The forgotten Benbulben Barite Mines – Ireland

In a beautiful and remote area of Ireland are the remains of Benbulben Barite Mine. The once industrious mine was used to unearth barite ore, a naturally occurring mineral used in cement as an aggregate, or ground down and used as a filler or extender. It’s an agent in the sugar refining process, a white pigment in paint and paper, and used as a weighting agent in oil and gas exploration mining, among many other industrial-type things. Due its chemical stability it can be used to give added value to…

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Knockers: Mine Spirits of Cornish Folklore

Many miners in the 19th century both in the United Kingdom and America but not only, believed in the existence of more or less helpful mine spirits. The supernatural creatures most commonly encountered underground are the Mine Goblins or Kobolds, in Germanic folklore, characters that sometimes stole miner’s unattended tools and food. This folklore began in Cornwall, England, where miners believed in spirits that lived and worked in mines. The most common of the subterranean British breeds are the Knockers of South-west England and the Coblynau of Wales. They were…

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Silver City Cemetery: all that remain of a once-booming mining town.

The Silver City Cemetery looks as if it were pulled directly from a Western movie: worn headstones, scraggly trees, and peeling picket fences which create a beautiful, yet nostalgic, portrait of the American southwest. Nestled in a grove of trees just off US Highway 50, the site sits as a sad final reminder of what was once a booming mining town. Silver City was a silver mining town about 90 miles (140 km) south-southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah, an area considered part of the Tintic Mining District that also…

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Treadwell: the ruins of an Alaskan gold mine that form a gorgeous ghost town.

Treadwell, just south of Douglas, Alaska, has seen better days: the former mining town was a company mining town for the workers and their families for up to four mines from 1883 to 1917. The town boasted five mills, stores, mess halls, bunkhouses, a marching band, and even Alaska’s first indoor swimming pool, known as a natatorium, which housed as well as basketball courts. Treadwell had also its own baseball field and team that competed with four other teams from Alaska and Yukon. If this wasn’t enough, Treadwell was in…

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The dark origins of the fairy tale “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is one of the most famous (and appreciated) fairy tales in the world, first related in 1812 when the Grimm brothers published their collection of tales that had been gathered from old European folk stories. Like many of the Grimm tales, it is supposed that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has been in existence since the Middle Ages, passed down through word-of-mouth over the centuries. The version that is universally told today is the most “digestible” by a non-adult audience, and in 1937,…

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Tonopah Mining Park: over a century of mining…

The story goes that prospector Jim Butler was camping around Tonopah Springs, the spring of 1900. He was angrily chasing a runaway burro (a donkey) that had wandered off during the night and sought shelter near a rock outcropping. When he discovered it the next morning, he picked up a rock to throw at the animal, found it surprisingly heavy, and realized he had stumbled upon a wealth of untapped silver ore. He had discovered the second-richest silver strike in Nevada history! He continued his journey and showed the samples…

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Old Tonopah Cemetery~

As the story goes, the once booming mining community of Tonopah owes its existence to a wayward burro (a “burro” is small donkey, especially used as a pack animal in the southwestern U.S.). One of prospector Jim Butler’s animals had wandered off during the night and sought shelter near a rock outcropping. When Butler located the burro the next morning and picked up a rock to throw at the rebel animal, he noticed the rock was exceptionally heavy, and that rock turned out to be from the second richest silver…

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Blue Hawk Mine~

Unlike many reclaimed, abandoned mines, this Canadian cave system is still an interesting, dangerous maze. This is the Blue Hawk Mine, in woods of British Columbia, a rare example of abandoned mine that has not been turned into a boring attraction for adventurous tourists, but is still a dangerous and enigmatic abandoned site. It is located on the east slope of Blue Grouse Mountain, on the west side of Okanagan Lake, just a few kilometres from Downtown Kelowna. Historically the mine began operation in the 1934, but only produced ore…

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