: Mark Antony achieves minor victory over Octavian, but most of his army subsequently deserts, leading to Octavian’s invasion of Egypt 1556 👉🏼 Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order, dies 1620 👉🏼 Pilgrim Fathers depart Leiden, Netherlands for England on their way to America 1703 👉🏼 Daniel Defoe is placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet, but is pelted with flowers. Most famous for his…

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Kejonuma Leisure Land: a quaint amusement park that now lays rusting and forgotten among the foliage.

We are in Ōsaki, in Japan’s remote Tohoku region, where an abandoned amusement park rests upon the banks of the Kejonuma Dam. Once known as Kejonuma Leisure Land, the park was originally built in 1979 in an effort to bring joy back to the community after the ravages of World War II. In its heyday the amusement park, with a campsite and driving range, boasted up to 200,000 visitors and offered an assortment of rides, including a Ferris wheel, tea cup ride, miniature train ride and carousel. In addition, the…

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#TodayInHistory – July 30

July 30 – Some important events on this day. 101 BC 👉🏼 Battle of Vercellae: Roman army under Gaius Marius defeats the Cimbri in Cisalpine Gaul, ending the Celto-Germanic threat on Italy’s border with over 100,000 Cimbri killed 762 👉🏼 City of Baghdad founded by Abbasid caliph Al-Mansur, just north of ancient Baghdad. Baghdad, now the second-largest city in the Arab world, was founded in the 8th century by Abbasid caliph Al-Mansur and eventually became the capital of the Abbasid caliphate. Baghdad in this era was a hub of learning…

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The ghost of Alice Riley and the legend spanish moss

If you go to any coastal town in the South, you’ll see huge, centuries-old live oaks with limbs covered in Spanish moss. From Myrtle Beach down through Charleston and Savannah, and on into Florida, the huge trees are the last living elements of the Antebellum South. These old sentinels even predate most of the haint that roam through the southern countryside, or rattle chains in the attics of local homes. Beyond this area, few probably know the story of Alice Riley and her connection to so called Spanish moss. She…

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#TodayInHistory – July 29

July 29 – Some important events on this day. 626 👉🏼 Avaren/Slaves under khagan Bajan begin siege of Constantinople 904 👉🏼 Thessalonica is sacked by Saracen pirates led by renegade Leo of Tripoli 1279 👉🏼 Five emissaries dispatched by Kublai Khan from the Mongol Yuan dynasty are beheaded by Japan. In 1274 the Mongol Empire under Kublai Khan launched the first of two failed invasions of Japan. Eight years before, Kublai had sent a letter to the Japanese emperor (who in the letter he called the “King of Japan”), threatening…

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Tourlitis Lighthouse: The magical Greek Lighthouse

We are off the coast of the Greek port city of Andros. Rising up out of the islet of Tourlitis, a weather-worn stone spire opposite the harbor at Chora, on Andros island, Tourlitis Lighthouse looks like something straight out of a fantasy novel. The beacon was first built in 1897 just off shore from a castle in Andros. The stone column on which it was built had been shaped by millennia of natural erosion into the perfect pedestal for a coastal beacon. Unfortunately the original lighthouse was short-lived, and was…

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The incredible story of the woman who fell 75 storeys in a lift (and survived)

This incredible woman probably had to defy the laws of gravity after she survived a fall of 75 storeys trapped in an elevator. This is the stuff of nightmares for lot of people, but miraculously, Betty Lou Oliver managed to avoid death and survive this terrible event. Betty Lou was working as a lift supervisor at the Empire State Building, when the building was disastrously struck by a bomber plane in 1945. The astonishing survivor was working on the 80th floor of the tallest building in America on this day,…

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#TodayInHistory – July 28

July 28 – Some important events on this day. 1148 👉🏼 Second Crusade: Crusaders abandon their siege of Damascus 1330 👉🏼 Battle of Velbuzd: Serbian forces defeats Bulgarian army 1794 👉🏼 French Revolutionary figure Maximilien Robespierre and 22 other leaders of “the Terror” guillotined to thunderous cheers in Paris 1851 👉🏼 Total solar eclipse captured on a daguerreotype photograph 1866 👉🏼 Metric system becomes a legal measurement system in US 1900 👉🏼 Hamburger created by Louis Lassing in Connecticut 1914 👉🏼 Austria-Hungary decides against mediation and declares war on Serbia…

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Hans Christian Andersen and his borrowed grave at Assistens Kirkegård in Copenaghen

Assistens Cemetery, Assistens Kirkegård in Danish, in Copenhagen, Denmark, is the burial site of many local notables. An “assistenskirkegård” (which means “assistance cemetery”) is originally a generic term in Danish, used to refer to cemeteries which were laid out to assist existing burial sites, and therefore a number of cemeteries by the same name are found around Denmark.Inaugurated in 1760, it was originally a burial site for the poor laid out to relieve the crowded graveyards inside the walled city, but during the Golden Age in the first half of…

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#TodayInHistory – July 27

July 27 – Some important events on this day. 1214 👉🏼 1st battle of Bouvines: King Philip II of France vs Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV and King John of England; as a result John lost Normandy and his other possessions in France (hence his nickname John “Lackland”) 1377 👉🏼 First example of quarantine in Rugusa (now Dubroknik): city council passes law saying newcomers from plague areas must isolation for 30 days (later 40 days) 1549 👉🏼 1st Christian missionary in Japan, Jesuit priest Francis Xavier reaches Japan but is…

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The strange story of why human urine was transported to quarries in North East Yorkshire

Since the days of the Roman empire, alum was used as a mordant or fixative that allowed textiles to be colored using vegetable dyes. Initially imported from Italy where there was a Papal monopoly on the industry, the supply to Great Britain was cut off during the Reformation in England. In response to this need, during the 16th century, Thomas Challoner found that fossils in shale along the Yorkshire coast were the same as those found in alum producing areas of Italy and Europe and, as a result, an alum…

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#TodayInHistory – July 26

July 26 – Some important events on this day. 657 👉🏼 Battle of Siffin during the first Muslim civil war between Ali ibn Abi Talib and Muawiyah I beside Euphrates River 1267 👉🏼 Inquisition forms in Rome under Pope Clement IV 1519 👉🏼 Francisco Pizarro receives royal charter for the west coast of South America 1533 👉🏼 Francisco Pizarro orders the death of the last Sapa Inca Emperor, Atahualpa 1579 👉🏼 Admiral and navigator Francis Drake leaves San Francisco to cross Pacific Ocean 1775 👉🏼 U.S. postal system established 1803…

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Vicars’ Close: the oldest residential street in Europe that also features an optical illusion.

Vicars’ Close, in Wells, Somerset, England, is claimed to be the oldest purely residential street with original buildings still intact in Europe. The first houses on this attractive street, close to Wells Cathedral in Somerset, England, were built during the mid 14th century, while the street was completed about a century later. The area was initially used to house a group of chantry priests. During the 12th century, the group of clergy who served the cathedral were responsible for chanting the divine service eight times a day and were known…

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#TodayInHistory – July 25

July 25 – Some important events on this day. 306 👉🏼 Constantine I is proclaimed Roman Emperor by his troops 1521 👉🏼 About 300 heretics burned in Vrijdagmarkt Gent 1538 👉🏼 The City of Guayaquil is founded by the Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Orellana and given the name Muy Noble y Muy Leal Ciudad de Santiago de Guayaquil 1670 👉🏼 Austrian Emperor Leopold I expels 4,000 Jews from Vienna 1814 👉🏼 English engineer George Stephenson introduces his first steam locomotive, a travelling engine designed for hauling coal on the Killingworth…

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Mad Honey: the hallucinogenic honey that can sell for over $60 a pound on the black market

When bees feed on the pollen of rhododendron flowers, the resulting honey can become a hallucinogenic punch. It’s called “mad honey”, and it has a slightly bitter taste and a reddish color. More notably, a few types of rhododendrons, among them Rhododendron luteum and Rhododendron ponticum, contain grayanotoxin, which can cause serious physiological reactions in humans and animals. Depending on how much a person consumes, reactions can range from hallucinations and a slower heartbeat to temporary paralysis, but also unconsciousness, dizziness, hypotension and atrial-ventricular block. However, rhododendrons flourish at high…

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Light and air for everybody: the window tax imposed on English citizens in 1696

The Victorian era was one of enormous transformation for British industry and architecture, popular also for its weirdnesses, including funerals for pets, hospitals for dead that prevented the fear of being buried alive, hidden mothers, but also very very very long hair, macabre beheaded portraits, or iconic post mortem photographies. It was also during the Victorian era that windows tax was abolished. July 24, 1851 was the day when citizens of the United Kingdom were allowed light and air in their homes without having to pay for it. And this…

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#TodayInHistory – July 24

July 24 – Some important events on this day. 1487 👉🏼 Citizens of Leeuwarden, Netherlands, rebel against ban on foreign beer 1534 👉🏼 French explorer Jacques Cartier lands in Canada, claims it for France 1567 👉🏼 Mary Queen of Scots is forced to abdicate; her 1-year-old son becomes King James VI of Scots 1793 👉🏼 France passes 1st copyright law 1823 👉🏼 Slavery is abolished in Chile 1824 👉🏼 Harrisburg Pennsylvanian newspaper publishes results of 1st public opinion poll, with a clear lead for Andrew Jackson. Nicknamed ‘Old Hickory’, Jackson…

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Port: the Irish ghost village off the map.

The top of Glengesh Pass in County Donegal, Ireland, is breathtaking. Here you’re in one of the most remote corners of the country, sparsely populated, windswept and wild. You’re as likely to hear Gaelic spoken as English, for life hasn’t changed a whole lot over the past hundred years, and the land, the sea and the weather still govern people’s lives, as it once did in the quaint village of Port. Coming down off the pass leads you to Ardara, famous for its weaving. Take a left and you end…

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#TodayInHistory – July 23

July 23 – Some important events on this day. 1215 👉🏼 Frederick II crowned King of the Romans (King of the Germans) in Aachen 1829 👉🏼 William Austin Burt patents America’s first “typographer”. William Austin Burt patented the typographer on this day, which makes it America’s first typewriter. The model invented by Burt was destroyed in an 1839 fire at the US patent office. Although other typewriters had been invented, Burt’s was the first built in America and possibly the first properly built anywhere in the world. 1840 👉🏼 Union…

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The unsolved mystery of Draga Mitrićević’s death

Draga Mitrićević was a daughter of a well-to-do entrepreneur and Privy Councilor. She was educated abroad and spoke several languages and the vast family fortune and reputation was further strengthened by close connection to the Royal Court through Draga’s marriage with the young officer who served as royal household administrator. It seems a perfect story…until she found out about her husband’s infidelity. She made a scandal confronting him in public and throwing out all of his personal possessions into the street and, with heart broken, she moved to her own…

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#TodayInHistory – July 22

July 22 – Some important events on this day. 1099 👉🏼 First Crusade: Godfrey of Bouillon is elected the first Defender of the Holy Sepulchre of The Kingdom of Jerusalem 1456 👉🏼 Battle at Nandorfehervar (Belgrade): Hungarian army under Janos Hunyadi beats Sultan Murad II 1484 👉🏼 Battle of Lochmaben Fair – a 500-man raiding party led by Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany and James Douglas, 9th Earl of Douglas are defeated by Scots forces loyal to Albany’s brother James III of Scotland. Douglas is captured. 1515 👉🏼 First Congress…

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Svörtuloftsviti – Skálasnagaviti: a lighthouse in Iceland that boasts magnificent coastal views

Svörtuloft (or the Black Ceiling) is a ruggedly beautiful place to visit. Despite the name sounds ominous, it stems from the cliffs being formed of pitch black lava, like in so many other places in this area. Here the lava flow didn’t stop until it reached the cold sea and the surf has eroded the pitch black lava through the centuries. Interestingly, there are at least 14 places in Iceland by this name, Svörtuloft, and here the lava looks like it has been cut and made into a massive, sheer…

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#TodayInHistory – July 21

July 21 – Some important events on this day. 356 BC 👉🏼 Herostratus sets fire to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. 365 👉🏼 Crete Earthquake followed by tsunami around the Eastern Mediterranean allegedly destroys Alexandria 1403 👉🏼 Battle of Shrewsbury: Army led by the Lancastrian King of England, Henry IV defeats a rebel army led by Henry “Harry Hotspur” Percy of Northumberland thus ending the Percy challenge to the throne. Also the first battle English archers fought each other on English…

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From baker to millionaire: the story of a man with a remarkable sense of entrepreneurship buried in Wiener Zentralfriedhof

Located in the outer city district of Simmering, Wiener Zentralfriedhof, or Vienna Central Cemetery, is one of the largest cemeteries in the world by number of interred, and is the most popular among Vienna’s nearly 50 cemeteries. It was opened on All Saints’ Day in 1874, far outside city’s borders. The first burial was that of Jacob Zelzer, that still exists near the administration building at the cemetery wall, followed by 15 others that day. The cemetery spans 2.5 km2 with 330,000 interments and up to 25 burials daily. It…

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#TodayInHistory – July 20

July 20 – Some important events on this day. 1304 👉🏼 Wars of Scottish Independence: fall of Stirling Castle – King Edward I of England takes the last rebel stronghold of the war 1837 👉🏼 Euston railway station opens in London as the terminus of the London and Birmingham Railway (L&BR), the city’s 1st intercity railway station. The original Euston railway Station was London’s first mainline station and the first station to connect London with another city. Planned by George and Robert Stephenson, it was designed by Philip Hardwick and…

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The miniature Rolls Royce that costs as much as a real car

Probably you can’t afford to shell out $330,000 for a brand new Rolls Royce Cullinan, but you can still get a 1:8 replica complete with the SUV’s iconic accessories and details for “just” $27,000! Car miniatures don’t usually cost as much as an ordinary vehicle, but this isn’t an ordinary miniature: It consists of more than 1,000 individual parts carefully put together by hand by Rolls Royce experts in about 450 hours. And, interestingly, that’s more than half the time it takes the luxury car company to build an actual…

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#TodayInHistory – July 19

July 19 – Some important events on this day. 1595 👉🏼 Astronomer Johannes Kepler has an epiphany and develops his theory of the geometrical basis of the universe while teaching in Graz 1692 👉🏼 5 more people are hanged for witchcraft (20 in all) in Salem, Massachusetts 1843 👉🏼 The steamship SS Great Britain is launched, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, is the first ocean-going craft with an iron hull or screw propeller and the largest vessel afloat in the world. Designed by Britain’s greatest industrial engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel,…

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The Aqueduct of Segovia, a glorious Roman heritage in Spain

If we speak about architecture, the Romans are among the greatest builders of the world’s history. Some of the surviving Roman buildings and monuments are magnificient still today, many centuries after they were built. And one of such creations is the famed Roman Aqueduct of Segovia. The historic city of Segovia is located in north-western central Spain, in the autonomous region of Castile and Leon. This important city is rich in history and sights, as it is located on an important trading route between Merida and Zaragossa. In ancient history,…

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#TodayInHistory – July 18

July 18 – Some important events on this day. 64 👉🏼 Great Fire of Rome begins under the Emperor Nero. Despite the well-known stories, there is no evidence that the Roman emperor, Nero, either started the fire or played the fiddle while it burned. Still, he did use the disaster to further his political agenda. 1743 👉🏼 1st half-page newspaper ad is published (NY Weekly Journal) 1925 👉🏼 Adolf Hitler publishes Mein Kampf (original title was the catchy “Four and a Half Years (of Struggle) Against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice”)…

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