World’s Strangest

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Vase Shows the Silhouette of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip

Danish psychologist Edgar Rubin is best known for the Rubin Vase — an optical illusion that looks like either two faces or a vase. Here’s a real vase that was created for Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. When positioned just right, one side shows the Queen and the other the Prince Consort. You [...]

Obscura Day 2012

Atlas Obscura has announced the date of the third annual Obscura Day, which will be Saturday, April 28th. Obscura Day is a day to go exploring: to take a trip through the hidden wonders of the world, to see special places, maybe even in your own backyard! There are already lots of excursions planned, from [...]

The Bunny Museum

The Obscura Society took a tour of the Bunny Museum in Pasadena, California recently and brought back many pictures to post, in case you live to far away to visit in person. The Bunny Museum was born on Valentine’s Day, 1993 when Steve Lubanski gave his then girlfriend (now wife) Candace Frazee a white plush bunny [...]

The Obscura Society

Atlas Obscura had a great success earlier this year with Obscura Day, a project to get people all over involved in their local geography and interesting places. It was so successful that they are now forming The Obscura Society, a club in which people not only explore places, but share their experiences with others. Born of [...]

The Fun of Urban Foraging

Who says you can’t go on a nature hike just because you’re in a big city? There’s plenty of edible plants growing right there in the streets of Washington, DC! During two expeditions on Friday, adventurous eaters, amateur botanists, and a handful of curious locals descended on the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood of the Nation’s Capital in [...]

Tunnel Vision: Cool Corridors Around the World

Who knew? A tunnel dug underneath the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea is open for tours, even though you cannot access the ground above it! This is just one of several odd and interesting corridors you can read about in a list at Atlas Obscura. Others are in Vietnam, Brooklyn, Liverpool, and Australia. [...]

Camera Obscura

Cuban-born photographer Abelardo Morell demonstrated the concept of camera obscura to college students in 1988 by turning the entire classroom into a camera. On a sunny day, he covered the classroom windows with black plastic, making the space as dark as a cave, cut a dime-size hole in the material, and told his students to watch. [...]

Happy Obscura Day Eve!

On Saturday, the fine folks from Atlas Obscura are presenting Obscura Day, a celebration of the curious and underexplored corners of cities around the world. So many cool things are on the schedule. Peruse rare medical photography at Cleveland’s Dittrick Medical Museum. Trek out to Tesla’s Wardenclyffe Laboratory in New York. Take a tour of the [...]

Obscura Day 2011

Atlas Obscura is hosting the second annual International Obscura Day on April 9, 2011, in partnership with Hendrick’s Gin. This is a day set aside for “expeditions, back-room tours and hidden treasures” in places near or not-so-near. Events will take place in 61 cities (so far). Here are some of the most popular: In London Go [...]

The Greatest Spiral Stairs in the World

There is something mysterious and intriguing about spiral staircases. Atlas Obscura looks at some of the most magnificent spiral staircases in the world, with lovely pictures and facts you might not know. For example, the staircase at the Vatican Museum, pictured here, is actually a double helix, with one staircase going up and the other [...]