atlas obscura: a guide to the wondrous and visionary


The recently launched, Atlas Obscura, A Compendium of the World’s Wonders, Curiosities and Estoterica is a collaborative project whose purpose “is to catalog all of the ‘wondrous, curious, and esoteric places’ that get left out of traditional travel guidebooks and are ignored by the average tourist.” Though it IS fun to wander through the site looking at the wondrous and silly, like a harmonic bridge or a root beer saloon in Illinois, or the synchronized flashing of fireflies in the Great Smoky Mountains, (and perhaps plan to visit some of these places on the next road trip), Atlas Obscura proves inspiring to the improvisation-minded.

It inadvertently showcases some of the amazing structures that obscure souls have created, like a temple in Thailand made out of beer bottles and an 80-year-old house made of paper: “roughly 100,000 varnished newspapers… 215 layers of paper were stuck together with a homemade glue of flour, water and apple peels to make 1 inch thick panels for the walls.” Atlas Obscura’s selections of Outsider Architecture are especially amazing.

A page on Aristedes Demetrios’ wind harp sent me looking to YouTube hoping to hear what it sounds like, which lead me to some homemade windharps and a comment stream about how to make them…..

And that reminded me that whatever you don’t know, there’s just about always someone willing to share their knowledge. And once you get an idea of how something works, you can begin to improvise on it.

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