Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Thule Society

Lots of secret organizations are suspected of having malevolent ulterior motives, but the Thule Society is one of the few where such suspicions have been proven. The group was unofficially started in Germany just after the end of WWI. It began as a kind of German heritage group that dabbled in the occult, but it quickly transformed into an organization that sought to forward the ideology of the Aryan race, and it took an outwardly racist approach toward Jews and other minorities. The group soon boasted over a thousand members, and even had its own propaganda newspaper. In 1919, members of the Thule Society formed a political organization called the German Workers’ Party. A young Adolf Hitler became a member, and eventually took over the party, which would later become known as the National Socialist German Workers’, or Nazi, party.

Secret Practices
Even before the Thule Society became a vehicle for Nazism, the members were involved in some pretty bizarre activities. The strangest was the group’s fascination with the Aryan race, whose origins they tried to trace back to the mythical land of Thule, which the Greeks had claimed was found north of Europe near Iceland and Greenland.

Famous Members
Rudolf Hess, Arthur Rosenberg, Adolf Hitler (rumored)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bathroom ban

The Tidong are a group of people from northern Borneo with a particularly uncomfortable wedding custom. For the 3 days and 3 nights following the wedding, both the bride and groom are prohibited from using the bathroom. That means no urinating, no defecating, and no bathing. They believe that custom will lead to a long, happy, and fertile marriage. In order to achieve this, the newlyweds are allowed to eat and drink only very small amounts and are watched very closely by family members.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Vampire Cafe

The Vampire Cafe is a gothic themed restaurant in the Ginza district of Tokyo where the waitresses dress up in dark French maid outfits and the waiters wear tuxedos as if coming out of a Dracula horror movie.

On the menu everything from pasta to steak has been renamed to some vampire-like title, including a specialty cocktail that comes recommended called Vampire’s Blood. A dinner for two can cost over $100.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Aluminum Wedge of Aiud

In 1974 (or 1973 depending upon which source you believe) a curious aluminum wedge was discovered on the banks of the Mures River in Transylvania, near the city of Aiud. It was found buried deep beneath the sand alongside two mastodon bones.

Upon examination, the object – which resembled a hammer head – was found to be encased in a one millimeter thick layer of oxide which suggests that it is some 300-400 years old. A second, Swiss investigation confirmed the results of the first examination. Furthermore, as it was found with mastodon remains it could even be as much as 20,000 years old.

Aluminum is abundant in the earth’s crust but it is always combined with other minerals and the wedge predates the technology used to extract it. An aeronautical engineer suggested that the wedge is similar to the foot of landing gear used on spacecraft. The scientific community believes ‘the wedge was made on earth and its purpose is not yet identified’. Unfortunately, the Aluminum Wedge of Aiud is currently locked away in a secret location; however, some photographs of the curious, unexplained object do exist online.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Baby dangling festival

The Sheedis are an ethnic group in Pakistan whose ancestors are believed to have been brought to the subcontinent as slaves from Africa. Each year a 'Crocodile Festival' is held at the 800-year-old shrine at Manghopir, an arid, hilly area at the outskirts of Karachi, to celebrate the annual traditional ritual of dancing and singing and feeding the crocodiles at an adjacent pond.

One of the most 'curious' part of the event is when a father dangles his baby son above crocodile's jaws during the religiousfestival. He is in fact seeking blessings for his five-month-old son. 

During the Sheedi Mela, devotees make pledges to a shrine for the reptiles and then head for the water to offer them fresh goat meat. Acceptance of the meat is regarded as a sign of luck and property and the faithful believe the beasts won't attack because they are the disciples of the saint, Khwaja Hasan.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Lalibela is a rural town in the north of Ethiopia. It is also one of the countries holiest cities and a centre for pilgrimage. The 13 churches in the town have been carved completely from rock directly into the ground. It was under the instruction of Saint Gebre Mesqel Lalibela during his reign as Emperor of Ethiopia, that these churches were constructed, the layout and names of the buildings in Lalibela are a representation of Jerusalem. This has helped to date the churches to around the 1200s, after the 1187 capture of Jerusalem by Saladin. The largest monolithic church in the world, Bet Madhane Alem, is also home to the Lalibela Cross: a 12th century processional cross. Bete Maryam is thought to be the oldest of the churches, and Bete Golgotha is where it is believed King Lalibela is entombed. These churches are very unusual in that they are carved into the ground instead of into a cave or a cliff face, as most other rock carved buildings are. This process must have been very slow work and each church is carved with painstaking detail and stands as testament of the dedication of these people to their religion

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Battle of Tannenberg

Following the failed Russian invasion of East Prussia in WW1, the Russians managed to inflict a defeat on the Germans at Gumbinnen and make a push toward the West. The Germans quickly moved to consolidate the German Eight Army to halt the Russian advance. Despite being outnumbered, the Germans, outnumbered by two Russian field armies, managed to inflict a huge defeat on the Russians at Tannenberg, considered by some to be the most lopsided defeat in the war. The Russians suffered 170,000 casualties to the Germans 12,000, highlighted the ineptitude of the Russian commanders and the ineffectiveness of the Russian army.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Steam It

According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, several spas in Southern California have added vaginal steam baths to their list of services. The V-Steam, as it’s called, is an ancient Korean remedy purported to reduce stress, fight infections, clear hemorrhoids, regulate menstrual cycles and aid infertility. Although there’s no hard medical evidence to support these claims, many women swear by steaming their beavers.

The V-Steam process is basically Harry Potter meets OB/GYN. The woman sits above a boiling pot of mugwort tea blended with wormwood and other herbs, and lets the steam waft all up into her business for about 30 minutes. Sounds harmless enough.

One V-Steam proponent interviewed by the L.A. Times says she’s a fan because it’s basically “a facial for her vagina,” which just may be the filthiest statement we’ve heard all month. She also describes it as “a simple, relaxing treatment” that “you can imagine people doing in the forest somewhere.” Well, sure, you could…. if you’re like, a total fucking hippie weirdo. On the other hand, one can say with total confidence that the image of a bunch of women hanging out in the woods, blowing steam up their boxes never would have entered our heads prior to her mention of it—and we spend quite a bit of time pondering bizarre, perverted things.

But ladies, if steaming your vagina makes you a healthier, happier person, then by all means, steam away.

Monday, April 20, 2015

General Nguyen Ngoc Loan

The photo above was taken in 1968 and is one of the most famous images of the 20th century. The picture was taken by photographer Eddie Adams and won the Pulitzer Prize. It is also included in the 15 Incredible Historical Photographs list. Many have seen this photograph but most are not aware of the full story behind it. The man on the left shown executing a prisoner is South Vietnamese national police commander, General Lone. Before the execution it was reported that the prisoner had been the captain of a terrorist squad that killed the family of one of his deputy commanders. After shooting the prisoner, the general walked over to a reporter and said, “These guys kill a lot of our people, and I think Buddha will forgive me.” When the photo was shown on television and appeared on the front pages of newspapers around the world, it was seen as an act of savagery and symbolized an unjustified war. Three months after the photo was taken, General Loan was severely wounded and taken to Australia for treatment. There was such an outcry against him that he was moved to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC. During the fall of Saigon in 1975 he asked for American help in fleeing with his family but was ignored and had to escape with his family in a South Vietnamese plane. Gen. Loan, whose right leg had been amputated, settled in northern Virginia, where he eventually opened a pizzeria restaurant. Loan was then forced into retirement when his identity was publicly disclosed. Eddie Adams (the photographer) stayed in touch and recalled that on his last visit to the pizza shop, he had seen written on a restroom wall “We know who you are, fucker.”

Interesting Fact: Eddie Adams said this in a Time magazine interview: “The general killed the Viet Cong; I killed the general with my camera. Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe them, but photographs do lie, even without manipulation. They are only half-truths. What the photograph didn’t say was, ‘What would you do if you were the general at that time and place on that hot day, and you caught the so-called bad guy after he blew away one, two or three American soldiers?’” When General Loan died of cancer in 1998, Adams praised him and sent flowers with a card that read, “I’m sorry. There are tears in my eyes.”

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Sons of Liberty

The Sons of Liberty is the name for a loosely organized group of dissidents that existed in America prior to the Revolutionary War. The group did not exist as a secret society in the traditional sense; rather, it was made up of smaller factions of patriots from across the colonies that united in support of a common goal. When they did meet, it was usually in Boston around an elm tree that has since become known as the Liberty Tree. It was here that the group would formulate their resistance, which included the dissemination of pamphlets and even some sabotage and terrorist activity. This behavior led to the British branding the Sons of Liberty as seditious, and they were often referred to pejoratively as “The Sons of Violence.” The group is most notable today for sowing the seeds of revolution among the colonists with their protest of the Stamp Act, and for coining the now famous phrase “no taxation without representation.”

Secret Practices
The Sons of Liberty in Boston were the most famous arm of the group, but there were factions spread out all across the 13 colonies. One group in Rhode Island looted and burned the British trade ship Gaspee in protest of unfair trade practices, while others were known to tar and feather British loyalists. Still, the most famous event engineered by the Sons remains the Boston Tea Party in 1773, when members of the group dressed as Indians and dumped shiploads of overtaxed tea into Boston Harbor.

Famous Members
Paul Revere, John and Samuel Adams, John Hancock

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Okavango Swamp

The Okavango in Botswana is a unique ecosystem of papyrus-lined waterways, knee-deep floodplains, water-lily lagoons, shady forest glades and rich savannah grasslands. All this fecundity lies in the middle of the largest continuous stretch of sand in the world – the Kalahari Desert Basin. Seen from space as an emerald swirl surrounded by a parched landscape, the Okavango Delta is an incredible source of life in a country that is 80% arid.

The Okavango region contains the state-run Moremi Game Reserve surrounded by a number of strictly controlled, privately managed wildlife concessions. The game viewing in all of these areas is no less than outstanding and activities can either be undertaken on foot, in a game-viewing vehicle or in a mokoro (dug-out canoe) or motorised boat. Such varied opportunities in a beautiful and diverse range of habitats, makes the Okavango the best all-encompassing safari destination in the world.

The Okavango Delta is home to 71 fish species including Tigerfish, Tilapia and Catfish. They range from 1.4 m Sharptooth-Catfish to 3.2 cm Sickle-fin Barb. The same species are to be found in the Zambezi River, indicating a historic link between the two river systems.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Formicophilia: The Insect Fetish

If you're afraid of bugs, then you may want to skip past this disturbing fantasy. Formicophiles are not just turned on by insects, but the idea of insects biting them or climbing all over their body. The tickling or stinging of said bug action is considered incredibly erotic by these fetishists, which is why it is not surprising that most people who have this obsession grew up in poverty, in a home that had plenty of creepy crawlies