The “curse” of the Wooden Man of Egeskov Castle

We are on the Danish island of Funen (Fyn), near Odense. Hidden among the dusty rafters beneath Egeskov Castle spire is a curious wooden doll. No one knows to whom it belonged, how old the doll is, how long it has been there, or how it came to be left in the dark attic of the imposing 16th-century castle. The dust-covered figure is the size of a child and has been left, as if asleep, on a old pillow. Egeskov Castle is one of 123 manor houses and castles on…

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Ferragosto: history, traditions (and curses) of one of the most beloved holidays in Italy

Celebrated on August 15, the so called Ferragosto may well be considered the height of the Italian summer: many Italians still take their summer vacation around this time, with the cities traditionally emptying and the beaches filling up (at least, until few years ago). Ferragosto, which today coincides with the Catholic feast of the Assumption of Mary (a Catholic dogma established in 1950 by Pope Pius XII), is a holiday that goes back to Roman emperor Augustus’ times. Several festivals took place during the month of August to celebrate the…

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Tomino’s hell: the creepy legend of a cursed poetry.

Can some verses hurt someone? A popular Japanese story is about a poem called “Tomino’s Hell” (トミノの地獄). They say that you should only read with your mind, and never out loud. It’s said that the poem became known to modern audiences after Japanese writer and film critic Inuhiko Yomata (also known as Goki Yomata) included it in a book published in 1998 called The Heart Is Like A Rolling Stone (心は転がる石のように). However, the poem itself is much older, having originally been written by Saijo Yaso in his 27th collection of…

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