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With the invention of the PneuChair (Pneumatic Wheelchair), water park lovers with disabilities can now enjoy the full hydro-themed experience at Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, Texas.

[Image Source: Morgan’s Wonderland]
The revolutionary, waterproof wheelchair was designed and constructed by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL).

The pneumatic wheelchair

The prototype for the pneumatic wheelchair was already being developed by HERL, together with the US Department of Veterans Affairs and UPMC, when representatives from The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation approached the team of researchers to ask for help in developing powered mobility for the new Morgan’s Waterpark it is overseeing.
The PneuChair is powered by high-pressure air kept in a compressed tank and mounted below the wheelchair. It is more sustainable and convenient compared to conventional battery-powered electronic wheelchairs. Because the main purpose of these wheelchairs is to provide mobility to disabled clients in an aquatic environment, they, therefore, must be waterproof. Electric wheelchairs simply won’t do as water and electricity are known to be incompatible and can cause deaths. PneuChair is only 80 pounds in weight and fully re-charge in just 10 minutes, while electric wheelchairs weigh much more because of heavy batteries and electronics and require up to 8 hours of recharging time. Moreover, the PneuChair is easy to operate and more convenient to maintain and repair.

[Image Source: University of Pittsburgh]
 “The PneuChair uses a simpler design without a lot of electronics and software, if something goes wrong, any of the components can be purchased at your local hardware store”, says Brandon Daveler, the lead mechanical design engineer of PneuChair.
It’s capable of mobilizing a user for around three miles when the tank is fully charged.

Rory Cooper, HERL director and distinguished professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology gives his positive outlook on the release of PneuChair for Morgan’s Wonderland opening later this spring.
“Their needs and our research were essentially an ideal match. The potential to open opportunities for people with disabilities who need powered mobility to access splash parks, water parks, beaches or pools is transformative”.

Long-term developments and partnership

Sports Outdoor and Recreation (SOAR) is the non-profit organization, established by the Gordon Hartman Family Foundation, is hoping to sign a long-term licensing agreement with Pitt (HERL) to further develop the PneuChair. The collaboration will look into marketing the revolutionary wheelchair to other sectors such as personal care homes, shopping venues, grocery stores, and airport.
HERL uses high-tech laboratories and instruments to study robotics for application in rehabilitation programs such as clinical training, wheelchair transfer efficiency, athletics, and force and vibrations on wheelchairs.
Morgan’s Wonderland is just one of the many initiatives of the Gordon Hartman Family Foundation that promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities to the public. They are focused on assisting families with special needs, especially those of children, to add quality to their lives and make it easier.
Through the breakthroughs in technology, even individuals with disabilities can keep up with the ever-advancing future of the world.

Revolutionary Wheelchair Lets People With Disability Enjoy Water Parks

By: Salman Monir on: 9:26:00 PM
Sloth Facts: Habits, Habitat & Diet
A three-toed sloth can rotate its head nearly 90 degrees or more, and its mouth is shaped in a way that makes the animal appear as if it's always smiling.
Credit: Bryson Voirin.
Sloths are tropical mammals that live in Central and South America. They use their long claws to hang onto branches while they feast on the leaves that other animals can't reach. Unfortunately for the sloth, their long claws — 3 to 4 inches (8 to 10 centimeters) — make walking on the ground difficult, so they spend most of their time in the tall trees they call home.
There are two categories of sloths. The two-toed sloth is slightly bigger than the three-toed sloth, though they share many of the same features. They are about the size of a medium-sized dog at around 23 to 27 inches (58 to 68 cm) and 17.5 to 18.75 pounds (about 8 kilograms).
Thousands of years ago, sloths were much bigger, according to the San Diego Zoo. Ancient sloths could grow to be as large as an elephant. They roamed North America and became extinct around 10,000 years ago.
Though their ancestors lived in North America, modern sloths live in Central and South America, enjoying the tall trees found in rain and cloud forests. Sloths prefer sleeping while curled into a ball in the fork of a tropical tree. They also like to sleep hanging by their claws from tree branches.
For the most part, a sloth's life revolves around sleeping and eating in their tree homes. The only times these mammals leave their tree is to use the bathroom and to take a swim.
Sloths in captivity sleep from 15 to 20 hours per day, which can leave them very little time for social activities. Sloths in the wild, though, sleep about as much as humans, according to research by the Planck Institute for Ornithology in Starnberg, Germany.
After around nine hours of sleep, the sloth still doesn't make an attempt at getting friendly with others. They live solo lives. The closest a sloth gets to social time is sleeping in the same tree with another sloth.
Nice 'n' slow: A three-toed sloth climbs a liana to the forest canopy. Lianas provide critical connections among trees to allow arboreal animals to move from tree to tree.
Nice 'n' slow: A three-toed sloth climbs a Liana to the forest canopy. Liana's provide critical connections among trees to allow arboreal animals to move from tree to tree.
Credit: Stefan Schnitzer.
Sloths mate in trees and give birth to their young in trees. Courting starts when a female yells a mating scream to let the males in the area know she is ready to mate. Males will fight for her by hanging from branches by their feet and pawing at each other. The victor wins the prize of mating with the female.
Like many other mammals, sloths only have one baby at a time. Baby sloths have a gestation of five to six months for some types sloths and as much as 11.5 months for others, such as the Hoffman's two-toed sloth.
After they are born, the babies aren't in a hurry to leave their mother. They ride around clinging to their mother's belly for several weeks after birth. Even after they stop dangling from their mother, little sloths stay by their mother's side for up to four years.
The tough leaves in a sloth's diet are difficult to digest. Sloths have a four-part stomach that slowly digests the leaves with bacteria. It can take up to a month for a sloth to digest one meal. Their leafy diet isn't very nutritious though, so they don't get much energy from it. This may be why sloths are so slow.
The sloth's scientific name is Brady-pus tridactylus. Here is its taxonomy according to the National History Museum:
  • Empire: Eukaryota
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Pilosa
  • Superfamily: Folivora
  • Family: Bradypodidae
  • Genus: Bradypus
  • Species: Choloepus (lame foot), Choloepus didactylus (Linnaeus's two-toed sloth), Choloepus Hoffman (Hoffman's two-toed sloth), Bradypus variegatus (brown-throated sloth), Bradypus torquatus (the maned sloth), Bradypus tridactylus (the pale-throated sloth), Bradypus pygmaeus (pygmy three-toed sloth)
A sloth at the edge of a forest in the Amazon
Credit: Image courtesy of Robert Ewers
The pygmy three-toed sloth is on the IUCN Species Survival Commission's top 100 list of most threatened species. These tiny sloths can only be found on Escudo Island, which is found off the coast of Panama.
Its scientific name, Brady-pus, is Greek for "slow feet," which makes sense since it is the world's slowest animal. It is so slow, in fact, that algae grows on its fur, according to National Geographic. The algae works to the sloth's advantage, though. The green of the algae helps the sloth blend into the trees, hiding it from predators.
Compared to most mammals, a sloth moves very slowly. Sloths can climb only 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters) per minute.
Sloths are excellent swimmers. Like humans, they can do the breaststroke with ease. To get to the rivers for a swim, sloths will drop themselves off of branches into the water.
Since sloths bodies are only 25 percent muscle, they can't shiver when they are cold to warm up. It is a good thing they live in a tropical climate and are covered in fur. There are times of cold in the forest, though. If a female gets too cold, she is unable to digest food. If her young is still nursing, she may starve to death.
A sloth only has its claws for defense against predators. However, its very low level of movement and the camouflage make it difficult to notice.

Sloth Facts: Habits, Habitat & Diet

By: Salman Monir on: 8:45:00 AM
Most places in the world use the metric system of measurements, however, the USA, Burma, and Liberia are the 3 countries that still use the imperial system. Now, I must admit, I am an engineer in the US and I use the imperial system on a daily basis. I also use the metric system on a daily basis, which means strange conversion after conversion. While I, unfortunately, have grown fond and accustomed to imperial units, it is a TERRIBLE system of measurement. Nothing is even, there are endless conversion factors and why wouldn’t a system of measurement have a unit called a “shatments.” The metric system is by far superior over the imperial system, but the US people just don’t want to convert. Check out the hilarious video below detailing the perfectly logical units and conversions in the imperial system of measurements.
It is important to note that many of the units in this video are not used on a daily basis or are outdated, but it does properly demonstrate the absurdity of the imperial system. There have been many attempts to change the US system of measurements to metric, but none have passed, and there are currently no signs that the metric system will be introduced anytime soon. In 1960, the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) did define inches and pounds in terms of meters and kilograms. So, the modern imperial system of measurement is simply a reflection of the metric system. If how a meter was defined changed, so would how an inch or a foot is defined.
imperial units[Image Source: Flickr]
Having odd conversions in the imperial system can also lead to some pretty bad mistakes. The technical community in the US often uses both metric and imperial, so if a conversion is missed, buildings can end up with major structural flaws. What do you think, should the US stay with the imperial system or should they convert to metric like the rest of the world?

Why the Imperial System of Measurement is the Worst

By: Salman Monir on: 9:35:00 AM
If you have made it this far in life, you probably know that the earth spins counterclockwise and that it orbits around the Sun. You may also know that one full rotation of the earth is equivalent to one day, and a full orbit around the Sun is a full year. Well, you would be right, mostly. A day isn’t actually 24 hours, it is 24.0000006 hours, and a year isn’t actually 365 days, it’s 365.2421891 days. You might have expected that these measurements were a little off, but did you also know that September of 1752 was missing 11 days in the British Empire? Timekeeping isn’t absolute, and this impressive video below takes us through all of the anomalies of time. It is quite long, but due to its incredible graphics and vastness of information, it’s worth the watch.

Long ago, human civilization realized that if everyone kept track of time based on their orientation to the sun, communicating time would be impossible. For example, where you are right now has a meridian, or vertical line stretching to the Earth’s poles. When the Sun crosses that meridian during the day it is called ‘local apparent solar noon.’ This noon is only true for the exact meridian you are on, and people saw the problem with this. Eventually, time zones came about to standardize how people kept track of time.
Let’s talk about days. Looking at the Earth’s rotation, it makes a full rotation about every 23.9 hours when observed from a distant point, called a sidereal day. However, as you probably know, our days aren’t 23.9 hours, they are 24, and this is because the Earth rotates around the Sun. In order for a point on Earth to make a full rotation with the beginning and end at the same point in front of the Sun, it takes on average 24 hours. This is where we get the 24 hour day, but this number is only an average. Since the earth doesn’t orbit the sun in a perfect circle, each day changes depending upon location in Earth’s orbit. These inaccuracies in actual time meant that programming accurate clocks would be close to impossible. Since clocks kept constant interval time, scientists derived an equation of time to calculate real solar time from actual clock time.
You probably know that a year is around 365.25 days, and this is because that is the precise number of rotations the Earth makes every time it makes a complete orbit around the Sun. This is also why we have leap years. Leap days aren’t actually giving you extra days in your life, they are just adjustments on the manmade calendar so that eventually summer doesn’t come a season too early, and so on. If America didn’t keep leap days when they founded themselves in 1776, then the USA’s calendar would be a full 2 months off of the correct solar date.

how earth moves[Image Source: Wikipedia]
So, time wasn’t what you thought it was? Maybe you already knew all this, but either way, the math and theory behind how modern time came about aren’t as simple as addition and subtraction. What did you find most surprising to learn about how timekeeping works? Let us know in the comments.

Time isn’t What you Think it is – How the Earth Moves

By: Salman Monir on: 9:30:00 AM
Want to have the best chance of experiencing the paranormal?
Below you’ll find a list of 21 of the most haunted locations from across the globe, some of which you will most likely of heard of, and some of which you may have not. What is for sure though, is that you’ll likely want to read some of these stories with the lights on!

1) Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania, United States

By Davidt8 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Built in 1829, Eastern State Penitentiary is a former prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It’s known for being the very first prison of its kind to introduce solitary confinement, or what they used to call, the Pennsylvania System. Prisoners were sent to solitary during this time as a form of rehabilitation. They would be completely isolated, living alone, eating alone, and even exercising alone in their own individual yards. Whenever an inmate left his cell, a black hood would be placed over his head to assure he remained in confinement.
Due to Eastern States’ harsh approach, many prisoners were drove to insanity, and as a result the Pennsylvania System was scrapped in 1913. From then until 1970 it was used as a regular prison, and held the likes of Al Capone and the bank robber, Willie Sutton.
Reports of the paranormal have been going on since the 1940’s, but ever since the stone prison was abandoned in 1971, paranormal experiences have seemingly increased.
Reports include:
  • Shadowy figures that seem to quickly turn away when approached
  • a dark figure that is occasionally seen in the guard tower
  • an evil cackling is heard coming from cellblock 12
  • shadowy figures have been seen sliding down walls in cellblock 6
  • ghostly faces have been witnessed in cellblock 4
  • and strange sounds such as disembodied footsteps, distant talking, and banging of cell doors have also been heard.

2) Waverly Hills Sanitorium – Kentucky, United States

Waverly Hills
Waverly Hills was originally a two-story wooden building that was opened in 1910, however the building you see today was constructed in 1926. It served as a tuberculosis hospital throughout the early to mid 20th Century, a time when the disease was at its worst. It is believed that as many as 63,000 patients died there. The death toll as well as the supposed mistreatment  and questionable experimental procedures on patients, are all recipes that may be behind one of the most haunted buildings in the whole of the US.
The Waverly Hills Sanatorium has built quite the reputation over the years as more and more people are allowed to investigate the premises. This has thrown up some incredible evidence over the years. It has featured on shows such as Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters (TAPS), and our very own Most Haunted. TAPS captured a figure on their thermal imaging camera that seemed to be walking across the hall. The figure was about 3ft tall, they later found out that the ghost of a young boy named Tim has been spotted there before.
There are vast amounts of varying reports, including full bodied apparitions, fleeting shadows, screams from empty rooms, footsteps, sudden cold spots, and disembodied voices among many others.

3) Monte Cristo Homestead –  New South Wales, Australia

Monte Cristo Homestead
The historic Monte Cristo Homestead in Junee, New South Wales is regarded as the most haunted location in Australia. It’s reputation is believed to stem from the amount of tragic events that have occurred there since it was built in 1885. From the time of its construction up to 1948, the Crawley family owned and resided in the property. During this time the family laid witness to many deaths, including the tragic death of a young child who was dropped down the stairs. A maid to the family is believed to have fallen from the balcony, and a stable boy apparently burned to death on the property.
There was also a mentally ill man named Harold (the son of a caretaker) who was chained up in the caretaker’s cottage for 40 years. He was found curled up next to the body of his dead mother, and sent to a mental institute where he died shortly after.
The tragedy doesn’t end with the Crawley’s. After the house was left in 1948, it was taken over by a group of caretakers, one of whom was murdered in the caretaker’s cottage.

4) Castle of Good Hope – Cape Town, South Africa

The Castle of Good Hope, South Africa
The Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town, South Africa was built in the 17th century by the Dutch East India Company. It’s the country’s oldest colonial building, originally serving as a replenishment station for ships passing the treacherous waters of the Cape.
The first reported paranormal occurrence was when the apparition of a tall gentleman was seen in 1915 on one of the castles’ ramparts. The man wasn’t seen again until 1947, when he was seen on a regular basis over a two week period. He would be seen jumping off the side of one of the castle walls, and walking between the bastions Leerdam and Oranje.
One of the most popular stories associated with the Castle is of the former governor Pieter Gysbert van Noodt. He died on 23 April 1728, the same day he had sentenced to death seven soldiers who were caught attempting to desert the military. It’s believed one of the soldiers placed a curse on him and demanded he came to watch the execution, which he didn’t. Later that day, Van Noodt was found dead slouched over his desk with a look of terror on his face.
Another famous haunting is of the Lady in Grey. She has been witnessed running through the castle holding her face and crying hysterically. However, since a woman’s body was found during recent excavations her ghost hasn’t been reported.
Sometime in the 1700’s, a soldier was found hanging from the bell rope in the bell tower, which overlooks the entrance to the castle. After his death, the bell tower was sealed off however, to this day the bell has been known to strike off its own accord. There’s also the ghost of a black dog who has been known to pounce on unsuspecting visitors, then simply vanish into thin air.

5) The Tower of London – London, England

The Tower of London
With a history of torture and execution going back over 900 years, the Tower of London is regarded by many as one of the most haunted places in the UK. It was originally built in 1078 by William the Conqueror, and has served a major role in the history of England ever since.
There have been many reports of the paranormal at the Tower of London over the years. The most famous of all the spirits that live within its walls, is Anne Boleyn, the wife of King Henry VIII. She was beheaded in 1536, and her headless body has been seen walking the Tower’s corridors and often near the spot of her demise.
Other full bodied apparitions have also been seen including Lady Jane Grey, who was spotted by a guardsman in 1957. In the White Tower the White Lady has been seen, often standing at window, where she once stood waving to her children on the other side of the building.
Perhaps the most spine chilling of all reports includes the mysterious appearance of two children. They have been witnessed throughout the rooms of the castle. They’re often seen in their nightgowns, holding hands and with a look of terror on their faces. It is believed these are two former Prince’s, who were sent tot he Tower after they were deemed illegitimate by Parliament. They vanished one day and it was assumed that they were murdered by order of their uncle, the Duke of Gloucester. Apparently, two small skeletons were exhumed beneath a staircase in the White Tower.

6) Ancient Ram Inn, Gloucestershire, England

Ancient Ram Inn
Built in 1145, the Ancient Ram Inn is believed to be the most haunted house in the entire British Isles, and perhaps the most haunted house in the world. The tales of child sacrifices, devil worship, and evil spirits are believed to be behind the terrifying happenings in this building. The Inn was built on the intersection of 2 ley lines, what many people believe is a conductor for spiritual activity. In addition, an ancient Pagan burial ground is said to have resided in the property over 5,000 years ago.
During its time as a bed and breakfast, people would often flee in the middle of the night, often seeing full bodied apparitions in their rooms, the feeling of being touched/pulled, disembodied voices, and the just the general feeling of evil.
John, the current owner and resident of the Ram Inn, has reported that on his first night in the house in 1968, he felt a presence grab his arm, before being dragged out of bed and across the room! John has since found evidence of devil worship and ritual sacrifice. He found two child skeletons underneath the staircase, as well as broken daggers. He continues to experience the hauntings and the attacks to this day.

7) Fort George, The Citadel, Nova Scotia, Canada

Citadel Halifax - Nova Scotia
Labelled as Canada’s most haunted historic site, the Halifax Citadel has received hundreds of reports of ghost sightings over the years. Situated at the summit of Citadel Hill in the town of Halifax, Nova Scotia, this star shaped fort is almost 300 years old, with the original foundations being built in 1749, and reconstructed in 1856.
Staff and visitors have reported several apparitions walking the grounds here, with one particular visitor witnessing a soldier in uniform walk into one of the rooms in the old prison area and simply vanish. This is a common theme with many reports centered around apparitions. Other ghostly figures that have been witnessed include an old man, a woman, a man in a red cloak, and an older lady who has been known to show herself in mirrors.
A little girl is said to follow the groups taking part in the ghost tours, with group members often experiencing her holding their hands. Other reports include disembodied voices, unexplained bangs and knocks, mists captured on film and with the naked eye. The feeling of being watched is a common complaint, as is the sudden feeling of nausea, sudden gusts of wind in closed off rooms,  furniture moving, doors banging, and on occasion people have been pushed by an unseen force.

8) Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta, Canada

Banff Springs Hotel
The Banff Springs hotel in Alberta Canada, was built over 125 years ago by the Canadian Pacific Railway, as a luxury stop off point for train travelers. Don’t let its picturesque surroundings fool you though, it’s rumoured to be one of the most haunted in the country.
Terrifying reports include the sighting of a bride who fell down the staircase breaking her neck after panicking when her dress caught fire. Her apparition has been seen on the staircase and in the ballroom dancing, with many reporting the flames from the back of her dress.
The main story that is told by locals is that of the family that was murdered in room 873. The door to this room has since been bricked up, but the family that lost their life in this room are still seen to this day, often in the hallway outside the room.
Perhaps the most popular of all the reports is the former bellman, Sam Macauley. He served at the hotel during the 60’s and 70’s, and is still seen to this day. He likes to help guests up to their rooms, dressed in his 60’s uniform, often turning on lights and opening locked doors. If you try and make conversation or tip Sam, he vanishes.

9) Château de Brissac, Maine-et-Loire, France

Château de Brissac
Originally built in the 11th century as a castle by the Counts of Anjou, Château de Brissac was rebuilt in 1502, by Charles II, Duke of Brissac, who gave it its name. This noble castle is the tallest in France, and it exudes old world charm, but one of its past residents has shocked more than one visitor.
A double murder that occurred sometime in the 15th century within the walls of the castle, has resulted in one of the more popular ghosts of the Château de Brissac, that of the la Dame Verte, or “Green Lady”. The current residents (the current Duke of Brissac and his family) have become accustomed to her roaming the rooms, but she has scared many a guest. She is often seen in the tower room of the chapel, wearing her green dress. What’s most terrifying however, is her face. If she looks at you, you’ll see that her face has gaping holes were her eyes and nose should be, resembling what a corpse would look like. As well as her sighting, her moans are also often heard throughout the castle in the early hours.

10) Borgvattnet (The Haunted Vicarage) – Sweden

Borgvattnet is a small village in Jämtland County, Northern Sweden. It’s renowned for having one of the most haunted houses in Sweden, The Old Vicarage, which was built in 1876.
The first ghost ever documented at the vicarage came in 1927, when the chaplain Nils Hedlund resided.  He reported many strange happenings including one particular encounter with something paranormal. He was on his way up to the attic to gather his laundry when he witnessed his laundry being torn down from the line by an unseen force.
Rudolf Tangden, a priest who lived at the vicarage during the 1930’s, saw an old woman dressed in grey appear in a room. He followed her as she walked away, but she vanished in front of his eyes. In the 1940’s Tangden’s successor, Otto Lindgren, and his wife said they had several paranormal experiences including unexplained sounds and moving objects.
On one occasion a woman who was staying in the guestroom was awoken in the middle of the night to see 3 old women sitting staring at her. She quickly turned on the light and they were still looking at her, however they now appeared blurry.
In 1945 the chaplain, Erick Lindgren moved into the vicarage, and he began a journal recounting many of his own experiences in the house. He reported being thrown out of his chair regularly by an unseen force.
The current building is serving as a restaurant/cafe, as well a guest house. If you dare to stay the entire night you’ll receive an overnight-stay-certificate to prove it!

11) Babenhausen Barracks – Hesse, Germany

Babenhausen Kaserne
Now a museum, the ghost of World War II German soldiers have been seen in uniform. Lights are known to turn on and off by themselves and voices are heard in the basement. German commands are often heard being shouted out in the middle of the night, and disembodied footsteps are a common experience.
Soldiers who have visited museum and picked up a telephone have reported hearing a woman talking backwards, it’s not clear whether it’s in English or German.
In the town of Babenhausen, a with was allegedly burned at the stake sometime in the 19th century. Her ghost is said to have seduced and killed several German soldiers.

12) Lawang Sewu – Semarang, Indonesia

Lawang Sewu - Indonesia
Lawang Sewu (meaning “Thousand Doors”) was Built in 1917 by the Dutch East Indian Railway Company. During World War II the Japanese occupied Indonesia, and Lawang Sewu was taken over by Japanese forces. The basement of B building was used as a prison, were many people were treated harshly, with many of them being executed. When Semarang was retaken by the Dutch in October 1945 at the battle of Semarang, Dutch soldiers used the tunnel underneath A building to sneak into the city. A battle ensued and numerous Indonesian soldiers were killed, as well as 5 employees.
Lawang Sewu is believed to be the most haunted place in Indonesia, with many tourists visiting the beautiful building to hopefully catch a glimpse of the paranormal. Among the many ghosts that have been reported here, the most popular and often sighted spirit is the Dutch woman. She is believed to have committed suicide there, and was captured on film during a TV program.
Headless spirits are known to wonder its corridors and grounds, and the basement in B building is believed to be haunted by a kuntilanak.

13) Poveglia Island – Italy

Poveglia Island - Venice
In the Venice Lagoon between Venice and Lido, sits the small island of Poveglia. Inhabited since 421, when mainlanders fled to seek refuge from the invaders, Poveglia’s population began to dwindle centuries later, and by the 14th century the island was completely abandoned. As with many small islands in Europe during the Bubonic Plague outbreak in the 14th century, the island became a quarantine colony. Many Venetians were sent here to die, their dead infected bodies being burned on giant pyres. This was also the case in 1630, when the Black Death swept through Venice.
The site was apparently used to as a mental asylum during the 1800’s, however many sources state that this simply is not the case. Stories persist though of ill treatment, and experimental procedures being carried out in building. During 1930 a doctor is believed to have committed suicide, jumping to his death from the bell tower.  From the mid-20th century up until 1975 when it was closed, Poveglia hospital was used as geriatric centre.
Today the whole island is abandoned, and it’s believed that many locals dare not step foot on the island for fear of being cursed. Fisherman also refuse to fish in the area for fear of dragging up human remains.
The ghosts of the patients and victims of disease are said to haunt the island and its buildings. Voices and screams are often heard, with EVP’s often captured. Dark fleeting shadows are often witnessed, and possessions have been reported. Ghost Adventures very own Zak Bagans was apparently possessed during the crew’s visit a few years ago, when he suddenly became over-run by rage. As soon as people step fot on the island they begin to feel an oppressive evil feeling, often departing in absolute terror.

14) Island of the Dolls – Xochimilco, Mexico

The Island of the Dolls - Xochimilco
Located on Lake Teshuilo in Xochimilco nr Mexico City, the island La Isla de la Munecas (The Island of the Dolls) is certainly one of the strangest haunted locations in our list. In the 1950’s, a man named Julian Santan Barrera moved to the island (despite being married with a young family).
Julian was unaware of the dark history of the area when he moved there to become a recluse. Legend says that three young girls were playing near the water in the 1920’s, when one of the girls fell in and drowned in the murky waters. Locals believed that ever since her death, the young girls’ spirit has been unable to leave the island. It soon grew quite a reputation as a haunted place, and locals wouldn’t go near it at night for fear of what they may see.
Julian claimed that as soon as he moved on the island a little girl began speaking to him. The girl told Julian how she had died, and that she was trapped on the island. He began to get the dolls for this little girl, often selling off fruit and vegetables that he had grown on the island, so that he could buy old dolls for her to play with.
Julian later told his nephew that it was becoming more difficult to appease the young girl’s thirst for these dolls, with him seemingly worried that she wanted him to join her in her watery grave. The same day he had this discussion, his nephew was returning to the island, when he found his uncle face down in the canal. His body was in the same spot where the little girl had apparently drowned seventy years before.
Today, tourists to the island often speak of the doll’s eyes following them. Others have also reported that the mutilated dolls whisper to them, especially at night. Julian’s ghost is also said to remain on the island, as well as the young girls’.

15) Edinburgh Castle – Edinburgh, Scotland

The site on which Edinburgh Castle sits has history dating back to the Iron Age. Situated overlooking what many people believe to be the most haunted city on Earth, Edinburgh Castle has been the site of torture and many bloody battles during its time. Recipes for many a haunted location.
Visitors and staff of this now tourist destination, have experienced many things over the years. The most common is the feeling of being touched and pulled, as well as the sighting of apparitions. Spirits that have been witnessed include an old man wearing an apron, a headless drummer boy, and a piper who mysteriously lost his life after getting lost in the tunnels below the castle.
Other experiences include shadowy figures, strange lights, sudden drops in temperature, unexplained mists, strange sounds, the feeling of being watched, and sudden intense feelings of dread, sadness, and despair.

16) Akershus Fortress – Oslo, Norway

By Hans-Petter Fjeld (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Built around 1300, Akershus Fortress (aka Akershus Castle) is a medieval castle that served as a defensive stronghold for the city of Oslo. It has served as a prison during the late 18th-19th centuries, with many prisoners dying during their imprisonment. Nazi’s also occupied the castle during World War II, carrying out many executions on the site.
Akershus Castle is believed to be the most haunted place in Norway, with many ghosts to speak of. With its vast history it’s of little surprise. The most popular of all is the demon dog named Malcanisen that’s said to guard the gates to the castle. Legend says that anyone that is approached by Malcanisen is sentenced to a horrible death sometime in the following three months.
The ghost of a woman named Mantelgeisten is often seen within the castle, walking back towards her chamber. She appears from the darkness wearing a long robe, and has no facial features.

17) Old Changi Hospital – Changi, Singapore

The derelict Old Changi Hospital
The Old Changi Hospital is a former hospital in Changi, Singapore. It was built back in 1935 as part of the old Changi military base. During the occupation of the Japanese the compound was used by the notorious Kempeitai (the Japenese Secret Police) as a prison and torture camp. After the end of World War II, the building was again a hospital, and remained so until 1997, when it was replaced by the Changi General Hospital. It has stood derelict and decaying ever since.
The building is now haunted by its past, with Japanese soldiers, people that were executed, and the patients that died here. Apparitions of an old man has been seen walking down the corridors, and a woman has been seen walking through the rooms. The spirits of children are know to haunt the old children’s ward, and the ghosts of bloodied Japanese soldiers have been seen also. Loud bangs and unexplained screams are also a common occurrence.

18) St Augustine Lighthouse – Florida, USA

Looking up the staircase at St. Augustine Lighthouse - By Frmir (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-3.0 (]
St. Augustine lighthouse (built in 1974) is an active lighthouse and museum in St. Augustine, Florida. The lighthouse and surrounding buildings are reportedly haunted. The apparitions of two girls has been reported on several occasions by both visitors and staff. The girls are believed to be the daughters of Hezekiah Pittee, who was in charge of construction of the lighthouse in the 1870’s. His two daughters died during its construction, in a tragic accident on the site. Both of them have been seen on the tower catwalk.
The apparition of a woman has also been witnessed, standing on the stairway of the lighthouse or walking on the grounds outside the buildings. Her voice has been heard on several occasions, often crying out for help. There has also been various reports of disembodied conversations, shadows, and the sound of footsteps coming up the lighthouse steps.
The ghost of a man has also been seen in the lighthouse basement, believed to be that of Civil War hero and former lighthouse keeper William A. Harn.
Due to the overwhelming number of reports coming from the location, the TAPS crew investigated and found several pieces of evidence, including a video of what appears to be a woman looking over the railing on the lighthouse staircase. They also captured shadow figures, and an EVP of a woman crying out for help! Due to their success in capturing paranormal evidence, TAPS coined the location ‘the Mona Lisa of paranormal sites’.

19) The Queen Mary Hotel – California, USA

By Mike Fernwood from Santa Cruz, California, United States (The Queen Mary Uploaded by Altair78) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
The Queen Mary Hotel is a former ocean liner that sailed primarily in the North Atlantic during the 1930’s to 1960’s. Since the 1970’s the liner has been run as a hotel in Long Beach, California.
It’s regarded as one of the most haunted hotels in America, and with the vast array of experiences that have been reported there, it’s hard to argue. The ship has so many haunted areas, that it’s hard to know where to start when trying to explain them.
The most popular of all the reports seems to be from the First Class Swimming Pool. Two women apparently drowned here during the 1930’s and 1960’s. Their ghosts have been seen on numerous occasions in this area.
The figure of a woman in white has been seen in the Queen’s Salon. There have been sightings of a gentleman in a formal 1930’s suit in the First Class suites. The ghosts of two children have been seen and heard near the storage room, and the ghost of a young woman has been seen walking through the Tourist Class Swimming Pool.
In Cabin B340 there have also been a lot of paranormal reports, however this isn’t available for rent any longer. Whether this is to do with the experiences that have been reported there or for very different reasons, is not known.
Looking for more hotel haunts in America? See our sister site for more haunted hotels.

20) Mary King’s Close – Edinburgh, Scotland

The Real Mary King's Close, Edinburgh, Scotland
Mary King’s close is an underground warren of streets and dwellings. It was once a thriving trade area where Edinburgh’s tradesmen used to live and work however, in 1645 the close was believed to have been abandoned after an outbreak of the plague. Those that were infected stayed behind in isolation. The location is now a popular tourist destination, running daily tours to people interested in learning about the history and the legends associated with the close.
Since the 17th century there have been reports of paranormal goings on in the close, and it’s now regarded as one of the most haunted places in Scotland. The Coltheart family who lived there in 1685 where the first ones to report something paranormal. Soon after they moved in after the outbreak of plague, they began to see ghostly figures, and were left terrified after seeing phantom disembodied limbs, and experiencing very vivid nightmares.
Today, staff and visitors have reported seeing the ghost of a ‘worried woman’, a woman in black, and a little girl named Annie. The ghost of Annie has been known to interact with people who leave her gifts in one of the rooms.
Other reports include sounds, such as scratching, the sounds of a party or tavern, and footsteps that seem to follow you around. Stones have also been thrown and intense EVP’s are often captured throughout the area, particularly in Mr. Chesney’s house.

21) The White House – Washington D.C., USA

The White House, Washington D.C. - By Cezary p (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Perhaps the world’s most famous residence, the home and office of the President of the United States. It has been the official residence of every president since 1800, when John Adams first moved into the house. With the vast amount of history and historical figures that have graced its rooms, it’s very little wonder that the White House has a tale or two of hauntings. In fact, it’s considered to be one of the most haunted houses in the whole of the United States.
Past president’s, their families, and foreign dignitaries have all attested to the paranormal goings on at the White House. On one particular visit, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill, was staying in the Lincoln Bedroom. He had just finished bathing and walked back into the suite where he saw Lincoln standing by the fireplace. He refused to sleep in that room again after that. Other people that have said they have seen the ghost of Abraham Lincoln include president’s Teddy Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, and Dwight Eisenhower; First Ladies Jacquie Kennedy and Ladybird Johnson; and presidential children Susan Ford and Maureen Reagan. Maureen and her husband both witnessed Lincoln standing by the same fireplace where Churchill had once seen him.
Reportedly Queen Wilhemina of the Netherlands was staying in the Rose Room when she heard a knock on the door in the middle of the night. When she answered she was confronted by the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, standing in the hallway.
President Andrew Jackson is believed to haunted the Rose Room, with numerous White House employees reportedly hearing his hearty laughter or him in a fit of rage, swearing violently.
The ghost of Abigail Adams (wife of John Adams) has been seen floating through the East Room. This is apparently the room in which she used to hang her laundry, and several eye witnesses including staff and visitors have seen her seemingly floating across the room with her arms outstretched, as if carrying a laundry basket.
Various other spectres have also been seen, including past employees, Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Tyler; First Lady Dolley Madison; a British soldier; and Anne Surratt. Sudden cold spots, disembodied footsteps, voices, knocks, and screams have also been reported at the seemingly very haunted 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

21 Most Haunted Places in the World

By: Salman Monir on: 9:03:00 AM
The recent flooding across multiple counties in Texas forced thousands to evacuate their homes. However, one man decided not to let his house be destroyed by the millions of gallons of water threatening its way inland thanks to a great purchase he found on the internet.
Randy Wagner of Rosharon in Brazoria County gambled on a product he discovered online called the AquaDam. The site claims they provide the “world’s largest water-filled cofferdam”.

damHome protected by Aqua Dam [Image Source: AquaDam]
In an interview with Wagner, he told KHOU of Houston that he saw the dam for sale online and traveled all the way to Louisiana to make the purchase in a risky last-ditch effort to save his home, however, his risky maneuver paid off. Despite taking a few men and multiple hours to fill the 400 feet of 30 inch high tubes made of fabric and plastic, Wagner successfully constructed the dam before the waters rose above his property line.
“To not know what that level was going to stop at, I needed to prepare for something that no one has seen,” says Wagner.
The waters eventually rose 27 inches, barely below the threshold of the dam, but still did not ruin the house with water.  Locals believed the plan was ridiculous as it could not be pulled off in time since other residents did not have enough time to construct sandbag dams.
“I was the crazy guy. Everybody was kinda going by, laughing at me. But today they are really impressed with this AquaDam,” Wagner said.
The 400-foot dam is said to have cost around US$8,300, a small price to pay for not having a house completely ruined by water damage.
The Texas man is not the first one to use the technology, however, the company is still largely unknown. According to AquaDam’s website, to build a 3-foot high barrier 100 feet long, it would cost upwards of $10,200 in labours and materials, including many hours to construct. They claim their product can be set up in 20 minutes by just two people,  compared to 4 hours using 5 workmen for the sandbag wall, while costing US$7,500 less- a mere $2,400 for the same size dam.
8-foot water levels held back by Aqua Dam [Image Source: AquaDam]
The dam has been used to protect the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station as flood levels approached 8-feet, proving its effectiveness even in extreme conditions. The dams will likely see much more actions as sea levels continue to rise and with floods on the increase. As the Wagner proved once again, they are an affordable essential tool in combating flood waters, even if it requires holding back an 8-foot wall of water in the premise of a nuclear reactor. Although flooding causes billions in damages every year, the Aqua Dam could provide a potential alternative to keeps houses high and dry during the flood seasons.

Texas Man Buys a Dam to Protect Home from Floods and it Worked

By: Salman Monir on: 1:17:00 AM
China is becoming famous for building glass pedestrian bridges, but many are still too scared to ever walk across the precarious pathways. Whether you think they are good ideas or not, the glass bridges are quite the adrenaline rush to walk across, especially when they crack while people are on it, like the last bridge did. In order to prove to everyone their safety, crews designing the new bridge decided to invite BBC to come swing a sledgehammer into a pane, while standing on it. This video will probably make your palms sweaty, would you trust the engineers enough to break the glass under your feet?

GLASS BRIDGE break[Image Source: BBC]

The walkway being built spans 1,400 feet across the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon where visitors will be able to have an experience of a lifetime, according to InHabitat. Not everyone wants to walk across a giant glass bridge, but those who do probably don’t want it to break underneath their feet. The panes used to build the walkway aren’t your ordinary glass, it has several different layers of high-strength composite glass sheets. All this glass is similar to the glass used on the previous Chinese glass bridge which shattered after a visitor dropped a mug. . . safe.

Each layer of the glass bridge can withstand around 12 blows from a heavy sledgehammer, all the while holding the necessary weight. This would mean that someone would really need to be trying to destroy the bridge to do any harm, and it would take a long time at that point. So, glass bridges are just about as safe as normal bridges, they just give the added bonus of feeling incredibly dangerous.

China Tests Glass Bridge by Striking it with a Sledgehammer

By: Salman Monir on: 1:12:00 AM
The U.S. army’s modified M60 Armored Vehicle was mounted with a scissor- type bridge that can be set up in under 98 seconds.
M60 Armored Vehicle Land Bridge (AVLB) is a modified M60 Patton battle tank equipped with a 19 meter (60-foot) retractable bridge. The ABLb was introduced in 1987 as a combat engineering vehicle to quickly deploy a bridge on the field in under 2 minutes.

The tank can lay a 19-meter (60-foot) bridge over water, trenches, and obstacles allowing passage for other vehicles. The scissor bridge weighs in at a massive 13 000 kg, constructed almost entirely out of aluminium. The bridge has a span of 19 meters but only requires half a meter on each side to support tracked and wheeled vehicles of up to a load of 60 tonnes to cross.
The uniquely engineered tank unfolds the bridge vertically and lowers it into place on the other side of a channel. When the bridge is laid in place, the tank disconnects, drives over, and can pick it back up on the other side.
tank bridgeAVLB setting up a crossing, partly camouflaged by the sand [Image Source: Wikipedia]
The predecessor M48 AVLB was armored with two 12.7-mm machine guns, whereas the M60 has no armament. The M60 is powered by a 750 hp Continental AVDS-1790-2A turbocharged diesel engine capable of reaching speeds up to 48km/h for a range of 460km despite the 51.3-tonne setback. The tank has been engineered so cleverly that even if the engine breaks, it can be replaced in under four hours, an impressive time for any vehicle.
Although the M60 AVLB is currently in active service, it is slowly being replaced by the M104 Wolverine, a similar style tank which has a bridge that can reach five meters further.  However, only 44 units were delivered to a few specific engineering units with no current plans to purchase one, requiring the M60 AVLB to remain in active service for some time to come.
Although there are many insinuations about military technology, the M60 AVLB provides a practical service during extreme crises such as after flooding and earthquakes that often take out bridges entirely. The portable bridge provides a quick solution by providing a bridge in extremely remote areas or in areas that have suffered extensive damage. There are many menacing military vehicles, but the M60 AVLB provides a practical solution to critical problems and can save many lives during quick evacuations do to extreme events.

Army Tank Makes a Bridge in Under 98 Seconds

By: Salman Monir on: 1:00:00 AM
John F. Kennedy International Airport is probably one of the most prominent airports for international travel. Whether your destination is NYC or you are saddled down for a (hopefully short) layover before making your way to Europe, you have been privy to the vastness of this micro-city known as JFK.

I bet that you did not know that it is also home to an abandoned retro-chic flight center and NYC landmark that is tucked away in the forgotten Terminal 5. 

The flight center was originally opened in 1962, and served as mid-century modernist plaza for those arriving and departing the Big Apple. 

Its (then) contemporary design, courtesy of Eero Saarinen, takes you to another world where flight travel was luxurious and sleek. Financial decline eventually lead to the terminal and center closing down its services in 2001. 

Recently with the help of MCR Development and its privately-funded $265 million plan to refurbish the center to its original 60’s mod luster — with intentions of eventually making it into a “world class” hotel, promising to preserve its natural beauty. 

Pictures taken by Tod Seelie depict a grounded version of 2001 Space Odyssey. The center will open back up to the public in 2018, when people get all types of nostalgic feels before it becomes just another Howard Johnson.

TWA is a forgotten timecapsule inside JFK airport

By: Salman Monir on: 10:22:00 PM
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