Wonder is everywhere. That’s why, every other week, Atlas Obscura drags you down some of the rabbit holes we encounter as we search for our unusual stories. We highlight surprising finds, great writing, and inspiring stories from some of our favorite publications.
by Benjamin Dodman, France24
The Byzantine icons that went on display this month at the Louvre in Paris were evacuated from one of Kyiv’s most prestigious art galleries, the Bohdan and Varvara Khanenko Museum, in mid-May under military guard, as part of an ongoing effort to preserve the country’s cultural artifacts from Russian attack. “They’re not just Ukrainian treasures or Byzantine heritage,” said a curator from the Khanenko Museum. “They are hugely important to world heritage, too.”
by Sunil Kataria, Reuters
Police in the state of Odisha in eastern India employ more than 100 Belgian homer pigeons, trained to carry messages for ceremonial purposes—or in the case of disaster. “We have kept the pigeons for their heritage value and to preserve them for future generations,” said Satish Kumar Gajbhiye, an inspector-general of police in the district of Cuttack.
by Zaria Gorvett, BBC Future
A controversial Harvard physicist thinks he may have found remnants of a distant solar system—tiny fragments of the first-known interstellar meteor, which exploded over the earth in 2014—deep in the waters of the Pacific off the coast of Papua New Guinea.
by Veronica Flesher, Patch
Until recently, visitors to the New Jersey Pine Barrens were guaranteed a glimpse of the region’s most famous cryptid—or at least a giant wooden statue of the beast. The Jersey devil stood guard outside Lucille’s Luncheonette in Warren Grove—until it was stolen in a late-night heist.
by Ida Irene Bergstrøm, ScienceNorway
An excavation that began when a sewer pipe in central Norway needed repair unearthed an unusual stone inscribed with runes spelling out siggsifr, which runologist Karen Langsholt Holmqvist suggests could be a name meaning “battle brother.”
by Sonja Anderson, Smithsonian Magazine
Researchers surveying the Balamkú ecological reserve on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula using light detection and ranging (lidar) scans discovered a sprawling settlement from the Maya Classic period (from 250 to 1000). They named the site Ocomtún, meaning “stone column” in Yucatec Mayan.
by Jack Darrell and John Hopkins, Hub
For more than a century, scientists have been baffled by a glacial waterfall that appears to bleed across the icy surface of Antarctica’s West Lake Bonney. Now a team from John Hopkins believes they have solved the gory-looking mystery.
by Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times
Long a refuge for Rome’s stray cats, the Sacred Area of Largo di Torre Argentina is now open to human visitors who want to get a glimpse of the place Julius Caesar was believed to be killed in 44 B.C.
by Shanti Escalante-de Mattei, Art News
Manhattan’s High Line has an unexpected new resident: an enormous yellow humanoid sculpture by artist Danny Cole. In what appears to have been a guerrilla-style installation, a crane dropped the The Creature, as Cole calls his work, onto the balcony of a luxury condo building.