Unusual Places (you can visit)

Neptune Memorial Reef – Florida’s bizarre underwater cemetery reminiscent of Atlantis

The Neptune Memorial, also known as the Atlantis Memorial Reef, is an underwater cemetery located three miles off the coast of Key Biscayne, Florida.  At over 16 acres in size, it is also the world's largest man-made reef built to hold the remains of over 125,000 people.  Persons buried in the Atlantis Memorial Reef are cremated and their ashes mixed with concrete to form 10-pound sculptures of starfish, shells, coral, and other Atlantis-themed shapes.  A copper and bronze memorial plaque, etched with the person's name, date of birth and death, is then attached to the object which is fixed to the reef to create the "features" that make the underwater cemetery so unique. The man-made reef opened in 2007 after a number of difficulties, including three

More Eerie pictures of cool abandoned places (some you can still visit)

There’s something about abandoned places that sparks a bit of imagination, and heartache, in all of us.  Below are more eerie, but beautiful, abandoned places, some of which you can still visit. Kolmanskop (Afrikaans for Coleman's hill, German: Kolmannskuppe) is a ghost town in the Namib desert in southern Namibia, a few kilometres inland from the port town of Lüderitz. It was named after a transport driver named Johnny Coleman who, during a sand storm, abandoned his ox wagon on a small incline opposite the settlement.  Once a small but very rich mining village, it is now a popular tourist destination run by the joint firm NamDeb (Namibia-De Beers).   Nara Dreamland (Nara Dorimurando) was a theme park near Nara, Japan which was built in 1961 and inspired

Dashrath “Mountain Man” Manjhi – a man single-handedly moves a mountain in a labor of love for his lost wife

Meet Dashrath Manjhi, a poor laborer from the Gahlour village near Gaya in Bihar, India.  Dashrath, known also as “Mountain Man”, lost his wife, Phaguni Devi, who was unable to be taken to the nearest health care center for urgent treatment as the nearest road to the city was 70km long (43 miles) long.  Vowing to solve the problem himself, Dashrath set out on a labor of love, and swore to move mountains in order to ensure nobody else would experience trouble obtaining emergency medical treatment from the nearest town.  You see, Dashrath knew that although the nearest medical facility was 70km away, if a certain mountain did not exist, the trip between the cities of Atri and Wazirganj would be shortened to a mere

Exploring LA’s dark, abandoned subway system located deep underneath the city of Los Angeles

Alissa writes a wonderful blog and frequently shares stories and photos (on Flickr) about her adventures while “walking through LA”.  She recently took a field trip through the abandoned subway systems of Los Angeles.  For those who didn’t know, LA does indeed have a subway system although the geographical dispersion of LA residents doesn't make it a very popular choice for moving about the city.  Still, in the 1940’s, over 65,000 riders used the LA subway system, a system that has since been abandoned after the new lines were built. Entrances to the underground system have been sealed but readers have noted there are a few ways you can still get in. Unsealed entrances are typically located behind locked gates or inside the old subway system’s boarded-up terminals. Here’s

Route 66

Introduction Historic Route 66 – the highway that spawned a dozen movies, a TV show, and a hit song, can still be traveled today. With a little advanced planning, you can travel the historic route and still drive along some of the original sections of the infamous highway. What makes this road different? Why do thousands of people still trek across the country using Route 66 when more modern highways could be utilized instead? What makes Route 66 so special? In the summer of 1926, the 2,448 mile long Route 66 was born - at least on paper. The throughway was designated as a principle artery between Chicago and Los Angeles (Santa Monica at Ocean Avenue). It purposely was designed to utilize existing bits and pieces of

Post, Texas – breakfast cereal magnate attempts to create his own Utopia in rural Texas

Post Builds His Fortune In 1897, in a little white barn in Battle Creek, Michigan, the energetic C.W. Post changed the cereal world when he introduced Grape Nuts, one of the first ready to eat cold cereals in the world. He had already gained notoriety from his invention of Postum, a coffee substitute, 2 years earlier. Prior to that, Post had built a fortune inventing and patenting such devices as the cultivator, steam pump, and suspenders. Not content to rest on his laurels after his success, in 1907 he created a new corn flake cereal named Elijah’s Manna. After much public uproar over the blasphemous name, the cereal was rechristened Post Toasties which quickly became (and still is) one of the top selling cereal brands (in

The Winchester Mystery House

The Winchester Rifle, “the rifle that won the West”, was a revolution in gun design. Designed and developed by Oliver Winchester and utilized by the United States’ military branches, the gun’s unique lever action design produced unrenowned riches for Oliver and his heirs. After a series of tragedies drove one of the heirs to madness, the spoils of war were used to build one of the most unusual homes in the United States - the Winchester Mystery House, located at 525 South Winchester Boulevard, in San Jose, California. Tragedy at the Winchester Mystery House Oliver Winchester’s oldest son, Wirt Winchester, took his petite bride in September 1862 during the height of the Civil war. Their rifle, able to fire one bullet every 3 seconds, was a favorite

Fort Knox – where America keeps its most treasured possessions (and gold!)

Fort Knox The United States Bullion Depository, commonly called Fort Knox, is a fortified vault building located near Fort Knox, Kentucky, which is used to store a large portion of United States official gold reserves and occasionally, other precious items belonging or entrusted to the federal government. The United States Bullion Depository holds about 4,603 tons (4,176 metric tons) of gold bullion (147.399 million troy ounces). It is second in the United States only to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's underground vault in Manhattan, which holds about 5,000 metric tons of gold in trust for many foreign nations, central banks and official international organizations. History Before the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, gold coins had circulated freely in the United States as legal money,

Platos Retreat – Infamous New York Sex Club

Plato’s Retreat opens its Doors Plato’s Retreat opened its doors in 1977. Located in the basement of the famous Ansonia Hotel, an ornate 19th century building where Broadway and 230 West 73rd Street meet, the club operated a "member’s only" establishment which required patrons' strict adherence to the Club’s rules. Couples could be straight only – no homosexuals allowed. Drugs were not allowed. Alcohol could not be consumed on the premises. Plato’s Retreat featured a pool room, steambaths, disco dance floor, an in-house sauna room, and a swimming pool with waterfalls. It was popular with many celebrities and other "well to do" people – Bette Midler, Sammy Davis Jr., Richard Dreyfuss, and the entire cast of Saturday Night Live were reported to have paid visits to

New York City Underground – lost underground tunnels beneath the city see new light

New York City Underground You would presume that city government would have knowledge of every nook and cranny in their city, that they would have every street, subway, tunnel, and building mapped and documented. Surprisingly, many of our older cities have underground labyrinths that are largely or wholly undocumented, long forgotten by time. In New York City, it is believed that thousands of miles of underground tunnels exist, some of which have not seen a human’s presence in over 150 years. Atlantic Ave. Tunnel In 1981, Brooklyn native Bob Diamond confirmed the existence of a massive tunnel located over 160 stories under Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn. Rumors of the tunnel had existed for many years. Bob first heard of the possible tunnel while listening to a local radio

China’s Kowloon Walled City – the bizarre city of boxes, mazes, and dark alleys

Kowloon Walled City Up until 1994, there existed, just north of Kowloon Bay, a bizarre city in Hong Kong named Kowloon Walled City. Over time the veritable lawless (and unclaimed by any government) Kowloon Walled City, became a curious stack of cheaply constructed boxes through which ran a maze of dark alleys and exposed pipe and wiring and housed drug dealers and addicts, pimps and prostitutes, organized gangs, gambling dens, criminal headquarters, and private citizens all living together in a tangled mess of humanity. Only 6 ½ acres in size, it contained over 30,000 people giving it a population density of over 1 million people per square mile, all living on top of each other in cheaply constructed dwellings with no electrical or water supply, in