With overtures of the Timberline Lodge of Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining fame, the Banff Springs Hotel of Canada is said to be the home of a plethora of ghost stories and mysterious happenings. Locals tell tales of an entire family that was murdered in cold-blood in room 873. Others talk of reappearing doormen who vanish into thin air.
But if you think you can deal with the supernatural rep, then you’re in for a real treat here. The handsome hotel oozes Scottish Baronial styles, is shrouded by the fir-dressed peaks of the Canadian Rockies, and offers access to the iconic ski fields of Jasper and Banff.
Just south of the unpronounceable city of Szczecin on Poland’s extreme eastern haunch, a stone’s throw west of the border with Germany, a small clutch of just over 400 pine trees has been garnering the attention of Atlas Obscura types and off-the-beaten-track travelers for years.
The entire forest appears to be bent over almost 90 degrees at the trunk, before twisting back straight again and growing vertically into the Slavic sky. Debate has raged as to what caused the unusual wood to come to look like it has, with theories as wide ranging as torrential snowstorms and lumberjack growing techniques.
Enfolded by the rises of the Aravali Hills and baked by the Rajasthani sun, the old bulwarks of the Bhangarh Fort are said to echo with the ethereal presence of one cursed princess and her would-be captor, the wizard Sinhai. It’s said that Sinhai tried to ensnare the young royal by offering her a love potion.
The plan backfired, the wizard ended up dead, but not before he could lay his hex on all the inhabitants of Bhangarh.
Today, the Mughlai complex once trodden by Madho Singh I is considered one of the most haunted spots in India. No one is allowed to enter after dark, and locals have even reported deaths as a result of the continued curse!
Seemingly swirling, spinning, and twisting like a cyclone through the heart of the mighty Sahara Desert, the great Richat Structure in the depths of Mauritania is something truly mysterious. Scientists have puzzled for years as to how the perfect circular set of concentric rings got there.
Some think it was an asteroid impact in centuries gone by. Others say it was the simple process of natural geological attrition and erosion.
And then there are some who think it was the creation of extraterrestrials, who passed this way and marked a landing point for future visits to earth.
It was just at the turn of the first millennium AD that the Rapa Nui peoples of eastern Polynesia landed and began surveying the wind-blasted shores of Easter Island.
It wasn’t called Easter Island then – the name is a later European addition courtesy of the Dutchman Jacob Roggeveen, who happened upon the land in 1722. What he discovered would have surely wowed him: countless carved effigies of colossal heads, chiselled and chipped from the black rock boulders of the land.
In fact, there are over more than 880 of the so-called moai heads here, which are each thought to represent the final member of one of the tribal family clans.
Uluru is the mighty pillar at the middle of the Australian Outback.
It shoulders its way high above the flatlands that encompass it; a gargantuan block of sandstone rock that looks like the carapace of a petrified animal. Uluru is truly a breathtaking place to behold and attracts everyone from hikers to history buffs (who come mainly for the prehistoric petroglyphs that mark the caves nearby). However, Ayers Rock, as the site is also called, also figures as a focal point for the old traditions of the Australian Aborigines.
They believe it’s one of the last remaining homes of the creator beings who forged the earth.
Meanwhile, other folk come here to energise themselves at the fluvial channels that run underneath the rock.
Tiahuanacu (also called Tiwanaku) is a mystery because of its age (estimated to be 17,000 years) and the peculiar stone technology.
Today there is little doubt that Tiahuanaco was a major sacred ceremonial centre and focal point of a culture that spread across much of the region. The ancient people built a stone pyramid known as the Akapana
When first discovered the pyramid was largely covered with soil. After several decades of excavation some of the walls have been uncovered and treasure hunters opened a depression in the top. This was built originally to open towards the east.
There is evidence that Titicaca was once a saltwater sea. Its shoreline is littered with millions of fossilized seashells. The marine fishes and seahorses in the lake are all oceanic types found only in salt water.
Researchers are convinced that these 3 miles high ruins once lay at sea level. Therefore, an incredibly devastating earthquake could have torn the city asunder, lifting Tiwanaku and the lake to where they are now.