The Bone Chapel of Portugal – A Creepy Sacred Destination

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A structure with interiors covered completely in human bones – sounds like the stuff that scary houses are made of, right? But believe it or not, it is actually a place of worship. Capela dos Ossos, or the Chapel of Bones, is located next to the Church of St. Francis in the medieval Portuguese town of Evora. The 16th century chapel is a large room that has been adorned with the bones of over 5,000 monks.

The decision to use human bones as building material for a church is certainly an unusual one, but there’s a story to justify it. It seems that in the 16th century, Evora had about 43 cemeteries that took up way too much land. When the decision was made to destroy some of these cemeteries, the corpses of 5,000 monks were exhumed in an effort to save their souls from condemnation. It was decided that the remains of these monks would be relocated to the Capela dos Ossos. However, the existing monks soon realized that it might be a better idea to put these bones on display, rather than behind closed doors. These monks were concerned about the societal values of the wealthy town of Evora.  So they set about creating a place for meditation, a place where the undeniable reminder of death would help people transcend the material world.

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The Chalk Masterpieces of Rustam Valeev

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Rustam Valeev is a 20-year-old street artist from the city of Sterlitamak, Russia. Using simple pieces of white chalk, he is able to create incredibly detailed portraits right on the pavement of his home city.

Doodling with chalk was one of my favorite pastimes, as a kid. I remember I spent hours trying to draw simple things like people, butterflies, or animals, but my works never looked as good as what Rustam Valeev creates. In fact, the only other person I know who can create such realistic artworks is Paul Cadden, who renders photo-realistic masterpieces with graphite and chalk. But while Paul draws on paper, Rustam practices his skills on rough pavement. Although his street art hasn’t been featured by any important Western media outlets, his beautiful portraits have gone viral on some of the most popular sites in Russia.

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The Coromoto Ice-Cream Shop – 900 Weird Flavors and Counting

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Coromoto, an ice cream shop in Merida, Venezuela, is probably the closest you can ever get to Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans from Harry Potter’s wizarding world. The place sells ice creams of virtually every flavor you can think of. Granted, you won’t get vomit or earwax, but you’re sure to come across a few strange flavors like onion, chili, mushrooms, wine and even garlic. The ones you’d probably never want to try are egg, sardines-in-brandy and macaroni-and-cheese flavored ice creams. Of course, for those who don’t like experimenting much, regular flavors like vanilla and strawberry are available as well.

Manuel da Silva Oliveira, a Portuguese immigrant, worked for years at large ice cream companies, before he realized the potential that exotic and unusual flavors held. He then proceeded to perfect an avocado-flavored ice cream, after wasting about 50 kg in his attempts. In 1980, he opened the Heladeria Coromoto, where the Avocado ice cream is now one of the most popular, and is paired with sweet corn, black bean, mango or coconut flavors. The shop sells the largest number of flavors in the world, holding a Guinness World Record for it. There are around 900 flavors to choose from, with 60 of them being served on any given day. Changes are made according to the season.

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Build It and They Won’t Come – World’s Largest Shopping Mall Is 99% Empty

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The New South China Mall in Dongguan, China is the biggest in the world. With an area of over 7 million square feet that can accommodate 2,350 stores, and attractions such as roller coasters, ghost trains and a replica of the bell tower of St Mark’s Square in Venice, you would think the place would be swarming with people. So did the owners of the mall, who expected over 70,000 visitors a day when they started building it. But today it stands empty, with almost no customers entering its gates. The 553 meter indoor and outdoor roller coaster hasn’t been operated since it was installed and 99% of the shops have never been leased out. The only ones that do operate are a series of fast food joints at the entrance of the mall and another few shops inside the huge complex.

New South China Mall was built in 2005 by Hu Guirong, who made his millions making instant noodles. He started the project with great enthusiasm, sending teams all over the world in search of ideas for his dream mall. And most of these ideas were even translated into reality. Where else in the world would be able to see a gondola on a mock Venetian canal inside a mall? But then something went horribly wrong, because when the place was completed in 2005, it simply failed to take off. It wasn’t even a dead mall, where tenants simply depart and business winds down slowly. No, Guirong’s mall never attracted merchants in the first place, as they felt it wasn’t a realistic place to set up shop.

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Size Doesn’t Matter – Man Builds $200 Tiny Eco-Homes from Ordinary Household Junk

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A tiny house doesn’t necessarily have to be shabby. And a stylish one doesn’t really have to cost a lot of money. Proving these points is carpenter Derek Diedricksen, who makes small wooden dwellings out of junk at $200 apiece. They look nothing like junk, though. The decorative detailing in these houses make them pretty interesting places to live in.

The largest structure made by 33-year-old Derek is Gypsy Junker – 24 square feet in size and 5ft 10 inches high. The smallest one is just 4ft tall. But then the interiors of these houses are so pretty that anyone would be interested to spend at least one night in them. Everyday junk is used in the building process, like the glass from the front of a washing machine that becomes a porthole-like window and a sheet of metal is used as a flipdown counter. Castoff storm windows, shipping pallets and discarded cabinets are used as well. Stained glass windows and the likes are used for that decorative touch. Some of the houses built by Derek are also portable, ranging from 4 to 24 square feet in size.

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Sarajevo Roses – Painful War Memories Etched in Asphalt

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They sound like something beautiful, and they are quite nice to look at, but as soon as you learn the story of the Sarajevo Roses, you realize they are really the legacy of a truly tragic event, the Bosnian War of the 1990s.

Between 1992 and 1996, Bosnian Serb Forces bombarded the city of Sarajevo in what is remembered as the longest siege in the history of modern warfare. As you can imagine this kind of event leaves serious scars both in the hearts of those affected and on the city’s infrastructure. A Sarajevo Rose is a concrete scar made by a mortar shell explosion that was later painted with red resin as a memorial to those who were killed during the Siege of Sarajevo. It seems unnatural to compare the mark of a mortar explosion to the beauty of a rose, but the unique fragmentation pattern of a mortar round hitting concrete does indeed have a floral look. Still, while roses are a symbol of love and beauty, Sarajevo Roses represent a collective memory of the physical scars of war.

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5 Real-Life Dolls Who Have Achieved Internet Fame

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Dolls hold a strange power of attraction over little girls. I suppose it is normal, but is it really if the attraction turns into an unhealthy obsession as they grow older? Some grown-up girls seem to be so infatuated with dolls that they want to look exactly like their plastic playmates. And a handful of them actually manage to achieve these looks.

Here we have a story of five girls who have achieved huge fame on the internet by looking exactly like dolls. We’re not sure if it is because of makeup, Photoshop, plastic surgery, natural beauty, or a combination of all four. All we know is that looks don’t get a lot more doll-like than this. I don’t know if you could categorize these looks as innocent or plain creepy. But I’ll let you be the judge of that.

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Famadihana – Dancing with the Dead in Madagascar

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The people of Madagascar have a unique ritual to celebrate family ties called Famadihana, also known as ‘turning of the bones’. It is a festival celebrated every 7 years or so, during which family crypts are opened up and the remains of dead ancestors are brought out to be wrapped in a new cloth. The Malagasy then dance with the corpses in great joy. Live music is played, animals are sacrificed and the meat is distributed to various guests and members of the family. The elders explain to their children the importance of the dead who are lying before them. Famadihana is viewed as a day to show your family just how much you love them. Extended families get together and celebrate kinship.

According to Malagasy belief, people are not made from mud, but from the bodies of the ancestors. Hence they hold their forefathers in high regard. They also believe that unless the bodies decompose completely, the dead do not leave permanently and are able to communicate with the living. So until they are gone forever, love and affection is showered on them through the Famadihana festival. It is interesting to note that the festival is not an ancient practice of Madagascar. Its origins cannot be traced beyond the seventeenth century.

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The Mind-Blowingly Realistic Wine Paintings of Thomas Arvid

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If you’ve been hanging around Oddity Central for a while, you probably know I have a thing for hyperrealism. I find it amazing how some artists can simply guide a paintbrush to create photograph-like artworks that almost always fool the naked eye.

Case in point, Thomas Arvid, a self-taught painter who creates wine-related paintings that look like professional high-resolution photos. In the past, we’ve featured amazing works by talented artists the likes of Alyssa Monks or Denis Peterson, but Arvid’s creations really are unlike any I’ve ever seen. His incredibly realistic compositions of wine completely redefine still life and put the Marietta-based artist at the forefront of the hyperrealist art movement. Thomas’ mastery of light, depth and reflection, as well as his ability to capture a traditional subject like wine in a completely new style have brought him international acclaim.

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Croatian Woman Creates Popular Made-to-Measure Penis Warmers

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If we can have warm clothing for our heads, hands and feet, why leave out male genitalia? That’s exactly the attitude of the Croats, who used hand-knitted woolen penis warmers in the past. The centuries-old tradition has now been revived by a 55-year-old Croatian woman, Radmilla Kus. An avid knitter, she started off by making slippers for tourists, but her ‘willy warmers’ have turned out to be far more popular. When the orders started pouring in she just couldn’t keep up with them, so she had to hire a small army of knitters. Radmilla also conducts 90-minute courses, showing participants how to make the warmers

Winters in Croatia’s mountains are so severe that frost-bite was a serious problem for men in the past, especially during long horse rides. So to avoid permanent damage to their genitals, the warmers, called “Nakurnjak” came into use. They were more popular in the Mrkopalj mountain region of Croatia, where wives would knit penis warmers for their husbands. According to Radmilla, “Wives believed that keeping their man’s private parts warm allowed him to remain fertile and increased their chance of having children.” It’s funny, because in hotter countries such as where I come from, men are advised to keep their genitals cool to improve fertility!

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Artist Turns Confiscated Scissors into Creepy Spider Sculptures

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Every year, the Transportation Security Administration confiscates countless objects deemed dangerous from passengers boarding flights at airport terminals across the US. Apart from guns, knives or aerosol, a lot of scissors end up in their recycling bin. Enter Christopher Locke, an artist who figured out he could actually use scissors to create creepy sculptures of spiders.

It’s a known fact that spiders don’t have many human fans. Most people just think they look creepy and would simply squish them given the opportunity, even if they don’t pose a real threat. But, that’s not really a viable option when talking about the scissors spiders of Christopher Locke. You’d have a hard time stomping on one of them without having your foot pierced by sharp metal, so you just kind of have to accept them. Reminiscent of a classic Tim Burton movie, these metal sculptures are created from disassembled scissors, bent into shape and welded together in the creepy shape of spiders.

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Ilha de Queimada Grande – Brazil’s Scary Snake Island

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An aerial view of the Brazilian island of Ilha de Queimada Grande, you would agree, looks breathtaking. It’s probably a place where you would love to spend an exotic vacation. But this is an excellent example that looks can be very deceiving. If you were to set foot on the island, you would always be no more than 3 feet away from your death. Because for every square meter of land on the island, there is a very deadly, very poisonous snake.

Ilha de Queimada Grande is located about 90 miles off the shore of Brazil. The island is, not surprisingly, devoid of any kind of human presence. The Brazilian Navy has forbidden people from visiting the island, except for a few scientists who need special approval. The reason – the presence of highly dangerous Golden Lancehead snakes. The lanceheads that occupy the island of Ilha de Queimada Grande can grow anywhere between half a meter to 2 meters long. The venom these snakes inject is so powerful that it can kill two men at once. This venom is fast-acting too, since it simply melts the flesh surrounding the bite. The scaly creatures breed all year round, producing 50 babies each time. With no enemies, the snakes have been able to take over the island and populate it quite freely. They survive mainly on migratory birds that use the island as a resting point.

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At The Generous Store Chocolates Cost Good Deeds Instead of Money

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If Charlie Bucket could win Willy Wonka’s entire chocolate factory for a good deed, why can’t we be awarded with at least a box of chocolates, right? Turns out we can! At The Anthon Berg Generous Store money is of no use, because all it takes to get some delicious chocolate is the promise of a good deed.

The pop-up chocolate store, located in the center of Copenhagen, opened its doors to the public last month. Inside, the boxes of candy are marked with unique price tags: ‘Don’t comment on your girlfriend’s driving for a week’, ‘Serve breakfast in bed to your loved one’ and ‘No talking behind your girlfriend’s back for a month’. The most popular of them all is ‘Help clean a friend’s house’. Hardly anyone touches the box that says ‘A week where you don’t lie to your father’.

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Controversial Cinnamon Challenge Becomes Internet Hit

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It’s things like the Cinnamon Challenge that strengthen my belief that people will do the dumbest things if they think it’s cool. Because who in their right mind would want to stuff their face with a tablespoon full of cinnamon just for fun? The answer – thousands. And would you believe the Governor of Illinois is one of them? Yep, Gov. Pat Quinn took in a spoonful of that stuff on air, in response to a challenge. He followed his act with the words, “The will of the people. The law of the land.” I don’t know about you, but I’d think twice before giving him my vote. Right now, there are over 30,000 videos on YouTube tagged ‘Cinnamon Challenge’. The most popular ones have millions of views.

The Cinnamon Challenge is basically a dare to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon in powdered form, without water. It’s the latest rage and it has gone beyond viral. The challenge itself has been around for years, but the sudden spike in its popularity remains unexplained. It seems like a simple thing to do; just swallow the stuff and be done with it. In reality, however, it isn’t all that easy. The problem with cinnamon is that it does not break down easily. So the chances of it getting stuck in the throat are pretty high, causing gagging and even vomiting. Doctors have said that this could be very dangerous, because cinnamon can also prevent air from entering the lungs, which could lead to lung inflammation.

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Indian Man Bathes with Boiling Milk Once a Year

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India is a land of ancient culture, with practices that date back thousands of years. It is hard to trace the origins of any particular ritual, let alone remember the significance behind them. With no logical explanation available, several Indian practices seem superstitious and sometimes even a tad foolish. However, this does not deter the people of India from participating in religious and cultural celebrations with gusto.

One such example is the festival of the nine evenings, Navaratri (Nava=9, Ratri=Evening), celebrated every year in the month of October. Dedicated to different versions of the Goddess, all 9 days are filled with festivities, good food, music, dance and religious ceremonies across the country. Living in India, watching the Navaratri for me is a part of normal life. But then I heard about this man who is certainly unusual, even for Indian standards. Every year, during Navaratri, he bathes with pots of boiling milk. And he comes out of the experience, unscathed.

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