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Curious Fact of the Week: Monkey Island Is Real

Monkey Island was thought to be a myth.An island inhabited only by monkeys in South Carolina sounded like the stuff of urban legend. Yet it was revealed to be all true. Back in 1979, the Caribbean...

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Run Run Rudolph: The World of Reindeer Racing

Swedish reindeer race (photograph by James Losey) Winter means reindeer games in some of the chillier parts of the world, where the horned hoofstock are an integral part of everyday life. Reindeer...

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Birth Rights: Exploring the Medical Fight Over "Labor" in the 18th Century

Obstetrical Manikin in the Dittrick Museum, Cleveland, Ohio (photograph by Laura Travis)This journey of birth began, for the Dittrick Museum of Medical History, with a headless anatomical...

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Primal Rhythm: Six Continents, Six New Sacred Sites for the Future

Mariko Mori, "Journey to Seven Light Bay, Primal Rhythm" (2011), still from digital video (courtesy of Faou Foundation, New York)The winter solstice has been seen as a time of rebirth for centuries....

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The Essential Guide to Modern Pyramids

The Luxor Casino and Hotel, Las Vegas (photograph by Bencito the Traveller)The pyramids of the ancient world are some of the most enduring icons of our planet’s past. From the remnants of the Mayan...

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Now Available: The Lake Monsters of America Map

Buy Online: Lake Monsters of America Map, limited edition screen print, $35We are thrilled to announce that the popular Lake Monsters of America Map is now available for your home or wunderkammer. This...

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Feline Frenzy: A Photographic Tour of Malaysia's Cat Museum, Nightmarish...

Cat taxidermy in the cat museum (all photographs by the author)All dogs go to heaven. But when some cats die, they are enshrined in a museum located in a town named in their honor.Take a stroll through...

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Objects of Intrigue: The Golf Club Swung on the Moon

The golf club used by Alan B. Shepard on the moon, and the sock he smuggled it aboard in (courtesy USGA Museum)Alan B. Shepard wasn't just the first American in space and the fifth person to walk on...

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Photo of the Week: Hi-Definition Ruins

In the Photo of the Week feature, we highlight an exceptionally amazing photograph submitted by an Atlas Obscura user.The ruins in Missouri's Ha Ha Tonka State Park seem to be those of some medieval...

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The Unfortunate Fates of the Gavle Goat: A Timeline

Each year, a towering Yule Goat is constructed for the holidays in Gävle, Sweden. But more often than not, the Gävle Goat — or Gävlebocken as it is called in Sweden — doesn't make it to Christmas....

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Atlas Obscura's 20 Most Astonishing Discoveries of 2013

It has been an incredible year in curious places — from lost cities, to a cat island, to the unsettling details of Icelandic magic — and we are looking forward to the year ahead in uncovering more of...

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Curious Fact of the Week: The Sistine Chapel of the Glass World

If you walked into the gallery of plant specimens at Harvard's Natural History Museum, you might find the little flowers, fruits, and other sprigs of green to be rather dull in their orderly glass...

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Explore the Most Dazzling Palaces of Ice, Handmade from Thousands of Icicles

photograph by firennice/Flickr userNo, this is not Narnia's icy home of the White Witch, although the lover of endless winter from C. S. Lewis' world would likely have adored this frozen landscape....

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The Monsters of Christmas

Many of the ancient pagan observances during midwinter have been transformed or forgotten by our modern society. If you look into the origins of traditions practiced around Christmas today, you might...

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Five Flower Fields that Transform Spring into a Surreal Wonderland

photograph by Shin K/Flickr userAs winter has taken its hold and much of nature is dormant, we look ahead to the flowers of spring. Many places have their stunning flora, but these flower fields are...

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The Debut of the Atlas Obscura Road Trip Series!

The New York Obscura Society is hitting the road! The first in a brand new series of monthly excursions is kicking off in January 2014 with a full-day roundtrip excursion to Philadelphia.Join us in...

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Morbid Monday: The Cast Iron Coffin That Was Too Creepy Even for the Victorians

The "Fisk Mummy" in the Pink Palace Museum in Memphis (all photographs by the author unless indicated)In 1848, Almond Fisk patented a metal coffin he believed would revolutionize death. One problem:...

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Curious Fact of the Week: The Remarkable Reason Algae Grows on Sloths

Climbing ever so sluggishly along the trees of Central and South America, it's not surprising sloths gather a bit of algae on their sedentary bodies.What is unexpected is that the algae isn't just a...

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Spongebob in Flames: The New Year's Eve Effigy Burning in Ecuador

photograph by Carlos AdampolHappy New Year's Eve! Ready to burn your effigy?In Ecuador at the stroke of midnight, people around the country bring effigies of politicians, pop culture figures, and other...

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Revealing the Hidden History of Paris Through Its Bits and Pieces of Saints

Elizabeth Harper writes about saint relics at All the Saints You Should Know. Recently she gave a talk on Parisian relics at the Morbid Anatomy Library in Brooklyn, and here continues her exploration...

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