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Shipwrecks, Stolen Jewels, and Cranium-Blasting Are A few of This Yr’s Finest Mysteries

Shipwrecks Stolen Jewels and Skull Blasting Are Some of This Years

There’s nothing like an excellent thriller—legal, historic, scientific, creative, culinary—to make for an awesome learn. This 12 months, Atlas Obscura investigated unsolved circumstances from around the globe and thru the centuries—from a Sixteenth-century shipwreck off the coast of Australia that will or might not exist to a contemporary Midwestern ice cream taste that simply could be made with beaver secretions. A number of of those unknowns might finally grow to be recognized by technological breakthroughs or newly found archival paperwork, however most are puzzles that can by no means be solved (or treasure that can by no means be discovered). Generally, although, asking the laborious questions is sufficient (and could be enjoyable).


by Dan Nosowitz

The theft of the “Irish crown jewels” from Dublin Fort in 1907 was surprising, however the actual scandal was what occurred subsequent. The story of the jewels’ disappearance “would finally contain a intercourse scandal, conspiracies that pointed the finger at either side of the political spectrum, the occult, drunken pranks, bankrupt celebrities, sham trials, and an extremely efficient hush marketing campaign from the highest rung of the political ladder.” The jewels are nonetheless lacking.


by Gemma Tarlach, Senior Editor/Author

The grotesque follow of “cranium blasting”—breaking a human skull into six to eight collectible parts-—allowed Late Renaissance and Enlightenment-era purveyors of relics and curiosities to satisfy consumer demand. However was thinker René Descartes’s cranium blasted following his demise in 1650? It’s a query that has pitted researchers in Sweden, who consider items of his cranium are scattered in personal collections, and people in France, who’re satisfied the intact cranium is in Paris’s Musée de l’Homme.

In some parts of the United States in the 19th century, grave-robbing continued, even after laws were passed to allocate cadavers to medical schools, raising questions about the origins and ethics of anatomical specimens. CARMEN DEÑÓ/ATLAS OBSCURA

by Jessica Leigh Hester

In Nineteenth-century Philadelphia, an anatomist dissected and mounted a human nervous system. The preparation, now mounted at Drexel College’s Queen Lane campus, got here to be often known as “Harriet Cole,” described in a show label as a Black lady who labored as a maid or scrubwoman at Hahnemann Medical School. When she died within the late 1800s, so the story goes, Cole donated her physique to science. However trendy researchers aren’t so certain. On this longform story, we study whether or not they can determine whose stays are stretched out in a glass case.


by Barkha Kumari

It was only a snack—a skinny slice from a plant, maybe a root, seasoned with salt, chili powder, and lime—however the avenue meals launched author Barkha Kumari on a quest to find the supply of this crisp, refreshing meals the seller known as Bhoochakara Gadda or Ram Kand Mool. The query, it turned out, has infuriated botanists for years.

In a small village in southern Norway, a church wall is filled with thousands of tiny demons—and that's not the oddest thing about the mural.
In a small village in southern Norway, a church wall is filled with thousands of tiny demons—and that’s not the oddest thing about the mural. SUSANNE KAUN, NIKU

by Gemma Tarlach, Senior Editor/Author

Gerhard Gotaas, certainly one of Norway’s main conservators, was supposed to revive a centuries-old art work in a small village church in Sauherad, however as an alternative he spent two years within the early Nineteen Forties portray a monstrous mural from his personal creativeness full of numerous demons. It’s a story of scandal, fraud, and doable insanity.


by Bonnie Nicol

The town of Warrnambool sits on the shore of Victoria, Australia—the Shipwreck Coast. Greater than 700 vessels have met tragic ends alongside there, with 29 resting on the backside of Warmambool’s bay. A kind of misplaced ships is a Sixteenth-century Portuguese caravel often known as the “Mahogany Ship.” “There’s only a small problem,” writes Bonnie Nicol. “The ship is probably not from the Sixteenth century. Or Portuguese. Or actual.”


by Gemma Tarlach, Senior Editor/Author

In 2012, researchers found one thing utterly surprising within the coffin of a Seventeenth-century Swedish Bishop named Peder Winstrub. Beneath his vestments was the physique of a five- or six-month-old human fetus. Some speculated that the stillborn baby belonged to a servant and even the undertaker, however this 12 months, DNA evaluation revealed the fetus was most certainly Winstrub’s grandson. Nonetheless massive questions stay: Who positioned the stays within the coffin? And why?

Eyewitnesses to the 1942 Lee Street Riot in Alexandria, Louisiana, believe that GIs were killed, contradicting the official record.
Eyewitnesses to the 1942 Lee Street Riot in Alexandria, Louisiana, believe that GIs were killed, contradicting the official record. CARMEN DEÑÓ/ATLAS OBSCURA

by Benoît Morenne

On the night of January 10, 1942, in Alexandria, Louisiana, Black troopers had been having fun with an evening out within the metropolis’s bars and nightclubs beneath the watchful eye of the predominately white army police pressure. “Then there was a spark,” Benoît Morenne writes. When a white MP tried to arrest a Black soldier, an indignant mob fashioned and the capturing started. The road battle continued for hours, leading to 33 injured Black troopers however—in accordance with official army reviews—no deaths. Eyewitnesses, nevertheless, reported about 20 casualties. Now the area people, which maintains a memorial custom round that fateful night time, is asking: Was that night time in Alexandria one of many deadliest racial conflicts of World Conflict II?


by Luke Fater

Nobody actually is aware of the place the long-lasting blue ice cream bought its begin, or when. And, to be trustworthy, nobody actually is aware of describe its taste “Ask six totally different individuals what the flavour of Blue Moon ice cream is and also you’ll get six totally different solutions, not less than,” writes former Gastro Obscura Editorial Fellow Luke Fater. “It’s almond, it’s raspberry, it’s lemon, it’s Froot Loops, it’s cotton sweet, it’s beaver musk additive.” The recipe? That’s a secret, too—however Gastro Obscura did its greatest to recreate the regional deal with.


This episode of our day by day podcast might or might not include the important thing to discovering the precise location of 1000’s of kilos of gold, silver, and jewels. So seize your pickaxes, shovels, and code-breaking supercomputers, and be part of Atlas Obscura cofounder Dylan Thuras on this hunt for the reality behind the Beale Ciphers, a set of three encoded messages written by the mysterious Thomas Jefferson Beale within the early Nineteenth century that supposedly results in a $60 million trove buried someplace in Virginia.

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