Past Adventures - Obscura Society - Atlas Obscura
Unusual adventures and hidden discoveries. Explore our 2018 trips now »

Past Adventures - Obscura Society

Obscura Society

The Obscura Society is the real world exploration arm of Atlas Obscura. We seek out the secret histories, unusual access, and opportunities to explore strange and overlooked places hidden all around us.

These are some of the adventures we have had so far:

 

 

EXCURSION TO THE ABANDONED RUINS OF BANNERMAN ISLAND
July 22, 2012 - New York City

We went trekked upstate to Beacon for a guided tour of the now defunct and crumbling munitions warehouses owned by the eccentric arms dealer, Frank Bannerman.

Untapped Cities’ article about the event
Bannerman’s Castle in Atlas Obscura
 

LOST STREAMS OF NYC: WALK THE ROUTE OF MINETTA BROOK
July 14, 2012 - New York City

Famed urban explorer, Steve Duncan, led us on an above-ground tour of of the city’s earliest sewer systems.

Untapped Cities’ article about the event
Photo Set on Flickr
Obscura Society LA - Murphy Ranch

HIKING THE RUINS OF MURPHY RANCH
June 16, 2012 - Los Angeles

On a beautiful SoCal day the Obscura Society LA chapter paid a visit to the long abandoned Nazi compound in Rustic Canyon, just outside Will Rogers State Park.

Field Report
Murphy Ranch in Atlas Obscura
Photo Set on Flickr

 

Obscura Society - Fermilab

DISASTERS OF NEW YORK: GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY WALK
June 9, 2012 - New York City

On June 9, Atlas Obscura’s resident cemetery aficionado, Allison Meier, resurrected her sold-out Obscura Day tour of disaster memorials at Brooklyn’s own Green-Wood Cemetery.

Field Report
Green-Wood Cemetery in Atlas Obscura
Photo Set on Flickr
Obscura Society - Fermilab

TOM STATHES CARTOON CARNIVAL #10: MADE IN NYC
June 8, 2012 - New York City

Cartoon Cryptozoologist, Tom Stathes, joined us at Observatory, for an evening screening of cartoons that spanned New York’s animation past. Event details

Untapped Cities’ article about the event

Obscura Society - Foreboat

SAN FRANCISCO FIREBOAT ADVENTURES
May 19 & June 16, 2012 - San Francisco

We were guests of the SFFD for two gorgeous Saturday afternoon ride alongs on the historic fireboat Phoenix, responsible for saving the Marina district from the fires following the city’s 1989 earthquake.

Photo Set on Flickr

Obscura Society - Fermilab

FERMILAB FIELD TRIP
May 19, 2012 - Chicago

We visited the famous Tevatron accelerator at Fermilab, an astounding 3.9 miles across with particles colliding at almost two trillion electron volts. Event Details

Fermilab in Atlas Obscura

Obscura Society Smuggler's Cove

SCURVY AWARENESS DAY AT SMUGGLER’S COVE
May 2, 2012 - San Francisco

We explored the grisly history and many mishaps in the quest for the cause and cure of scurvy over artisan grog with Martin Cate, rum afficianado and owner of Smuggler’s Cove. Event details

By the End, Death is a Mercy - A Short History of Scurvy

Obscura Day 2012

OBSCURA DAY 2012
April 28, 2012 - Everywhere

From London to Los Angeles, we celebrated the third annual Obscura Day with over one hundred events all over the world. And we couldn’t have done it without you. Looking Back at Obscura Day 2012

Photos on Flickr

Holyland- Obscura Society

EXPEDITION TO HOLYLAND (EXHIBIT)
January 14, 2012 - Los Angeles

We set out to explore the odd treasures of Antonia F. Futterer, biblical archaeologist, collector of Middle Eastern artifacts, and enthusiastic would-be tomb raider.

Holyland Exhibition in Atlas Obscura

TRAP DOORS & PIPE ORGANS: THE REGENCY MASONIC BUILDING
January 9, 2012 - San Francisco

We met up after dark for a private look at the secrets of the Scottish Rite Masonic Lodge, theater, and meeting place and its strange crawlspaces and mysterious tiny rooms.

Obscura Society

SEX & SURVIVAL AT THE CONSERVATORY OF FLOWERS
December 17, 2011 - San Francisco

We explored San Francisco’s historic glass house after dark for a private, small group tutorial on the sex lives of plants.

Bunny Museum - Obscura Society

EXPEDITION TO THE BUNNY MUSEUM
December 17, 2011 - Los Angeles

An intrepid team launched the Obscura Society LA Chapter with an expedition to the “Hoppiest Place in the World.”

The Bunny Museum in Atlas Obscura

Green-Wood - Obscura Society

HIDDEN SYMBOLISM OF GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY
December 11, 2011 - New York City

On a chilly afternoon, we explored and decoded the secret messages carved into the tombstones in Brooklyn’s beautiful and historic Green-Wood Cemetery.

Grand Guignol - Obscura Society

CONEY ISLAND GRAND GUIGNOL
December 10, 2011 - New York City

Co-hosted by Morbid Anatomy, the evening recreated scenes from the popular and scandalous Victorian horror theatre known as the Grand Guignol.

Obscura Society

CEMETERY EXPLORATIONS: NEPTUNE SOCIETY COLUMBARIUM
December 3, 2011 - San Francisco

Building caretaker Emmitt Watson recounted his efforts to reclaim this historic hidden treasure from raccoons and pigeons, and gave us a rare rooftop peek at the surrounding hills - once covered in graves, now covered in homes. 

Obscura Society

CEMETERY EXPLORATIONS: CALVARY CEMETERY 
October 22, 2011 - New York City

We explored just part of the vast Calvary cemetery, home to 3 million internments - more than any other cemetery in the US.

Obscura Society

CEMETERY EXPLORATIONS: ELMWOOD CEMETERY
October 15, 2011 - Detroit

We joined the League of Adventurous Detroiters and Amy Elliott Bragg of The Night Train to Detroit blog for an exploration of the oldest continuously non-denominational cemetery in Michigan.

Obscura Society

CEMETERY EXPLORATIONS: COLMA NECROPOLIS 
October 14, 2011 - San Francisco Bay Area

When San Francisco decide to evict its hundreds of thousands of Gold Rush era dead, they brought them to Colma, where the dead still vastly outnumber the living.

Obscura Society

CEMETERY EXPLORATIONS: MISSION DOLORES 
October 8, 2011 - San Francisco

We visited the oldest building in San Francisco for a look at one of the very last cemeteries left in the city, home to native Ohlone and Miwok graves as well as early city dignitaries and ne’erdowells.

Obscura Society

URBAN FORAGING COCKTAIL MISSION
July 14, 2011 - Washington DC

In DC we met up with “Wild Man” Steve Brill to look for edible botanicals on the city streets. Afterwards we stuck around for cocktails inspired by the forage.

Obscura Society

SUISON BAY GHOST FLEET
July 9, 2011 - San Francisco Bay 

For our first official adventure we headed out onto the San Francisco bay for a look at the rusting hulks of the National Defence Reserve Fleet and the historic USS Iowa super battleship.

 Find out more about our upcoming explorations here