Zombie Woman Climbs from Casket Six Days after She Died

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A 95-year-old Chinese woman, thought to be dead and placed in a coffin, terrified her family and neighbors by climbing right out after six long days. Must have scared the living daylights out of her neighbor Mr. Qingwang, who was the first to discover the empty coffin.

Ms. Xiufeng lives alone in her home in China’s Guangxi Province. She had recently suffered a head injury,  and Mr. Qingwang found her motionless one morning when he went to give her breakfast. “No matter how hard I pushed her and caller her name, she had no reactions,” he said. “I felt something was wrong, so I tried her breath, and she has gone but her body was still warm.” So believing her to be dead, Mr. Qingwang and his son made funeral preparations, placing the old woman’s body in a coffin. Fortunately, in Chinese tradition the coffin is retained for several days, until family and friends pay their respects. Also, he chose not to nail the box shut until the day of burial.


Rules Are Simple at Atherstone Ball Game – Just Don’t Kill Anyone

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Festival games are really fun to watch, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be in one like the Atherstone Ball Game. I’ve always followed the Spanish La Tomatina with interest, so when I heard about the Atherstone Ball Game, I had to find out more. Considered to be one of the oldest traditions of England, it is played in Atherstone, Warwickshire, as a part of Mardi Gras celebrations each year. For over 800 years, hundreds of men have gathered on the streets of the town to fight for a giant ball. The man who emerges in possession of the ball at the end of two hours of pushing, shoving and punching, is the winner.

The various traditions followed as a part of the festive day are quite interesting. The preparations for the game start early in the morning, with shop owners boarding up windows for protection. At 2.30pm, children start gathering under Barclays Bank. Pennies and sweets are showered on them from the balcony. Later, at around 3pm, the men start to assemble in anticipation of the ball game. A selected dignitary finally throws the ball into the crowd from a window above, and then all hell breaks loose.


Dwarf Bullfighters – Human Exploitation Meets Animal Cruelty

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It sounds cruel when I write about it, but watching a bunch of dwarfs running around with calves that match their size could invoke quite a bit of laughter. There’s nothing cute about this however, the fighting is quite real and dangerous. Thankfully, the calves and the men are usually unharmed.

Wondering what I’m talking about? Meet the bullfighting dwarfs of Mexico, a group of short entertainers who are by no means ashamed of what they do. The sport, for obvious reasons, has earned the title of being one of the most controversial in the world. Animal lovers say it’s cruel. Human rights activists agree. Critics worry about stereotyping. But there’s no denying the fact that it provides a steady means of income for those who otherwise would find it very difficult to get a job. Since employment discrimination is pretty widespread in Mexico, the dwarf community has actually benefited from the bullfighting shows. More often than not, the bullfighters are laughed at, and although this is the main purpose of their act, they would also like to be respected for what they do.


Man Proposes to Girlfriend with Dress Made from 9,999 Red Roses

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This is just the stuff that fairytales are made of. The beautiful princess walks off into the sunset with her prince charming, dressed in a gown made from thousands of roses. You’d never think it could happen in real life, but it has. In an incredibly romantic gesture, this guy in China had a dress out of 9,999 deep red roses made for his girlfriend. After she put on the dress, he proposed.

Initially Xiao Fan considered proposing with only the roses, but realizing his girlfriend’s love for fashion, he decided to go a step further and get them sewn onto a dress. So the flowers were stitched together carefully to make a sweeping floral gown, fit for a bride. Several dressmakers worked round the clock on the project to get it completed on time. I think it’s pretty amazing how they managed it, keeping the flowers so fresh and lovely.


Spikeball – Volleyball’s Brilliant Distant Cousin

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Intense, competitive, trash talk – are the three terms used by the founders of Spikeball to describe the game. After watching a short video of how the sport is played on their website, I’m finding it very hard to disagree. It’s really quite exciting just to watch, so playing it should guarantee an absolute whale of a time.

Spikeball is probably best described as volleyball’s distant cousin, but there’s a lot more to it than just that. The net used for Spikeball is small and circular – probably the size of a Hula Hoop, and it sits on the ground at ankle level. The ball is pretty small too, just about palm-size. Two teams play against each other with only two players on each team. The objective of the game is to smack the ball across to your opponents, just like in volleyball. However, with spikeball, you need to bounce the ball on the net first, so it ricochets upwards at an opposing player. They in turn have to be able to bounce it back to your team, within three hits, or you score. You score points every time they miss, and a score of 21 is needed to win the game.


Calcio Fiorentino – The Ultimate Manly Sport

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Imagine a sport that’s a mix between soccer and rugby, with absolutely no rules whatsoever. Man, that’s got to be brutal! And that’s exactly what Calcio Fiorentino is. It’s the ultimate sport to prove your strength, power and courage.

The game originated in Italy during the 16th century in Piazza Santa Maria Novella, Florence. The words Calcio Fiorentino can be loosely translated as the Florence Kick. True to its name, the game was devised by four of Florence’s most prominent noble families. Their intention was simple, to be able to show off their physical prowess to their enemies. In those days, spectators of the game were limited only to the ruling class.


Maramadi – The Famous Bull Race of Kerala

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The most famous traditional game involving bulls is Spanish bullfighting, but the people of Kerala, India, have come up with a way celebration that doesn’t involve torturing and killing poor animals. It’s called Maramadi, and it’s held every year, in the post-harvest season.

Maramadi is essentially a bull racing event, only instead of a track, it takes place in flooded rice fields, which makes it infinitely more entertaining for the crowds watching from the sidelines. In preparation for the event, the freshly ploughed fields are filled with water, thus ensuring that every competing team makes a big splash for the audience. Although bulls are the main competitors in Maramadi, their human masters have the important role of guiding them during the race, making sure they don’t stray off the course before reaching the finish line. Each team consists of two bull and three guides, who have to keep up with the animals if they want a shot at wining. That of course takes good speed perfect balance.


A Cathedral Made from 55,000 LED Lights at Ghent Light Festival

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Created by Cagna Illumiations, the light cathedral made from 55,000 LEDs, for the 2012 Ghent Light Festival is one of the most beautiful light displays you’ll ever see.

Designed as a symbolic entrance to the Ghent Light Festival, the colorful cathedral imagined by Italian company Luminarie De Cagna stole the show at this year’s event. The gigantic colonnade was adorned with around 55,000 colorful LED bulbs that shine so bright you’d think they consume enough electricity to power a small town, but in reality, the entire installation consumes only 20 Kwatt/h. Inspired by Romanesque and Renaissance architecture, the LED cathedral towered 28 meters high.


Woman Marries 107-Year-Old Warehouse to Save It from Demolition

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Babylonia Aivaz, from Seattle, fell in love with an old warehouse where she and other activists protested inside the building, during an Occupy Seattle event. Now, the 107-year-old facility has been scheduled for demolition, so Aivaz decided to marry it to show her love, and hopefully save it.

It sounds like a pretty bizarre situation, especially after you read all the jokes and comments by various media outlets, regarding Babylonia Aivaz’s decision to marry a warehouse. Some joke about the awkward wedding night, others about the solid foundation of their relationship, but the fact is she’s doing it as a form of protest against gentrification. ‘I’m doing this to show the building how much I love it, how much I love community space and how much I love this neighborhood. And I want to stop it from gentrification,’ Aivaz said in an interview. ‘If corporations can have the rights as people, so can buildings,’ she added, referencing a Supreme Court decision on political advertising.


Woman Travels the World to Meet All Her 325 Facebook Friends

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ArLynn Presser is a 51-year-old woman who lives in Winnetka, Illinois. It’s normal for ArLynn to stay indoors all the time. In fact, for most of her adult life, she hardly ever left the confines of her home, and most certainly did not venture out of her home town. Her career as a writer ensured that she could spend her life indoors and still get things done. If this sounds strange to you, you must know that ArLynn suffers from agoraphobia – the fear of crowded places or enclosed public spaces.

Like most introverts, ArLynn interacts with people online and she has 325 friends she chats with on Facebook. Last year, she went and did something that no one could have ever expected. On 31st of Dec, 2010, she made a resolution to meet all 325 of her Facebook friends in person, the following year. She wrote a blog post about it and then set about achieving her goal. She called her project “Face to Facebook”. For a person who was terrified of flying and could never get on a plane before, this was certainly a daunting task. In the end, she did a great job, traveling over 13 countries and taking over 39 flights. By the end of 2011, she had met 292 friends, about 90% of what she had intended to. ArLynn had been to Taiwan, Korea, Philippines, Dubai, Italy, Malaysia, Ireland, England, Germany and four other countries.


Calligrapher Works Five Years Making 500 Kg Qur’an

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The world’s largest copy of the Qur’an was recently unveiled in Kabul, Afghanistan. It was created painstakingly by calligrapher Mohammed Sabir Khedri and his 9 assistants, over five long years. The massive project was undertaken by Khedri in an attempt to prove that the rich traditions and heritage of the nation have certainly not been destroyed by war.

The giant Qur’an is made with beautiful gold scripting that also combines millions of tiny colorful dots to create symbolic decorations around the pages. Khedri said he wanted to use as many tasteful colors as possible to make the holy book look beautiful. Interestingly, he had actually completed the project in 2009, and kept it a secret for two whole years. This was because the binding and the room to house the book weren’t ready yet. Khedri’s masterpiece is now stored in a cultural center in Kabul that was founded in the 1980s. The final copy consists of 218 pages and measures 2.28 x 1.55 m. It weighs a whopping 500kg and the skin of 21 goats was used to create the cover. It’s estimated cost is around £300,000 ($465,000).


Random Acts of Kindness at Pay It Forward Coffee Shop

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Imagine you go into a coffee shop, have a cup, and when it comes to paying your bill they tell you it’s already been paid for. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Well, that’s exactly what’s happening at the Corner Perk Cafe in Bluffton, South Carolina. It all started in 2010 with a random act of kindness.

The Corner Perk was just a regular coffee place until one day, when a customer left a $100 bill with the owner, Josh Cooke. Apparently she wanted the money to be used to pay for the drinks of all the people who came in after, until it runs out. According to Cooke it was “just to let them know, you know, that somebody was wanting them to have a great day and just to let them know to pay it forward.” Needless to say, customers who came in all afternoon were puzzled when they found they didn’t have to pay for their coffee.


Heartbreaking: Thai Man Marries Dead Girlfriend

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In this tragic love story from Thailand, a man decided to  go ahead with the wedding he and his girlfriend had planned, even though she sadly died in a car crash, just day before the big event.

29-year old Sarinya Kamsook and her 28-year-old boyfriend, Chadil Deffy, were to be married this year. A wedding is considered the most special event of a woman’s life and it was no different for Sarinya. She was eagerly counting the days to the moment when she would finally say ‘I do’, along with the love of her life, but fate had other plans for the young couple. Merely days before the wedding, Sarinya was involved in a car crash, leaving her severely injured. She still could have been saved with timely medical attention. However, the doctors made her wait for 6 hours due to an overcrowded ICU instead of transferring her to another hospital. During this time, she succumbed to her injuries and passed away.


Who Needs Privacy: 5 People Live in Paris Subway Station Apartment

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Here’s another example of a bizarre business promotional strategy. This time it’s by IKEA and they actually took over a Paris subway station.

In a bid to prove that with IKEA furnishing you can make any living space comfortable, the company erected an apartment right in the middle of the Auber station in Paris. It was only 581 sq ft. in size and five people lived in it for five days (Jan 9th to 14th). The company tried a similar event around two years back when they decked subway platforms with IKEA furnishings, but this took things a step forward. Or maybe a giant leap. The apartment mainly consisted of IKEA storage products, clearly aiming at space management. Plain to view through huge clear-glass windows for the hundreds of thousands of people who use the subway, their publicity stunt sure didn’t miss any eyeballs. Time-lapse videos have been made of the construction of the apartment. Videos documenting the experiences of the five people living there have also been put up by the company.


The Focara of Novoli – A Truly Epic Bonfire

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Imagine a giant bonfire, 25 meters high, 20 meters in diameter, and viewed by over 60,000 people. This is exactly the spectacle that will meet your eyes if you happen to be in the town of Novoli, in south-eastern Italy, during this time of the year.

This ‘festival of fire’ is known as the Focara, held every year between the 7th and 18th of January. The actual Focara, or bonfire is lit on the 16th, when the festival reaches its crescendo. The tradition has its origins in the pre-Christian era, when it was celebrated to mark the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Today, however, it is dedicated to the memory of St. Anthony, who is the Patron Saint and protector of Novoli. The preparations for the Focara begin as early as mid December. On the 7th of January, the construction of the fuel assembled for the bonfire commences. It consists of bundles of vines that have been set aside by farmers after cutting back vineyards, once the grape harvesting is done the previous autumn. About 90,000 bundles are used, each one consisting of 200 vines. The construction of the structure is supported by wooden beams, and it is erected in Novoli’s Piazza Tito Schipa.


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