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Predatory Glow Worms Discovered in the Amazon Rainforest

photo by Jeff CreamerThe Amazon is the most biodiverse tropical rainforest, which 1 in 10 known species in the world call home, including about 2.5 million species of insect. This October, as reported...

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Twilight of the American Roadside: A Museum of Lost Americana Survives off...

The Miracle of America Museum in Montana (all photographs by Eliza Berman & Dan Logan)It would be easy to drive right past the Miracle of America Museum were it not for the rusty orange VW Bug...

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Alcatraz's Off-Limits Hospital Opens its Decrepit Wards

Ai Weiwei's "Bloom" installation of porcelain flowers in a bathtub and sink in the Alcatraz hospital (all photographs by the author)Usually locked and off-limits, the abandoned hospital at Alcatraz is...

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The 1920s Puppeteer Whose Inflatable Monsters Changed Thanksgiving

Tony Sarg & an elephant balloon (via printmag.com)As the procession of bands, balloons, and high-production spectacles makes its annual appearance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, let's time...

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A Flooded Mexican Ghost Town Offers Refuge to Border Crossers

The ghost town of Guerrero Viejo, Mexico (all photographs by the author)The ruins of Guerrero Viejo perch precariously on the shores of Falcon Reservoir on the Mexico side of the Texas-Mexico border.In...

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Numbers Instead of Names on the Forgotten Graves of Asylum Patients

Letchworth Village cemetery in Rockland County, New York (all photographs by the author)Out of a combination of shame and state bureaucracy, the grave markers for thousands of patients who died in...

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A Lost Collection of Abnormal Brains Finally Gets a History

All photographs by Adam Voorhes from 'Malformed: Forgotten Brains of the Texas State Mental Hospital' (images courtesy powerHouse Books)Around 200 brains from a Texas mental asylum were forgotten for...

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Blackout Below Birmingham in the Abandoned WWII Tunnels

Entrance to the Longbridge tunnels (all photographs by the author)Just below the surface of Longbridge, an area just outside of Birmingham, UK, amidst the various residential redevelopments, lies a...

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The World's Most Stunning Sea Caves

Sea caves, natural formations created by wind and water slowly eroding shore cliffs, are found all around the world. Many are geographical anomalies, featuring a unique convergence of natural elements....

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A New Clue to One of the World's Most Baffling Cryptographic Mysteries

photo by CIA via Elonka.com"Deception is everywhere," Jim Sanborn told Wired in 2005, during a lengthy interview concerning Kryptos, his cryptographic sculpture on the grounds of the CIA headquarters...

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200 Years after His Death, Paris Invites Its Most Divine Debaucher to Sully...

'Sade. Attacking the Sun' at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris (photograph by Nicolas Krief, all images courtesy Musée d'Orsay)Encouraged by the turnout at last year’s blockbuster collection of male nudes,...

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Objects of Intrigue: All Aboard the Funeral Trains!

Winston Churchill's funeral train on January 30, 1965 (via Ben Brooksbank/geograph.org.uk)The great statesman Winston Churchill's last ride was on board a steam locomotive. January 30, 1965 will mark...

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The Ebb and Flow of Lake Nicaragua: Can a Pacific-Atlantic Crossing Reclaim...

Rio San Juan (all photographs by the author)Mark Twain had one major complaint about his journey from San Francisco to New York in 1866: the sandwiches showed a singular lack of variation. Eschewing a...

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World's Largest Manta-Ray Trafficker Bust in Indonesia

Manta ray parking bay (photo by David Sim / Wikimedia)In Indonesia and Sri Lanka, manta ray populations have plummeted by 56% to 86% in recent years, according to a report by international...

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Something Awesome This Way Comes - The Debut of the Illinois Obscura Society

From the Secret Symbolism tour of Green-Wood Cemetery (photo by Steve Acres)Spread the word - Atlas Obscura is headed to the Midwest to launch a brand new Obscura Society chapter! Sign up here to...

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Has the Mystery of the Tjipetir Blocks Been Solved?

(photo by Tom Quinn Williams, via the Tjipetir Mystery Facebook)In 2012, Tracey Williams discovered her first Tjipetir block during a beachside stroll in Cornwall, England. "I’ve always been fascinated...

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Anthropomorphic Taxidermy: How Dead Rodents Became the Darlings of the...

Illustration from "The Taxidermist's Guide" (1870) (via Internet Archive Book Images)Dead kittens sharing tea and crumpets. Dead hamsters playing cricket. Dead rabbits cheating on a math quiz. How did...

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Invisible Life of the American Museum of Natural History: A Video Series for...

Curatorial associate & behavioral ecologist Christine Johnson displays specimens from the American Museum of Natural History's Invertebrate Zoology collection (courtesy AMNH)Visitors to New York's...

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Futuro Houses: A Failed 1960s Attempt at UFO Living

Abandoned Futuro House in Royse City, Texas (photograph by Steve Rainwater/Flickr)Last month an Atlas Obscura user submitted a curious building that appeared like a forgotten alien crash site. The...

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Quietly Growing Among Us, These Trees Flew to the Moon and Back

The first Moon Tree, planted in 1975 by George Vitas of the US Forest Service in Washington Square Park, Philadelphia (via Forest History Society)A tree near you may be secretly extraordinary. On the...

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