4 Places Where Dying Is Not Allowed

When something as natural and inevitable as death is banned, it does seem a tad illogical. You would be surprised to know that there actually are quite a few places on Earth where death has been forbidden, and deemed illegal. In fact, it seems that this is actually an age-old practice; the earliest known instance of the prohibition of death was in the 5th century BC,  when dying wasn’t allowed on religious grounds at the Greek island of Delos. Each place has a reason of its own, varying from religious beliefs to environmental factors.

We’ll take a look at four places where death is forbidden in today’s world:

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Alcatraz Hotel Offers Tourists Real Prison Experience

If you’ve ever been curious about life in prison, but your record is too clean, now you have a chance to actually buy your way in. Not into a real prison, of course, but the Hotel Alcatraz in London. It’s a four-room hotel that’s been modeled on the lines of the (in)famous Alcatraz of San Francisco Bay, the one that closed down in 1963. The hotel is only open for a week to promote the new TV series of the same name. Bookings are available until Saturday, 17th of March.

Once you’re checked in at Hotel Alcatraz, you can forget about being treated like a premium guest. At best, you’ll only be served the good food that prisoners in the 1950s were served, as prison officials believed that the best quality food would prevent violence amongst inmates. Everything else about the hotel is designed to give you a good understanding of the real deal. They’ve even roped in George Devincenzi, former USP Alcatraz Correction Officer, to oversee and authenticate the experience. So after check-in at exactly 18:30 hours, the prisoner-guests are handed uniforms and have their mugshots taken. They are then showed to their 5×9 foot cells, where they will be spending the night. The cells are sparsely furnished, with a sleeping cot and mattress (no sheets), prison-style toilet, sink and two shelves. The metal cups and serving trays have been specially sourced from the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in San Francisco, to maintain authenticity. Guests will also be expected to carry out a number of tasks such as physical exercise, tailoring and model making. Sounds like the experience of a lifetime. If you don’t plan on committing any real crimes, that is.

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Woman Lies Upside-Down for 75 Days to Save Her Unborn Babies

Child labor is arguably one of the most painful experiences in the world, and women who endure a few days of it are considered heroes. Going by this, a woman who went through 75 days of labor has got to be nothing short of super-human. I guess it goes to show how just much pain a woman would be willing to withstand, to save her babies.

31-year-old Joanna Krzysztonek was pregnant with triplets when she went into labor at just 21 weeks. When the first baby came out prematurely, it was too weak to survive. In a bid to save the other two babies, doctors at the neo-natal clinic in Wroclaw, Poland, decided to act fast – they stopped the contractions with medications and got Joanna to lie down on a tilted bed at a 30 degree angle, to avoid them starting up again. The umbilical cord was tied up and placed back in the uterus. What followed for Joanna were probably the toughest two-and-a-half months of her life. She had to remain upside down 24×7 with no break whatsoever, not even to use the bathroom. She wasn’t allowed to move one bit, and the hospital staff made sure she was bathed and fed everyday. “I had to be very disciplined as I was not allowed to move out of the bed for the whole 75 days,” she says. “This was very uncomfortable, but the staff kept me going.”

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Mind-Boggling Hand-Painted Portraits Made of Hundreds of Smaller Portraits

Korean artist Kim Dong Yoo creates amazing portraits of various icons like Audrey Hepburn or Michael Jackson, made up of hundreds of smaller painted portraits that either support or contradict the main subject of the artwork.

Over the years, we’ve featured some truly interesting celebrity portraits on Oddity Central, like Jason Mecier’s pill portraits, or Jason Kronenwald’s chewing gum creations, but we’ve never seen anything like Kim Dong Yoo’s works. This incredibly talented artist painstakingly paints hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of miniature portraits by hand, using them as smaller piece of a much bigger, unbelievably detailed portrait. His portraits look a lot like the stamp paintings of Peter R. Mason, only instead of using recycled stamps to recreate the faces of many historical and Hollywood icons, the Korean painter actually paints every one of the little images that make up the big portraits.

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Yet Another Real-Life Batman – This One Brings Order to Slovakia

Batman is in the news again, this time from Slovakia. Unlike his Brazilian counterpart, the Slovak Batman hasn’t been hired by the police, he’s self-appointed. 26-year-old Zoltan Kohari, from the southern Slovak town of Dunajska Streda, has donned a leather Batman suit that he’s stitched together himself, in an attempt to help the people of the town. He goes around cleaning the streets, helping the old, and calling the police when he spots something suspicious.

Incidentally, Kohari was a petty criminal prior to his superhero-avatar; he had spent eight months in jail last year and also attempted suicide just after his release. This was before he realized that he had a larger mission – to make life in his community better. “I have decided to do good for the people. I take care of order and help clean up the environment so we can keep living on this planet,” he says. Since Kohari doesn’t really have a full time job, he’s moved into an abandoned apartment in a dilapidated building on the edge of town. He has no electricity or water supply, but the place serves the purpose of a Batcave perfectly, to conduct his town patrols from.

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The Creepy Walking Dead of Tana Toraja

If you thought that zombies were only a figment of the imagination of storytellers, well, prepare to have your mind blown. If the rituals of the villagers of Toraja, Indonesia, are to be believed, almost every person who dies can turn into a zombie. Apparently, certain people of the village had and still have the ability to make dead people walk. And I don’t mean that metaphorically.

Reading about the funeral rituals of Toraja, I’ve come to realize that there are two separate theories on how the ‘walking dead’ evolved. According to one, in the ancient past, it was believed that a dead man must be buried in his village of origin, and not at the place of his death. Since villages then were far apart and extremely isolated, it was difficult for family members to carry the corpse through long distances. The help of people who could make the dead walk was sought, and the dead man would be able to walk back to the village where he was born. Kind of like a mobile service for the dead, I suppose. So in those days, it was not uncommon to find a stiff, expressionless corpse, walking straight ahead. And it is said that if anyone addressed the corpse directly, it would simply collapse, unable to continue the journey. Imagine the horror!

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Introducing Mantyhose – The Stylish Pantyhose for Men

So men have started to wear pantyhose now.They’re called Mantyhose, and there’s even a whole website, e-mancipate, dedicated to them. There might be people who find this odd, but when you come to think of it, there’s nothing particularly feminine about pantyhose, is there? They’re just tights made of a diaphanous material. And men have been wearing them for centuries too, especially in Europe, like medieval court jesters, Henry VII and even Robin Hood.

While several men in the UK and other parts of Europe have already started wearing the garment, the trend is now catching up in the US. Most men prefer to wear them as an extra layer under pants, but the more courageous tend to pair them up with shorts too. Who can deny the benefits of sporting tights? After all they do provide that smooth look to the legs, hiding any bumps and scars. They’re pretty comfortable too. Chan Kramer, the founder of e-mancipate, writes, “We believe that pantyhose for men can be an everyday clothing item, and that it can be fashionable as well.” And Francesco Cavallini, the vice-president of luxe hosiery company Emilio Cavallini, agrees, “The mantyhose are extremely elastic and stretchable and can fit men comfortably at the top. If it’s fine for Italian guys, it’s fine for the world.”

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Man Decides He Can’t Get a Real Woman, Settles for Realistic-Looking Dolls

55-year-old Everard Cunion, from Dorset, UK couldn’t seem to be able to get a real woman, so at one point in his life he decided to get an artificial one. He had always been fond of shop mannequins, but since they’re as hard as rock, he decided to go for something that looked as good as that, but was more flexible. He now lives with nine realistic dolls

Everard bought Rebecca, his first artificial woman, in 2000. It wasn’t until 2004 that he decided to get his second doll, not because he had been trying to stay faithful to his first, but he simply couldn’t afford to buy another one until then. In fact, the man admits that when he first saw the price tags on these things he almost fell off his chair, but he goes on to say that this kind of dolls are the best things that you can buy, for any amount of money. Still, the £5,000 he paid for his first dolls was a little steep. But what’s important is he didn’t let a trivial thing as money come between him and his third doll, Louis, which he bought in 2005.

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Interviews Before Execution – China’s Successful Death Row Show

A creepy show capturing the last moments of criminals on death row – that might sound like the worst kind of reality TV, but “Interviews Before Execution” has been hugely popular in China, where it was first aired on Henan Legal Channel on 18th November, 2006. After over 5 years, the show ended last Friday.

As a part of the reality show, journalist Ding Yu would interview a person on death row every week in almost cruel detail. So yes, every person featured on the show was a hardened criminal, whose fate had already been sealed – in death. Sometimes, the criminals were recorded speaking just minutes before their execution, many describing the details of their crimes, displaying remorse and even begging for forgiveness at times. It sure does sound like an unnecessary exploitation of people who are about to die, but the creators of the show have a different perspective. Lu Pejin, the director of the Legal Channel says that the purpose of the show was to warn audiences. “If they are warned, tragedies might be averted. That is good for society.”

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A-Team Fan Spends $50,000 to Convert His Van into Iconic Transport

A 40-year-old businessman, Tag Majid, has done something that will make A-Team fans the world over both proud and jealous. He’s actually spent $50,000 to convert an old and bashed-up 1985 GMC Vandura Van into a replica of the legendary vehicle driven by B.A. Baracus on the show. It took him over eight months to complete the project and the vehicle is now decked out in all the colors and features of the original show van. Of course, there are a few of the latest conveniences added as well.

Majid, from Dudley, West Midlands, owns a car rental firm called Just For Hire West Midlands. He actually started the renovation of the van over a year ago, and spent a good amount of time just searching the internet for parts. He wanted to make sure that every detail down to the wing mirror, wheels and even the aerial was exactly the same as on the original. He also added a 26-inch LCD TV, a DVD player and a sound system, to play the A-Team theme tune on loop. It blares out through a speaker behind the front grille.

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Vaportrim Makes Cupcakes Inhalable, Cuts Calories to Zero

Don’t you ever wish you could stuff your face with all kinds of delicious treats without feeling guilty about putting on weight? I know I have, and it seems now, thanks to some simple inhalers from a company called Vaportrim, we’ll be able to do just that.

Are you familiar with electronic cigarettes? They are ingenious cigarette-like gadgets designed as an alternative for smokers who just can’t shake the habit. Basically they turn a nicotine-containing liquid into vapor that is allegedly a lot safer than tobacco smoke. US-based company Vaportrim was apparently inspired by e-cigarette technology to create a similar device that is meant to help people lose weight. Their particular health-aids apparently allow users to inhale delicious sweets like vanilla cupcakes or blueberry muffins without the many calories that usually come with them. The US-based company is actually advertising its product as the world’s first calorie-free dessert. That sounds great in theory, but does it really work?

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Master the Force at New York’s Jedi Club

Flynn Michael calls his students a “bunch of Star Wars dorks.” But that doesn’t mean he’s any less passionate about the sci-fi series himself. Especially since he’s created a whole club on the concept of Jedi, and teaches his trainees how to use the Force to navigate the pressures of living in New York City – be it a stressful workplace, a rowdy bar or a crowded subway. His project is called the New York Jedi Club.

Born Michael Brown, the sound engineer from Brooklyn calls himself a “sci-fi, heavy metal, over-the-top geek.” During his growing-up years in Rhode Island, he watched the first Star Wars film 32 times, and when he saw Luke Skywalker learning the way of the Force, like millions of other fans he wanted to be able to do that himself. Michael’s childhood was not unlike other geeky kids’, he was bullied and beat up a lot. He says that the lightsaber helped bring out the hero inside him, and helped him stand up for himself.

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Homeless by Choice – Philosophy Student Has Been Living as a Homeless Person for 9 Months

It’s almost impossible to find someone that thinks housing is “more of a luxury good than a basic good.” Especially a homeless person. But there is a guy who thinks just that, and he’s homeless by choice. Meet Shane Dussault, a student of Philosophy at McGill University in Montreal. Since July last year, he has been living on campus, spending his nights in a sleeping bag, doing pushups in the library, showering at the gym and eating at student lounges. Contrary to expectations, his living choices haven’t been made for quick fame. Read on, and you’ll understand why Shane doesn’t have a home.

For starters, the undergrad student does have a financial problem; his parents and family do not provide him with any monetary support. So he’s pretty much on his own. He is able to pay for college and books through the system of loans that exist in Quebec, renting a living space is definitely out of the question. Of course, he could always get a job to be able to afford rent, but he simply chooses not to. Shane would rather live rent-free, than take up a job just to pay for an apartment. And given the way  he is living right now, he is actually doing pretty well for himself financially, compared to many other students at McGill. “Depending on how I do the math, I could end up with zero debt at the end of university,” he says with confidence.

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Brazilian City Hires Real-Life Batman to Help Fight Crime

Batman fans in Brazil now have a reason to rejoice,  as this is probably the closest they will ever get to their favorite super hero. Inspired by the role played by Batman in the protection of Gotham city, officials of Taubate, Brazil have gotten a real-life Batman for their protection too. Except, this one has no batmobile.

The Brazilian superhero is actually a  former soldier, Andre Luiz Pinheiro, who has been hired to patrol the streets of Taubate. Oh, and he sports a Batman costume while he’s at it, just for kicks I suppose. The details are still being worked out, so it’s not exactly clear yet if there will be other things from the comic-strip like a bat-signal for when he’s needed on duty. Thankfully, cops don’t really expect the faux-Batman to seriously combat crimes such as drug trafficking and murder. Instead, he will play a more indirect role in the fight between good and evil. A social and educational crime prevention project is being planned, which targets children from the city.

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Bikini-Clad Baristas Serve One Hot Cup of Coffee at Java Girls Cafe

At Java Girls, you don’t just get hot coffee, you get it served by hot women too. And to top it all off, they’re wearing nothing but bikinis and boots. I guess there couldn’t be a better way for men to kick-start their mornings. Java Girl’s latest franchise opened in Orlando last November, although the concept has been around since the early 2000s. Other branches are located in Oregon and Texas.

The Orlando franchise of Java Girls is co-owned by Todd and Bill Brognano, and thought to be the only bikini coffee shop located in central Florida. The shop employs only women, who come dressed to work in either bikinis or lingerie. So it’s not unusual here to spot a woman dressed in a two-piece, brewing espressos, lattes and frappucinos. And the girls don’t mind it one bit. “We like showing off what we got,” says 20-year-old Java Girl Belinda Messer. When they aren’t making coffee, the girls make it a point to stand outside the shop and entice passengers to a cup of coffee. They hold up signs like, “Now Open Extra HOT Coffee Spot.”

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