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The Best Magic Shops in the World

1899 poster for the magician Zan Zig (via Wikimedia) The first magic tricks were recorded as far back at 2700 BCE, with the (possibly fictional) magician Dedi’s conjuring tricks in ancient Egypt. But...

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Hacking the Death Zone: Ingenious DIY Escapes Across the Berlin Wall

Aerial view of the Berlin Wall (image via US Military / Wikimedia)This week marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. During the 28 years of the wall's existence, thousands of citizens...

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Robots Lead Archaeologists to Sacred Tunnels in Teotihuacán Ruins

Panorámica de Teotihuacan (image via José Luis Ruiz / Flickr)Archaeologists may be a bit closer to solving one of the greatest ancient Mesoamerican mysteries: Who ruled the ancient city of Teotihuacán,...

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Its Walls in Ruins, a Mumbai Suburb Turned to Art and Was Reborn

A mural of a scene from Mughal-E-Azam in Mumbai, created for the Bollywood Art Project (all photographs by the author)Walls in India are hardly ever bare; it’s a difficult task to find a wall in the...

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Drones for Good

A 2013 march against drones (photograph by Debra Sweet/Flickr)Drone. The word itself inspires dread. Despite passionate defenders, the unmanned craft has become the great symbol of civilian casualties...

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What Became of India's Corpse-Eating Turtles?

 Ganges riverbank in Varanasi (image by Jeeheon Cho / Wikimedia)The Ganges is the largest river in India, providing water to more than 500 million people. It also has extremely important religious...

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A Mummy Hoax Might Be Wrapped up in a Modern Murder

Mummy case hands in the "Handbook of archaeology, Egyptian - Greek - Etruscan - Roman" (1867) (via Internet Archive Book Images)In October of 2000, Pakistani authorities heard that a Karachi resident...

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One of NYC's Last Clock Towers Has Its Future Decided This Week

Inside the clock tower at 346 Broadway (all photographs by Allison Meier/Atlas Obscura)A clock tower that survived over a century in the tumultuous terrain of New York City is in limbo as its...

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Murals of Birds Threatened by Climate Change Infiltrate Audubon's Former...

Bald Eagle painted by Peter Daverington (photograph by Camilla Cerea/National Audubon Society)Hamilton Heights and Washington Heights in upper Manhattan might not have much resemblance to when they...

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South America's Hidden Wonders Revisited

In 2010, Joshua Foer and myself decided that as the founders of Atlas Obscura, it was time we went out to these places we'd only explored digitally.The goal was to discover the hidden wonders of South...

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Chopin's Heart Exhumed for a Top Secret Check-Up

Statue of Chopin in Warsaw, Poland (photograph by Fran Urbano/Flickr)Officials in Warsaw, Poland, have revealed a church-and-state secret plan to exhume the preserved heart of composer and national...

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No Books Allowed: Libraries of Puppets, Humans, & Other Oddities

Libraries have always held a sacred privilege: the custody and delivery of information. The definition of libraries is drastically shifting as institutions eliminate books, often substituting...

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Who Stole a Fragment of Georgia's Esoteric Tablets?

photo by Dina Eric / FlickrIn September, the bizarre story of the Georgia Guidestones got a little stranger, with the secret addition and public removal of a new stone cube fitted into a notch at the...

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Ancient Egyptian Spellbook Deciphered

A similar though much older Egyptian papyrus text (image via Jeff Dahl / Wikimedia)Researchers in Australia have decoded an Ancient Egyptian ritual codex containing spells to cure demonic possession,...

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Counterfeit Paris & Other Fake Cities Built in the Name of Espionage

Plaque marking a London zeppelin raid from 1915 (photograph by Christoph Braun/Wikimedia)Whether it was the terrifying drone of a German heavy bomber or the near-silent hum of a zeppelin, since the...

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The Best New Wonders of November

The foundation of Atlas Obscura is contributed by intrepid users around the world, out exploring the places no one else is noticing, or delving into history that's been all but forgotten. Here we are...

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When Buildings Attack: Melted Cars, Ruined Art, and Other Troubles With Solar...

20 Fenchurch Street, aka "The Fryscraper" (photo by Luc Mercelis / Flickr)Last September, Londoners experienced a pretty unusual architectural phenomenon: One of the city's newest luxury towers, the...

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The Morbid Journey of Cromwell's Traveling Head

In January of 1661, King Charles II of England ordered the exhumation of the corpses of Henry Ireton, John Bradshaw, and Oliver Cromwell. He arranged to have the bodies hanged and beheaded because the...

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Lost Museums of New York

Earlier this year, the metal façade of the American Folk Art Museum was dismantled and taken into storage as the Museum of Modern Art absorbs the institution's former home. The loss of the...

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Hell on Earth: Five Experiences of Eternal Damnation before Death

Devoured by a monstrous worm or boiled nude in a vat of searing pus — what sort of extraordinary agonies await you sinners in the afterlife? Mythological and religious concepts of death and the...

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