Mystery Surrounds Colombian Cemetery That Turns Buried Bodies into Mummies

The ancient Egyptians spent centuries developing their mummifying techniques, but at a cemetery in San Bernardo, a small Colombian town, corpses somehow become naturally mummified in their coffins.

The phenomenon was first noticed 15 years ago, by grave digger Eduardo Cifuentes. “The burial pit was full of bodies,” he said. “I didn’t like stepping on them because they were humans like us so I started organizing them.” It’s only because of Eduardo’s efforts that the mummies are being talked about. He said that the mummified bodies have been around since about 1957, but no one paid any attention to them. “I liked the idea of keeping them for posterity,” he said. With the passage of time, the mummies’ clothes and skin have turned brown. Their skins look pasty and wrinkled.

Scientists have no idea why this is happening. The only other site in Latin America where natural mummification takes place is the Guanajuato, a town in central Mexico, where underground gas and soil conditions are the secret. But the same cannot be said for San Bernardo, because bodies are buried in chambers above the ground (as is customary in Colombia) so they do not come into contact with the earth.

san-bernardo-mummies

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Arbol de Navidad – Mexico’s Unique Christmas Tree-Shaped Waterfall

The Sumidero Canyon, located in the Mexican state of Chaiapas, is home to one of the most unique waterfalls in the world. This breathtaking natural formation, locally called Arbol de Navidad, is shaped like a Christmas tree.

Sumidero Canyon is dotted with several waterfalls, many of which aren’t even visible from ground level. But you can’t miss the enormous Christmas tree. A photograph of the waterfall with a boat below it gives an idea of just how huge it is. The moss-layered green rocks seem to erupt out of nowhere on the mountain-side. They are shaped a lot like the branches of a tree, and the moss completes the effect. Water spills from a hole above this formation, adding to the beauty of the scenery.

According to Sergio Lopez Mendoza, a professor at the School of Biological Sciences in a Chaiapas University, the Christmas tree has formed over 1000s of years. It is a result of the natural hydrological cycle, and the physical and chemical characteristics of the rocks. Unfortunately, the Arbol de Navidad is under threat of being destroyed. Professor Sergio says that the alterations caused by humans to the environment has caused the hydrological cycle to break. There are long periods without any water supply, so the Christmas tree is weakening and breaking.

Arbol-de-Navidad-waterfall

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Beautiful Film Noir “Paintings” Made with Packaging Tape

Something as mundane as packing tape, in the right hands, can be transformed into beautiful art. In this case, the ‘right hands’ belong to Ukrainian-born artist Mark Khaisman, who now lives in Philadelphia.

Mark uses nothing but packing tape and light to create his incredible artworks. He is a ‘painter of light’, as he puts it. Indeed, it is the play of light that brings out the true beauty of his ‘paintings’.

His process is simple – he sets Plexiglass sheets on a backlit panel that’s sort of like an architect’s box-light. This is the ‘canvas’ on which he uses the tape to construct images. He places strip after strip of packing tape on the glass, building up the image in layers. As he adds on the layers, less light shines through the glass, creating depth, shadow and definition in the pictures.

Mark-Khaisman

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UAE Hold Annual Camel Beauty Pageant

The Arabs appreciate their camels rather deeply. They call these beautiful creatures ‘God’s gift to the Bedouin’. In fact, they love camels so much that they get together once a year to pick out the most beautiful ones of them all.

The Al Dhafra Festival is held annually at Abu Dhabi, in the UAE. The camel beauty pageant is the highlight of this festival, featuring 30,000 camels from all over the Gulf region. It’s something like a dog-show, with the animals being paraded around and given marks on their appearance.

How does one judge the beauty of a camel? According to Ali Al Mansouri, a camel owner and member of the Al Dhafra organizing committee, “The judges are looking for camels with big heads, wide necks, firm ears, broad cheeks and big whiskers.” He also said that the body should be long, the hump and the back should be big, and the color and posture of the camel are important.

camel-beauty-pageant

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Take a Look inside a $11.5 Million Doomsday-Proof House

If I had a house like this, maybe I wouldn’t mind an end-of-the-world type scenario at all. I’m talking about a 4,200 sq. ft. mansion located in Yellow Jacket, a deserted town in Colorado, U.S. I call it a mansion only for its interiors. From the outside, it looks every bit like the disaster-ready, Armageddon-proof house that it’s supposed to be.

The walls of this house are made of reinforced concrete and are lined with thick steel. This makes the structure so strong that it has been declared ‘nuclear rated’ by its online listing on Curbed.com. From the outside, it seems like a desolate and boring building in the middle of nowhere, but on the inside it’s a luxury home, complete with designer furniture and beautiful interiors. The only proof that the house is a ‘luxury survival bunker’ are the overhead metal air ducts that traverse almost every room. The ducts are meant to close off in the case of emergencies, like if the air gets contaminated from a gas leak.

doomsday-prrof-house

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Woman Runs 500 Kilometers in 86 Hours without Any Sleep

Kim Allen, a 47-year-old ultra-distance runner from New Zealand, recently broke the world record for running the longest distance without sleep. She surpassed the previous record of 486 km (set by American Pam Reed in 2005) by running a whopping 500 km. It took her 86 hours, 11 minutes and 9 seconds of non-stop running to complete the challenge.

Kim began at 6 am on the 19th of December, in Auckland, and kept at it for four long days. She ran initially, but slowed down to a walk in the final laps. The mother-of-four called her achievement “Sleepless in Auckland.” “It’s all a bit surreal at the moment,” she said, shortly after completing the feat.

This wasn’t her first attempt; Kim tried to beat Reed’s record last year, but she could only manage 370 km before she had to stop. This time, she reached her goal with blistered feet and swollen ankles. But Kim was so ecstatic about her achievement that she referred to her state as “just a bit weary.” She also said that she was overwhelmed and could not believe her quest was over.

Kim-Allen-record

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The Trovants of Costesti – Romania’s Unique Growing Rocks

When I first read about trovants, I couldn’t believe they were real. They sounded like objects Captain Kirk and his crew would discover on an alien planet. Strange rocks that grow when it rains and move from one place to another without any assistance. Totally sci-fi, right?

As I kept reading about them, I discovered that trovants aren’t a part of science fiction, they are just an amazing geological phenomena. These stones seem to grow as if they are alive, even though they’re not. They are found in the small Romanian village of Costesti. The word ‘trovant’ is a synonym for the German term “Sandsteinkonkretionen” (try saying that really fast), which means ‘cemented sand’.

Cemented sand – that’s a strange name for a rock, isn’t it? But that’s what trovants are – spherical shapes of sand that appeared on earth after powerful seismic activity. In fact, the earthquakes that brought these strange rocks into existence are said to have occurred 6 million years ago. Trovants grow when they come into contact with water. Stones as small as six to eight millimeters end up as large as six to ten meters. Some of them even move on their own. When cut, trovants reveal spherical and ellipsoidal rings, similar to tree trunks.

Trovants-of-Costesti

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Woman Who Believes She Was a Fairy in a Past Life, Surgically Modifies Her Ears to Look Like One

Melynda Moon, a 23-year-old Canadian model, has put herself through one of the most bizarre cosmetic surgeries I’ve heard of. While most people ask their surgeons to make their nose smaller or lips fuller, Moon aimed at making her ears pointier. Why? Because she wanted to look like an elf.

“I have always had fantasies about what it would be like to be something other than human,” Moon said. “So I decided to change my appearance to look supernatural.” In August 2011, she spent $400 on a painful surgery to have her ears modified.

To achieve the desired result, the tops of Moon’s ear cartilage were skinned. Pieces were cut from the tips to form points. Her ears were almost ‘carved’ into a triangular shape, reminiscent of the Elves from the Lord of the Rings.

Melynda-Moon2

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High-Tech Sweater Displays Wearer’s Emotions via Integrated LED Lights

If you’ve always struggled to express your emotions, then you should seriously consider getting the Mood Sweater to do it for you. Sensoree, a San Francisco-based company, has created a new line of high-tech sweaters that display the wearer’s moods.

Along with the sweater, you need to wear a sensor on your hand. Information about your emotions are transmitted to the collar, embedded with LED lights that glow in a variety of colors. The wide turtleneck is white when unused, but glows in various colors, according to the wearer’s mood, when worn.

The emotive display is color coded: green for tranquil, Zen; blue for calm, relaxed; purple for ruffled, aroused or excited; red for nervous, in love; yellow for nirvana, ecstatic, blissful. The technology in the sweater is similar to that used in some lie detectors – it gathers information from the wearer’s sweat glands.

Sensoree-sweater

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In South Korea People Pay to Watch Live Broadcasts of Other People Gorging on Food

I’m not sure why, but some of the strangest trends seem to emerge from South Korea. The latest one is dinner porn – people watching other people stuffing themselves with food. The Korean term for it is ‘mok-bang’, which roughly translates as ‘dinner broadcast’.

The dinner porn stars of South Korea film themselves eating copious amounts of food. They also provide moaning noises and a running commentary of their meals. The entire event is live-streamed and the protagonists end up making serious money.

Mok-bang isn’t about people eating a plate or two of food. We’re talking about humongous portions here. Like this one ‘broadcast jockey’ who calls herself The Diva. Consultant by day and food-porn star by night, this beautiful glutton wolfs down two medium pizzas, or 30 fried eggs and a box of crab legs, or five packets of instant noodles in one go. One night, she ate 12 beef patties, 12 fried eggs, three servings of spicy pork kimchi soup and a salad.

dinner-broadcast

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Woman Shares Her Body with 15 Different Personalities Who Can Each Take Control at Any Time

Kimi Sands suffers from a very strange condition called Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), otherwise known as multiple personality disorder. The 23-year-old, from Cardiff, Wales, shares her body with 15 different personalities any one of which can take control at any time.

In the movies, people suffering from DID are often portrayed as dangerous criminals or serial killers. Not Kimi, though. None of her personalities make her do anything horrible. At worst, she and her partner Chris Lee need to buy Christmas presents for all 15, making the holidays more expensive for them.

“Including myself, there are 16 individuals to get presents for,” said Kimi. “These can be anything from alcohol for the older personalities to teddies for kids.” That’s right, the personalities all belong to different age groups. Among them are 22-year-old Japanese chef Satou, 17-year-old exercise addict Fiona, and four-year-old twins Jack and Safyer. There’s also a 23-year-old Yorkshire man, Ashy, and a party-loving bisexual, Theodore, aged 15.

Kimi-Sands-DID

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This Is What a 250-Pound Rubber Band Ball Created over 32 Years Looks Like

35-year-old Zack Hample has devoted 32 years of his life to creating a giant ball made of elastic rubber bands. Which means he started making the ball when he was just three or four years old. There’s something odd about a three-year-old trying to make a rubber band ball, at an age when most kids are just learning to play with a ball.

Perhaps this isn’t so surprising, considering all the odd things Zack has done in his life. Just last year, we had featured him here on OC for a completely different achievement. Zack is the world’s best bawl hawk. As of last year, he had collected over 5,800 balls at all the games he attended.

Now Zack is in the news again, for his giant rubber band creation. It cost him about $1,500 over the years to put bands together to make a large ball that weighs over 250 pounds. A video shows him rolling the ball around in his room, talking about how he created it.

zack-hample-rubber-ball

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Guy Eats Out of Dumpsters for a Week to Highlight Food Waste

Rob Greenfield, a 27-year-old adventurer from San Diego, took up a unique cause. He wanted to create awareness about the large amounts of food wasted in the U.S, so he decided to travel the country and eat out dumpsters for a week.

It’s surprising, the kind of food Greenfield gets from the trash. His refrigerator is filled with fresh fruits, vegetables and bagels worth $200. And he hasn’t paid a penny for any of it. All he does is ‘dumpster dive’ behind grocery stores, which means he shuffles through the food discarded by store workers. “Some people call it nasty,” he says. “It’s just a matter of perspective.”

Greenfield has taken dumpster-eating to a whole new level. He created 21 Gourmet Dumpster Meals to showcase “the flaws in the American food system and inspire people to be part of the solution.” Surprisingly, Greenfield does not encourage people to follow him and eat from dumpsters. “I don’t recommend dumpster living to anybody. I recommend taking proper care not to put food in the dumpsters in the first place.”

dumpster-diving

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Grapple – The Unique Apple That Tastes Like Concord Grapes

If you love the texture of apples but hate their taste, then Grapples are just the thing for you. These unique fruits look like nice fresh apples but have a completely different flavor. Produced by Todd Snyder of C&O Nursery in Washington, Grapples are apples that taste exactly like Concord grapes.

According to the Grapple website, these apples “begin either as Washington Extra Fancy Gala, or Fuji Apples, depending on the season. These premium apples are the ones that take on the grape flavor best.” The apples are put through a patented process and infused with 100 percent food grade grape flavor solution. The ‘relaxing bathing process’ does not contain any additional calories or sugar. The apples aren’t genetically altered either. “It’s as healthy as if you picked an apple off a tree,” the website claims.

Of course, the grape flavor isn’t natural. It is the “same synthesized grape flavoring agent used in hundreds of other retail food items.” Which means that the ‘natural and artificial’ taste of the fruit comes from the chemical methyl anthranilate, used in grape juices and candy. The flavoring permeates the apple fruit to the core, completely changing the way it tastes and smells.

Grapple-fruits2

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Caga Tio – Catalonia’s Wacky Present-Pooping Christmas Log

Caga Tio is a Christmas tradition in the Catalonian region of Spain. Caga is pronounced caca, and it means ‘poop’. Tio means ‘tree trunk’ or ‘uncle’. So it is basically a tradition of the pooping tree trunk. What does the trunk poop? Why gifts, of course!

The Caga Tio is a small log of wood with a painted face and two front legs. It makes an appearance in homes every year on the 8th of December, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Children keep the log as a pet until Christmas, feeding it and keeping it warm. They believe the log will grow if they feed it properly.

There is no such thing as a growing log, of course. The parents actually replace the logs every few days with larger ones. It’s easy for families who live in the country; they just go outside, find a piece of wood and paint a face on it. Urban parents have a tougher time. They have to trek into the woods to find larger Caga Tios. But mostly they just buy new ones from shops. The Caga Tio is done growing by Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. The full grown log is placed in the center of the living room and covered with a large red blanket. Children gather around, sing songs and hit the Caga Tio with sticks repeatedly, until it ‘poops’ out the presents. Earlier, the tradition was to place the log partially in fire, ordering it to defecate. There aren’t many modern households with fireplaces anymore, so now it’s just down to hitting the log.

Caga-tio

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