Strange Geographies
List
10 Legendary (and Probably Made-Up) Islands
These imaginary isles all have a place in world history, literature, or mythology—despite not having a place on the map.... READ ON
Strange Geographies
The Town Built On Asbestos (Population: 3)
Wittenoom has no electricity, or running water, and was stricken from Australian maps back in 2007. So why do three holdouts still call the contaminated land home?... READ ON
History
The Deadly Train Crash That Started a Trend
In 1896, two locomotives traveling more than 50 miles per hour smashed into each other. On purpose.... READ ON
Pretty Pictures
Strange Geographies: Portugal's Bone Chapel
"We bones here, for yours await." Nice and creepy.... READ ON
Pretty Pictures
Strange Geographies: The Fjords of New Zealand
New Zealand boasts some of the world's most beautiful fjords... within an enormous and mostly unpopulated wilderness known as Fjordland.... READ ON
Pretty Pictures
Vacation to Mars: Antarctica's Dry Valleys
There's a series of dry valleys in Antarctica, about 4,000 kilometers square, that have no ice on them at all.... READ ON
Strange Geographies
SOLD! The Happy, Haunted Island of Poveglia
A quarantine station, a dumping ground for plague victims, more recently a mental hospital -- the tiny island of Poveglia in the Venice Lagoon has served many unpleasant purposes over the years, but today it stands empty, a crumbling collection of abandoned buildings and weeds run riot just two miles from the glittering palaces of the Grand Canal. Legends and rumors about Poveglia are nearly as pervasive as the weeds, and they read like a horror story: that so many people were burned and buried there... READ ON
Strange Geographies
Scenes from Vanuatu, the Happiest Place on Earth
Today is the 33rd anniversary of Vanuatu's independence, called by some the happiest place on earth. Back in 2009, Ransom Riggs stopped by to see what all the fuss was about.... READ ON
Strange Geographies
Beautiful, Alien Iceland
Iceland is a landscape that's still being born.... READ ON
Article
Strange Geographies: A Most Peculiar Trip
Some of our readers may remember my Strange Geographies columns from April and May, all about my time in Amsterdam and my road trip through Belgium and Luxembourg, where with the expert help of a Dutch urban explorer I sought out grand old abandoned buildings to play the role of Miss Peregrine's house in the trailer I made for my novel. But those columns were different from my usual Strange Geographies photo essays -- most of the pictures were stills lifted from the hours of video I shot. After editing... READ ON
Article
Strange Geographies: The Accidental Sea
Today's Strange Geographies post revisits a place I've been several times before -- the Salton Sea. It's one of my favorite places to visit; just a few hours from my house, it may as well be on the moon. This time, though, I shot video rather than photos while I was there, and the result is my first Strange Geographies-style short film. Hope you like it![See all my Strange Geographies photo... READ ON
Article
Strange Geographies: Abandoned Belgium (and Luxembourg), Part II
So last week, I told about half the story of my recent adventure to Belgium and Luxembourg, where I was looking for atmospheric abandoned chateaus to film inside for a book trailer I'm making for a novel I have coming out in June called Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. I was, ostensibly, looking for the Home, trying to find an exterior and some interiors that looked something like the grand-but-decaying house that figures somewhat centrally in my book. I found the perfect exterior right away... READ ON
Article
Strange Geographies: Abandoned Belgium, Part I
I recently spent eight days traveling around the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, though explaining why I went is a bit complicated. The short version is that I was there on business: to film the interiors of abandoned houses. The somewhat longer explanation is that I have a novel coming out in June, and my publisher asked me to make a book trailer for it. (Related explanation: a "book trailer" is a bit of viral marketing which publishers hope will reach a different audience than other kinds of book... READ ON
Article
Strange Geographies: Quick Facts About the Netherlands
I just got back from a week in the Netherlands (and Belgium and Luxembourg) and my head's still spinning -- from the jet-lag, heavy beers, and dizzying awesomeness of that part of the world. I'm just starting to go through the intimidating mountain of images and videos I took while there, but just to kick off what will be probably several weeks of occasional posts about the region, I wanted to do a quick overview of Holland, which as it turns out has a lot more to offer than tulips and wooden shoes... READ ON
Article
Strange Geographies: Freaks in Mayberry
Mount Airy, North Carolina is known to most tourists as the birthplace of Andy Griffith and the inspiration for Mayberry, where his titular sitcom was set -- and indeed, if you walk down its main street, as I did last week, you'll find nothing but Andy Griffith memorabilia: tee-shirts in every window, restaurants named for its characters, Barney Fife's face peering at you from life-sized cutouts. They even pipe the Andy Griffith Show theme song into the air on a semi-continuous loop (I still haven't been... READ ON
Article
Strange Geographies: Venetian Graffiti
One thing that surprised me about Venice was that graffiti was everywhere. There's almost as much art on the streets as there was in churches and museums, which might be because Venice is a city of blind alleys and dark corridors, a warren of hiding places that are perfect spots for taggers and street artists to do their thing. Initially it was a little shocking to see so much spray-paint applied to the exterior of twelfth-century cathedrals and otherwise beautiful crumbling walls and even on people's... READ ON

According to a law passed in 2007, at least 20% of $1 coins produced by the U.S. Mint must feature Native Americans.

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