The Hanging Coffins on the Cliffs
In areas of China, the Philippines, and Indonesia, the dead soar up above the living in hanging coffins on the cliffs.
The tradition of hanging coffins is quite ancient, in China going back to 772 BC, although it is still practiced in some places, such as Sagada on Luzon Island in the Philippines. The reason for hanging coffins varies as much as the cultures that have practiced the burial tradition, ranging from practical reasons to avoid the dead being disturbed, to more spiritual beliefs like bringing the deceased closer to the heavens.
One of the biggest mysteries around the hanging coffins is how exactly they got up there.
Speculation and history abound at The Hanging Coffins on the Cliffs, on Atlas Obscura!
Aokigahara Suicide Forest - Koshu, Japan
Called “the perfect place to die,” the Aokigahara forest has the unfortunate distinction of the world’s second most popular place to take one’s life. (The first is the Golden Gate Bridge.) Since the 1950s, Japanese businessmen have wandered in, and at least 500 of them haven’t wandered out, at an increasing rate of between 10 and 30 per year. Recently these numbers have increased even more, with a record 78 suicides in 2002.
Japanese spiritualists believe that the suicides committed in the forest have permeated Aokigahara’s trees, generating paranormal activity and preventing many who enter from escaping the forest’s depths. Complicating matters further is the common experience of compasses being rendered useless by the rich deposits of magnetic iron in the area’s volcanic soil.
Due to the vastness of the forest, desperate visitors are unlikely to encounter anyone once inside the so-called “Sea of Trees,” so the police have mounted signs reading “Your life is a precious gift from your parents,” and “Please consult the police before you decide to die!” on trees throughout.
Keep reading for the worst game of rock-paper-scissors on Earth, and more of Aokigahara Suicide Forest on Atlas Obscura…
From man-eating tigers to the most elegant of robotic birds, some of the earliest automata were tributes to the wonders of the animal kingdom. Here are five of the most astounding mechanical animals. Be sure to watch the videos to see these objects spring into surprising life.
Shown above: The Peacock Clock, still in operation at the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Created in 1777 by James Cox, three life-size birds — a peacock, an owl, and a rooster — spring into life singing songs and fluidly moving their bodies. The owl twists its head adorned with glassy eyes, the peacock slowly and grandly lifts its wide tale and turns its neck with lifelike elegance until it flips around to display its full fan of metal feathers, while the rooster crows below. The clock dial is actually a metal mushroom embedded in the intricate clock scene.
For more mechanized animal wizardry, including Tipu’s Tiger, a gilded swan, and Paris’ frozen “In Defense of Time,” continue reading Five Astounding Animal Automata on Atlas Obscura…