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image A month or two ago a woman named Elena posted a travelogue on the web about her solitary motorcycle ride through the deserted area around Chernobyl. With all the eerie pictures she took of the abandoned, irradiated 'ghost town,' her travelogue quickly became one of the most linked-to sites on the net. Now there are accusations that her travelogue wasn't completely honest. Apparently she didn't go around alone on a motorcycle. She went in a car with her husband and a friend. Elena defends herself, admitting that much of her story was 'more poetry' than reality, but noting that most of it was still reality. I'm inclined to side with her. The pictures of Chernobyl, and what it's become, were real. How much does it really matter that she made them more interesting by wrapping them in a tale about a solitary motorcycle ride? (via JohnFord.net)
Categories: Exploration/Travel, Places
Posted by Alex on Fri May 21, 2004
Comments (43)
image Thirty-two years ago the tiny town of Eucla, Australia, on the edge of the Nullarbor plain, became famous when a few of its residents first sighted the Nullarbor Nymph. The Nymph was a blonde, feral, half-naked woman who lived in the bush and ran wild with kangaroos. News of this wild woman quickly spread around the world. President Nixon was asked his opinion of her (reportedly his reply could not be repeated over the air), and the Loch Ness monster sent her a telegram. Sooner or later I'll have to put a fuller account of the Nullarbor Nymph in my 'Hoaxes Throughout History' Gallery, but for now you can read all about her at Dora Dallwitz's excellent site.
Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales, Places
Posted by Alex on Tue May 18, 2004
Comments (1)
image I've actually been to Lynchburg, Virginia, but somehow I missed the little-known attractions that it offers, such as the Fletcher Farm Rhino, the ABC Cemetery in which all the graves are in alphabetical order, Mags the headless cat (pictured), and the world's only car that runs on Kool-Aid.


Categories: Folklore/Tall Tales, Places
Posted by Alex on Mon May 03, 2004
Comments (5)
image This picture is going around via email. It's not really a hoax at all. Just a joke. But since it's about Southern California, I couldn't resist sharing it. Here's the text that accompanies the email:

With all the news on TV lately about the subzero weather and snow that the east coast and upstate NY areas are experiencing, we shouldn't forget that Southern California has it's share of devastating weather also. I've attached a photo illustrating the excessive damage caused to a home from a west coast storm that passed through the Los Angeles area a couple of days ago. It really makes you cherish what you have, and reminds us not to take life for granted!!! Warning: The attached picture is quite graphic and may not be suitable for younger viewers.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Places
Posted by Alex on Mon Mar 01, 2004
Comments (18)
image This is a pretty amazing picture, and it screams 'Photoshop!' After all, where in the world would planes really land that close to sunbathers on a beach? It looks like the plane is landing right on top of them. Well, the place is Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten. And the airplanes really do come in that close to the beach. A collection of shots of planes landing at Princess Juliana is circulating as a powerpoint file via email. Jozee V sent the file along to me (Thanks, Jozee!). At first I couldn't believe that the shots were real, but after a little research I was convinced. The thumbnail shot was taken by the photographer Justin Cederholm. You can see more shots of planes landing at Princess Juliana Airport here, and here, and here. And if you don't believe this is a real airport, then check out it's website. Trust me, it's real. But personally I think those people sunbathing there are crazy. It seems to me like it would be a good way to shatter your eardrums.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Places
Posted by Alex on Fri Feb 20, 2004
Comments (97)
There's a scam business that's been in operation for years that offers to sell land on the moon. But a new group is raising the ante by offering to sell you land on the sun! Thankfully, all money they collect goes to aid the American Cancer Society.
Categories: Business/Finance, Places
Posted by Alex on Wed Jan 28, 2004
Comments (2)
In the latest hoax to hit eBay, someone attempted to auction off the state of West Virginia. Bidding hit $100 million before the auction was yanked.
Categories: eBay, Places
Posted by Alex on Thu Jan 15, 2004
Comments (0)
If you're looking for an interesting place to visit on your next vacation, you might want to check out Molvania. It's located over in Eastern Europe and is famous as the birthplace of the whooping cough. Also home to the Molvanian Sneezing Hound. If you want to learn even more about this little-known country then get a copy of Molvania: A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry, by Jetlag Travel.
Categories: Places
Posted by Alex on Mon Dec 29, 2003
Comments (4)
The Friends of Silver Lake purports to be a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in LA's Silver Lake district. Their projects include supporting the construction of a new shopping mall in Silver Lake that will be home to stores such as Wal-Mart and The Gap, because otherwise Silver Lake residents might have to drive up to ten miles to find these retailers (the horror!). Also, they're pushing a workplace diversity initiative to get more 'middle-class youngsters' employed in the food service and retail industries since, according to them, this demographic is underrepresented in these industries. Seems a little tongue-in-cheek to me. (Thanks to Chris Kelly for the link).
Categories: Places
Posted by Alex on Sun Dec 28, 2003
Comments (0)
Mankato: Welcome to Mankato, Minnesota, where you can enjoy whale watching on the Minnesota River.
Categories: Places, Websites
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 24, 2003
Comments (1)
A trilogy of sites devoted to exploring the community of New Rotterdam (or New-Rot, for short). First we have the Official Site of the Town of New Rotterdam. Next there's the New Rotterdam Vocational Union High School. And last is the St. Giles School for Male Youth.
Categories: Places, Websites
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 24, 2003
Comments (0)
Linguistic research has shed new light on the meaning of 'Des Moines.' Turns out it might derive from a 330-year-old practical joke. In 1673 Father Jacques Marquette met some representatives of the Peoria indian tribe near the mouth of the modern-day Des Moines River. He asked them the name of the rival tribe that lived further along the banks of the river. The Peoria told him that tribe was called the Moingoana, which became the root for the word 'Moines'. But researcher Michael McCafferty of Indiana University, while studying the now extinct Miami-Illinois language, discovered that Moingoana, translated literally, meant 's**t faces.' Evidently the Peoria were having a little fun at their rival's expense. The city of Des Moines has not yet acknowledged the true meaning of its name.
Categories: Places
Posted by Alex on Tue Sep 23, 2003
Comments (5)
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