Tag Archives: Atlas Obscura

There Was a Massive, Gross Slime Eel Spill in Oregon


Oregon’s Highway 101 is a beautiful drive along the coast, but for some drivers yesterday, it was a little more slimy than scenic. The Oregonian reports that a truck carrying 7,500 pounds of hagfish overturned two miles south of the town of Depoe Bay, causing a five-car crash and covering two sedans and the highway in goo and fish. It required a bulldozer and fire hoses to clean it all up.

Hagfish are about one to two feet long, and while they have a skull, they lack a spinal column. They’re sometimes called slime eels because they ooze goo–up to four cups in less than a second–when they’re distressed. When combined with water, that goo expands. Slime from just one hagfish can grow to five gallons, … Read the rest

The Worst Freelance Gig in History Was Being the Village Sin Eater


When a loved one died in parts of England, Scotland, or Wales in the 18th and 19th centuries, the family grieved, placed bread on the chest of the deceased, and called for a man to sit in front of the body. The family of the deceased watched as this man, the local professional sin eater, absorbed the sins of the departed’s soul.

The family who hired the sin eater believed that the bread literally soaked up their loved one’s sins; once it had been eaten, all the misdeeds were passed on to the hired hand. The sin eater’s own soul was heavy with the ill deeds of countless men and women from his village or town—he paid a high spiritual price for little worldly return. The … Read the rest

Hunting for Treasure in Brooklyn’s Coolest Prop House


Walking into Brooklyn’s ACME Studio you have to pass a TV—displaying static and embellished with disco balls—that is half-hidden under faux-jungle underbrush that also drapes over a giant wooden skull, next to a pristine vintage motorcycle. And that’s all before you’re greeted by the bright green plastic horse.

ACME Studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn calls itself a prop house or a photo studio, but its space is more like a modern cabinet of curiosities, the walls filled with oddities and artifacts accumulated from years of careful (and not so careful) collecting.


“This horse of a different color was gifted to us, oddly enough, and has been a staple of our studio ever since! Even when wrapped up in bubble wrap and packing blankets, this unmissable shape always

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Found: A Purse Hidden in the Library Walls Since 1966

A librarian on Chicago’s North Shore was presented with a mystery, found in the building’s walls. When a crew was renovated the HVAC system, they found a black purse, the Daily North Shore reports.

Inside, there were a few objects—a lipstick, an earring, a pencil, two photos, and a reservation ticket for the dentist’s office, on a Tuesday, October 11.

The photos showed a younger girl and an older woman, but most helpful clue so far was the ticket for the dentist’s. It turns out that there was only one Tuesday, October 11 in history when dentist Arthur S. Dunn was at the number listed on the card. That was in 1966.

The card also had a name—Ellen Pritikin. Between the photos and that … Read the rest

We Asked, You Answered: The Kids’ Books You Wish More People Remembered

A week ago, we asked you to tell us about the obscure books you read as a kid that have stuck with you, but that hardly anyone else seems to remember. As it turned out, Atlas Obscura readers have a lot to say on this subject. All together, we received more than 900 responses. Below, the editors have compiled our favorites. Please accept our apologies if we weren’t able to include yours—there were simply too many to share them all. Enjoy!


I submit for your consideration, The Elephant Who Liked to Smash Small Cars. It is the sad tale of a purveyor of small cars whose neighbor is, to his misfortune, an elephant so predisposed. With his entire inventory smashed, the man rethinks his business … Read the rest

The Stolen Head of Baby Jesus Has Been Reattached

In late 2015, the head was stolen from a baby Jesus statue at a Catholic church in Sudbury, Ontario, around 250 miles northwest of Toronto. Last October, a local artist offered to fashion a replacement. It’s safe to say it didn’t go so well:

But just days after that story broke, the head was returned, the church’s priest announced, a return prompted in part because the story had become something of an internet sensation. The head had been stolen, the CBC reported then, by an unidentified person “suffering from some personal problems.” Finally, on Friday, the head was reattached:

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