Places

In this section, you’ll find document unusual places – specific geographic locations, mythical locales, or somewhere in between. One thing they all have in common – you can’t go to your local travel agent and buy a ticket to one of the bizarre locations.

Computer glitch causes every pyrotechnic in 18-minute fireworks show to go off at the same time.

It was the most spectacular pyrotechnic display ever seen – or the worst. This is what it looks like when a computer malfunction causes an 18-minute fireworks show to be compressed into a stunning five-second display. In 2012, the Big Bay Boom fireworks show was about to begin when thousands of people camped out on San Diego Bay were treated to the show of a lifetime. At 8:55 PM, five minutes before the show’s scheduled start, a sudden burst of fireworks shot into the air. The explosion caused a rumble that could be felt throughout the area. Confused spectators milled around waiting for the rest of the show. A few minutes later, the announcement was made. “Go home, people. The show is over.” The next day, the Port

The mysterious Nazca Lines of Peru

The Nazca Lines are a collection of unusual, large ancient geoglyphs etched into the high plateaus of the Nazca Desert in southern Peru. The largest are nearly a quarter-mile long and depict a variety of objects and shapes including more than 70 drawings of animals such as birds, fish, llamas, jaguars, and monkeys – many of which would have been unknown to inhabitants of the area. Some depict human-like entities. They cover an area about 170 square miles and are only visible from the air. The drawings are believed to have been created sometime between 500 BC and 500 AD. They were made by gouging shallow lines about 6-inches deep into the ground, removing the natural iron oxide-coated reddish pebbles and exposing the grayish ground beneath.

The Boston Molasses Flood – 21 people killed in Boston streets by tidal wave of Molasses (1919)

The Great Molasses Flood (aka Boston Molasses Disaster) At the time, molasses was a common sweetener and used to produce ethanol for alcoholic beverages and military munitions. It was of course, in high demand. The five-story tall steel tank at 529 Commercial Street in Boston held 2.3 million gallons of molasses weighing an astonishing 26 million pounds. On January 15, 1919, the weather was warmer than normal, allowing the molasses inside the tank to heat up and thin. At 12:30 in the afternoon, persons in the area heard a “sound like a rumble” and the ground shook. The Purity Distilling Company molasses tank had burst, releasing millions of gallons of molasses into the streets of Boston. The tidal wave of molasses that rushed through the streets of

The Vatican secret library – what mysteries lay hidden in the Holy See’s Vatican Secret Archive

In Vatican City, the walled enclave within the city or Rome, there is an archive containing more than 75,000 codices from throughout history and an estimated 1.1 million ancient printed books. It was officially designated the Vatican Apostolic Library (aka Vatican Library or the Vat) in 1475 although the collection is much, much older – one of the oldest in the world. If you are a researcher, and can sufficiently document your need for access, the collection is open for limited periods of time – except for a section of the library known officially as the Vatican Secret Archives. About the Vatican Secret Archives (aka Vatican Secret Library) From the main library, go by the way of Porta Angelica, through Porta di Santa Anna and you will

The town that hanged an elephant – the macabre story behind Murderous Mary’s dreadful execution

Red Eldridge joins the circus On September 11, 1916, Sparks World Famous Shows Big Top Circus arrived in St. Paul, Virginia, a tiny mining town nestled in the hills of Clinch River Valley. It was that same day that 38-year-old Walter “Red” Eldridge, a hotel janitor, was hired on the spot as an assistant elephant trainer. Eldridge knew nothing about elephants but felt certain he could wield the hooked elephant stick that was required to keep the beasts in line. Besides, he was a drifter that had already roamed the country in a boxcar – a travelling circus-life with Sparks World Famous Shows would be right up his alley. Sparks World Famous Shows was owned and operated by Charlie Sparks. It was a small travelling circus that

These giant arrows blanket the U.S.A. from coast to coast – what are they?

You’ll find them in a nearly straight line between the East Coast (New York) and the West Coast (San Francisco). Like an ancient cosmic map, they are spaced about 15 miles apart and placed on any available surface – the side of a mountain, across the desert floor, and in the great, flat plains of the central United States – anywhere where they can be easily seen from space. Although many are now covered with scrub brush, these giant concrete arrows, sometimes as much as 70 feet in length, leave backpackers and hikers who stumble across them scratching their heads. What are they? Where did they come from? Who scattered them across the USA? The giant arrows are remnants of the Transcontinental Airmail Route, a sequence

The Salem Witch Trials – mass hysteria in Salem, Massachusetts ends in deaths of 25 people

The Salem Witch Trials (1692-1693) The Salem witch Trials were a series of hearings, and executions, of people accused of witchcraft in the towns of Salem Village (now Danvers), Salem Town, Ipswich, and Andover, Massachusetts. The trials began in February 1692 and ran for 15 months before concluding in May 1693. In the end, twenty-five people died, most of them women. Today the trials are considered to be one of America's most embarrassing moments and serve as a vivid, cautionary tale about the dangers of isolationism, religious extremism, false accusations, and lapses in due process of the law. The bizarre events that occurred can best be described as "mass hysteria".  In 17th-century colonial North America, the supernatural was considered part of everyday life.  Many people believed that Satan

NASA satellites reveal hundreds of strange geoglyphs on floor of barren steppe in Kazakhstan

The Steppe Geoglyphs of Kazakhstan Using space imagery, NASA scientists have discovered hundreds of strange geoglyphs, including a swastika and perfectly-formed cross, etched across a barren savanna in Kazakhstan. Satellite photos taken over 400 miles above the earth’s surface first revealed the enigmatic objects, now known as the Steppe Geoglyphs, to a Kazakh economist (Dmitriy Dey) in 2007.  His accidental discovery led to more in-depth scientific study of their mysterious origins and curious meaning. The myriad of unusual patterns are believed to be at least 8,000 years old which would make them the oldest creations ever found. Thus far, researchers have been unable to decipher the meaning of the ancient symbols. Almost all of the symbols, which are unrecognizable from the ground, are formed from mounds of dirt about

Llanfairpwllgwyn-gyllgogerychwyrndrob-wllllantysiliogogogoch – the little town with the unbelievably big name

Upon entering the town, you can’t help but notice the sign – “You are now at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch”. No, I didn’t just stroke out while penning this article. "Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch" is 58 letters long and locals don’t mind if you refer to it as just Llanfairpll or Llanfair PG to speed things up. The town is located on the island of Anglesey in Wales and recently made headlines when a weatherman in the UK pronounced it perfectly during a live weather report. The little village has the longest name in Europe and the second-longest town name in the world (a town in New Zealand has a 85-letter name). The town has only 3,100 residents and the name is technically 51 letters since in Welsh, “ch” and “ll” are considered

Forrest Fenn hidden treasure – millionaire hides chest of gold and jewels and encourages public to head outdoors to find it

In 2009 (or 2010), a New Mexico millionaire (and modern-day Indiana Jones) gave the world a fascinating puzzle when he hid a treasure estimated to be worth between $1-5 million dollars and provided a cryptic poem full of clues hinting at its location. Tens of thousands have trekked through Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming in search of Forrest Fenn’s hidden treasure.  To date, the location of the treasure remains a mystery, despite a plethora of clues pointing to its location. About Forrest Fenn Forrest Fenn, millionaire writer, art dealer, and artifact collector, says he hid his treasure to get people off of their couches and into the wilderness. To say Forrest Fenn himself is a modern-day Indiana Jones would be an understatement. Fenn flew more than 300 missions in Vietnam and

Japan’s abandoned island of Hashima – experience the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse

Hashima Island began life as a vibrant coal mining facility.  At one point, with a population density of over 83,500 people per square kilometer, it was the most densely populated piece of land on the planet. About 9 miles from Nagasaki, where the second atomic bomb was dropped (and reportedly shook buildings on tiny island), Hashima is only 16-acres, barely 2/100 of a square mile, and is lined with multi-story apartments, business offices, and manufacturing facilities. Today, aside from rats and a few feral cats, the population of the island is zero and visitors to the deserted land mass say the abandoned and undisturbed buildings look like the shocking aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. History of Hashima Island Less than an hour boat ride from the shores

The horrifying sound of an Aztec Death Whistle will make your skin crawl

For decades, archaeologists thought the ancient Aztec Death Whistles were nothing more than disturbing skull-shaped toys for Aztec children. They studied how they looked, how they were made, and where they were found. But nobody thought to blow into one. When they did, they found that the disquietingly-decorated skull-shaped clay objects made a spine-chilling noise described by one archaeologist as “the scream of a thousand corpses”. Yeah, they’re that creepy. The ancient Aztec Death Whistle is typically shaped like or decorated as a human skull. They were first associated with Aztec death rituals after two samples were found in the skeletal hands of a sacrificed 20-year-old male in a temple at Tlatelolco. Scientists are unsure what they were used for but some believe they were used

Earthly phenomena or alien attack – spontaneous fires in Canneto baffle worlds leading scientists

The unusual enigma began in early 2004 forcing the evacuation of the entire town and now the mysterious spontaneous fires in Caronia, specifically the small town of Canneto on the northern coast of Sicily, Italy, have returned with a vengeance. Despite millions of dollars spent investigating the cause, scientists (including National Research Institute scientists and NASA physicists) remain stymied. Explanations thus far include some unknown form of electromagnetic radiation, top secret military tests gone awry, poltergeists acting up, demonic entities seeking revenge, and even aliens attempting to clear the area for an as-of-yet unknown reason. Of course, arson was the initial suspicion but was ruled out when one of the scientists witnessed an unplugged electrical cable spontaneously burst into flames. What is known for fact

GPS from hell leads man down strange, dark highway on most frightful night of his life

Today, an anonymous Canadian writer, we’ll call him “Jeff” for our purposes, revealed a true-life paranormal experience that rivals the terror of any horror movie. In what Jeff would later call a terribly “bad idea”, he followed the obviously errant guidance of his GPS to a T and found himself guided down a road of horrors to a chilling destination in parts unknown. Jeff’s unforgettable journey took place in 2011. Working as a pump tech at the time, he was in the process of moving to the city in order to attend school. The month prior to the move, Jeff made several trips back and forth, preparing the final arrangements for his new home. Still unfamiliar with the area and the drive back and forth, Jeff

Gibsonton, Florida – Showtown USA (aka Freaktown USA) is home for many famous sideshow freak performers

The migration of sideshow freaks to Gibsonton, Florida began in the 1936 after legendary carnival performers Al “the Giant” Tomiani (who stood 7’11” in his bare feet) and his wife, Jeanie the Half-Girl (she was only 2’1” tall) moved to waterfront property in Gibsonton to start a fishing business. Located just 20 minutes south of Tampa, “Gibtown” looks like any other non-descript American town with a grocery store, gas station, and library. But if you travel deeper within its streets, you’re just as likely to run across elephants in a resident’s front yard or any number of legendary sideshow freaks who have made their home there for over 75 years. The move to Freaktown USA Soon after Al and Jeanie Tomaini, the “world’s freakiest couple”, settled in