Hands of madness: Italino and his grave at Staglieno Monumental Cemetery

Among the Italian cemeteries, the Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, is one of the most fascinating, full of mysteries and secrets, with its statues that follow one another and those tombstones that tell ancient stories. Coming to the highest part of the Monumental Cemetery, you might come across a particular statue, different from all the others. Is that of a child of about 5 years old, running carefree behind his circle, while two hands of madness are about to grab him from behind and seal his fate. It was the year 1925,…

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#TodayInHistory – August 31

August 31 – Some important events on this day. 1142 👉🏼 Possible date for establishment of the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) League – with the aid of Hiawatha and Deganawidah 1422 👉🏼 Henry VI becomes King of England at the age of 9 months 1772 👉🏼 Hurricane destroy ships off Dominica 1888 👉🏼 The body of Jack the Ripper’s first victim, Mary Ann Nichols, is found in Whitechapel in London’s East End. Jack the Ripper was a serial Killer that, thanks to his horrible crimes, sadly became a celebrity. His failure to…

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Whiting: the natural phenomenon that causes Nevada’s Lake Pyramid to turn turquoise

Once every 7 to 10 years, a remote lake in Nevada experiences an algae boom so significant that its color changes from dark blue to a vibrant turquoise, in a phenomenon known as “whiting”. Located in a remote desert area of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribes’ Reservation, about 40 miles northeast of Reno, Lake Pyramid is famous for the whiting events that occur there every decade or so. In the course of a few weeks the water turns light blue, turquoise, and, in rare cases, even white. Despite this spontaneous…

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#TodayInHistory – August 30

August 30 – Some important events on this day. 257 👉🏼 St Sixtus II begins his reign as Catholic Pope 1146 👉🏼 European leaders outlaw crossbow, intending to end war for all time 1363 👉🏼 Beginning of the Battle of Lake Poyang; two Chinese rebel leaders Chen Youliang and Zhu Yuanzhang are pitted against each other in what was one of the largest naval battles in history during Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty 1590 👉🏼 Tokugawa Ieyasu enters Edo Castle (Traditional Japanese date: August 1, 1590) 1682 👉🏼 William Penn leaves England…

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Mysterious safe discovered in the middle of a New York field (to remain locked)

Probably this is another thing to add to “weird things that happened in 2020” list: a locked safe with a mysterious note attached to it, discovered in the middle of an agricultural field in New York state. Last Thursday a man named Kirk Mathes was out of town, when he got a phone call about a large metal safe that had been found on one of his fields, near the town of Barre. Word spread so fast that deputies had to disperse a crowd that had gathered on the side…

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Anundshög – the Sweden’s largest burial mound, allegedly belonging to a mythical king

We are in Sweden, near Västerås in Västmanland. Scandinavia is full of burial mounds, runestones, and any sort of ancient graves. Similar to the Egyptian pyramids, great rulers were honored with these grand burial mounds as the correct ritual was important for the deceased to reach the afterlife. At 9 meters high and 60 meters in diameter, Anundshög (also know as Anundshögen and Anunds hög) has the largest burial mound in Sweden, which is often associated with Anund, a semi-legendary mid-7th-century Swedish king from the House of Yngling. His name…

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Battle of Cajamarca: how 200 conquistadors conquered an empire of 10 million

The Inca people named their empire “Land of the Four Quarters” or Tahuantinsuyu and in 1533 it was the largest in the world: It covered 2,500 miles and stretched from southern Colombia in the north to central Chile in the south. Between 1200 and 1300 AD, in the valley of Cusco, an increase in temperatures allowed the Inca to inhabit ever higher altitudes and produce agricultural surpluses, and infact astonishing site of Machu Picchu is evidence of this. In addition, the empire successfully built a road network of 14,000 miles…

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#TodayInHistory – August 29

August 29 – Some important events on this day. 1350 👉🏼 Battle of Winchelsea (or Les Espagnols sur Mer): The English naval fleet under King Edward III defeats a Castilian fleet of 40 ships 1526 👉🏼 Battle of Mohács: In a decisive battle the Hungarian Empire is conquered by the Ottoman Empire led by Suleiman the Magnificent 1533 👉🏼 Atahualpa, last Sapa Inca Emperor is suspected to have been buried in Northern Peru or in Ecuador. ✔️READ THE ARTICLE! 1825 👉🏼 Portugal recognizes the Independence of Brazil 1831 👉🏼 Scientist…

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Smearcase: a cheesecake named after 19th-century cottage cheese still served in a few Baltimore bakeries.

A dairy wagon in Virginia City, Nevada, made the news when it tipped over in 1878. The Territorial Enterprise published an article called “Whey Goin?” in which a pun-crazed reporter described in this way the scene: “The air was filled with milk and the wagon was left a complete wreck. It was a regular smear-case. From the length of time he has been in the milk business Pedroli’s horse ought to know butter than to act in such a whey— ’tain’t the cheese.” Interestingly, all of the dairy products listed…

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Chocolate rain falls in Switzerland

Residents of an industrial area of Olten, a town in north-western Switzerland, just few days ago, have been reporting chocolate powder raining from the sky. Well, if chocolate was ever going to fall from the sky anywhere in the world, it had to be just in Switzerland, the European country well-known for making probably the best chocolate in the world! Reports of chocolate powder falling from the sky in the town of Olten started showing up online a few days ago, accompanied by photos of cars covered in brown. People…

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#TodayInHistory – August 28

August 28 – Some important events on this day. 476 👉🏼 Orestes, father of Emperor Romulus Augustulus is captured and executed by Odoacer and his followers. When Romulus Augustulus came to power as the Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, it was but a fraction of what it had once been. The empire in the East essentially treated its Western realm as a client state. Rome itself had been sacked by barbarians twice in the fifth century. Odoacer was a Germanic mercenary soldier for the Roman army, who when refused…

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Z Ward: a perfectly preserved abandoned criminal asylum in South Australia.

In the sleepy suburb of Glenside, Adelaide, South Australia, rests a building long abandoned and protected from trespassers by a wall far taller than it first appears, the only complete Ha-Ha Wall in Australia. The wall doesn’t look too high from the outside but, once over it, it is soon discovered that on the other side, a deeper moat hinders any escape. The building is known as Z Ward, and it was for years closed off to the public, even though recently, access to the building was allowed to the…

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Krakatoa: the story of the world’s mightiest explosion

The biggest explosion the world has ever known (try to imagine: an estimated 13,000 times greater than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima during WWII) happened on this day, August 27 1883, as eruptions of the Krakatoa volcano reached their peak. To understand, the noise of the explosion was heard 3,000 miles (4,800km) away, five cubic miles (21 km^3) of rock and ash were projected 50 miles (80.5km) into the air, while 36.5m tsunamis were created and 36,000 people lost their lives. The island of Krakatoa (originally Krakatau) featured three linked…

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#TodayInHistory – August 27

August 27 – Some important events on this day. 479 BC 👉🏼 Greco-Persian Wars: Battle of Plataea, Persian forces led by Mardonius routed by Greek army under Pausanias; together with Greek success at Battle of Mycale halts Persian invasion of Greece 479 BC 👉🏼 Greco-Persian Wars: Battle of Mycale won by Greek forces over Persian naval troops on Ionian coast, double victory with that at Plataea ends Persian invasion 663 👉🏼 Battle of Baekgang: Tang Chinese and Silla Korean forces defeat Korean Baekje forces and their Yamato Japanese allies on…

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The Tar River Banshee~

The Tar River flows into the Pamlico Sound after crossing much of the northeast part of North Carolina. It meanders through the fields and small towns on its way to the Sound and was once a major shipping route for tar-laden barges. In addition, as it goes with just about everything in the area, the Tar River is said to be haunted… As story goes, during the Revolutionary War, a native of England named Dave Warner came to the area and opened a mill on the Tar River. Sympathetic to…

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#TodayInHistory – August 26

August 26 – Some important events on this day. 1071 👉🏼 Battle of Manzikert: Seljuq Turks led by sultan Alp Arslan beat and capture Byzantine Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes 1346 👉🏼 Battle of Crécy, south of Calais in northern France: Edward III’s English longbows defeat Philip VI’s army, cannons used for first time in battle 1498 👉🏼 Michelangelo is commissioned to carve the Pietà. 1748 👉🏼 The first Lutheran denomination in North America, the Pennsylvania Ministerium, is founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 1778 👉🏼 The first recorded ascent of Triglav, the…

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Créac’h: the most powerful lighthouse in Europe

The Créac’h lighthouse, in Breton Tour-tan ar C’hreac’h (translated as Tour-tan: lighthouse and C’hreac’h: promontory) is a lighthouse in the island of Ouessant, in Brittany, France. It was built in 1863 and is 53 m high. It is located on the north western tip of the island and guides ships in the dangerous and busy stretch of the Atlantic which becomes, from that point, the English Channel. For this reason it is the most powerful in Europe and one of the most powerful in the world, visible up to a…

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#TodayInHistory – August 25

August 25 – Some important events on this day. 325 👉🏼 Council of Nicaea ends with adoption of the Nicene Creed establishing the doctrine of the Holy Trinity 1609 👉🏼 Galileo demonstrates his 1st telescope to Venetian lawmakers 1718 👉🏼 Hundreds of French colonists arrive in Louisiana; New Orleans founded 1768 👉🏼 Captain James Cook departs from Plymouth, England, on his first voyage on board the Endeavour, bound for the Pacific Ocean 1804 👉🏼 Alicia Thornton becomes first female jockey in England riding at Knavesmire in Yorkshire 1875 👉🏼 Captain…

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Elizabeth: the “Witch” of Union-Udell Cemetery, Ypsilanti – Michigan

For many, cemeteries are macabre enough without any paranormal activity or ghost sightings. So here’s a Michigan graveyard that is said to be one of the most haunted in this state… The Union-Udell Cemetery in Ypsilanti, home to a number of headstones dating back to the mid-1830’s, is an extensive graveyard just off Textile Road, south of Ford Lake and southwest of Willow Run Airport. Apparently, It is the final resting place of a witch that still today haunts the cemetery. This supposed witch’s name was Elizabeth, but there’s nothing…

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George Crum: the man who invented the potato chip

The almighty potato chip, a culinary marvel in the world of junk food still today, has long been the number one American (and not only) snack food, enjoyed by millions of people every day. The legendary story of its origin goes way back to 1853 when a frustrated cook kept trying to please a very demanding customer…. George Crum (born George Speck, 1824–1914) was a renowned African American chef who worked at Moon’s Lake House in Saratoga Springs, New York during the mid-1800s. He was born to parents Abraham Speck…

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#TodayInHistory – August 24

August 24 – Some important events on this day. 49 BC 👉🏼 Julius Caesar’s general Gaius Scribonius Curio is defeated in the Second Battle of the Bagradas River by the Numidians under Publius Attius Varus and King Juba of Numidia. Curio commits suicide to avoid capture. 79 👉🏼 Mt Vesuvius erupts, buries Roman Pompeii and Herculaneum, 15,000 die 410 👉🏼 Rome overrun by Visigoths under Alaric I for the first time in nearly 800 years, seen as the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The fall and collapse of the…

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Hyder: the easternmost town in Alaska that can only be accessed from Canada.

The town of Hyder, Alaska, is both the geographically easternmost town in Alaska, as well as the southernmost town in Alaska that can be reached by car. However, one cannot drive to Hyder from the rest of Alaska. The reason? Hyder is what is called an “inaccessible district”. In other words, an inaccessible district can be define as “parts of the territory of one country that can be approached conveniently – in particular by wheeled traffic – only through the territory of another country.” And, believe it or not, there…

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#TodayInHistory – August 23

August 23 – Some important events on this day. 79 👉🏼 Mount Vesuvius begins stirring, on feast day of Vulcan, Roman god of fire (goes on to destroy Pompeii) 476 👉🏼 Odoacer proclaimed King of Italy by his troops, 1st barbarian King of Italy 1305 👉🏼 William Wallace, Scottish patriot, is executed for high treason by Edward I of England. One of the great heroes of Scotland, William Wallace was one of the main leaders of the First War of Scottish Independence. In September 1297 he defeated the English army…

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Yangzhou Zhongshuge: this Chinese library’s interior is designed to look like an infinite tunnel of books

We are in Yangzhou. The Chinese city is known for its graceful arched bridges, proximity to the Yangtze River and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. Architects kept these local features in mind while designing Zhongshuge Yangzhou, a new bookstore that features something unique, and a real dream for every reader: black mirrored floors shimmer beneath arched shelves that stretch to the ceiling, creating an optical illusion that turns an ordinary, rectangular room into a cylindrical never-ending tunnel of books. A zig-zagging gap prevents the top of the shelves from touching. When…

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#TodayInHistory – August 22

August 22 – Some important events on this day. 565 👉🏼 St Columba reports seeing monster in Loch Ness 1454 👉🏼 Jews are expelled from Brunn Moravia by order of King Ladislaus 1485 👉🏼 Battle of Bosworth Field: Henry Tudor’s forces defeat English King Richard III during last battle in the Wars of the Roses. Richard is killed, the last English monarch to die in battle. 1603 👉🏼 1st stones laid in Zuiderkerk, Amsterdam 1639 👉🏼 Madras (now Chennai), India, founded by the British East India Company on sliver of…

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Kek Lapis Sarawak: the Malaysia’s most complex dessert

Kek Lapis Sarawak is a traditional Malaysian cake famous both for its intricate kaleidoscopic appearance and the grueling process required to make it. Kek translates as “cake” and Lapis means “layers” in Bahasa Malaysia, Malaysia’s national language. Inspired by the spit cakes that Dutch colonists used to enjoy, it was born in Malaysia’s Sarawak state, located on the northwestern coast of Borneo, sometime in the 1970’s. It’s basically a much more complex version of kek lapis Betawi, or lapis legit, that incorporates spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and star…

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#TodayInHistory – August 21

August 21 – Some important events on this day. 1192 👉🏼 Minamoto Yoritomo becomes Seii Tai Shōgun and the de facto ruler of Japan. (Traditional Japanese date: July 12, 1192) 1264 👉🏼 Kublai Khan accepts the surrender of his younger brother Ariq Böke at Xanadu, at the end of the Mongol civil war 1321 👉🏼 160 Jews of Chincon France, burned at stake 1541 👉🏼 Ottoman Turks under Suleiman the Magnificent capture Buda, the capital of the Hungarian Kingdom and go on to dominate central Hungary for 150 years 1703…

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The legend of the haunted house known as Villa Clara

Each place has a more or less known heritage of curious stories, legends and mysteries, and Bologna, Italy, is no exception. Among these, the presumably haunted house in Casalecchio di Reno, and Villa Clara. The villa a little outside Bologna, not far from Trebbo di Reno, is located in the open countryside, surrounded by fields where are not even street lighting and where, sometimes, thick banks of fog arise. The exact date of its construction is not known, although it is likely that it took place between 1572 and 1585.…

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#TodayInHistory – August 20

August 20 – Some important events on this day. 2 👉🏼 Venus and Jupiter in conjunction – possible astrological explanation for Star of Bethlehem 1000 👉🏼 The foundation of the Hungarian state, Hungary is established as a Christian kingdom by Stephen I of Hungary. 1597 👉🏼 1st Dutch East India Company ships return from the Far East 1612 👉🏼 9 Pendle witches hanged at Gallows Hill in Lancaster, England 1619 👉🏼 1st known African Americans in English North America (approx. 20) land at Point Comfort (Fort Monroe), Virginia. They are…

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The curious folktale of Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Apparently, most people born in North Carolina have visited Blowing Rock at one time or another in their lives. The town of Blowing Rock, is named for “The Blowing Rock”, an outcropping of rock studded with crystals that hangs over a deep valley in the Appalachian Mountains. In any case, along with Tweetsie Railroad and the “mile high swinging bridge” at nearby Grandfather Mountain, it is a popular destination for anyone that visits the Blue Ridge Mountains. However, few people know the story behind Blowing Rock. As a child, my…

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