Thann, Alsace and L’œil de la Sorcière (The Witch’s Eye)

The little town of Thann lies on the eastern slopes of the Vosges, in the département of Haut-Rhin (Alsace). A historic town which once belonged to the Habsburgs in the Middle-Ages, it is renown for its remarkable Gothic church and the Rangen vineyard and, in fact, it is also the southern gate to the Alsace Wine Route. According to the legend, the town originated from a miracle attributed to St. Theobald, the Bishop of Gubbio (Umbria, Italy). In 1160, Ubald (or Theobald) saw his death coming soon and promised his…

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Remembering Undercliff Sanatorium, Meriden

The state of Connecticut is home to many well-known abandoned mental hospitals. For decades, the Undercliff Sanatorium, a former state health facility, lied at the base of South Mountain, near Hubbard Park in Meriden. Even though it was shuttered, some claimed it was still in use….by the ghosts of former patients. It was originally opened in 1910 as the Meriden Sanatorium and, in 1918, became the first facility in the nation dedicated exclusively to treating children afflicted with tuberculosis but also measles, chickenpox, and smallpox. The name was changed to…

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Cereseto castle and its secrets

Cereseto is about 50 kilometres east of Turin and about 30 kilometres northwest of Alessandria, Northern Italy. Probably established around 500–600 AD. and mentioned in records of the Bishop of Asti from around 957 AD., it is perched on a hill, and is dominated by its castle. The town was the property of the Graseverto family of Asti, who probably built the first castle around 900–1000 AD, but completely demolished in 1600. It was 1910 when the financier Riccardo Gualino and his wife launched construction of a new castle with…

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Sibiu, the romanan city where the roofs don’t sleep.

We are in Sibiu. Geographically, it is located in the southern part of Transylvania, close to the Carpathian mountains. Built in the 1100s by the Saxon settlers invited by the Hungarian King in Transylvania, Sibiu, also named Hermannstadt, managed to preserve untouched most of its architectural heritage. While walking around the Romanian city, you’ll start to notice something a bit odd, and you may even get the sense that someone, or something, is watching you. And, wnhile you gaze at the city’s architecture, you’ll start to realize are the houses…

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Salice Terme: the sad story of a beloved tourist destination and its decline

Hotels no longer have a single free room, streets and nightclubs are overflowing with tourists, while flocks of photographers swarm from one limo to another in search of some VIPs. Who will be the winner this year? The jury is hard at work and will soon issue the verdict. It seems like the description of one of the highlight days of the Venice or Cannes Film Festival. But no, we are in Salice Terme, in the heart of the Po Valley, in the mid-1960s, when the spa town in the…

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North Carolina’s Can Opener Bridge: this too-low North Carolina railroad trestle is still a notorious truck executioner

At the corner of Gregson and Peabody streets in Durham, North Carolina lies what at first glance appears to be an innocent railroad trestle – but this is no ordinary railroad trestle. It is sinister and cunning and will mercilessly scalp any vehicle too high and mighty for its own good. Well, most bridges in North Carolina have a 15-foot clearance (about 4,5 meters), but this was designed in the 1920s and built in 1940, and so it has a clearance of 11 feet 8 inches (3,6 meters). This architectural…

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St. Stephen Bulgarian Church: the unique cast iron Church of Istanbul

We are in Istanbul, Turkey, a city that has no shortage of houses of worship, and the Bulgarian Church of St. Stephen set along the shore of the Golden Horn blends in with its holy brethren at first glance. Upon closer inspection, however, this cross-shaped basilica is like few others in the world. St. Stephen Church has the detailed ornaments of a regular Orthodox stone church, but it’s actually made of prefabricated cast iron elements. Sometimes referred to as “The Iron Church”, it is considered the largest prefabricated cast iron…

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The gray cat ghost at Fairport Harbor Lighthouse – Ohio

Even though the Fairport Harbor Light on Lake Erie, Ohio, was given the amazing nickname “The light that shone for 100 years”, it actually doesn’t live up to its name. The current lighthouse didn’t earn the nickname alone, because Its predecessor, which was built in the same site, shone for the first 46 years. The original lighthouse was built in 1825 and, when the population of the town reached 300, the Painesville Telegraph issued a notice asking for lighthouse bids. Collector of Customs, A. Walworth, signed the proposal but, unfortunately,…

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Jewett City Vampires: the graves of a Connecticut family thought to be plagued by a vampire ~

When people think of early New England, one of the many things that come to mind are the infamous witch trials of the late 17th century, of which Connecticut was quite an active participant with lot of people tried as witches and some of them even executed. During that dark time in state’s history the belief in and fear of supernatural creatures was quite strong: not only were witches a source of concern, so was the Devil himself. This general sense of apprehension in regard to the supernatural was so…

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The impressive little Lourdes 30 km from Milan

It would take a miracle to save what should have been the little Lourdes of the Lombard Prealps. In Merate, a small town near Lecco, in Northern Italy, about 30 kilometers from Milan, locals call it “ex Oratorio San Luigi” because, before becoming a dark and decaying ruin, it was the parish meeting point in the city for about 30 years. Actually, this is the Basilica of the Santissima Immacolata, designed in 1906 by Spirito Monsignor Chiappetta, engineer and friend of Pope Pius XI on an area of 4 thousand…

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The Line: Saudi Arabia’s controversial 170-Km-Long linear city of the future

In early 2021 Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman unveiled the concept of a futuristic urban development called The Line which, in short, consists of a linear, 170-km-long city without roads of cars and built around nature. During the presentation of his project, back in January, he described the future smart city as a direct response to growing challenges like human congestion, pollution, traffic and outdated infrastructure. Linking the coast of the Red Sea with the mountains and upper valleys of the north-west of Saudi Arabia, The Line will…

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Rusovce Mansion: a once-fairy tale mansion in Slovakia now stands in a state of disrepair.

We are in the Rusovce borough, part of Bratislava, capital of Slovakia. Surrounded by crumbling walls and Rusovsky Park, a beautiful sprawling English park, the Rusovce Mansion, english for Rusovský kaštieľ, is a decaying example of neoclassical architecture. There are records of a castle at this location dating back to 1266, but today visitors to the area will only see this once-glorious white building constructed between 1840 and 1906. The current mansion was built on the site of an older manor house from the 16th century, with a medieval structure…

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La maison dans la Loire: the sunken structure that looks like the victim of a catastrophic flood.

Known simply as “La maison dans la Loire” (literally the House in the Loire), the three-storey building looks like the victim of a flood that once swept it away, but sometimes appearances can be deceiving…. If you walk along the river Loire, near the town of Lavau-sur-Loire, just a stone throw away from Nantes, are a rather unusual sight: a tilted building located right in the middle of the river. You’d think it was brutally swept away by some catastrophic flood, or something similar, but it was actually placed there…

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Manila Cemetery: known as “Beverly Hills of the Dead” is full of luxurious final resting places

Not even death put an end to the luxurious lifestyles of some of Manila’s wealthy Chinese residents. Here, in the capital of Philippines, the dead have better houses than the living ones: the Chinese Cemetery of Manila is a real little neighborhood, with many tombs reaching the size of real mansions, including all their modern amenities. The mausoleums lining either side of two-way streets within the cemetery are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities that many living people can only dream of: they have fully-functioning kitchens and bathrooms with luxury fittings, and…

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Casa Hamilton, the charm of abandonment overlooking the Atlantic Ocean

The island of Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. It is famous for its active volcano, Mount Teide, which is considered the third-largest in the world. But here there is also a place that combines a sense of abandonment and breathtaking views: it is the Elevador de aguas de Gordejuela, better known as Casa Hamilton, a pumping station where hydraulic pumps once transported the abundant waters of the Gordejuela springs to hills and banana plantations, located in the extraordinary area by Los Realejos. This set of ruins, which…

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Kauai, the Hawaiian Island home to thousands of feral chicken

The island of Kauai, in the Hawaiian archipelago, is home to thousands of feral chicken that have developed a real relationship with the island’s human inhabitants. From the pristine beaches of Lumbahai, to airports, gas stations, even urban parking lots, they are everywhere on the Island. They roam freely, and have adapted to lead a a variety of lifestyles in their Hawaiian paradise, from eating garbage and cat food, to depending on tourists for food, or foraging on native arthropods. It’s because of this lifestyle variety that the chickens relationship…

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Zombie Hunters, a local singer or photoshop? The true story of loneliest house in the world

For years, a variety of photos of a mysterious solitary white house on the side of a green hill, on a small, deserted island surrounded by ocean as far as the eye can see have been doing the rounds on the web, earning the unofficial title of “loneliest house in the world”. But where is exactly? In Iceland. The Vestmannaeyjar archipelago consists of a cluster of small islands off the southern coast of the country. Elliðaey, or Ellirey, is the most northeastern of these islands, and home to the iconic…

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Squire’s Castle: the only structure from a huge mansion that was never built

The so-called Squire’s Castle sits upon a slight hilltop right off of Chagrin River Road just north of Route 6 in Willoughby Hills, Ohio. Its massive stone walls, arched doorways and larger tower have enchanted visitors for generations. However, It isn’t actually a castle, but rather the gatehouse to a castle that was never built. And apparently there are two versions of why the building never materialized…. In the late-19th century, such a Feargus B. Squire (1850-1932), attracted by the beauty of the scenic Chagrin Valley purchased 525 acres there.…

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Okuda San Miguel, the spanish artist that turned an old lighthouse into a vibrantly colored work of art

Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel turned a regular lighthouse in northern Spain’s Cantabria region into an eye-catching work of art. Literally inspired by the “natural wealth of the region by representing local fauna and, with its textures, the cultural diversity of a modern and open Cantabria, which is connected to the world,” he turned the Faro de Ajo lighthouse into a technicolor work, featuring more than 70 vibrant hues. His signature style comprises vibrant geometric patterns that integrate animals, skulls, and religious iconography. He started work on the 16-meter-tall lighthouse…

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Hillandale Bridge: the abandoned bridge to nowhere that stands secluded in the woods of a Cleveland suburb

Many people have had conversations about the “abandoned Hillandale bridge to nowhere” and some even have reach it, either with or without spray paint in hand. This 1920s construction that has stood the test of time lies perched atop a hill on an old brick road in Euclid, Ohio, near a city park of the same name. And now exists, not by chance, literally as a bridge to nowhere. Money was poured into a bridge that was built to allow car traffic to a development that promised “high grade homes”…

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The curious background of Tombland Alley

Once known as the central marketplace of Norwich, England, the name of this historic alley, Tombland, is a bit misleading, as it has nothing to do with the burying of the dead. Actually, it is the combination of two Old English words meaning something like “open ground” or “empty space”, and indicate an area which was once the main market place before the Normans arrived in 1066. The most curious feature of Tombland Alley is the often-photographed Augustine Steward House, built in the early part of the 16th century for…

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Larnach Castle: a haunted castle high on a hill

Larnach Castle, one of only two castles in all of New Zealand, has a rich history, spotted with family drama, death, and a variety of ghost stories and, given the facts, It’s unsurprising then that its owner’s ghost is said to be a bit tetchy. The interior is filled with vintage furniture, beautiful designs, and cat artwork. However, this architectural oddity would be difficult to stumble across, unless you knew it was there. Hidden in the South Island is the city of Dunedin. Wandering through its streets, you’ll find dozens…

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Reasons why you should visit the Camposanto of Pisa

Despite the Camposanto, a monumental cemetery, is just right next to one of the most recognized buildings in the world, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy, it does not see nearly as many visitors. “Campo Santo” can be literally translated as “holy field”, because it is said to have been built around a shipload of sacred soil from Golgotha, brought back to Pisa from the Third Crusade by Ubaldo Lanfranchi, archbishop of Pisa in the 12th century. According to a popular belief, the bodies buried in that ground will rot…

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Viareggio: a statue for Ettore, the cat friend of fishermen

Ettore was abandoned in a cardboard box along the pier in Viareggio, Italy. It was 1997, and from that moment on this special cat has no longer had a home or a human owner, but countless different homes and friends. Especially the local fishermen, who went back and forth every day along the pier, becoming his family. The leftovers of the fish constituted the dinner of little Ettore, who patiently awaited his daily ration every day. It was a cat that entered the hearts not only of fishermen, who saw…

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Abandoned Bunkers of Salpalinja, Finland

In the early 1940s, tensions were high in Finland, as locals suspected that the Soviet Union, not satisfied with the territorial gains they had made during the Winter War (1939–1940), would plan another invasion.. As a result, in 1940, Finland began the construction of so-called Salpalinja (the “Salpa Line”), a system of more than 700 field fortifications made from concrete or excavated from rock along country’s eastern border. Stretching 1,200 kilometers from the Gulf of Finland in the south to modern-day Pechengsky, Russia, in the north, Salpalinja consisted of bunkers,…

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Katzenbalgen, the Monument to Homeless Cats

In Braunschweig, Germany, where the streets Hutfilter, Damm and Kattreppeln meet in the pedestrian zone, the most gorgeous, humorous and unconventional monument of the city has stood since 1981, the “Katzenbalgen” stele by Siegfried Neuenhausen, a former professor at the Braunschweig University of Art and one of the most outstanding personalities in Lower Saxony’s art scene. The monument is impressively large and looks like a high stele, on which a variety of bronze cats are fixed in different poses. All people who see the monument for the first time notice…

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Grange Lido: Abandoned for over 20 years, this art deco seaside swimming pool is a magnificent waste.

We are in Grange-over-Sands, England. Built in 1932, this once-glorious seaside outdoor pool has been left to rot for over 25 years. The lido, an open-air public pool that was popular in 1930s England, was originally filled with saltwater from nearby Morecambe Bay. Adorned with art deco designs, it’s easy to imagine how the lido must have looked in its heyday. The pool is 50m long and bordered by an entrance block with upper viewing gallery and attached sun decks, detached changing wings, terraces, pump house, paddling pool and a…

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The curious history behind some popular Halloween traditions

Now a night of frolic especially for children in America but now also all over the world, this autumn holiday is actually a mix of old rituals remembering the dead and celebrating the spirit world. You may have found yourself wondering what is the history of Halloween, and why we celebrate it. Well, although it’s a secular holiday today, the history of Halloween has roots in ancient religious and spiritual traditions that have evolved over time. The original Halloween, dating back to ancient times, was a pagan celebration called Samhain.…

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Some Halloween urban legends that refuse to die

We’ve all heard the scary stories. And Halloween would be nothing without the tricks and, above all, wouldn’t be fun without a scare or two. That’s the allure of the terrifying tales that circulate around this beloved holiday and have taken on legendary status. In any case, some of the 175 million Americans who celebrate this spooky holiday do take the Halloween pranks too far. Here’s the truth behind some popular Halloween-based urban legends…. Really a lunatic has hidden razor blades in apples? 🍎😱 Probably you heard this story when…

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Sanatorio Durán: one of the most haunted places in Costa Rica

We are along the road to Irazú Volcano, 7 kilometers north of the city of Cartago, Costa Rica. It’s said Carlos Durán Cartín, an eminent physician who briefly served as president of Costa Rica (1889-90), opened this tuberculosis hospital in 1918 hoping to treat his own daughter who was suffering from the disease, for which there was no known treatment in Central America at the time. Others say that she contracted the disease after the hospital opened but, in any case, he chose a remote location complete with good weather,…

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