24 photographs of the 1930s show the Life conditions in the New York Psychiatric Hospital.

These photos from Pilgrim State Hospital in the late 1930s blended clear-eyed reporting with an almost palpable compassion. The black and white photographs were taken by the LIFE’s Alfred Eisenstaedt photographer, one of the most famous in the 1900s, at the New York hospital in 1938. But what is perhaps most unsettling about the images is how terribly familiar they look, even today, three-quarters of a century after they were shot. “Continuous-flow bath is the best method for calming excited mental cases. With their bodies greased, the patients can remain…

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3.500 years ago the Ancient Egyptians used an effective Pregnancy Test!

At the University of Copenhagen in Denmark there is a unique collection of Ancient Egyptian papyrus manuscripts. A large part of the collection has not yet been translated and still unpublished. There are texts about medicine, botany, astronomy, astrology, and other sciences practiced in Ancient Egypt. When you hear about the history of science, the focus is often on the Greek and Romans, but Egyptians goes much further back, in fact one of these medical texts was written 3,500 years ago when there was no written material on the European…

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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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Friday 17th. Why in italy is a day of bad luck?

Have you heard of the unlucky nature of the number 13? Especially when it falls on a Friday, and this in some parts of the world. But in Italy is especially the number 17 is avoided and feared. Even familiarly irrational things like skipping the number on airplane rows, hotel rooms or street addresses are common, on cases most eccentric. Friday the 17th is a national day of bad luck…but are you sure to find an Italian who can coherently explain their motivation for avoiding travel and important events or…

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The images of the tragic accident of the Morandi Bridge in Maracaibo in 1964.

All over the world radio and television speak ablut Genoa where yesterday, August 14, 2018, collapsed for a structural failure the Polcevera bridge, known as the “Morandi”, for the surname of the engineer who designed it. The engineer Riccardo Morandi (1902-1989) was the architect of many bridges between the 50s and the 70s, all made with pre-compressed reinforced concrete, but at the time the process of deterioration was not known in detail and the consequent decay of facilities. The first bridge he designed also suffered a tragic fate. Morandi won…

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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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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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Jo Lido, the most advanced italian waterpark, over 20 years later.

It was the 90s, the years in which the waterparks were all the rage. This was built in record time in 1990 (work began in March, and in June of the same year it was inaugurated). Was called Joe Lido by the owners that deliberately did not put the word “water” in its name, to distinguish this place from all the others. Apparently, for these times, it was the most advanced water park in Europe: 55,000 square meters of green and another 50,000 square meters for parking, swimming pool with…

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Rocky Mountain Oysters: the “oysters” that doesn’t come from the ocean.

Here we are: If they are speaking about Rocky Mountain oysters, Cowboy caviar, or Prairie oysters, they not speak about a dish that come from the ocean. In fact, these “oysters” come from the underside of a bull. In American West and Western Canada, castrate the bulls for eating their testicles for legendary snacking is usual. Most gourmands enjoy their testicles battered, fried, and served with ketchup, cocktail sauce, hot sauce, or mayonnaise. The oysters come from a necessary process in the cattle industry, in fact castrating bulls is important…

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King Frederick William I of Prussia and his “obsession”…

King Frederick William I of Prussia, also know as “The Soldier King”, was undoubtedly a leader, skilled to running his country’s economy and the military. During his reign, between 1713 and 1740, he transformed the army of about 30,000 poorly-trained troops he inherited from his father, Frederick I, into a terrible army with over 80,000 strong soldiers. Next, it would become one of the most strong forces in all of Europe, expanding Prussia’s territories and transforming the German state into an European powerhouse. But there was another regimen of soldiers…

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Raw Herring Ice Cream: a dutch speciality.

Here we are: It’s unusual that someone speak about an ice cream parlor into the Netherlands’ national news, but that’s exactly what happened when Robin Alting started selling raw herring ice cream in his shop in Rotterdam. Even if the Dutch are known for their love of herring, the usage of the favourite fishy into sweet ice cream was probably too excessive! The flavor is a frozen blend of raw herring, onion, sugar, and cream. It’s been described as having the texture of traditional ice cream but the strong taste…

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Lizzie Borden: a Victorian-age mystery much discussed.

“Lizzie Borden took an axe And gave her mother forty whack When she saw what she had done She gave her father forty-one.” Exist this strange odd children’s rhyme and may sound amusing too, but it is actually real-life inspired and briefly tells the story of Lizzie Borden, a creepy murderer and one of America’s most widely-known cases of parricide. The Borden’s crime happened exactly 126 years ago, during Victorian times, and its horror story is talk even today, also between authors, horror story fans, and film-makers. The story tells…

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Mawson’s Huts: Frozen in times.

Lost on the edge of Cape Denison in Antarctica, there is a small group of huts that were built by Australian antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson in the early 20th century. However, they have been abandoned for decades, preserving much of the objects and furnitur of the original expedition. The small reasearch station was built between 1911-1914 and is now known simply as the Mawson Huts. It stands as one of the last outposts left from the Heroic Era of Antarctic Exploration, and the only one created by Australians. Mawson and…

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Klever Gate: the towers that defied demolition, now a fairytale vacation rental.

A story with a happy ending that of these incredible tenacious 14th-century towers survived of a demolition and now a fairytale vacation rental. Built in 1393, these are the last medieval city gates in the historic city of Xanten, on the banks of the River Rhine. They’re so well-built that a demolition attempt in the 19th century failed to raze them. The two towers were built by the cities of Kleve and Cologne, which shared administrative responsibility for Xanten in the 14th century. Once they were joined together by a…

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Finland: Salt Licorice Ice Cream.

Here we are: We are in Finland, where black licorice is intensified with a hit of salty, stinging ammonium chloride, and the resulting candy is a popular snack. So popular, that summertime in Finland means salt licorice ice cream. Salt licorice ice cream is sell in different forms like scoops, soft serve, and ice-cream bars. The candy company named Fazer makes their ice cream in the same shape as their typic salt licorice candy. The sweet, salty ice cream is a deep gray, it’s often covered in an dark black…

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The curious case of Jeremy Bentham.

Following the request attached to the will, the body of the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham was embalmed and preserved after his death in 1832 by his pupil Thomas Southwood Smith. In life he was an exceptional thinker, a forerunner of many social revolutions like equal rights for women, the abolition of slavery, the defense of animal rights, the separation of state and church, the right to divorce and the decriminalization of the crime of sodomy. The head and body were placed in a wooden cabinet that Bentham himself called “Auto-icon”.…

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Buy homemade pecan-pies in a vending machine: in Texas it’s possible.

Here we are: Today the vending machines are increasingly common all over the world. But just imagine a 24-hour vending machine restocked every day with homemade full-sized pecan pies! Impossible? Absolutely not! If casually you find yourself driving down Highway 71 in Texas, I suggest to look carefully the signs directing you toward the giant squirrel statue holding a pecan nut. Because next to this funny roadside statue is something that should absolutely not be missed for all sweet tooth: a vending machine stocked with full-sized homemade pecan pies. The…

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Anna Göldi: the last witch killed in Europe.

Did you read our story? Do you remember? In Kilkenny, Ireland, in 1324 Petronilla de Meath is burned at the stake because was probably a “witch”. The woman can not know it, but the trail of blood that traces her innocent death will be extended for another 458 years, until 1782, when Anna Göldi dies, and was the last witch killed in Europe. Anna Göldi was born in Sennwald, Switzerland, in 1734, the fourth of eight children, in a wealthy family. His father was a nephew of a prestigious local…

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Photostory of Alkimia Club: what’s left of a pizza restaurant with live music.

Since three years, but certainly since many and many more, on the trunk road Adriatica SS16, between the italian sea localities of Francavilla and Ortona, there are the remains of this abandoned building. Once it was a pizza restaurant, where on Saturday evening you could dance or listen to live music during dinner or after dinner. Musical revival, rock, pop, Latin American, commercial, hip hop or r & b for all tastes. Nothing else is known about this place. There are no ratings, reviews, photographs or memories on the web,…

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The curious story of Michelin Guide: why a tyres company has been interested in restaurants?

Here we are: The Michelin Red Guide is the sacred text of cooking enthusiasts, and the nightmare of many chefs, where the opinions expressed on the guide can determine the fate, positive or negative, of any restaurant…but why a tyres company has the idea to publish a guide to the best restaurants, which over the decades has become the reference point of gastronomic tourism? A brilliant idea and a creative marketing strategy began the publication of the Michelin Guide, created to encourage the use of cars. The French brothers Edouard…

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Petronilla de Meath: the Dramatic History of the first “Witch” burned at the stake.

Nearly nothing is known about Petronilla de Meath, except that she was the first woman to be burned at the stake as a witch, in Kilkenny, Ireland, in 1324. It is not known who her parents were, nor what surname she had, because “De Meath” simply means “of Meath”: she was therefore probably born in Meath, around 1300, and was a servant in the house of a very rich but not noble woman, named Alice Kyteler, the only daughter of landowners, who at 17 he married William Outlaw, an equally…

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Acid on the pool: just a story about Racism in United States.

It was 11th June 1964, and The Civil Rights Act, which guarantee equality among all men in the United States, would become law 20 days later, exactly on July 2nd, but despite this, there is still time for an absurd episode of racism. Martin Luther King Junior go at the Monson Motor Lodge Motel in Saint Augustine, Florida, intending to eat at the restaurant. The owner of the Motel “only for whites” Jimmy Brock, prevents access, and Luther King is arrested and taken to prison. From prison he writes to…

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