Unusual Places (you can visit)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vietnam crazy train passes mere inches from resident’s front doors

Located in the densely populated area of Old Quarter in capital city of Hanoi in Vietnam, this train passes down a narrow residential neighborhood street – mere inches from the front doors of residents. Residents know the train schedule, which passes by twice each day, and bring in possessions and children before the train passes. Some smaller items (e.g. motorcycles in the picture above) are left leaning tight against the homes providing mere inches of leeway between the motorcycle and passing train. One visitor who viewed the phenomena noted: “At just about 4 pm and 7 pm every day, you suddenly notice people start to file into their homes and in the front yard where kids were playing and women were cutting vegetables is suddenly replaced by rushing

WTF? Huge car-vending machine in China – customer inserts coins and out pops a car

Can’t say we blame them. With some of the worst pollution and only 10% of the population owning cars, a vending machine that dispenses cheap electric rental cars seems like a no-brainer to us.  Wait a minute – a *vending machine* that dispense cars?!?!  In Hangzhou, China, citizens walk up to the multi-story Kandi Car garage, insert their credit card, push a few buttons, and viola, a fully-charged electric vehicle is retrieved via robotic arms, tracks, and elevators and deposited at their feet. Kandi currently has two EV vending machines in Hangzhou (a city of 10 million people located just outside of Shanghai).  Kandi plans to add 10 more this year in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.  Each vending machine holds between 30 and 300

Devil’s Kettle waterfall mystery – river water plunges into abyss and nobody knows where it goes

Off of scenic Minnesota State Highway 61 is a freak of nature that doesn’t take a pair of binoculars or hours of silent stalking to spot.  The Devil’s Kettle Falls is located on the Brule River where about 1 ½ miles from its mouth, the river forks at a rock outcropping to form two massive waterfalls.  The eastern flow is pretty normal – it plunges fifty feet and continues downstream towards Lake Superior.  The western flow however, tumbles thirty feet into a massive hole and disappears underground.  To date, scientists and researchers have been unable to unravel the mystery of the puzzling geological phenomenon nor determine where the immense volume of water (and rocks, trees, and boulders) goes making the most preposterous theory, that the

NYC residents report hearing a spooky chilling chorus of voices coming from new One World Trade Center

The first reports of a "ghostly moan" came via social networks in late October 2012 during Hurricane Sandy. Puzzled New York City residents reported hearing a strange sound, described as a steady, consistent moaning noise, coming from One World Trade Center (formerly known as Freedom Towers). “It’s a strange humming or whining. It’s only been a few hours but we’re almost insane. Any ideas?” Others discussed the odd noise and decided it was the wind whistling through the top, unfinished floors of the new One World Trade Center tower. Then a few months later, another resident, New Yorker Kenny Cummings, reported hearing the strange sound – after the tower was substantially completed and the façade enclosed with glass.    Cummings raced outside to record the noise which he then posted

“Island of the Dolls” – site of little girls death is adorned with hundreds of creepy, dead-eyed dolls hanging from the trees

It’s a common theme in horror movies – creepy, dead-eyed dolls dangling from a cord hung from a tree. If the scenario gets your chest a thumping, you may want to visit Mexico’s Isla de las Munecas, or Island of the Dolls, where the entire island looks like it came straight from a horror movie film set. And the story of how the strange and scary island came to be is even creepier than the hundreds of eerie mutilated dolls dangling from the island’s trees. A lonely hermit experiences tragedy Located just south of Mexico City, Isla de las Muñecas is a tiny island situated in the popular canals of Xochimilco (“place of flowers”), a system of canals and artificial floating islands (known as chinampas) built upon

The mysterious Room 322 in Houston’s luxurious Hotel ZaZa – unlisted private room looks like a snuff film set

The foreboding Room 322 inside Hotel ZaZa The mysterious Room 322 inside Hotel ZaZa in Houston, Texas is not listed for rent but was purportedly exposed in February 2013 when a travelling business customer was accidentally placed in the room by mistake and promptly took pictures of the room which, with cold dirty concrete floors, chains on the walls, skull and bones paintings, two-way mirrors, and plastic wrapped furniture, looks like the foreboding film set for a dark snuff movie.  Reddit user “joelikesmusic”, who recognized that the room differed from the hotel's normally posh, stately rooms and thus, posted pictures of the bizarre room in the public forum, posed the question, “Does anyone know what’s up with this room?” and commenced describing his experience inside the unusual room. “Hotel was

Forgotten migrant workers live cheaply in bizarre Chinese “shipping container city”

Soaring property values in China have some Chinese living like hamsters in tall stacks of shipping containers. For less than $80 a month, rural migrants can rent out a stark steel metal container on the outskirts of Shanghai. In 2001, officials tore down a similar container village in Pudong, consisting of over 100 “homes”, because it was “too dangerous”.  The teetering stack of containers in Shanghai has been housing Chinese migrant workers for over a decade. The origin of the unusual city comes down to a single 70-year-old man (known to the renters simply as “Old Man”) who bought the empty containers from a local customs official. Originally planning to use them for storage, he paid to have the containers stacked on the side of a

NICK BEEF mystery solved – the man behind (not under) the gravestone located next to Lee Harvey Oswald’s

The mysterious “Nick Beef” headstone located next to Lee Harvey Oswald’s grave For years, curiosity seekers visiting the Fort Worth, Texas, grave of Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, have wondered about the near identical pinkish granite headstone next door, marked “NICK BEEF”. The rectangular markers are the same size, each bearing only a name, with no inscription for date of birth or death. But there is one big difference between the two graves – Nick Beef’s is empty. So what was the purpose of this odd headstone? Was it a joke? A conspiracy? Were the odd capitalized letters some sort of secret acronym? Who is Nick Beef? As it turns out, Nick Beef, born Patric Abedin, is alive and living in New York City. The mysterious gravestone

This is why Hong Kong’s most dangerous airport was shut down 15 years ago

Opened in 1925 and renowned for its notorious "Hong Kong Turn" and a spate of deadly accidents, the dangerous Kai Tak Airport (also known as the Hong Kong International Airport) was shut down on July 6, 1989. Kai Tak’s runway jutted out into the sea and its descent required a sharp turn between Hong Kong skyscrapers and nearby craggy mountains. Providing the ultimate test for pilot’s skills, accidents were frequent and included planes crashing into the sea and clipping the sides of skyscrapers as they made their approach. Below are a set of pictures that provide ample reasons for its shuttering 15 years ago.