Pages

Saturday, 30 April 2016

INFOGRAPHIC: INTERNATIONAL GUIDE TO BATHROOMS


wpsB8FD.tmp
Sloan’s International Guide to Bathrooms
By
Sloan, 14 April 2016.

If you think using the restroom is a pretty straightforward activity, think again. There’s remarkable variations in the way people access toilets and the way toilets function, across cultures, and around the world.




Top image credit: evitaochel/Pixabay.

[Post Source: Sloan.]

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC'S BEST SPACE PICTURES THIS WEEK CVIII


wps5E19.tmp
Week’s Best Space Pictures: Lasers Guide a Telescope’s Gaze
By Michael Greshko,
National Geographic News, 29 April 2016.

This week, galaxy clusters shimmer in X-rays, Cassini re-creates the classic “Pale Blue Dot” photograph, and satellites capture a strange seascape.

1. Holey Rollers

wpsF213.tmp

On April 18, the team operating NASA’s Curiosity rover used a camera on its arm to inspect its own punctured wheels. The wheels were first damaged in 2013, and should hold up long enough for Curiosity to complete its mission on Mars.

2. Cassini's Pale Blue Dot

wps8720.tmp

While orbiting Saturn, the Cassini spacecraft photographed Earth and the moon. Earth appears as a blue dot at center right, while the moon appears as a faint protrusion from the blue dot’s right side.

3. Bustling in Bolivia

wps7171.tmp

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station snapped this shot of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. The city’s international airport (top right) is the country’s busiest.

4. All That Glitters...

wps834.tmp

NASA recently removed coverings from the 18 mirrors of the James Webb Space Telescope, seen here. Each mirror is coated in a microscopically thin layer of gold - perfect for reflecting infrared light.

5. Oh, What a Beautiful Morning

wps90FC.tmp

This early-morning view from NASA's Curiosity rover was taken on a particularly clear day on Mars, giving the rover an unfettered view of Gale Crater's inner wall.

6. Diamonds and Pearls

wps2697.tmp

These four galaxy clusters were part of a survey investigating dark energy, the mysterious force behind the universe’s accelerating expansion. The images combine X-rays (purple) with optical light (red, green, and blue).

7. Ice Carving?

wpsA6AF.tmp

In this picture from the Landsat 8 satellite, lines crisscross the seafloor of the north Caspian Sea. Scientists think that the marks, which appear in shallow areas, were gouged by winter ice.

8. Sci-Fi Skywatching

wps93CF.tmp

On April 26, the ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile activated four powerful guidance lasers. The beams energize sodium atoms in the upper atmosphere, creating artificial “guide stars” that calibrate the telescope’s optics.

[Source: National Geographic News. Edited. Some links added.]

Friday, 29 April 2016

TOP 10 CASES OF SPONTANEOUS HUMAN COMBUSTION


wpsC954.tmp
Top 10 Cases of Spontaneous Human Combustion
By Keith Burnside,
Toptenz, 29 April 2016.

But for the hundreds of dispersed accounts that testify to its existence, spontaneous human combustion would likely be dismissed by all as an impossibility. Reports of the phenomenon reach back through centuries of history; it’s been credited as divine judgment for drunkards, discredited as a gruesome hoax, taken up as evidence of paranormal activity, ridiculed time and again, and researched with a vengeance.

The stories about it are numerous and horrifying. It kills the vast majority of its victims. It’s rejected by scientists, for good reason and almost without exception. Some theories that attempt to explain spontaneous human combustion are borderline insane, while others are actually pretty thought-provoking. An example of the latter would be research biologist Brian J. Ford’s acetone theory and resulting experiment involving pork tissue marinated in said highly flammable liquid.

But we’re not here to debate the causes or scientific possibility of spontaneous human combustion. We’re simply here to present some intriguing cases of people who apparently experienced spontaneous combustion - whether of their bodies directly or of the clothes they were wearing - and survived.

10. Baby Rahul

wpsF0BF.tmp

Our first case is Rahul, an Indian child who made headlines for catching fire while yet an infant. This baby human torch was barely a week old when he first ignited, and in the span of a couple months he’d managed to flame on a total of four times. His parents, Rajeshwari and Karnan, first admitted Rahul to the Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital in Chennai on August 8, 2013.

Some doctors initially accepted the parents’ claim that the burns were caused by spontaneous human combustion. Most were skeptical. However, after tests indicated Rahul was completely normal, pretty much all attending physicians became concerned that child abuse might be an issue. The KMCH eventually filed complaints with the police and the Child Welfare Committee requesting investigations into the matter. But Rajeshwari and Karnan stuck with their story, and psychiatric counseling revealed them to be normal as well. No investigations were ever made, though many suspected the mother had a condition called factitious disorder imposed on another (formerly Munchausen syndrome by proxy). In other words, Rajeshwari was setting her own son on fire, an idea she flatly denied.

The story doesn’t end there. Rahul had a younger brother, Sanjay, who suffered from the same mysterious condition. Born January 9, 2015, Sanjay was found with his feet on fire when barely a week old - just like Rahul. Sanjay only caught fire on one occasion, but sadly he died on the way to the hospital after suffering from a bad case of diarrhea in February 2016.

Rahul, however, had a burning desire to stay alive. He survived his mysterious condition, and today he still toddles among us.

9. Frank Baker

wps70FB.tmp

In June 1995, decorated Vietnam War veteran Frank Baker got the surprise of a lifetime, and by that we mean he burst into flames. Baker and his fishing buddy, Pete Willey, were all set for the next day’s derby, and the two were passing time inside on the couch. All of a sudden, the man with two Purple Hearts and a gallantry medal found himself under a different kind of fire.

Fortunately, the men were able to extinguish the fire licking Baker’s forearm and torso and get to the hospital. There, the doctor informed Baker that his injuries were like nothing he’d ever seen before. The fire seemed to have burned from the inside out - which, incidentally, is a common observation in cases of spontaneous human combustion.

Baker’s story was later featured in an October 2013 episode of Science’s documentary TV series The Unexplained Files. (You can find a preview of Baker’s segment here.) There’s also an interesting thread over at Science Chat Forum started by Baker, where he described the incident as “the most terrifying experience of [his] life.”

Larry Arnold, author of Ablaze! The Mysterious Fires of Spontaneous Human Combustion, adds to the discussion via interview by noting that Baker experienced a second similar event while fishing a Vermont lake with Willey. He also mentions that Baker felt no pain during either event, a dispensation not extended to the studious Tennessee professor farther down this list.

8. Susan Motteshead


As related by Mystique Earth, an account in John Heymer’s The Entrancing Flame describes the curious 1980 case of Susan Motteshead and the flame-resistant pajamas that weren’t. It was winter in Cheshire, England, and Motteshead was in her kitchen, the last thing on her mind presumably the possibility of her jam jams catching fire.

But that’s exactly what they did, wrapping poor Motteshead in a warm cloak of yellow and blue flames for no apparent reason other than to guard against the chilly weather. Her daughter Joanne was present to provide the appropriate screams. Mercifully, the fire was brief, and Susan was not harmed. Even her hair was unscorched.

When the fire brigade arrived, they tried to light the pajamas by traditional means, ostensibly to disprove an insane woman’s tale of spontaneous combustion (in a kitchen, of all places), but failed. Perhaps a career spent fighting fires in homes deprives you of the ability to start fires in homes?

7. Jeanna Winchester

wpsBA93.tmp

What began as a pleasant cruise with a friend ended unexpectedly for a naval airwoman named Jeanna Winchester. On October 9 of the same year as Susan Motteshead’s unplanned pajamas test, Winchester was riding in a car with her friend Leslie Scott. As they drove along Seaboard Avenue in Jacksonville - celebrating Florida’s enjoyably warm October weather, we imagine - Winchester’s body decided to turn the heat way up.

Yellow flames engulfed Winchester. Scott started beating them out with her hands, saving her passenger but leaving the car to drive itself into a telephone pole. Though 20 percent of her body was burned, Winchester lived to tell the tale.

Well, sort of. She later stated that she had no recollection of the actual incident, only riding in the car before and waking up in the hospital after. Which, if we’re being honest, doesn’t really sound all that crazy for a woman we want to assume spent a lot of time jumping out of planes with flippers on her feet.

A policeman named T. G. Hendrix investigated the accident, reporting no sign of accelerant in the car and minimal fire damage to the interior. “The white leather she was sitting on was a little browned,” he said, “and the door panel had a little black on it.” If we were a fire, we’d be pissed if all we got was 20 percent of a human and barely enough car to even mention. Back to the drawing board, fire.

6. Mr. H., Professor of Mathematics

wps7E04.tmp

An 1836 edition of The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal contains a detailed report on the fiery experience of a thirty-something University of Nashville mathematics professor called simply “Mr. H.” The report, authored in the previous year by Dr. James Overton, describes in very precise terms how the professor’s left leg caught fire on January 5, 1835.

Here’s the basic story: in the middle of what was an otherwise normal day of classes and meteorological observations, Mr. H. was suddenly subjected to a sharp pain in his upper left leg. It began as a strong sensation, “as if produced by the pulling of a hair,” and grew more and more severe until a small flame finally hatched. Though in great pain and certainly flabbergasted by this turn of events, the professor retained his presence of mind and was able to extinguish the flame by using his own hands to starve it of oxygen. It’s true; people were way tougher back in the day.

Mr. H. survived the odd combustion and recovered, much to the dismay of man-eating fires all across Tennessee. Later, in retelling his story to Dr. Overton, he described the flame as having a small base the size of a ten-cent coin and an appearance like that of mercury. The extent of the damage to Mr. H. was a 3″ x 3/4″ burn wound inflicted on his leg. His trousers suffered no damage at all, but his drawers sported a brand-new hole in the exact size and shape of the wound described. Small price to pay for a lifetime of introducing yourself to students with “Hello, I’m Professor H. I once caught on fire for no reason. So I put it out. With my bare hands. I AM BECOME FIRE, DESTROYER OF HOMEWORK. Now please turn with me to Chapter 1.”

5. Mrs. Charles Williamson

wps21D6.tmp

January, 1932. A cold winter day in Bladenboro, North Carolina. Charles Williamson was downstairs listening to the radio (and probably wishing television would hurry up and hit the market) when his wife’s cotton dress went up in flames.

Her screams of terror brought Charles and their daughter to the rescue, and together they were able to tear off her dress before it was too late. Though Mrs. Williamson wasn’t hurt, the dress was reduced to not being a dress anymore.

This was just the beginning of four days of bizarre combustions. First the bed took fire. Then some curtains, and then a pair of Charles’s pants. All these items and more were consumed by what witnesses described as blue, jet-like flames that left neither smell nor smoke. The Williamsons evacuated on the fourth day, clearing the house for various experts and authorities to investigate. But nothing abnormal could be found.

On the fifth day, the random fires ceased, and the Williamsons moved back into their home. No further troubles were reported, though the events undoubtedly left behind a lingering scent of foreboding doom to keep the family company for the next few months.

4. Debbie Clark

wps5661.tmp

So far, most of our cases have involved people who were legitimately terrified to be attacked by a mysterious kind of fire that usually leaves its victims in a pile of ashes. But Debbie Clark is different, because while her family was busy freaking out about the giant flashes of blue light sparking out of her, Debbie Clark was laughing.

Mystique Earth again cites The Entrancing Flame in its account of Clark. As the story goes, the girl was on her way home when she started seeing what were likely static flashes, a possible cause of spontaneous human combustion according to one theory. Of course, the sight of strange blue light leaping from Clark’s body was not well received by her mother Dianne, who immediately took to screaming, or by her brother, who started yelling about spontaneous human combustion.

Clark ended up being fine, as the static flashes never ignited the killer fire they portended. Her sense of humor was apparently dark enough to change Death’s mind on the spot. So, the next time you think your body might be preparing to cremate itself, just remember that laughter is quite literally the best medicine. And if laughing doesn’t work for you, well, you’ll still be able to say you went out laughing. Either way, you win!

3. The Wife of Dr. Freilas

wps1E52.tmp

The last three survival cases on our list all come from Jan Bondeson’s A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities. They’re brief and obscure, but they’re also some of the most peculiar accounts we came across while researching this article. For example: this 18th-century tale of an unfortunate woman with a bad case of flammable panties.

According to the clergyman Giuseppe Bianchini, there once was a certain physician by the name of Freilas who was employed by the archbishop of Toledo, Spain. As Bianchini testified, the doctor’s wife suffered from an odd kind of chronic perspiration - the kind of sweat that burns.

It got to the point that her undergarments would catch on fire whenever they were exposed to the air, and flames would shoot out “like grains of gunpowder.” No word on whether this was a boon or bad fortune for the couple’s sex life.

2. Zakris of Hester

wpsBBC9.tmp

If the previous account was amusing, well, we’re blazing straight into crazy territory now. Apparently, 19th-century Scandinavian folk medicine had a fairly disgusting prescription for spontaneous combustion - human urine, preferably that of a woman. Makes sense, right?

Anyway, a tale from Västergötland, Sweden, introduces us to a drunkard named Zakris who burst into blue flame while lying in bed. This Zakris must have still been lovable despite his boozing ways, for his wife promptly, ah, relieved herself and her husband of the situation.

“After this,” the story concludes, “he did not drink aquavit any more.” Good call.

1. The Man Gampe-Saevrei Saved

wps763D.tmp

Our final entry dates back to the early 16th century and is possibly the first recorded case of spontaneous human combustion. One fine Sunday in Rauland, Norway, a parson by the name of Gampe-Saevrei was just leaving church when he came across a drunk blacked out on the ground with blue flames shooting from his mouth. So, he did the only proper thing an honest parson in his situation could do - he pissed on the guy.

However, the drunkard, not being privy to this generally accepted treatment for spon-com, took offense to the action. And, unfortunately for the well-intentioned priest, so did the rest of the congregation who witnessed it. Thus did Gampe-Saevrei’s life come to an end as a violent mob of churchgoers (and at least one alcoholic) chased him down and beat him senseless with a candlestick taken from his own altar.

The drunk man survived.

Top image credit: Abed Guesmia via YouTube.

[Source: Toptenz. Edited. Top image added.]

TOP 10 CURSED VILLAGES AND TOWNS


wpsDFD1.tmp
Top 10 Cursed Villages And Towns
By Benjamin Welton,
Listverse, 29 April 2016.

The evil small town or village is a staple of horror fiction. Numerous books and films - from Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot to Village of the Damned - have used the theme to maximum effect. These types of stories make us question our neighbors and our surroundings.

But what about truly cursed towns? The following locations are all believed to be centers of extraordinary hauntings, malevolent witchery, or some other form of darkness. None are for the faint of heart.

10. Al Jazirah Al Hamra

wps70F6.tmp
Photo credit: Alexandermcnabb

The abandoned fishing village of Al Jazirah Al Hamra is located on the northeastern tip of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Before the oil boom in the 1960s, the village was relatively prosperous and full of quaint houses, many of which dated back to ancient times.

Through the years, the coastal village attracted Persian immigrants, Portuguese traders, and British officials. In fact, after the village was rebuilt in 1831, British records indicated that Al Jazirah Al Hamra had a population of about 4,100 people, most of whom were involved in the lucrative pearl trade.

Then, around 1968, the residents abandoned the village en masse, leaving it in the hands of itinerant workers. Many of the former inhabitants still own land in the village, but few actually live there.

Since the 1960s, Al Jazirah Al Hamra has gained a reputation as an exceedingly haunted village. Many UAE citizens believe that the village is overrun by djinns, a violent and corrupt type of fairy that haunts deserts and feeds on human flesh.

According to local horror filmmaker Faisal Hashmi, who decided to visit the village one night with some friends, the village instills a deep sense of dread. Its spectral inhabitants are also fond of leaving handprint impressions as warning signs to any living soul foolish enough to enter their territory.

Hashmi’s case is not an isolated one. Al Jazirah Al Hamra is popular among legend trippers and other nocturnal tourists who like to seek out thrills. Although some people in the area try to discourage this behavior by adamantly stating that there are no djinns in the village, many more locals have at least one djinn sighting or story to relate.

9. Bahla

wps3BCA.tmp
Photo credit: Francisco Anzola

Although more religiously tolerant than most of its neighbors, Oman is still a nation with a Muslim majority that recognizes Islam as the official faith. Indeed, most of Oman’s citizens follow the Ibadi school, a strain of Islam descended from Kharijism.

In the early days of Islam, the Kharijites demanded that all Muslims follow their interpretation of the religion or face harassment or even death. In many ways, the Kharijites were the first jihadi terrorists in history.

So it is truly amazing that a place like Bahla can exist at all. Tucked away in the interior of Oman, Bahla is known as the country’s capital of black magic. Many stories about Bahla speak of such things as witches, ritual curses, djinns, and the ability of magicians to travel throughout the world without any rational means of transport.

In Bahla, one can find professional fortune-tellers, practicing occultists, and others steeped in things considered haram (forbidden) by mainstream Islam. Although this may make Bahla sound like the Salem of the Middle East, many locals truly consider the village to be a redoubt of evil that is teeming with invisible djinn hordes.

8. Cinco Saltos

wpsCCA1.tmp
Photo credit: Hernan Moreno via YouTube

Argentina’s Cinco Saltos has a black reputation. Situated in the mostly rural Rio Negro region, Cinco Saltos reportedly gets little sunlight. This pervasive gloom helps to hide the town’s many necromancers and witches from prying eyes. Apparently, there are so many black magicians in Cinco Saltos that the town is often referred to as the “City of Witches.”

Some of the more infamous stories about Cinco Saltos concern the town’s large cemetery. One story claims that workers found the body of a 12-year-old girl while renovating the cemetery. Although she had been dead for about 70 years, the girl’s body had barely decomposed due to mummification.

Weirder still, the workers noticed that someone had chained the girl’s body to her coffin. Upon hearing about the discovery, the superstitious residents of Cinco Saltos claimed that the girl’s body had been used in some sort of occult ritual by one of the town’s many covens. Soon afterward, some began seeing the girl’s ghost near the cemetery.

Another disturbing story about supernatural activity in Cinco Saltos concerns a crossing that spans Pellegrini Lake, which runs through the town. Witches once performed child sacrifices on the lake, so visitors who use the crossing at night sometimes report hearing the disembodied screams of children.

Invariably, whenever someone tries to find the source of these screams, they come back empty-handed.

7. Kuldhara

wpsBC82.tmp
Photo credit: Archan dave

In the 19th century, all the citizens of Kuldhara, a village in the large Indian state of Rajasthan, abandoned their homes and never returned. Today, Kuldhara remains a dead city of empty homes and buildings.

According to a popular theory, the villagers all left Kuldhara as an act of solidarity with their chief, whose daughter was receiving unwanted attention from Salim Singh, the minister of Jaisalmer. When Singh issued an ultimatum to the citizens of Kuldhara, they decided to leave instead of face Singh’s wrath.

While this is probably not true, Kuldhara is still considered one of India’s most haunted locales. In 2013, the Paranormal Society of Delhi conducted an investigation to prove or disprove the many ghost stories about Kuldhara.

After 12 hours, the 18-man team left the village with several pieces of evidence. Using voice recorders and other high-tech tools favored by paranormal investigators, the team claimed that they recorded sudden temperature drops, inexplicable noises, and what sounded like disembodied voices. Furthermore, the presence of strange shadows was a constant throughout the investigation.

In a strange twist, two foreigners were spotted wandering through the village’s many abandoned houses in 1998. When the police arrived to inspect the situation, they found gold and silver items in the several bags that belonged to the strangers. Apparently, the foreigners had found the items after digging beneath the many abandoned houses of Kuldhara.

6. Dargavs

wps1C17.tmp
Photo credit: Alex Svirkin

The mystery surrounding Dargavs may never be solved. Called the “City of the Dead,” Dargavs is a village located on a mountain ridge in Russia’s Republic of North Ossetia-Alania.

In truth, “village” isn’t an entirely appropriate term for Dargavs. It’s actually a sprawling, ancient necropolis. In the Middle Ages, the Ossetian (or Alanian) tribesmen who lived there decided to bury their families in crypts that were built to look like houses.

From afar, Dargavs looks like any rural settlement. But once inside one of the oddly shaped white houses, visitors quickly realize that these houses are littered with bones.

All told, Dargavs contains nearly 100 stone crypts. Many of them contain boat fragments, which is strange because Dargavs lies deep in the Caucasus Mountains and contains no navigable rivers. Supposedly, the villagers were buried with boats so that they could use them in the afterlife during their journey across a Styx-like river.

As for the living inhabitants of the region, many refuse to go near the necropolis. At least one legend states that anyone who visits the tombs of Dargavs is doomed to die. The pervasive fog that clings to the necropolis also has a way of keeping people back.

5. Trasmoz

wps711E.tmp
Photo credit: Juanje 2712

In the 13th century, the Aragonese nobles living in Trasmoz Castle decided to start a rumor. To cover up their illicit forgery operation, those living in the castle spread the word that Trasmoz, a small and isolated village in the Moncayo mountain range, was infested with witches.

In this way, the locals - who were a mix of Christians, Jews, and Muslims - would not look too hard into the loud noises that always seemed to come from the village’s many iron and silver mines.

One group that was not scared off was the Roman Catholic Church. Upset that Trasmoz did not pay any taxes to the local church authorities, the abbot of Veruela and the archbishop of Tarazona used the witchcraft rumor as justification for excommunicating all of Trasmoz.

Many years of conflict followed this injunction. However, before Trasmoz went to war with its neighbors, King Ferdinand II of Aragon decided to rule in Trasmoz’s favor and claimed that they had been treated unfairly by certain figures in the church.

Since that time, the witch myth has stuck. Even today, the village - which has only 62 residents - is still known as one of Spain’s witchcraft centers. In the annals of Spanish legend and folklore, the Castle of Trasmoz is frequently cited as a great bastion of satanism and black magic.

4. Bara-Hack


According to legend, Bara-Hack (aka Pomfret) was founded by a pair of Welsh families from Rhode Island in 1780. By 1890, the village was completely empty. Located in the so-called “Quiet Corner” of northeastern Connecticut, today’s Bara-Hack is nothing more than a few scattered foundations and walls.

The only thing left intact in this ghost town is its cemetery. This has been cited as the focal point for all of the hauntings in Bara-Hack, which is nicknamed the “Village of Ghostly Voices.”

Many visitors to the ruins of Bara-Hack have reported hearing the disembodied voices of the town’s former residents. The sounds of ghost horses, dogs, and pigs have also been reported.

Many eyewitness have also claimed to have seen floating orbs in and around the cemetery. In 1971, paranormal researcher Paul Eno reported seeing a bearded face floating above the headstones of Bara-Hack’s cemetery.

Although it is commonly believed that Bara-Hack was abandoned because its economy was crumbling, some have suggested that bad mojo was actually behind the migration.

Either way, most wannabe paranormal investigators should know that Bara-Hack is located on private property. If the “No Trespassing” signs are any indication, the current owner isn’t a big fan of mystery hunters.

3. Canewdon

wpsCAC8.tmp
Photo credit: Terryjoyce

Canewdon is nestled in East Anglia, which is sometimes called England’s “witch country.” The village was once the subject of a prophecy uttered in the 19th century by James Murrell. Known as a “cunning man” (folk healer), Murrell reportedly promised that Canewdon would be full of witches for all eternity.

One of the more prosaic legends from the region states that whenever a stone falls from the tower of the local St. Nicholas Church, one witch will die and another will arrive to take her place.

Dark legends about Canewdon have circulated since at least the late 16th century. One tale claims that if you run counterclockwise around St. Nicholas Church or one of the tombs in its courtyard on Halloween, the Devil will appear.

Other versions claim that ghosts and witches will appear instead of Satan. Either way, local police are keen on keeping all merrymakers far away from St. Nicholas on Halloween.

Most of Canewdon’s legends stem from the fact that the village was the site of several witch trials and executions during the 16th and 17th centuries. The witches of Canewdon apparently used white mice as their familiars instead of black cats.

George Pickingill, one of Canewdon’s most famous magicians, was linked to black magic rituals and Devil worship before his death in the early 20th century.

2. Yarumal

wps98F7.tmp
Photo credit: Petruss

The residents of Yarumal are haunted by a curse known to science: the curse of dementia. For some reason, 50 percent of Yarumal’s 5,000 villagers will be afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease before they reach old age.

Located in Colombia’s Antioquia Department, which contains the Andes Mountains, Yarumal was once known for the type of violence that characterized Colombia in the 1980s and 1990s. Nowadays, la bobera (the “foolishness”) is what puts Yarumal in the headlines.

Most of the Yarumal residents can trace their ancestry back to the mountains of Spain’s Basque region. Unfortunately, people under 40 are known for developing Alzheimer’s disease at alarming rates.

According to scientists who have studied the town’s strange case of early-onset dementia, a Spanish conquistador in the 17th century more than likely introduced the initial genetic mutation to the people of what would become Yarumal. Known as E280A, this mutation is shared by most residents in Yarumal simply because they share large portions of the same DNA.

Researchers are confident that Yarumal holds the key to cracking dementia. As such, the mountain village has become one giant laboratory with the villagers playing the roles of patients.

1. Bhangarh

wpsFBF9.tmp
Photo credit: Parth.rkt

The ruins of Bhangarh in the state of Rajasthan hold a special fascination for Indians interested in the outre. Founded in 1573, Bhangarh was originally a strong, well-protected municipality during the reign of the Mughal Empire.

When the empire weakened, so did Bhangarh. By 1720, General Jai Singh II had forcefully incorporated Bhangarh into his own state of Ajabgarh. Less than 100 years later, Bhangarh was completely uninhabited after a large famine destroyed the town.

There is another version of events regarding Bhangarh’s descent into a ghost town. According to folklore, a beautiful princess once lived there. Unfortunately, one of her most devoted suitors was an evil magician who concocted a love potion to win the princess’s affection.

However, she uncovered the plan. When the magician tried to feed her from a bowl laced with the love potion, she dashed the bowl against a boulder with such force that the boulder rolled downhill and crushed the magician. Before dying, he supposedly uttered a curse on Bhangarh. He warned the residents that no one would live in the city much longer.

Although few actually believe the story of the magician and the princess, many do believe that Bhangarh is haunted. Even more people believe that roaming around the ruins of Bhangarh is a fun and spooky way to spend a Saturday night.

As a result, a sign by the Archaeology Survey of India currently stands outside the abandoned city to warn people away. In addition, despite the legend that anyone who visits Bhangarh during the night is doomed to stay in the ruined city forever, thousands of people visit there every year to see if the curse is real.

Top image: The ruins of Bhangarh. Credit: Radha Joshi/Wikimedia Commons.

[Source: Listverse. Edited. Top image added.]

VIDEO: HOW HUMANS CAN SORT OF SEE THE INVISIBLE



How Humans Can Sort of See the Invisible
By Casey Chan,
Sploid, 28 April 2016.

What superpower would you want to have? The ability to fly? Teleport? Turn invisible? Time travel? Heal? What about to ability to see the invisible? Not exactly the flashiest power you can have especially because we can kind of, sort of do that right now. This lovely animation explainer from Amaël Isnard shows how though we can’t see magnetic forces in action, we at least get to see the auroras in the north and south poles, which reveals the invisible magnetic field of Earth.


[Source: Sploid.]