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The Stunning Lake Kanas in China & the Legend of its Monster

Even without the lure of its mysterious lake monster, Kanas Lake is a spectacularly beautiful lake on an equally stunning nature reserve in northern Xinjiang, China.

Travelers rave about the splendid Alpine scenery at Kanas Lake, a long flowing, pristine lake that is found in the Altay mountains that supplies Kanas River, also in the nature reserve. The forests are filled with stunning, colorful trees.

The lake even has its own legendary lake monster! Similar to Scotland’s Loch Ness monster, stories of the Kanas Lake Monster have been in the Chinese media since the 1980s about an enormous, serpent-like creature.

Apparently the lake monster reappeared in 2005 and again in 2006, bringing tons of journalists and conspiracy hounds hoping to photograph the mysterious beast of the lake.

Chinese scientists insist it’s just a big school of salmon-like fish and not a lake monster. Legends usually start for a reason and some claim the serpent exists.

source 1, 2, 3

The Black Rose of Turkey

Turkish Halfeti Roses are incredibly rare. They are shaped just like regular roses, but their color sets them apart. These roses are so black, you’d think someone spray-painted them. But that’s actually their natural color.

Although they appear perfectly black, they’re actually a very deep crimson color. These flowers are seasonal – they only grow during the summer in small number, and only in the tiny Turkish village of Halfeti. Thanks to the unique soil conditions of the region, and the pH levels of the groundwater (that seeps in from the river Euphrates), the roses take on a devilish hue. They bloom dark red during the spring and fade to black during the summer months.

The local Turks seem to enjoy a love-hate relationship with these rare blossoms. They consider the flowers to be symbols of mystery, hope and passion, and also death and bad news.

Seeing a black rose in full bloom is a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing. Don’t miss it if you ever happen to be in Turkey during the summer.

(via Oddity Central)

Fairies, Nymphs, & Demons

The specimens of Alex CF feature an incredible collection of cryptozoology. His page features amazing stories behind his collection of beautifully horrifying creatures that include descriptions of demons, fairies, nymphs, and other assorted oddities he collects and sells.

atlasobscura:

Of Wolves, Men, and Delicious Little Girls

A sensational trial in Germany in 1589 saw a man accused of making a deal with the devil, shape-shifting into a wolf, and killing 128 people, among other assorted gruesome crimes.

Known as the “Werewolf of Bedburg,” Peter Stubbe (or Stumpp) was executed on October 31, 1589, along with his daughter and mistress. As an example to others tempted by the devil’s offer of magical shape shifting garments, the execution was spectacularly horrific. The story was spread throughout Europe in a pamphlet describing the trial, torture, and death with relish. Then, as now, a story with a title like A True Discourse. Declaring the Damnable Life and Death of One Stubbe Peeter, a Most Wicked Sorcerer sold like hotcakes, and the werewolf myth gained more ground in the popular mind.

After lurid accounts of his supposed crimes including assorted murders, acts of cannibalism, and the ripping of children from the wombs of their mothers, after which he “eate their hartes panting hotte and rawe,” his final execution was described thus:

…his body laide on a wheele, and with red hotte burning pincers in ten seue∣ral places to haue the flesh puld off from the bones, after that, his legges and Armes to be broken with a woodden Are or Hatchet, afterward to haue his head strook from his body, then to haue his carkasse burnde to Ashes.

Today there is debate over whether Stubbe was a spectacularly bad man — a serial killer of the day — or if perhaps the spate of deaths might in fact be blamed on actual, non-demonic, non-shifting wolves, or whether he simply found himself, like so many others, on the wrong side of an inquisitor’s political or religious agenda.

…So much more on the long, storied history of Wolves, Men, and Delicious Little Girls…

The Demon Cat of Washington DC

The ghost cat or ‘Demon Cat’ is a popular story. This creature haunts the basement of the Capitol building at night, usually spotted around the hall between the Crypt of the Capitol and the Old Supreme Court Chamber. Tourists can even see little paw prints on the floors of this hallway if they look close enough. The story goes that Capitol Hill, then Jenkins Hill, was once the home of a den of black cats, but once construction of the Capitol began (in 1794) the cat’s den was destroyed along with the family of cats. The mother cat now roams the halls of the basement of the Capitol building where presumably the den was located, searching for her young. Even though there are no unattended pets allowed in the Capitol, late night staffers and visitors have noticed an animal making quick dashes around this area of the building. The cat’s paw-prints beneath the Samuel Morse memorial can bee seen in the second picture.

Sightings of the creature have mysteriously been followed by tragic occurrences throughout the United States. One such account tells of a Capitol Police officer who noticed a quick black dash across the floor. As he moved closer to catch a glimpse of the animal, its shadow grew bigger and more menacing. Then, quickly, it disappeared. The next day, 1 November 1918, a story in the newspaper described the worst rapid transit system accident in New York City with over 90 deaths.

source 1, 2

Hill of Witches, Lithuania

On one of the most beautiful and oldest parabolic dunes in Juodkrantė, Lithuania, the forest is alive with a vast array of fairy-tale creatures, witches, demons, kings, princesses, fisherman and devils. Known as the Hill of Witches (Raganų kalnas), this public trail through the woods takes visitors on a trip through the most well-known legends and stories in Lithuanian folk history.

Work began in 1979 on the sculpture park, and it now features over 80 different wooden carvings from local artists. Each beautifully hand-crafted sculpture depicts a popular character from folk and pagan traditions of Lithuania. The public park got its name long before the sculptures were placed along the wooded trails, and is in fact a reference to the pagan celebrations that take place on the hill during the Midsummer’s Eve Festival.

Each year on June 24th, people across Lithuania dance, sing and bring in the midsummer with the older folk traditions of the country. After Christianity came to Lithuania, the celebration was renamed Saint Jonas’ Festival, but many of the practices still have pagan roots, as echoed by the fantastic Hill of Witches sculptures.

source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5