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Ohio's Serpent Mound: a mystery for the ages

I am reminded of Spinal Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnel's remarks during the break of their heavy-metal anthem "Stonehenge": "No one knows who they were ... or what they were doing ..." Which isn't quite true, of course: the 'henge has long been considered a site of both astronomical and ritual importance to the Bronze Agers who visited it. The strange and impressive Serpent Mounds of Ohio, however, are another story altogether.

Mound-building native Americans were active in many parts of what is now the U.S., but usually their earthen structures were just that: hill-like mounds, often used as burial sites. Not so the Serpent Mound. While there are a number of animal-shaped effigy mounds, as they're known, in the upper Midwest, the Serpent is by far the world's largest: it measures about 1,370 feet in length and between one and three feet high. Its beautiful and precise shape are also a marvel (drawing inevitable comparisons to Peru's Nazca Lines and other such ancient super-structures), often attributed to the Adena culture (800 BC - 100 AD).

But what's it for? No burial sites were found within the mound, and while it does seem to have some astronomical significance -- the oval-to-head area of the serpent is aligned to the Summer Solstice sunset and the snake's coils align with the Winter Solstice sunrise -- but considering the extraordinarily elaborate nature of its design, experts believe that its usefulness as an enormous calendar was merely secondary. Also adding to the mystery is the serpent's open jaws, which surround a 120-foot hollow oval feature, thought variously to be an egg, the sun, the body of a frog, or merely the remnant of a platform serving to support something. So what does it all mean? Your guess is as good as ours!
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travel
The Real Bay of Pigs: Big Major Cay in the Bahamas
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When most people visit the Bahamas, they’re thinking about a vacation filled with sun, sand, and swimming—not swine. But you can get all four of those things if you visit Big Major Cay.

Big Major Cay, also now known as “Pig Island” for obvious reasons, is part of the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas. Exuma includes private islands owned by Johnny Depp, Tyler Perry, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, and David Copperfield. Despite all of the local star power, the real attraction seems to be the family of feral pigs that has established Big Major Cay as their own. It’s hard to say how many are there—some reports say it’s a family of eight, while others say the numbers are up to 40. However big the band of roaming pigs is, none of them are shy: Their chief means of survival seems to be to swim right up to boats and beg for food, which the charmed tourists are happy to provide (although there are guidelines about the best way of feeding the pigs).

No one knows exactly how the pigs got there, but there are plenty of theories. Among them: 1) A nearby resort purposely released them more than a decade ago, hoping to attract tourists. 2) Sailors dropped them off on the island, intending to dine on pork once they were able to dock for a longer of period of time. For one reason or another, the sailors never returned. 3) They’re descendants of domesticated pigs from a nearby island. When residents complained about the original domesticated pigs, their owners solved the problem by dropping them off at Big Major Cay, which was uninhabited. 4) The pigs survived a shipwreck. The ship’s passengers did not.

The purposeful tourist trap theory is probably the least likely—VICE reports that the James Bond movie Thunderball was shot on a neighboring island in the 1960s, and the swimming swine were there then.

Though multiple articles reference how “adorable” the pigs are, don’t be fooled. One captain warns, “They’ll eat anything and everything—including fingers.”

Here they are in action in a video from National Geographic:

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Pop Culture
The House From The Money Pit Is For Sale

Looking for star-studded new digs? For a cool $5.9 million, Top10RealEstateDeals.com reports, you can own the Long Island country home featured in the 1986 comedy The Money Pit—no renovations required.

For the uninitiated, the film features Tom Hanks and Shelley Long as hapless first-time homeowners who purchase a rundown mansion for cheap. The savings they score end up being paltry compared to the debt they incur while trying to fix up the house.

The Money Pit featured exterior shots of "Northway," an eight-bedroom estate located in the village of Lattingtown in Nassau County, New York. Luckily for potential buyers, its insides are far nicer than the fictional ones portrayed in the movie, thanks in part to extensive renovations performed by the property’s current owners.

Amenities include a giant master suite with a French-style dressing room, eight fireplaces, a "wine wall," and a heated outdoor saltwater pool. Check out some photos below, or view the entire listing here.

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

[h/t Top10RealEstateDeals.com]

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