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Racetrack Playa, Death Valley, California, USA

Racetrack Playa, Death Valley, California, USA
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At first glance, Racetrack Playa in Death Valley, California might look like an ordinary dried-up lakebed. That is, until, rocks, some of which weigh 317 kilograms, began to slide across the desert as if they’re being dragged by an invisible hand. No one knows when, or if, a particular rock will move. Some sit idle for more than a decade. In 2013, scientists were on-site and able to observe individual rocks moving for periods ranging from a few seconds to 16 minutes and theorised that it was caused by a shallow layer of water freezing at night and a light wind pushing the rocks as the ice begins to melt but this theory has yet to be proven definitively.

Loch Ness, Scotland

Loch Ness, Scotland
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If you take a look at these jaw-dropping photos of Scotland, it’s easy to see that Loch Ness is a stunning lake. For 1,500 years, it’s been best known, however, as home to the Loch Ness Monster. In AD 500, pictures of a mysterious aquatic creature were even carved into the standing stones near the lake. The first written reference to the monster was in AD 565. In 1933, a couple claimed to have spotted the creature in the water, and yet another couple said they spotted it on land. Since then, researchers have tried unsuccessfully to prove the Loch Ness Monster exists, and is perhaps, an ancient whale or dinosaur that was erroneously believed to be extinct.

Bran Castle, Romania

Bran Castle, Romania
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Of all the spooky vampire legends all over the world, there is probably none more famous, or frightening, than the tale of Dracula, who first made in appearance in a novel written by Bram Stoker in 1897 and has since become part of popular culture. It is believed that Stoker based Dracula’s castle on descriptions of Bran’s Castle in Transylvania. In real life, villagers in the area believed evil immortal spirits haunted the area, hunting prey from midnight till dawn. Bran Castle still stands today, although whether or not malevolent ghosts roam the halls after midnight is up for debate.

Learn about 30 of the most beautiful medieval castles in the world. 

Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California, USA

Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California, USA
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Of all the infamous houses everyone should know, there is probably none more mysterious than the Winchester Mystery House, a mansion in San Jose, California. The home was built by Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester Rifle Company fortune. When her husband and baby died, Winchester learned that she may have been the heir to something else: a terrible curse and the anger of vengeful spirits. A psychic told her her family was killed by ghosts of people killed by Winchester rifles who were seeking revenge. She spent the next 38 years building a large house with 160 rooms, confusing hallways, and stairways leading to nowhere to trap these spirits. Many believe she continues to haunt the mansion to this day.

These are 15 of the world’s spookiest travel destinations. 

Crooked Forest, Poland

Crooked Forest, Poland
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If you glance at photos of the Crooked Forest in Poland and you’ll immediately know where it gets its name – the approximately 400 pine trees that grow there have long curves at the bottom before pointing up to 15 metres towards the sky. The question, is, why? The trees were planted in 1930, but no one knows how why they are mysteriously crooked. Theories include unusual reactions to snowfall and possible intervention from local farmers in the years after the trees were planted for an unknown reason. Unfortunately, the nearby town of Gryfino was abandoned years ago and the townspeople took their secrets with them.

Here are true stories from the most haunted forests in the world.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu
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Built in the fifteenth century, the ruins of this ancient Incan city are one of the seven wonders of the world. No one is sure what the city’s purpose was. Some scientists believe it was a royal estate while others believe it was a religious site or even a trade hub. Perhaps the larger mystery is what happened to the people who once dwelled there since, at some point, Machu Picchu was abandoned approximately a century after it was built. This would have been after the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, however, there’s no evidence they ever reached the site, causing many to theorise it might have been abandoned due to a smallpox outbreak. For many people, Machu Picchu is a bucket list trip they plan a year in advance.

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Great Blue Hole, Belize

Great Blue Hole, Belize
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Belize is famously regarded as one of the best islands for retirement. It is also home to one of the under the radar gems found only in the Caribbean – the Great Blue Hole. This underwater sinkhole is over 122 metres deep and 300 metres from one side to the other and home to creatures like sharks and giant grouper. For years, no one was sure what was at the bottom of the Great Blue Hole but recent expeditions have allowed cameras into deeper waters than were previously possible, allowing scientists to get a glimpse of icicle-shaped mineral formations and mysterious, unidentified tracks at the floor of the hole. Hopefully, future expeditions will be able to tell us what kind of creature made them.

Fairy Circles of Namibia

Fairy Circles of Namibia
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The desert there is also the home of a mystery that has long puzzled scientists and explorers, known simply as the Fairy Circles of Namibia. They are bare, red circles of land where the brush that covers the rest of the terrain won’t grow. Local folklore says they are footprints of the gods or spots where dragon fire has scorched the earth. Although nothing is definitive, scientists have theorised in recent years there might be a less exciting explanation for the Fairy Circles, such as termites or weather patterns.

Aurora Cemetery, Texas, USA

Aurora Cemetery, Texas, USA
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The Aurora Cemetery may not be the oldest cemetery in Texas but it has the distinction of being the only one to claim they have a dead space alien buried there. In 1897 the Dallas Morning News reported that a spaceship had crash-landed near Aurora, killing its otherworldly pilot. Several people reportedly saw the spaceship before it collided with a windmill and the badly disfigured alien at the helm was affectionately nicknamed Ned and buried in the Aurora Cemetery.

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, West Virginia, USA

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, West Virginia, USA
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If you’re wondering where to spot a ghost in West Virginia, the Trans-Alleghany Lunatic Asylum is a good place to start. Located in Lewis County, West Virginia, the asylum operated between 1864 and 1994, was built for 240 patients but at one time, had up to 2,000 living there under deplorable conditions. Paranormal experts say the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is a hotbed of otherworldly activity and many claims to have captured proof of the spirit world both on audio and on film within the walls of the asylum.

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Philippines lockdown update:
Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, we hope to have the April print issue available by the middle of July, and the May, June and July issues available by the end of July, but this is dependent on when local lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team