Camp Bonifas: the world’s most dangerous golf course that can literally kill you

Playing golf in South Korea can prove to be very dangerous. But what’s the worst thing that can happen? Well, you could get blown up to smithereens, for one. The “deadly golf course” is pretty small at 192 yards, and it is flanked by military style bunkers on the right, while, on the left side, separated by an 5,5-meters high security fence topped by concertina wire, lie buried countless unexploded mines. And even a small mistake could cause a huge, fatal explosion. A nearby sign warns players with a hardly…

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Visingsö Oak Forest: a forest of immensely tall and unusually straight trees planted nearly 200 years ago to build naval ships that never existed

Oak has traditionally been used in shipbuilding since centuries, as its wood is incredibly strong, and if tended just right, the grain is straight and true. Going back even to the Vikings, the slow-growth trees have been used in Sweden for vessels of all kinds, including naval ships. On the lake island of Visingsö, a narrow island in the middle of Vättern, Sweden’s second largest lake, there are hundreds of acres of tall and orderly oaks, all planted with an eye to the long term. As far back as the…

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Salii: the jumping priests of Rome

In ancient Roman religion, the Salii were the “leaping priests” (from the verb saliō “leap, jump”) of Mars supposed to have been introduced by King Numa Pompilius. They were twelve young patrician, dressed as archaic warriors: an embroidered tunic, a breastplate, a short red cloak called paludamentum, a sword, and a spiked headdress called apex. They were charged with the twelve oblong bronze shields with two recesses on the sides, called Ancilia. Among them, there was the authentic shield that Mars dropped from the sky as a gift to king…

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Moose Milk: the Winter Cocktail of the Canadian military

On chilly nights during World War II, there was a potent elixir known as Moose Milk that filled the stomachs (and soothed the souls) of Canadian soldiers. This rich cocktail usually leaved drinkers full, warm, and quite tipsy. Despite there are many variants, historic recipes typically involved ingredients as liquor, cream, and egg yolks beaten with sugar. In any case, which division made it first is uncertain as the Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force, and Canadian Army all claim as the originator of the drink, and each made…

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20# The true story of Silent Night

It was 1914 when soldiers on both sides of the battlefield somewhere in France were enduring a dark and frozen Christmas Eve night. World War I, or the Great War, as it is called still today, eventually took the lives of more than 10 million people. And, of course, the mostly soldiers of that Christmas Eve were contemplating much more beyond their longings for home and warmth and family. When soldiers on the German line placed candles on small Christmas trees and raised them above their trenches it touched the…

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Le Mort Homme: a memorial to the soldiers who died in the bloody battles to control Verdun in World War I

In World War I, the battle of Verdun was a really brutal battle that lasted from February 21 to December 18, 1916. Each meters around the French city was fought over by hundreds of thousands of French and German soldiers, and more from the farthest reaches of the European empires. There was 302 days of bloodshed, and historians still argue over how many actually died, with some estimates claimed near a million, from both sides. Even after the battle, technically won by the French, the story of Verdun wasn’t over:…

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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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Horatio Nelson: from frail guy to National Hero

Often maggot-infested, the food was often uneatable, living quarters were tiny and discipline was extremely strict, with the threat of lashing punishment by the cat-o’-nine-tails ever present. Winston Churchill would write of such life as “nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.” No. This isn’t a novel, but the 18th century world of the British Navy. No wonder, thus, if there were few volunteers. Most crewmen who, of course, might not see their families again for years, had been press-ganged into service. The Government at the time, at war with…

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Tham Piew Cave: a tangible reminder of an atrocity that took place during a secret war.

On this day, November 24, 1968, daily life began much as it had for some time. Villagers, accustomed to bombs and rocket attacks in the region, had long sought refuge deep in the extensive limestone cave systems of eastern Laos. Along with hundreds of men, women, and children from neighboring villages, rebel Pathet Lao fighters occasionally sought refuge in the dozens of large caves throughout the region as the insurgents made their way through eastern Laos. However, if most of the caves proved to provide safe haven, Tham Piew Cave…

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Lt. George Dixon and his lucky gold coin

According to the legend, Lieutenant George Dixon of the 21st Alabama Infantry Regiment was quite a lucky man. At least, at first. Shot at the battle of Shiloh, the ball from a Union soldier’s musket that hit him in the thigh should have taken his life, or at best his entire leg. In fact, serious arm and leg wounds during the Civil War were often treated by amputating the affected limb, the practice of which required nothing more than an ether-soaked rag over the nose and an improvised surgeon’s saw.…

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The haunted fields of Andersonville~

When it comes to haunted places in the Deep South of United States, two cities often come to mind: Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. If you’ve ever been to either of these two cities you’ll understand why. And if not, just considering their history, how could they not be, given the bloodshed of the Civil War as well as the horrible Slave Trade? Despite it is easy to understand why these two cities carry a reputation for harboring the souls of the dead, there is another haunted place in…

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Old Charleston Jail: criminal, pirates and war prisoners~

When one thinks of haunted locations, the first thing that comes to mind are houses, usually followed by cemeteries. However, another type of location that should also come to mind are prisons. The stories of prison in the United states are deeply woven into America’s fabric, and quintessentially depicted in films like Cool Hand Luke and Escape From Alcatraz, and immortalized in songs like Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane.” In any case, for those who survived prison, for them the triumph is a hollow victory, they…

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Lepanto: the battle that saved Europe

Considered by many to have been the most important naval engagement in human history, the Battle of Lepanto was fought on this day, October 7, 1571. In short, It saved the Christian West from defeat by the Ottoman Turks. In the battle, which lasted about five hours, more than 30,000 Muslim Turks and 8,000 Christians lost their life. Not until the First World War would the world again witness such carnage in a single day, and the battle was also remarkable as the last and greatest engagement with oar-propelled vessels.…

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St. Dunstan-in-the-East: one of the few remaining casualties of the London Blitz, this destroyed church has become an enchanting public garden.

We are on St Dunstan’s Hill, halfway between London Bridge and the Tower of London in the City of London.The church of St.Dunstan-in-the-East built here has survived a lot during its 900-year history, including the Great Fire of London in 1666.It was originally built during Saxon times, in about 1100. Although the Great Fire caused terrible damage to the church it was faithfully rebuilt, and topped with a steeple designed by Sir Christopher Wren, one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history. However in 1941 the church was…

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#September 10, 1547: Battle of Pinkie Cleugh between English and Scottish forces

On this day, September 10, 1547, along the banks of the River Esk, a massive battle occurred that pitted Scottish and English forces in what has been called the first modern conflict recorded on the British Isles. The Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, also known as the Rough Wooing, is considered one of the largest battles ever fought on Scottish soil, but It’s also viewed as one of the defining battles of the medieval English-Scottish conflict. The Scottish suffered a heavy defeat, in a day now forever known as “Black Friday”.…

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The ghosts of Cold Harbor battlefield – Mechanicsville, Virginia

For believers and ghost enthusiasts, Most Civil War battlefields are haunted by the restless souls of fallen soldiers. And of all the battles of the war, Cold Harbor located in Mechanicsburg (about a fifty minute drive northwest of Williamsburg), Virginia, was “one of American history’s bloodiest, most lopsided battles“. In less than thirty minutes, Grant, the most acclaimed Union general during the American Civil War and twice elected President, lost over 7000 troops at the hands of Lee’s Army of Virginia, a loss that would haunt him for the rest…

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The Battle of the Somme: the bloodiest day in British military history

The First World War Battle of the Somme began on this day, July 1, 1916. It was one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history and the worst ever for the British army. About 19,240 men died on that first day, an incredible report of one killed every five seconds. Trench warfare along the western front in France had been going on for nearly two years, locking in stalemate the Germans on one side and the French and British on the other. The front had hardly moved but for a…

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Sinhagad: the lion’s fort in Pune – India

We are in Thoptewadi, India. Here stands a fort that for centuries was called Kondhana, named after the monk Kaundinya. The nearby temple and cave carvings indicate that the building is around 2,000 years old, despite it changed hands several times over the years as different factions controlled the region during the middle ages. The fort was important because of its strategic location, perched on an isolated cliff in the Bhuleswar range of the Sahyadri Mountains, 1,312 meters above sea level, and it is ‘naturally’ protected due to its very…

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D-Day: the day that changed Europe’s history

The biggest land, air and seaborne invasion the world has ever known was launched on this day, June 6 1944. Codenamed Operation Overlord, everybody now knows it simply as D-Day. One hundred and fifty six thousand American, British and Canadian troops sailed to France from England and stormed the beaches of Normandy. They then began a relentless, dogged and bloody journey all the way to Berlin, pushing back the fearsome German military machine and, eventually, bringing an end to the Second World War. It was no a nice walk: the…

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“The Death Camp” and the forgotten story of Germany’s first holocaust

Shark Island was founded in 1795 off the coast of Luderitz, Namibia. Originally named Star Island, the land sat amidst immense winds and crashing waters of the Atlantic for a century before being connected to the mainland and used as a concentration camp by the Germans from 1904 to 1908. But did you know there was a holocaust under the Second Reich of the Kaiser just as there was one under the Third Reich of Hitler? You may not have heard of the Herero and Nama peoples, and this is…

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Hiljainen Kansa: the Silent People of Finland

An eerie art installation located in a barren field in the Finnish countryside recently went viral after someone accidentally stumbled upon it while searching something on Google Maps. With quarantine and isolation measures still in place in many countries around the world due coronavirus pandemic, people are spending a lot of time online looking for cool places to visit staying on their sofa. That’s exactly why some museums and libraries around the world have introduced virtual tours to visit their spaces also in quarantine. But not everyone is interested in…

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11 historic dishes born from tough times that you easily can make at home!

To limit supermarket trips during social distancing, and while restaurants in lot of coutries are still closed, many home chefs are looking for ways to use every last bit of what’s in their cupboard or refrigerator. Even though COVID-19 pandemic may feel like an uncharted experience, actually history is filled with examples of cooks more or less expert getting creative in times of hardship. Like this. From the crispy burger born during the Great Depression to the simple delights of “desperation pies,” but also an apple pie that tastes just…

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The haunted Fox Tower at Dongbianmen – China

We are in Beijing, China. The Fox Tower at Dongbianmen (chinese 东便门 ) has been said to be haunted from pretty much the moment it was founded in 1564. Initially the tower was said to be inhabited by deadly fox spirits, but by the 20th century the historic fortification was haunted by the very real specter of a grim murder. Built by meanie isolationist emperor Jiajing, a man so cruel his own concubines tried to strangle him en masse, Dongbianmen’s probably seen more than one murder, and It’s one of…

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#March 9, 1974: the incredible Hiroo Onoda’s One-Man war finally ends

Nearly 30 years after the end of the Second World War Japanese soldier Hiroo Onoda finally surrendered on this day, March 9 1974. His story is curious: he had been waging his own war from a jungle and the mountains. All began in December 1944, when, towards the end of the global conflict, Onoda, an intelligence officer, was sent to Lubang Island in the Philippines. His task was simple: destroy infrastructure on the island and do all he could to thwart enemy attacks. However, when US and Philippine Commonwealth forces…

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#February 13, 1945: Ancient Dresden reduced to rubble

February 13, 1945. On this day, waves of British bombers began reducing one of the Germany’s (and world) most beautiful cities to rubble. Thousands were to die in the ensuing firestorm as war against Nazi Germany was intensified. The bombing of Dresden in East Germany, a splendid medieval city formerly renowned for its rich artistic, cultural and architectural treasures, remains controversial: the war was coming to an end with Hitler holed up in his Berlin bunker, the Russian Red Army racing towards the German capital from the east and the…

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The massacre of Gorla and the sad story of its little martyrs

Not many know that today is a sad day for the metropolis of Milan, Italy: October 20, 1944 is sadly remembered as the day of the Gorla massacre, an event that not everyone, not even the Milanese, knows. From Castelluccio Sauri, Foggia (a city previously destroyed during the Bombing of Foggia), in central-southern Italy, 103 American bombers left the airport and take off with the aim of targeting the Lambrate area, one of the city’s main railway hubs, but also industrial giants such as Breda, Isotta Fraschini and Alfa Romeo,…

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1950s Berlin: Photographs of a destroyed city

Berlin, 1956. About ten years have passed since the end of the Second World War, and Germany was at the beginning of a reconstruction, first architectural and then political, which would have lasted decades. Berlin was the capital of the German Democratic Republic (DDR), a city divided into two blocs between the West and the East, which from August 13, 1961, will also be physically divided by the Berlin Wall. While in the West began what was called the “Wirtschaftswunder”, the German economic miracle at the base of the flourishing…

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Access forbidden for a century – the French “Red Zone”: a no-go area since WWI

If we think of France, we probably think of the magic of Paris, the Eiffel Tower, the scents of Provence, the lavender fields, the glamor of the Croisette during the Cannes Festival or the enchanting castles of the Loire. But France is not only art and beauty, and especially during the First World War, its landscape was much more macabre. Even today there is an area which was declared “red”, that is subject to high risk and in which access has been forbidden for over a century. More than a…

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England’s (almost) forgotten pet massacre of 1939

In the first week of September, 1939, London’s animal shelters were overflowing with guests. The queues of people and their pets meandered down the streets in a typically British manner, calm, dignified and orderly. However, the owners of dogs, cats, rabbits and even parrots and other birds who were waiting to visit vets and animal charities were harbouring a terrible secret. All pet-owners were waiting to euthanize their pets, even if none of the animals were dying, and none of them were even sick. The distraught Londoners had brought them…

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Cripta de los Héroes: the final resting place for many of Peru’s greatest military heroes.

We are in Lima: the historic (and supposedly haunted) Cementerio Presbítero Matías Maestro is the most famous cemetery in Peru. Inaugurated in 1808, it now contains 766 mausoleums and 92 historic monuments. Among them is the Cripta de los Héroes (Crypt of the Heroes), the final resting place for many of Peru’s greatest military heroes. The Crypt was inaugurated on September 8, 1908, to house the remains of Peruvian military heroes who fought in the 19th-century War of the Pacific. During this war against Chile, the allied nations of Peru…

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