Malleus Maleficarum: the sacred text used to identify witches

Between 1227 and 1235, the Inquisition against witches and heretics was established with a series of papal decrees: Pope Innocent’s bull Ad Extirpanda of 1252 authorized the use of torture to extort confessions of witchcraft by suspected women. From 1257 to 1816 the Inquisition tortured and burned millions of innocent people at the stake accused of witchcraft and heresy against religious dogmas and judged, often without trial and in secret, with terrible torture. If they confessed, they were found guilty and they were considered witches, if they didn’t, they were…

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The eternal sleep of Rosalia Lombardo

Rosalia Lombardo was born on December 13, 1918 in Palermo, in Sicily region in Southern Italy. At the tender age of 2 she died due to a bacteria pneumonia. Her father, official Mario Lombardo, destroyed by pain, decided to contact Dr. Alfredo Salafia, a noted embalmer, to undertake the task of preserving her beloved daughter. Salafia was a great expert in post-mortem conservation, and it seems that he carried out the embalming of little Rosalia free of charge. The little girl was embalmed and was one of the last corpses…

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The “100 Giorni”: the official countdown to the final High School state examination

What in Italy is called “100 giorni”, is the official countdown begins to the final High School state examination and its traditions are repeated by students in many areas and in many different ways. For istance, there are those (very, very few) who begin to study as hard as they can, others who coudn’t care less until about 10 days before the exam, when they’ll begin to study night and day, 24 hours a day, and a large majority of those seeking to fully enjoy the last moments of freedom…

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Venice: the only city in the world whose shape resembles a Swan

It is called “Pareidolia”, and it is the tendency for incorrect perception of a stimulus as an object, pattern or meaning known to the observer, such as seeing shapes in clouds, seeing faces in inanimate objects or abstract patterns, or hearing hidden messages in music. In the case of Venice, for example, the shape that the city assumes seen from above is attributable to a swan with its head bent towards the body. The profile of the splendid creature, icon of universal beauty, is easily associated with Venice also because…

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Fire Island Lighthouse – history and ghosts!

The stately Fire Island Lighthouse, on Fire Island’s west end, was first opened in 1827 and is a familiar landmark on the barrier island where it stands 55 meters above sea level and can be seen more than 20 miles away. On the National Register of Historic Places since 1974, the decommissioned lighthouse is now open to visitors, and those in good physical shape can walk the 192 winding steps for a stunning view from the top of New York’s tallest lighthouse. However, tales of shadowy figures, ghostly laughs, otherworldly…

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Poveglia: the “cursed” Venetian island between history and legend.

If we think about the islands of the Venetian lagoon, immediately come to mind Burano, Murano, Torcello and maybe some other less known, such as the beautiful Sant’Erasmo, or the picturesque Pellestrina. When most people begin planning a trip to that part of the world, in Venice area, images of romantic walkways and Renaissance art come to mind, and haunted islands generally don’t rank very high on anyone’s must-see list. This is probably one the reason because few people know Poveglia: the island has been uninhabited for many years, and…

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Peveril Castle: impressive ruins in the heart of England.

The imposing ruins of Peveril Castle (also known as Peak Castle or Castleton Castle) rise above the charming village of Castleton in the English county of Derbyshire. It is one of the first Norman fortifications in England, even mentioned in the Domesday Book, a manuscript record of the “Great Survey” of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror. For many years the castle was forgotten, covered over time with lush vegetation. The first cleaning and minor conservation operations were carried…

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The most original cruise? Around the world on a Cargo Ship!

Of course, no tour operator will offer it to his customers, but for some, especially for lovers of unusual travel, it could be the kind of trip to try at least once in their life! Probably not many people know that it is possible to reach the most remote corners of the earth by traveling on container ships, which measure over 600 meters in length, and which welcome paying guests, passengers who choose an unusual way of traveling the world. Cruising on a cargo ship is probably the least known…

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The macabre beheaded portraits of the Victorian era

It’s true: the Victorians beated the internet taking bizarre pictures which show 19th Century Photoshop! My personal opinion: for many graphic designers (I humbly beg your forgiveness, but I can’t defining them photographers) it is not easy to remember the world before Photoshop and digital photo editing. Despite this, probably some people believe that, before the advent of technology, photographs were simple representations of reality at the time of shooting. However, these amusing pictures show how the Victorians were the first to edit photographs to create some rather bizarre images.…

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The story of the almost disappeared town of Thurmond, West Virginia

On the shore of New River Gorge, in West Virginia, United States, lies the almost abandoned city of Thurmond. “Almost” because, the 2010 census, confirmed that five people still live there. The village saw its heyday during the coal industry peak in West Virginia, with a population that reached several hundred inhabitants. Thurmond was named after a captain of the Confederate army, WD Thurmond. He received the 73-acre site in 1873 as payment for a surveying job and decided to make this place his home. Other people joined him and…

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Pavia’s Covered Bridge and the pact with the devil

The Covered Bridge on the Ticino river represents one of Pavia’s most symbolic monuments. It connect the historical centre of the city to the area known as Borgo Ticino, a pictoresque quarter which was once inhabited only by washerwomen, fishermen and boatmen. The current bridge was built between the end of the 40s and the beginning of the 50s of the twentieth century, following the destruction of the Medieval covered bridge gravely damaged by bombings of the Allied Forces during World War II. The old bridge, of which the new…

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The legendary submerged forest of Wales brought to light by a storm.

Almost by magic, the forest protagonist of the legend of the reign of Cantre’r Gwaelod reappeared thanks to the storm Hannah which, in these days, hit vigorously the United Kingdom and on Ireland, with winds above 130km/h, leaving more than 10,000 homes without electricity. His ferocity, however, has brought to light, unexpectedly, the remains of an ancient and legendary Welsh forest, disappeared for millennia. Popular legends tell of a fertile land that extended for over 30 km, a mythological kingdom that was swept away, from one day to another, by…

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Greenbrier Ghost: the deceased who had her husband condemned for murder

It was July 1897, when Edward Stribbling “Trout” Shue was convicted of first-degree murder for strangling and to have broken his wife’s neck. His trial, which was held in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, was based entirely on circumstantial evidence that demonstrated man’s guilt, beyond any reasonable doubt, in an unusual way: evidence was presented to the jurors come from beyond the grave! The facts that led to the conviction of Shue included some “post-mortem” statements of his deceased wife, Zona Heaster Shue, who appeared to her mother four weeks after…

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Denmark: Skagen, Sand-Covered-Church, Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse and the Power of nature

Skagen is a town in Denmark located in the region of northern Jutland, in whose area there is Grenen, a sandy strip that extends to the north-east at the point where two parts of the North Sea join. Skagen can be considered a natural pearl, with an environment that has inspired many local artists between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, artists whose works are exhibited among other things in the Skagen Museum, but also many fishermen. In the area there are some suggestive abandoned places, such as the Den Tilsandede…

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The Intriguing History of Predjama Castle, Slovenia, built into the side of a cave

The wonderful Predjama Castle, Slovenia, seems like it belongs in a fantasy world, but the real history behind this Renaissance castle is much more interesting than its exterior charm. It has been built into the mouth of a cave and sits about 10 kilometers from the village of Postojna in south-central Slovenia, and tells a picturesque story about the times when comfort had to give way to safety, and when the clatter of weapons would often drown out troubadours’ songs. Surprisingly, the current castle isn’t the first building to sit…

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Dawid Planeta, the artist that illustrates his battle with depression

Polish artist and graphic designer Dawid Planeta, in his series of grayscale illustrations, summons gigantic beasts placed in a mysterious and unknown land. Titled “Mini People in the Jungle”, artworks explore the artist’s personal experience with depression, visualizing his mental journey through dark moments. The same Dawid Planeta explains, “It’s a story of a man descending into darkness and chaos in search of himself.” A small man appears in the series, perhaps the artist himself, wandering through the fog-filled labyrinth, bravely facing the disturbing jungle animals whit their glowing eyes…

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Carhenge, the American Stonehenge made of vintage cars

Near Alliance, Nebraska, there is an exact copy of Stonehenge, but made entirely from vintage cars. All of us, at least once in a lifetime, came across some images of Stonehenge, the most famous and impressive “Stone Circle” in the United Kingdom located near Amesbury, Wiltshire. A set of megaliths, some of which are topped by horizontal elements, a structure that is believed to be an ancient astronomical observatory, but whose real purpose still remains a mystery. Certainly less common is come across images of Carhenge, located in Nebraska, in…

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Key West, the doll Robert and a long series of inexplicable events.

This story from Key West, Florida, has always aroused and continues to arouse great curiosity: the protagonist is a life-size doll donated in 1906 Otto family’s maid to Robert Eugene, a 5-year-old boy at the time. The child immediately ties himself to the strange, straw-filled doll with the look and clothes of a naval officer and in his arms a little dog, deciding to call her with his first name, Robert. Instead, he prefers to call himself Eugene, or Gene, as his family called him. It wasn’t long, however, before…

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Isla de las Muñecas: the island of the hanged dolls in Mexico.

Beyond the Atlantic Ocean and precisely in Mexico City, there is a place that is decidedly creepy, recently become famous among the explorers of the unknown and the macabre, for the hundreds of dolls hanging from the branches of its trees. This is the Isla de las Muñecas, litterally, the Island of the Dolls. It is so named because of the presence of numerous dolls decidedly “unusual”: they are hanged to any tree, fence or vertical surface of the place and watching threateningly anyone approaching! It is an artificial island…

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Cecil Hotel: murders and suicides in the cursed hotel

The Cecil Hotel is one of LA’s most famous hotels, especially thanks to its dark history. Home to murderers, maniacs, and ghosts, some say the hotel is cursed. The Cecil Hotel is a hotel located in downtown Los Angeles and was built in 1924 by William Banks Hanner. This hotel had been created primarily for tourists and business people who obviously needed a place to stay. The original design of the hotel had to contain 700 rooms, which, however, were reduced to 600. Here, since 1950, began to happen unusual…

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Trenton Psychiatric Hospital: the “madhouse of horrors” in New Jersey

Founded on May 15, 1848, It was called New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum, then it was renamed Trenton State Hospital and, after a few years, it took on the simplest name of Trenton Psychiatric Hospital. It is located in Trenton and Ewing, New Jersey, and this last name leaves no room for doubts about the intended use: it was a madhouse, but with lot of peculiarities surely not nice. Not an asylum like many others in the world, it was the first structure built in the USA according to the…

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Triora: the Italian Village of the Terrifying trial to the Witches.

Triora is a medieval village once a crossroads of considerable importance for trade between Italy and France. In 1587, bad weather and pitiful crops led to a famine, and the desperate residents of Triora, exhausted by the circumstances, needed to find a scapegoat for the errors committed by the landowners, who were the real culprits of the lack of food. Soon they became convinced that only the work of witches could bring such misfortune, and the scapegoat was individuated by a really terrific witch hunt. The Inquisitor of Genoa and…

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The mysterious Hanging Coffins of Sagada, Philippines

In the mists of time, for over 2000 years, the Igorot population has traditionally created wooden coffins and set them overhanging in the rock. The Igorots are an indigenous tribe living still today in Sagada, Luzon Island, Philippines, and this tradition is still present today. The Igorots practise unique funerary customs, in which the dead are buried in coffins which are tied or nailed to the side of cliffs. As tradition requires, everyone builds his own coffin, starting this work when he begins to feel the first signs of weakening…

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Tenerife: the abandoned Añaza hotel

This hotel in Tenerife is in complete abandonment and it is perfect for a disquieting holiday in a deserted and lunar-like landscape! This is the Añaza hotel of which little or nothing is known. At the entrance, the courtyard is covered with vegetation, and there are lot of graffiti on the walls. Inside there are yellowed mattresses, broken glass bottles and also ashes of a barbecue. I have not found lot of information, probably is the hotel abandoned since the Fifties in the village of sailors of Los Pocitos, on…

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William Hope: the most famous medium in London and his photographies.

During the period of World War I in England, William Hope was a well known and popular character: he was not only a spiritual medium, able to contact the dead, but is said to be famous also because he was able to photograph the spirits. Obviously the work of medium attracted many criticisms and many accused him of fraud. Despite the criticisms, his work as a medium continued and there were really lot of people who decided to rely on him. Many wanted to know how their loved ones were…

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The Mystery of Rennes le Chateau.

It was a simple country priest to discover (and to keep hidden) what Rennes-le-Chateau has kept since the times of the Knights Templar. It has little more than a handful of inhabitants, but this little village of Aude, in France, is the destination of thousands of mystery lovers and simple curious, attracted by what is said about this singular place. Rennes-le-Chateau is nothing more than the receptacle of a unique legendary story for its variety of themes coming from very different cultural environments. The trait-d’union is an alleged treasure that…

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Crimes, mysteries and ghosts in Beelitz, Germany.

Crimes, mysteries and ghosts: this is Beelitz, a famous abandoned German hospital, located near Berlin, exactly in the south-west part. The entire structure is made up of 60 buildings and was built in 1898. During this period, tuberculosis spread in Germany, and the hospital was built with the intention of hosting the tuberculosis patients, with the function of a sanatorium. This was far from population centers and therefore in the middle of nature, perfect for the sick. However, during the World War I, this structure became a military hospital, dedicated…

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The Splendid Waves of the 19th century paintings by Ivan Aivazovsky.

The painter Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, in the nineteenth century, was the author of some of the most incredible paintings representing the sea. Of Russian-Armenian origin, he was one of the most important painters of his time, author of the painting “The Ninth Wave”, considered by many “the most beautiful work of a Russian”. The title of this incredible painting, in the image below, refers to an old sailing expression referring to a wave of incredible size that comes after a succession of incrementally larger waves. It depicts a sea after…

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Relationships before Social Networks: 20 old photographs shows a different way to delete the former Friends.

In the past friendship, before Facebook and the other social networks, was an exchange of affection, sharing of common experiences and a direct knowledge of the other that defined a closer relationship than simple knowledge. Now friendship has become really different, often misunderstood between real and virtual, but the most sad thing is that the word “friend” for many has assumed a really superficial connotation. In fact, on Facebook, Instagram and similar, your contacts are all Friends, even if you don’t know at all that person! As in many human…

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Borley Rectory: the most haunted place in the UK.

When we hear about places haunted by ghosts and poltergeists, one of the first to be remembered is surely the Borley Rectory, in England. This construction was investigated by the famous “ghost hunter” Harry Price. It was said that all sorts of paranormal phenomena occurred inside it. But what is the truth? Borley Rectory stood in the small village of the same name, located between Essex and Suffolk, on the south-eastern coast of England. The building was built in 1863 over the remains of a Benedictine monastery supposedly built in…

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