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 Michael Levinson, The New York Times
“The sky was dark with bees,” said one beekeeper on the scene after a trailer carrying five million bees was involved in a traffic accident in southern Ontario. Another couldn’t hear his cell phone ring over the drone of the confused insects. “When you’re in that cloud of bees, it’s actually quite loud—a million little helicopters flying around you.” The New York Times has the story of how the province’s bee specialist “swarmed” to save the day.
by John Garrison Marks, Smithsonian
In front of Pat’s King of Steaks in South Philadelphia is a historical marker that credits Pat Olivieri with the invention of the city’s famous cheesesteak in 1930. The sign looks like any of the more than 185,000 such markers that dot the United States—but it was erected by Pat Olivieri’s family. “The bizarre reality is that anyone with a few thousand dollars and a place to put a marker can get one saying whatever they want,” writes John Garrison Marks, director of research at the American Association for State and Local History.
by Brian Howey, Hakai Magazine
Science thought the Rhynchobatus cooki, or clown wedgefish, was likely extinct, until a Matthew McDavitt, a lawyer and “iecologist” who has been called the “Sherlock Holmes of Sawfish,” discovered the ray, with its flat face and shark-like tail, in an online photo. That social media post from Lingga Island, near Singapore and Indonesia, is one clue in the effort to find a living community of the species in the Pacific.
by Cathy Free, Washington Post
In 1951, a young woman packing eggs in a factory in Iowa scrawled a message on a shell: “Whoever gets this egg, please write me.” Seventy-two years later, someone responded.
by Steven Morris, The Guardian
Adorable holiday gnomes have begun to pop up without explanation in gardens throughout North Wales. According to local police, their mysterious appearance isn’t a case of Christmas magic, but a ploy by thieves to determine if the houses are empty.
by Laura Baisas, Popular Science
The drawings in Malaysia’s Gua Sireh Cave date back thousands of years, but a new study has revealed more recent artwork. These charcoal sketches were created between 1670 and 1830, and document a violent period in which the ruling Malay people battled the area’s Indigenous population.
by Ben Finley, Associated Press
The United States government is in court to halt an expedition to recover artifacts from the wreck of Titanic deep in the North Atlantic. Thousands of pieces of the ship have been removed since the discovery of the wreckage in 1985, but federal law and a pact between the United States and the United Kingdom that went into effect in 2019, hope to prevent further salvage at the site, where more than 1,500 people died.
by Ariana Garcia, Chron
Two years of high temperatures and little rain has revealed about 70 previously unseen dinosaur tracks in Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas. The prints were likely made by an Acrocanthosaurus and a Sauropodseiden 110 million years ago.