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Objects of Intrigue: The Infernal Machine

The attack with the infernal machine illustrated by P. C. Geissler (1835) (via Bibliothèque nationale de France)The French Revolution wasn't the end of kings in France. In 1830, the July Monarchy...

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Guided by Voices: Architecture for Ghosts and the Spirit World

Have you ever been in a building that doesn't have a thirteenth floor? Even in modern skyscrapers in the United States, some superstitions like this have persisted in the construction. In China, since...

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Eating Bat in the Seychelles

All photos by Matthew Maye & Lynn Freehill-Maye unless notedThere are few places on earth where can you consume a flying creature of the night. An Indian Ocean island chain is among them.You might...

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A Toast to Poe

For 50 years, starting in 1949, a man visited Edgar Allan Poe's grave every year on his birthday and raised a toast to the poet. Leaving behind roses and Cognac, the mysterious figure became known as...

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Wolhusen Mortuary Chapel: Where Real Skulls Join a Dance of Death

Text and photographs by Michael Bukowski & Jeanne D'AngeloIf you wander the streets of Lucerne, you'll doubtlessly cross the Spreuer Bridge at some point. It's probably one of Switzerland's most...

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Morbid Monday: The Royal Rotting Room

Panteón Real de El Escorial (photograph by Bocachete/Wikimedia)Every royal family has its ostentatious burial chamber, from Basilique Saint-Denis in France to the Hapsburg Imperial Crypt in Austria. In...

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Objects of Intrigue: Cherry, the Dog Who Knew Too Much

Cherry the dog (photograph by the author)They say every dog shall have its day, and that's certainly the case for a Pekingese named Cherry, immortalized in the Sydney Justice and Police Museum's...

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Eight Former Churches Reborn, from Supercomputer to Skatepark

As buildings inspired by a belief in a higher power, churches often have soaring ceilings, detailed stonework, and other architectural flairs that make them simply amazing structures in their own...

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Essential Guide to the Scars of Australia's Prison Past

The old walls of Pentridge Prison, Melbourne (photograph by Darmon Richter)The history of Australia is closely interwoven with its role as a British Empire prison colony, and in many ways this...

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An Atlas in Cloth: Captain Cook’s Rarely-Seen Fabric Book

The rarely-seen Cook fabric book (all photographs by the author unless indicated)Located deep in the collections of a Canadian museum is a tiny book. Its corners are frayed, its spine cracked, its...

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The Museum of Everyday Life: On a Mission of Glorious Obscurity

The Museum of Everyday Life (all photographs by the author)On entering the Museum of Everyday Life, you are immediately struck by two things. First, there is the sign telling you to turn the lights on...

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Bodies in the Basement: The Forgotten Stolen Bones of America's Medical Schools

Body snatching carved on a 19th-century tombstone (photograph by Stephencdickson/Wikimedia)Many people know about the resurrection men in the UK who robbed graves to sell corpses to medical schools,...

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The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Hosts a Rare Open House This...

Flak Bait sits piece-by-piece in the gigantic Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar in Chantilly, Virginia (all photographs by the author)It is generally agreed upon that air and space meet at...

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Society Adventures: Ruins and Revitalization at the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Brooklyn Navy Yard's Dry Dock 4, used to build and repair vessels since the Civil War (all photos by author)Earlier this month, the New York Obscura Society embarked on a behind-the-scenes tour of the...

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St. Jude's Souls: Competing with the Skeleton Saint for Mexico's Faithful

Feast of St. Jude in Mexico City (all photographs by Toni François)Practically unknown in Mexico before the 1980s, St. Jude Thaddeus has catapulted to the top position among Catholic saints in the...

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In a Christchurch Scarred with Earthquake Rubble, Art and Dance-O-Mats Color...

Dancers at the Dance-O-Mat in Christchurch, New Zealand (all photographs by the author)The two dancers shuffled through songs on their iPhones, deciding which track they would dance to next. Their...

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Fossil Roads and a Sea Serpent That Wasn't: Alabama's Overlooked Prehistory

Oceans of Alabama (illustration by the author)Say "Alabama" and the word "fossil" doesn’t immediately jump to mind. That's understandable, the paleontological discoveries made in the Yellowhammer State...

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Belgium's Abandoned Fairytale Castle

Miranda Castle (all photographs by the author)After climbing up a rocky Belgian hillside and a slow walk through a thick forest, an insurmountable beauty reveals itself as turrets peak through the...

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Secret Libraries of Rome

Rome's 2,500-year history means that even a trip to the corner drugstore turns into a brush with the heritage of insane emperors, antiquity-grabbing cardinals, visionary artists, and power-crazed...

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Six NYC Ruins Loved and Lost

Photographer Will Ellis is the author of Abandoned NYC, which is out today. In conjunction with its publishing, he shares with Atlas Obscura some of his favorite lost New York ruins.  When you're...

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