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5 Obscure Contests and Sports That Could Use a Classic Rivalry

Who will be this man's nemesis? (Photo: Rud-gr on Wikipedia)Hulk Hogan and Macho Man. Lakers and Celtics. Potter and Malfoy. There is virtually no end to the classic rivalries that have existed across...

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Inside the Quest for the World's Largest Gingerbread Village

The official largest gingerbread village, from 2014. It contained 1,0003 buildings. (Photo: Courtesy Jon Lovitch.)The world’s largest gingerbread village is in Prescott, Arizona. Or Trivandrum, India....

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The Oddly Brutal Festival That Takes Over the Bolivian Andes

A tinku festival in Macha, Bolivia. (Photo by Arnd Zschocke via Flickr)Each year in early May, the hills and towns of Bolivia erupt with violent fighting. The weapons are fists and stones. People die....

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Beauty in the Wreckage: 7 of the Loveliest Shipwrecks in the World

Smuggler's Cove (Photo: Ghost of Kuji on Flickr)Obviously, shipwrecks represent a tragedy, the loss of life or property or both. But shipwrecks can also be dazzlingly beautiful, adding character and...

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Unusual Duels Vol 2: The Captain vs. The Creole

The counting of steps, the smell of gunpowder, the sound of clashing swords. This is the duel; gentleman’s right, settler of disputes, restorer of honor, a really easy way to get yourself killed. Duels...

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The Atlas Obscura Guide to 11 Hidden Wonders of Vienna

Oh, just the public library. (Photo: Richard Hopkins on Wikipedia)Austria's capital city of Vienna is an urban melting pot of historic architecture and cosmopolitan living. The so-called "City of...

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The Strange Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe’s Hair

Portrait of Edgar Allan Poe, painted from a daguerreotype after his death by Oscar Halling in 1868. Nearly 30 years ago, a woman from Tennessee was clearing out her grandfather’s Baltimore house in...

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The Prima Donna Who Snuck into Tibet in 1912 to Meet the Dalai Lama

 Alexandra David-Néel, in Tibet 1933. (CC BY 2.0, Preus Museum)This is the second part of a five-part series about early female explorers. The first part can be found here.The first western woman to...

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Places You Can No Longer Go: Aigleville

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Unusual Duels Vol. 3: Melfant Vs. Lenfant

The counting of steps, the smell of gunpowder, the sound of clashing swords. This is the duel; gentleman’s right, settler of disputes, restorer of honor, a really easy way to get yourself killed. Duels...

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Here's How Capetown Does Lamb: Not Just the Neck or Leg, But the Whole Head

From our friends at Jungles in Paris, a website for travel documentaries run by brothers Darrell and Oliver Hartman, comes a new short film on a South African delicacy—the "smiley". Fair warning to...

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Here's How Capetown Does Lamb: Not Just the Neck or Leg, But the Whole Head

From our friends at Jungles in Paris, a website for travel documentaries run by brothers Darrell and Oliver Hartman, comes a new short film on a South African delicacy—the "smiley". Fair warning to...

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Mud Volcanoes: Volcanoes But For Mud

 Mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan's Gobustan National Park. (Photo by Rita Willaert via Flickr)Back in 2001, a spectacular volcano erupted in Azerbaijan, shooting flames 50 feet into the air. The strange...

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Unusual Duels Vol. 4: The Balloonists

The counting of steps, the smell of gunpowder, the sound of clashing swords. This is the duel; gentleman’s right, settler of disputes, restorer of honor, a really easy way to get yourself killed. Duels...

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Fun and Games With The World's Oldest Deck of Cards

The smart phone sort of gives away the time period here. (All photos by Eric Grundhauser unless otherwise noted)What did people in the 15th century do for fun? It was not known as a real “party” era,...

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How To Become A Fossil After You Die

A cast of an archaeopteryx specimen in the Australian Museum. (Photo by Denise Chan via Flickr)Think of how many people have seen the most famous dinosaur and hominid fossils on display in the world’s...

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Monuments to Mystery: 5 Memorials Sites That Remember Unsolved Crimes

Not creepy at all. (Photo: mjeshenton on Flickr)There are countless monuments and stories celebrating the bravery and successes of crime-fighters and detectives—for good reason, of course. But there...

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The Great Appalachian Hog Drives

A drove of hogs nears Chicago as a train passes in the background in an illustration from the 1860s. (Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)On a trip through the North Carolina mountains in 1878,...

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If Bats Are Bothering You, Build Them a Dream House

University of Florida's Bat House and Barn (Used with permission from Florida Museum of Natural History. Photo by Kristen Grace.)Bats like caves—but they'll take a stadium, if it's available. And...

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Welcome to Obscura Day 2015

A sunrise falconry exhibition in the California desert. The sacred Hindu caves of Goa Gajah, Bali. The secret collections of the Suzallo Library in Seattle. A private orchestral performance at the...

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