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Back When Your Thanksgiving Dinner Walked Hundreds of Miles to Market

Let’s take a trip back in time to Norfolk, England, to witness a scene of bygone rusticity: An English farmer, dressed in a tweed coat, tie and vest, topped off with a jaunty pageboy cap, herds his...

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Found: Very Old Peacock Graffiti Left Behind by Religious Pilgrims

Medieval graffiti ‘peacock’ discovered in Sudbury church https://t.co/IDVqyvq2Vq— The Heritage Trust (@heritagetrusts) November 23, 2016St. Peter's Church in Sudbery, England—a small town northeast of...

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The 1920s ‘Circus Girl’ Who Fought Sexism—With Tigers

When the Al G. Barnes circus came to Clovis, New Mexico, in 1921, the Clovis News highlighted one performer whose reputation preceded her. “Woman has achieved many startling things in recent years. She...

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Read the Original Pitch for Thanksgiving, From the Editress Who Created the...

By the time she started pitching Thanksgiving to America, Sarah Josepha Hale knew her power. She was edging towards 60, and for a decade she had been the editress (her preferred term) of Godey’s Lady’s...

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Inside Bolivia's Skull Festival, Where the Dead Get Diamonds and Sunglasses

On an overcast November day, Juan Chipon strolled into the chapel at the Cementerio General in La Paz, Bolivia, carrying the skull of his father. While this might sound like the beginning of a horror...

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Found: The First Mausoleum Where a 'Miracle' Viking King Was Buried

Like many a viking king, Olaf II of Norway, also known as Olaf Haraldsson, is thought to have died in battle. The year was 1030, and Olaf was leading an army to defend Christianity in the Battle of...

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Watch Anti-Hitler Vegetable Propaganda

During World War II, food rationing was one way that American civilians remained engaged in the war effort. By conserving their food at home they left more for servicemen, who, being well-fed, could go...

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Records Reveal the FBI's 7 Types of Protesters

A version of this story originally appeared on Muckrock.com.As part of their excellent ongoing coverage of the #NoDAPL protests, the folks at Unicorn Riot received a copy of the FEMA crowd control...

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Listen to the Story of Bill Pickett, A Cowboy Who Broke Broncos and Barriers

Rodeo legend Bill Pickett had a saying. "What's gonna happen, gonna happen," he'd mutter to himself before going face-to-face with a charging bull. Then, with thousands of people watching, he'd do...

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New York City's History of Resistance, in One Riotous Map

When I first moved to New York City, I lived on 13th Street between Avenues A and B, a pleasant East Village block that had plenty of trees, a coffee shop, a yoga studio, and a latex boutique for...

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Found: An Intricate 17th-Century Map, Stuffed Into a Chimney

Towards the end of the 1600s, when the map was made, it would have been a prized possession. Seven feet by five feet, backed by canvas, it showed the whole world, with views of magnificent cities...

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The Best Secret Weapon Against Landmines and Tuberculosis Is a Rat

Tanzania is a beautiful but complicated country. Beneath its parks and lakes lurk tens of thousands of active landmines. And like much of Africa, Tanzania is also struggling with a tuberculosis crisis;...

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Building the World's First Retirement Home For Killer Whales

When the documentary Blackfish was released in 2013, it showed the shocking reality of what life is like for captive performing orcas. The animals, which can grow to over 20 feet long, lived in...

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Chernobyl’s Rogue Reactor Finally Gets a Better Dome

On April 26th, 1986, flaws and rushed tests at Chernobyl Plant No. 4 led to the worst nuclear power plant disaster in history. Now, thirty years later, the plant will finally be contained, covered by a...

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Some Arsonists Have Already Destroyed the 2016 Gävle Goat

Each year, the Swedish city of Gävle celebrates the Christmas season by building a giant straw goat that pretty much begs to be lit on fire. We here at Atlas Obscura often enjoy placing friendly bets...

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See What People of 1967 Imagined the World Would Be Like in 1999

A mother and son, both bedecked in flowing space-age capes, frolic along the beach. "What year is it now? I forgot," says the little boy. "Here, I'll show you," his mother responds. She writes "1999...

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Stunning Photos of Switzerland’s 'Ghost Cats'

A hoarse, yelping bark rang out from the wooded hillside. Then again. The unearthly calls, sounding somewhere between fox and cat, continued in a steady sequence, carrying through the forest’s mossy...

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The Only Case Where the Testimony of a Ghost Was Used to Convict a Murderer

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Found: Secret Sliding Doors Hidden in a Church’s Walls

In Marshalltown, Iowa, a small city northeast of Des Moines, carpenters remodeling a church’s youth room recently found a surprise: an elaborate system of pulleys hidden in the walls.Many years ago, it...

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Toilet Cobra Terrorizes Apartments in South Africa After Escaping Catcher's Grip

Last Tuesday, around 9 a.m., an apartment-dweller in Pretoria, South Africa went into the bathroom and found a surprise. An enormous cobra, several feet long and the width of a human forearm, was...

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