Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders

Dec. 9 2016 12:30 PM

The Best Sport of the Early 1900s Involved Pushing Around an Elephant-Sized Ball

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world’s hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook or follow us onTwitter.

Imagine you're touring the shed of an early 20th-century sportsman. It's mostly standard stuff—tennis raquets and lacrosse sticks hang from hooks above the door frame, and baseball bats lean against the walls. But over there, in the corner, something towers over the other equipment. It's a hulking sphere, the size of a small elephant.

It looks like the boulder that chased Indiana Jones.

But this isn't a weapon for squashing bad referees. It's a pushball—the centerpiece of what might be the goofiest forgotten sport in American history. For decades starting in the 1890s, everyone from stockbrokers to college students had thrown themselves at a pushball, struggling mightily with his team to push it over their opponent's goal line.

Pushball was the brainchild of a suburban Massachusetts man named Moses Crane. Crane made his living as an electrical engineer, selling telegraphs and burglar alarms from his Boston storefront. But much of his spare time was spent watching his three strapping Harvard sons play football, a sport he vehemently disliked. He was not the only one who felt this way: "The observer [of football] sees only a mass of struggling bodies piled up in a heap, disentangling themselves at intervals merely to repeat the unavailing onslaught," wrote reporter C. H. Allison in a 1903 article celebrating pushball. "To the average person without a college education or a predilection for sports it is incomprehensible, dull, cruel."

Dec. 8 2016 12:30 PM

Hitler Probably Spent WWII High on Cocaine and Oxycodone

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world’s hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

In 1940, as the German army prepared to invade France through the Ardennes, a region of hills, forests, and other rough terrain, army commanders were facing a problem: fatigue. Soldiers simply couldn't fight the Allies and push through the mountains in one day, leaving them vulnerable there at night, when they had to rest.

So army commanders started distributing a solution: Pervitin, a Nazi-made pill version of crystal meth that soldiers were instructed to take once a day, twice at night, and more as needed. The Nazis' strategy worked, writes Norman Ohler in his new book, Blitzed, which details how integral illegal drugs were to the Nazi regime.


"No drugs, no invasion," Ohler told the Guardian. "That enabled them to stay awake for three days and three nights. Rommel [who then led one of the panzer divisions] and all those tank commanders were high—and without the tanks, they certainly wouldn’t have won.”

Soldiers weren't the only ones getting high, according to Ohler. Adolf Hitler, himself, relied on daily injections of oxycodone (then called Eukodal) and cocaine as the war raged on, until, later, the Allies bombed the pharmaceutical plants that manufactured the drugs, cutting off Hitler's supply.

Which led to an epic case of withdrawal.

“Everyone describes the bad health of Hitler in those final days [in the Führerbunker in Berlin] ... But there’s no clear explanation for it. It has been suggested that he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. To me, though, it’s pretty clear that it was partly withdrawal.” Ohler told the Guardian. “Yeah, it must have been pretty awful. He’s losing a world war, and he’s coming off drugs.”

Which was about the least of what he deserved.

If you liked this, you’ll probably enjoy Atlas Obscura’s New York Times best-selling book, which collects more than 700 of the world’s strangest and most amazing places: Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders.

Dec. 7 2016 12:30 PM

The Horrifying Legacy of the Victorian Tapeworm Diet

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world’s hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

From horrifying foot-binding practices in Imperial China to life-threatening surgeries in modernity, humanity has been finding harmful ways to modify the body since the dawn of civilization. The Victorians were no exception to this.

The Victorian era, roughly the 1830s to 1900, is notorious for its bizarre notions of beauty and its even more bizarre secrets to attaining it. The ideal of the time was modeled after those afflicted by consumption (tuberculosis). Pale skin, dilated eyes, rosy cheeks, crimson lips, and a meager and fragile figure. From swallowing ammonia to bathing in arsenic—which they knew to be poisonous—to using figure-molding corsets in a never-ending quest for the “perfect” 16-inch waist, there was no limit to what fashionable Victorians would do.

Most of these practices have, thankfully, gone out of style. We no longer swallow ingredients present in rat poison, and corsets no longer disfigure women’s internal organs. There is one gruesome dietary idea, however, that has managed to survive—the tapeworm diet.

Dec. 6 2016 12:30 PM

The FBI Debunked These UFO Documents in the Most Childish Way Possible

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world’s hidden wonders. Like us onFacebook or follow us on Twitter.

Everyone knows the story of the alien craft that supposedly crashed in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947, but who was appointed to deal with it?

According to UFOlogy diehards, it was a group known as the Majestic 12, and there are top-secret documents to prove it. The FBI says the whole story is "bogus." Yes, that's a quote. It wrote “BOGUS” across the documents.

The relevant files can be easily accessed on the FBI’s website, and nothing in there has been redacted. But no matter how many times the Majestic 12 case gets debunked, true believers stay interested.

Mark Fenster, author of Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture, has done extensive research into modern-day conspiracy theories, including those surrounding 9/11. He points out that the enduring appeal of the Majestic 12 has to do with the government’s response. “If you wanted to bluff as the FBI, you would redact nothing," he says.

Dec. 5 2016 12:30 PM

What Happens if Someone Dies on Mars?

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world’s hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

It’s entirely possible that someone alive today on Earth will be the first person to die on Mars. The private company Mars One expects that, after a one-way flight, its interplanetary travelers will remain there for the rest of their lives.

Billionaire space magnate Elon Musk has said that, eventually, he’d like to die on Mars himself. His company, SpaceX, is planning a return flight on its Mars journeys, but, as Musk said last week, with the risk of death so high, anyone who goes on the first Mars flights must be prepared not to come back. If humans reach Mars, at least a few of us are likely to die there.


This would be a milestone of its own. In the history of humanity, only three people have died in space—cosmonauts on the Soyuz 11 mission when their return capsule depressurized at 104 miles above sea level, well past the boundary between Earth and the rest of the universe. No one’s ever been buried, cremated, or left to the elements on another planet.

If a person did die on Mars, what would happen to his or her body?

If left out on the Martian surface, a human body would last a very, very long time. On Earth, post-death destruction starts with decomposers, which move in fast and start using organic matter to fuel their own little lives. Mars has no biology, that we know of.

In the immediate aftermath of death, a body would still start to decompose there: The bacteria inside, transplanted from Earth, would go to work. If a dead body was left outside at the Martian equator, where temperatures sometimes reach pleasant-enough highs during the day, this could go on for a few hours. Without an insulating atmosphere, though, the planet cools quickly, and even balmy Martian nights are as cold as polar nights here. The body would freeze, stopping the work of the bacteria, and begin the slow, dry process of mummifying.

Working against the preservation of the cold would be ionizing radiation, which destroys organic compounds and bathes Mars at levels unheard of on Earth. One plausible explanation for why we haven’t found any traces of life on Mars is that the high levels of radiation there zapped any organic compounds into gases that show no trace of their former life.

Eventually, radiation would do away with more of the body, but it would take eons—100 million years from the first human death on Mars, it’s possible that the person’s bones could still be found.

Being human, Mars colonists probably wouldn’t just throw bodies out on the ground and leave them there. If a body was buried, though, it would be even better preserved than if it were left on the surface—the conditions would still be cold and dry, but the body would be protected from radiation.

To dispose of a body, Mars explorers or colonists would have to resort to cremation or deliberate decomposition. Either is possible; Mars One already chosen cremation as its method for disposing of the dead. A cremation fire would require two resources that Mars missions are already looking to extract or manufacture on Mars: oxygen and fuel. But even if the settlement is not manufacturing fuel, there could be enough leftover from the trip there to feed a fire.

The other option is less conventional, since it would basically amount to composting human bodies. However, a space bioethicist told Slate that this option seemed unlikely—“There are societies that desperately need fertilizer, and even they don’t use their dead bodies for the purpose,” he said—but it seems to be one of the first options that pops into people’s minds.

It makes sense: Any semi-permanent Mars colony would benefit from a composting system that reserved food waste and recycled it back into new plants, and astronauts already violate earthly taboos about waste by drinking recycled urine, for instance. If it’s possible to get past the taboo of death, actively composting a human body isn’t so different than burying it in the ground.

Besides Mars One, Mars-faring expeditions haven’t been so clear-cut about their plans for death, though. NASA, presumably, would use a similar approach to its current preparation for astronauts—”contingency” or death sims, in which, astronaut Chris Hadfield has written, an entire team works through the basic questions: what to do with the corpse and its smell? How quickly will a body decompose? How should the person’s family be notified? How should the PR team respond?

Of course, we have to get to Mars first for any of this to be relevant. But planning ahead for end-of-life is always advisable.

Special thanks to the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science and to Jim Cleaves for their thoughts on death and decomposition on Mars.

If you liked this, you’ll probably enjoy Atlas Obscura’s New York Times best-selling book, which collects more than 700 of the world’s strangest and most amazing places: Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders.

Dec. 2 2016 12:30 PM

What’s a Woggin? A Bird, a Word, and a Linguistic Mystery

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world’s hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

On Dec. 20, 1792, the whaling ship Asia was making its way through the Desolation Islands, in the Indian Ocean, when the crew decided to stop for lunch. According to the log keeper, the meal was a great success: "At 1 PM Sent our Boat on Shore After Some refreshments," he wrote. "She returned with A Plenty of Woggins we Cooked Some for Supper."

Right about now, you may be feeling peckish. But you may also be wondering: What in the world is a woggin?

New species are discovered all the time. Unknown old species—extinct ones, found as fossils and then plugged into our historical understanding of the world—turn up a lot, too. But every once in a while, all we have to go on is a word. New or old, known or unknown, no one knew what a woggin was until Judith Lund, whaling historian, decided to find out.

Like all professionals, 18th-century whalers had their share of strange jargon. A blanket was a massive sheet of blubber. Gurry was the sludge of oil and guts that covered the deck after a kill, and a gooneywas an albatross. Modern-day whaling historians depend on their knowledge of these terms to decode ship's logs—vital for understanding the sailors' day-to-day experiences, as well as gleaning overall trends. Being elbow-deep in whaleman slang is just part of the job.

So when Lund ran into a word she didn't know, it caught her eye. Lund was at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, trying to dig up some data on oil harvest rates. "I was reading a logbook and charging along beautifully," she says, "when I came across the fact that whalemen on that voyage were eating woggins and swile."

Lund had heard of swile—it's whaler slang for seals—but woggins were new. She asked the museum librarian, who didn't know either. "The woggin was a mystery to both of us," she says. So Lund did what any curious person would—started emailing everyone she could think of, asking if they had ever heard of it.

Dec. 1 2016 12:30 PM

The Lesbian Vampire Story That Came Before Dracula

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world’s hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

When thinking of the origins of Vampire literature in the Western world, chances are you think of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. This chef-d'oeuvre has defined the genre ever since it was published more than 100 years ago.

But years before Stoker was obsessively researching for his book, another vampire story was written in Ireland. Carmilla, a novella by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, could be called the original vampire novel of modern Europe.


Written in 1871, the novella is a first-person account from Laura, a young English woman who falls prey to a beautiful vampire. In some detail, Laura tells us of a curious incident that brings Carmilla, a stranger, into her home.

At first, she is scared of the newcomer, who looks exactly like a specter she had seen in a nightmare when she was a child. But these feelings quickly subside and are replaced by an ardent relationship that blossoms with intensity.

In the meantime, panic arises as maidens from nearby towns are afflicted by a mysterious illness that causes their deaths. Eventually, Laura herself becomes ill and has recurring nightmares of a giant cat that attacks her at night.

As a strange twist of fate, a general who has lost his niece to the illness comes to visit Laura's father. He is now aware of the reality of vampires and is on the hunt for Millarca—as he knew Carmilla. When the two unexpectedly come face to face, a fight ensues and Carmilla, now exposed, flees.

After the incident, Laura is taken back and guarded by several people. Meanwhile, her father, the general, and a vampire hunter find Carmilla’s hidden tomb, drive a stake into her heart, decapitate her, and burn her remains. Laura recovers her health, but never fully, and continues to be haunted by the memory of Carmilla for the remainder of her short life.

Most scholars agree that Carmilla heavily influenced Dracula, as elements of the first appear in the latter, though modified or amplified. The aesthetic of the female vampire, for example, is very much the same in both stories. They have rosy cheeks, big eyes, full lips, and almost irresistible sensuality. There is also the vampire hunter who comes to the rescue and imparts his knowledge of the obscure on the confused victims. Even the narrative frame of Stoker’s masterpiece is quite similar to Le Fanu’s: first-person accounts from the victims.

But what makes Carmilla so endearing are not its similarities to other works of the genre but its distinct differences. Most notably, the fact that the story is centered around two female characters, whose complicated relationship is colored by thinly veiled lesbian undertones.

The novella was written during the Victorian era, a period known for its strict moral laws and sexual repression, so no wonder vampire novels rose into prominence. The premise of these novels is that even the most pure of hearts cannot resist the supernatural seduction. This idea was extremely attractive for the Victorian upper class, especially women, whose desires have always been rigidly restricted.

However, powerlessness does not mean redemption or absolution, as these powers are understood to be evil and tied to devilish forces. In almost every vampire story, the women who are preyed upon meet their deaths, unless the men in their lives come to their rescue. As such, the vampire trope simultaneously provided an outlet for repressed sexual desires and a moral lesson on the danger of succumbing to such desires.

In this sense Laura is the perfect victim of vampire literature. She is at once repulsed and drawn to the vampire, both wishes to succumb to and withdraw from her feelings for the strange and beautiful creature. And the fact that the beautiful creature is an irresistibly lovely woman only makes her feelings more confusing.

I experienced a strange tumultuous excitement that was pleasurable, ever and anon, mingled with a vague sense of fear and disgust. [...] I was conscious of a love growing into adoration, and also of abhorrence.

Laura isn’t alone in her feelings. While we are given to understand that most of her victims are of no importance to her, Carmilla is genuinely enamored of a few of them. She seems to have fallen for her victim.

With gloating eyes she drew me to her, and her hot lips traveled along my cheek in kisses; and she would whisper, almost in sobs, “You are mine, you shall be mine, you and I are one for ever.”

In these moments of frenzied rapture, she implies that for them to become one, Laura must die. To drink Laura’s blood was to become one with her forever. As it stands, Carmilla is the antithesis of the heteronormative and male-centered world to which vampires were constricted to after Dracula. It has inspired several remakes as well as a plethora of lesbian vampire tales, including a Canadian web series of the same name.

Given the historical context, it is not surprising that the novella did not gain much attention when it was initially written. Now that it’s been 145 years, it is time for Carmilla to rise from the grave.

If you liked this, you’ll probably enjoy Atlas Obscura’s New York Times best-selling book, which collects more than 700 of the world’s strangest and most amazing places: Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders.

Nov. 30 2016 12:30 PM

Meet Spring-Heeled Jack, the Leaping Devil That Terrorized Victorian England

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world’s hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

In Victorian England, the scariest boogeyman was a fire-breathing devil-man who could jump unnaturally high. Some said he was demon, while others thought he was just an extraordinarily agile human, but no matter what you believed about the legend, Spring-Heeled Jack was a name that inspired fear among the folk.

His name survives today mainly in the form of plays and references in various forms of media, but his legend still holds a bit of the original creep factor it had when it first bubbled up out of the public consciousness.

Reports of the wraith that would become Spring-Heeled Jack first started to appear in 1837. As described in historian Mike Dash’s exhaustive history of the figure’s reported appearances, residents of a London neighborhood began to report bizarre attacks—really more like harassments— from “a ‘ghost, imp or devil’ in the shape of ‘a large white bull.’ ”

Nov. 29 2016 12:30 PM

Why We Love to Fly in Our Dreams

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world’s hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

It's one of the stranger things about being human that we can spend all night flying and then wake up in our own beds.

A brief, very unscientific Facebook poll reveals that people treat this night pastime like a real hobby, with different flying strategies and concerns:


“I kind of imagine a lightness in my chest and fling that ‘weightlessness’ in the direction that I so choose"

“I fly really close to the ground … kind of like a skateboard, but with no skateboard there"
"It was like superman, or a ghost. I didn't have to think about it any more than I think about walking."
"A couple times I had dreams where I could jump higher and higher 'til I was leaving the atmosphere and able to travel far distances by aiming my jumps."

Others stuck to swimming, flapping, or gliding motions. These contemporary dream-flyers join a storied legacy: In 1921, Mary Arnold-Foster described wearing a "flying dress," a "dress of straight close folds which fall three or four inches below my feet,” in order to hide the fact that she wasn’t walking like everyone else.

Does this sound a little boastful? It might be justified. If you find yourself soaring through the sky at night, you deserve a few stunned looks and pointing fingers. Dream-flying isn't necessarily a random fluke of neuron-firing—it says something about how you think.

The first thing dream scientists will tell you is that it’s very, very hard to study dreams. "It's difficult to get people to dream if you stick them in an fMRI machine," explains Dr. Tadas Stumbrys, a dream researcher at Vilnius University in Lithuania.

This hasn’t stopped people from trying. Psychologist Dr. Rainer Schönhammer has compiled scientific flying-dream explanations going back to the early 19th century. Many of the earliest guesses were physiological—1860s German psychologist Karl Scherner thought that the rising and falling of the chest inspired dream flight, while his peer J.E. Purkinje believed that the relaxation inherent in sleep makes dreamers feel like they’re floating. The more Freudian Paul Federn pinned it on nighttime erections, which, author Diedre Barret explains, he "viewed as an overcoming of gravity," but this theory has since been discounted. More recent theories have focused instead on the brain stem and the inner ear, which controls balance.

Although he doesn’t knock the potential physiological causes of dream-flying, Dr. Michael Schredl, a psychologist with the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, is more interested in what such dreams and such distinctions might say about the dreamer. "Flying dreams are a fascinating topic," Schredl writes in an email. In a series of studies, Schredl has sought to connect the prevalence of flying dreams with particular personality traits or life choices. By compiling dream data gathered since 1956 and performing both broad and deep surveys of his own, he has come to a few zooming conclusions.

First of all—anecdotally at least—”persons with waking-life flying experiences dream more often about flying,” Schredl writes. Hang gliding instructors, for instance, often practice their professions in dreams, only without their equipment. And the fact that the frequency of flying dreams has picked up since the 1950s suggests that more real-life airplane trips equals more somni-flight. This would be consistent with the “continuity hypothesis” of dreams, a somewhat controversial theory that posits that our dream experiences are just weird remixes of our waking ones.

To dig deeper into these hypotheses, Schredl analyzed the 6,000-entry dreambank of one particular anonymous subject, who has kept a diary since 1984. Schredl found that although this subject had more airplane dreams after his first ever real-life transatlantic flight, more creative flying dreams weren’t affected. The subject sometimes flew with the help of a house, a magical juggling ball, or a unicycle, and he did so in order to illicitly cross borders and to impress a girl (“and he succeeded!,” the study makes sure to point out).

Airplane journeys, Schredl writes, may be less important than general happiness. A broader Schredl-helmed study shows that overall, people with more “positive emotional states” while awake tend to get to fly in their sleep, too.

For some more deliberate dreamers, dream-flying is not a quirk of physicality or personality but a conscious unconscious decision. Stumbrys studies lucid dreaming–a type of dream where the dreamer knows he or she is sleeping and can control certain aspects of the situation. For a 2014 study published in the American Journal of Psychology, Stumbrys and his colleagues (including Schredl) surveyed 684 lucid dreamers about their most common dreamworld activities. “Flying came in at No. 1,” Stumbrys said in a recent Skype interview—a full one-third of people reported some amount of dream-flying. It beat out a number of other common pastimes, including sex, sports, and “fighting, killing, or weapons” (along with some less popular ones, such as “looking at hands” and “crying or screaming”).

Lucid dreamers are, to a certain extent, able to plan their dream activities while awake, and even more of those studied—a full half!—made plans to fly. These plans may have informed their flying styles, posits Stumbrys. “In lucid dreams, your expectations really shape the dream,” he says. So if your waking self pictures Superman while you’re plotting out your dream itinerary, “that idea will be in your mind, and that will be the way you can fly.”

Stumbrys is careful to point out that the relationship between lucid dreams and flying isn’t necessarily causative. “It might be that people who lucid-dream, one of their favorite activities is flying,” so they take advantage of their insider knowledge to take off, he says. On the other hand, though, flying might cause lucidity: “if you discover that you’re flying,” he points out, “that’s a good sign that you might be in a dream.”

In Stumbrys’ first lucid dream, which was so impactful that it kicked off his whole professional career, he nearly flew out of a window but as he stood on the sill, he realized his fear of heights had crossed over to the dreamworld with him. By now, though, he indulges frequently. “The feeling is really amazing,” he says. “If I don’t have any other plans, usually I will just fly.”

If you liked this, you’ll probably enjoy Atlas Obscura’s New York Times best-selling book, which collects more than 700 of the world’s strangest and most amazing places: Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders.

Nov. 28 2016 12:30 PM

Yokoi’s World War II Cave

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world’s hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

The accepted date for the end of World War II is Aug. 14, 1945, even if Japan did not formally surrender until Sept. 2. What some people don't know, however, is that for many Japanese soldiers, the war ended much later.

An official count of 127 so-called holdouts or stragglers surrendered in various places in the Pacific Area between 1947 and 1974. This number does not include the many who died in their hiding places, only discovered decades later.


For these holdout soldiers, strong militaristic principles made surrender impossible. They believed in what their military leaders told them, that it was better to die or be captured than surrender. In some cases, they did not even know about the end of the war. Some of the holdouts continued fighting the American troops or later the police; others just went into hiding. The stragglers believed it impossible to return to Japan, as they feared to be treated as deserters and punished with the death penalty.

One of those stragglers was Yokoi Shoichi, a tailor by trade, conscripted to the Japanese Army in 1941. Making it to the rank of a sergeant, he was part of the Japanese Forces on Guam when the American troops under Gen.l Douglas MacArthur conquered the island in summer 1944. U.S. forces advanced fast, and while many Japanese soldiers were captured or killed, Yokoi, in a group of 10, retreated deep into the jungle.

The 10 men quickly realized that such a big group would be easily discovered. Seven of them left to go to other areas; what happened to them is unknown. The three remaining men, Yokoi included, split up to different hiding places in the area but kept visiting each other. The three men heard that the war was over around 1952. They were not sure if the information was true and feared for their lives if they were captured or surrendered, so they decided to stay in hiding. Around 1964, when Yokoi wanted to visit the other two men, he found them dead and buried them. He believes that they died of starvation. Other sources say they died in a flood.

It took Yokoi three months to dig his “cave,” not far from the Talofofo Falls, about 7 feet underground. Supported by large bamboo canes, the small underground room was about 3 feet high and 9 feet long, with a hideable small entrance and a second opening as air supply. Inside he hid all day and stored his few belongings. Yokoi only left his cave at night and lived from caught fish, frogs, snakes or rats and learned to use the unknown fruits and vegetables he found. Two of his biggest treasures were a self-made eel trap, and a self-made loom, with which he made clothes from local fibers of the hibiscus bark.

Finally in 1972 two local fishermen discovered Yokoi on the banks of the river Talofofo and when, afraid for his life, he charged them, they captured him. He begged the two men to kill him. Instead they took him home, fed him his first real meal in 28 years, and brought him to the authorities. Two weeks later Yokoi returned to Japan and was welcomed as a hero. He himself thought differently about that. His famous words were: "It is with much embarrassment, but I have returned."

After Yokoi's death at age 82, the original cave was protected as a historical monument but collapsed. In its place a replica of the cave was erected along with a shrine and memorials for the last three Japanese stragglers. Some of Yokoi's belongings from the time in the cave can be seen in a museum at the entrance of the Talofofo Falls Resort Park.

If you liked this, you’ll probably enjoy Atlas Obscura’s New York Times best-selling book, which collects more than 700 of the world’s strangest and most amazing places: Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders.