Trouble Underfoot: Shoes and Schizophrenia

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research.

A closer look at a medical research report
by Bertha Vanatian, AIR staff

Do shoes cause schizophrenia? Jarl Flensmark of Malmo wants to know, and in a recent paper in the journal Medical Hypotheses, he explains why.

“Heeled footwear,” he writes,” began to be used more than a 1000 years ago, and led to the occurrence of the first cases of schizophrenia. ... Industrialization of shoe production increased schizophrenia prevalence. Mechanization of the production started in Massachusetts, spread from there to England and Germany, and then to the rest of Western Europe. A remarkable increase in schizophrenia prevalence followed the same pattern.”

The story, if accurate and true, is disturbing. Flensmark sketches the details:

“The oldest depiction of a heeled shoe comes from Mesopotamia, and in this part of the world we also find the first institutions making provisions for mental disorders. ... In the beginning schizophrenia appears to be more common in the upper classes. Possible early victims were King Richard II and Henry VI of England, his grandfather Charles VI of France, his mother Jeanne de Bourbon, and his uncle Louis II de Bourbon, Erik XIV of Sweden, Juana of Castile [and] her grandmother Isabella of Portugal.” All of these individuals are either known or suspected of wearing heeled shoes.

He cites evidence from other parts of the world, too -- Turkey, Taiwan, the Balkans, Ireland, Italy, Ghana, Greenland, the Caribbean, and elsewhere.

“Probably the upper classes began using heeled footwear earlier than the lower classes,” Flensmark points out. He then cites studies from India and elsewhere, which seem to confirm that “schizophrenia first affects the upper classes.”

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Man Shaves Half His Beard Off, Fills in the Empty Space with Other Objects

This is Adrian Alarcon, a photographer and art director in Sao Paulo, Brazil. One of his recent projects is called the Fifty Fifty Selfie Barber Shop. For it, he grew a beard for 4 months. Then he shaved off half of it. Now he fills in that vacant space with other objects, such as toy bugs, popcorn, and puzzle pieces. You can see more photos at his Instagram page.

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Baggage Handler Wakes Up in Airplane Cargo Hold After Takeoff, Screams Until Plane Turns Around



A baggage handler for Alaska Airlines fell asleep in the cargo area of the plane Monday and began yelling and pounding on the walls when he awoke. Passengers and crew of Alaska Airlines Flight 448 bound for Los Angeles heard screams and banging noises coming from the cargo hold after takeoff. The passengers were told that the plane would return to the airport, and that they would be informed of the reason later. The employee spent 14 minutes in the pressurized, climate controlled cargo hold and was taken to a local hospital when the plane landed. 

Read more on this story and see a video news report here.

Via Gawker | Image: Frank K.


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This Kid Has His Priorities Straight

Redditor dcebulsk is a fifth grade English teacher in South Korea. He tasked his students with composing personal bucket lists. Some had grand plans for themselves, such as world travel or high-paying careers.

This child demonstrates remarkable focus on one goal. He refuses to be distracted from it.

-via Rhett & Link

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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An Unfair Monday

Has this ever happened to you? Some bosses demand 21st century output while adhering to 20th century workplace customs. That’s not the way to keep your best workers around. While CommitStrip is a webcomic about working in tech and IT, this happens in many other industries. -via Geeks Are Sexy


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Bowler Hat Colander

If you're a member of the Pastafarian religion, for which wearing a colander is traditional, or you just like to look snazzy, then the bowler colander is for you. After wearing one for the first time, you may have found that, as a practical matter, it is unsuitable for headgear. That is because you are using a colander designed solely for kitchen use. Firebox's colander, however, is designed with head comfort and style in mind. It's ideal for dinner parties and job interviews.

-via That's Nerdalicious!


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"Success Kid" of Meme Fame's Father Desperately in Need of Transplant

Image: Laney Griner

Shown above is the face behind a hugely popular meme. Called "Success Kid," the meme got its start in 2007 when mother Laney Griner posted the above photo of her son Sammy at the age of eleven months looking victorious during a visit to the beach. Sammy's photo went from MySpace to Reddit on the way to internet fame, and has been in regular circulation in the eight years since.

Yet today, the photo represents a story other than success in all shapes and sizes. Sammy Griner's father Justin is seriously ill and needs a kidney transplant. He was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2006, and in 2009 Justin experienced full kidney failure and began spending 12 hours a week on dialysis. Laney says that Justin can only survive for so long with artificial kidney filtering. Justin's mother passed away from the same disease.   

The Griners have started a fund to help with the associated costs of Justin's medical condition. L
earn more about their story and see additional photos here.  


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Musical Wedding Speech

(YouTube link)

Australian musician Daniel Buccheri was asked to serve as best man at his brother Adrian’s wedding. Instead of an everyday best man’s speech, Buccheri wrote personal lyrics and set them to a medley of pop songs to perform at the reception. He starts off making jokes about Adrien’s childhood, but the song eventually turns into a loving tribute that may have you reaching for your hankie. It turned out quite well, don’t you think? What a wedding gift! -via Viral Viral Videos


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Hash Browns Bird Nests

Alec of the food blog Peckish Pendred made this colorful and fun dish for Easter weekend. The soft boiled Easter eggs look like they're in real bird nests when wrapped around hash browns. He made the nests by baking hash browns in small ceramic bowls. They remained solid after coming out of the oven.

-via Tasteologie

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Wasteland Warrior - We're Simply Mad About Max!


Wasteland Warrior by Leea1968

Max wandered across the wastelands in search of fluids- water to slake his thirst, gasoline to fuel his engines, the blood of his enemies to satisfy his need for revenge. The thought of finding these fluids all in one place seemed impossible, but Max knew that people were banding together out there, and towns are where the fluids are found. The desert haze made it impossible to see what lay more than fifty feet in front of him, but he knew that whatever he encountered as he wandered across the wastelands would start the fluids flowing again...

Get geared up for the return of your favorite post-apocalyptic saga with this Wasteland Warrior t-shirt by Leea1968, it'll drive your fellow Max fans mad with delight!

Visit Leea1968's Twitter, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more geek-tastic designs:

The Dark Knightmare Necron 99 Ziggy Stormdust Alien Silhouette

View more designs by Leea1968 | More Video Games | New T-Shirts

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Bacon Burglary Foiled by Aroma

This tale of theft reads like a comedy of errors. A homeowner caught Damien Lewis and an unnamed teenage accomplice red-handed as they stole pork from a neighbor’s shed in Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia. They fled before police arrived, but it was fairly easy to find them. Officers followed their footprints to Lewis’ home, where the aroma of frying bacon added to the evidence. Lewis’ sentencing argument is priceless.   

While he insisted he "wasn't actually the one taking the food", Lewis admitted to being in the man's yard when the bacon was stolen and that he should have known better.

He pleaded for another chance on the grounds his dog was waiting at home to be fed and he needed to clean his home so he didn't fail an upcoming rental inspection.

He also told the court he had previously completed more than 100 hours community service and was so popular he had been asked to return as a volunteer.

Magistrate Graeme Tatnell ordered Lewis to spend another 80 hours doing community service, where his popularity presumably will be put to use. -via Arbroath

(Image credit: Kevin Payravi, Wikimedia Commons)


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Why is Your Millennial Crying? A Guide for Parents


Gemma Correll wants to ease the minds of parents with weepy millenials by helping them try to understand their angst. While it could be a number of minor things as in the images shown here, the source of their pain may also be something more significant. There are only four of nine panels shown here; see the web comic in its entirety at The Nib.  




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Bonia And Kuzmich: For Milk

The lip-sync dash cam video Mime Through Time by Australian comedy trio SketchSHE became quite an internet hit. The Russian comedy duo Bonya and Kuzmich took that idea and ran with it. And since there are only two of them, they enlisted a good-natured grandpa to ride in the back. They might not be as smooth as SketchSHE, but the extra goofiness they slather on top makes up for it.

(YouTube link)

Because Bonya and Kuzmich used songs popular in Russia, you won’t recognize or understand all of them. That only makes the video more interesting. -via Daily Picks and Flicks


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The Most Dangerous Hiking Trails In The World

(Video Link)

Nature is a beautiful but terrifying place and in most places, the more off the grid you go, the more danger you're likely to encounter. The hiking trails featured on this TopTenz article prove that getting back to nature also means getting back to the danger, whether that means rough terrain, deadly heights, or terrifying bridges.


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Scott Blake Creates Hypnotic Flipbooks with Just a Hole Punch

Scott Blake, who refers to himself as a "frivilous artist," has a knack for developing unusual media. In the past, we've seen his portrait of Bill Gates made of barcodes and a portrait of Amy Goodman made of QR codes. More recently, he's been producing flipbooks. He doesn't draw fancy animations. He just uses a hole punch to create abstract images. These move in dance-like patterns as he rolls the flipbooks. You can view more of them here.

-via Junkculture


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Haunting Photos of Abandoned Boarding Schools

Image:  prolite669

These eerie pictures of abandoned boarding schools look like something straight out of a horror movie flashback. It's easy to imagine a modern day movie scene shifting to sets that look like these dilapidated buildings full of scholastic scraps. Perfect to flesh out a plot in which an evil headmaster terrorizes youngsters whose disappearances are still a mystery. 

See more images from this photo collection at Urban Ghosts.


Image: fish95th


Image: True British Metal

Image: True British Metal


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How Many Game of Thrones Readers Have Died?


(Image: HBO)

No, we're not talking about how many characters George R.R. Martin has killed off, but how many readers of his multivolume series A Song of Ice and Fire. He published the first volume, A Game of Thrones, in 1996. It was a huge publishing success. Many people read it. Not all of those readers are still alive.

Jerzy Wieczorek, a doctoral student in statistics at Carnegie Mellon University, speculates that about 40,000 readers who began the series did not live to see the publication of the fifth novel, A Dance with Dragons. We can reasonably conclude that George R.R. Martin is responsible for their deaths, most of which were gruesome and cruel.

-via Flowing Data


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This Squirrel Is Having the Darndest Time With This Cherry Tomato

(Video Link)

I have always been a fan of cherry tomatoes, even as a kid when I couldn't seem to eat one without spraying a trail of seeds all over the place. Apparently, I'm not alone as this little squirrel also seems to have troubles eating the sweet, round fruit despite the imense difficulty he is having.

Via Incredible Things

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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This Organ Is Shaped Like a Hand


(Photo: Pleasure of the Pipes/Peter Atkinson)

Notre-Dame des Neiges, a church in the resort town of L'Alpe d'Huez in the French Alps, has this unusual pipe organ. Jean Guillou, a master organist, designed it in 1978. The German organ builder Detlef Kleuker built it. Appropriately for a church, the shape of the organ is supposed to represent the hand of God. You can hear recordings of performances made on the organ at Pleasure of the Pipes and American Public Media

-via reddit

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Stephen Hawking Sings Monty Python… Galaxy Song

(YouTube link)

If you recall the 1983 film Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, you’ll recognize “Galaxy Song.” That was far from the only incarnation of the tune.

“Galaxy Song” was previously included on the 1989 album “Monty Python Sings”, and included in the 2014 reissue of the album, “Monty Python Sings (again)”, in its original form - sung by Eric Idle - to coincide with Monty Python’s record breaking “Monty Python Live (mostly) – One Down Five to Go” run of 10 live shows at The O2, London. On film during the live shows, Professor Brian Cox berated the scientific inaccuracy of the “Galaxy Song » lyrics before Professor Stephen Hawking knocked him to the ground. Hawking then began reciting the “Galaxy Song” lyrics as he lifted off to journey through outer space. It is this unique rendition of “Galaxy Song” which is now available as a single.

And of course, available as a new video that includes scenes from Monty Python's live shows (on and off stage) and footage of Hawking in action. There’s a video game to accompany the song, in which you play Asteroids as Hawking and shoot at members of Monty Python.



You have to sign in with social media to play. -via Boing Boing


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Man's Wallet Returned after 14 Years with More Money in It Than When Lost


(Photo: AFP)

Pictured above is Ivica Jerkovic of Donja Moticina, Croatia. 14 years ago, he lost his wallet. He remembers that it had about 2,000 German marks inside. That would be worth about 1,000 Euros. Last week, someone anonymously mailed the wallet back to him. Inside was 1,500 Swiss francs, which is worth about 1,440 Euros. Jerkovic was overjoyed. He suspects that the person who had his wallet needed the money at the time, but is now better off and can afford to repay it. The AFP reports:

"I believe that this money saved him and for years he was calculating how much he should return to me. Otherwise, I don't know why he would keep the wallet for all those years!"

"I call on him to contact me. He is the best personal banker in Croatia," joked Jerkovic.

-via Nothing to Do with Aborath


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Hang In There, Rocket - The Best Motivational Poster In The Galaxy!


Hang In There, Rocket by Poopsmoothie

Rocket has found himself in all sorts of predicaments over the years, from intergalactic starship battles to rocket launcher battles to good ol' fashioned fang and claw battles, but he'd never felt more scared than when he found himself dangling from a tree branch a hundred feet off the ground. He had mistaken the tree for his buddy Groot, albeit a Groot who'd received too much galaxy growth serum, so he scurried up into the branches to take a nap. But when he awakened and discovered it was just an ordinary old tree, and he was stuck way up in the top branches with no easy way down, he started to freak out...

Show some love for everyone's favorite raccoon guardian with this Hang In There, Rocket t-shirt by Poopsmoothie, it's the fun way to motivate your fellow fans to keep it together!

Visit Poopsmoothie's Facebook fan page, official website and Twitter, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more mighty geeky designs:

Baby El's The Freddy and Jason Show Dead-Eye Donald Baby J

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Whodunit: The Kidnapping Killer

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: Flickr user Piotr Pawłowski)

"Hi, Mom." It was Alice Grunwald's voice. "I guess you're in the shower. I . . . Wait a minute. Someone's at the door. Anyway, I'll see you at six." The answering machine clicked off, then gave the time of the message, 3:32 p.m.

At six, Mrs. Grunwald arrived at her daughter's apartment. She was looking forward to dinner and hearing about Alice's boyfriend troubles. When Alice didn't answer, she used her own key. There was no one at home. Mrs. Grunwald's heart stopped as she saw blood on the entry hall carpet and a note on the table—a ransom note.

Mrs. Grunwald immediately called the police, who discovered a large amount of blood in one of the building's elevators. More was found in the basement, leading them to check behind the boilers. That's where they found Alice's body. She had been stabbed once and died almost instantly. The coroner set the time of death between 3:30 and 4:00, shortly after the unknown visitor had knocked on Alice's door.
Fernando, the building's janitor, was interviewed. "No one came down to the basement while I was on duty. I get off at 5:30. That's no secret. There's a big notice in the lobby saying so."

The police soon had a theory: The killer couldn't leave Alice's body in the apartment, not if he wanted ransom money. And he couldn't remove her through the lobby. He had to wait up in her apartment, with the dead body, until Fernando was off duty. Then he went down and hid her in the basement.

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Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre Promises to Be the Movie of the Decade

The beautiful inmates at a women's prison in rural Arkansas concoct a daring plan to escape. It works perfectly. The guards are unable to stop them. But the ladies can't prepare for a previously unknown menace: the Arkansas swamp shark.

It hunts the escapees. It hunts the guards. It hunts every human being that it can reach. Nothing can stop it.


(Video Link)

This is the trailer for Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre, a new film that updates the classic women in prison exploitation subgenre with the emerging sharks-are-everywhere action movie theme. Dominique Swain and Traci Lords headline in this movie that will premier in May.

-via VA Viper


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Theories of Disappointment



Grant Snider of Incidental Comics takes on the inevitable occurrence in life of being disappointed. Whether it's disappointment as a result of the actions of significant others, friends or family, disappointment in the workplace or in other life circumstances, it's unavoidable. But as Snider points out, trying to avoid disappointment at all costs only makes your world smaller, with few opportunities, and thus, more disappointing. 

This is part one of "Theories of Disappointment." See part two at Incidental Comics.


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If Tinder Existed in the 1980s

Would you like to meet people in your area for casual games of chess or church socials? Perhaps you'd enjoy an afternoon out with a nice gentleman while playing miniature golf or visiting an arcade. If so, then Tinder is for you. It's the latest social media tool of 1987.


(Video Link)

Jo Luitijten made this instructional video that imagines a world in which the dating app Tinder existed long ago in the futuristic 1980s. Use your left and right arrow keys to either select or drop the profiles that you view.

-via Tastefully Offensive


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Cooking with Roadkill

The following is an article from the book Uncle John’s Perpetually Pleasing Bathroom Reader. Note: although there are plenty of images of roadkill available, we opted to not use them in this article.

(Imge credit: Thomas R Machnitzki/CC)

Most of us simply keep on driving when we see a splattered ’possum on the side of the highway, but a peculiar few ask, “Why let all that free meat go to waste?”

CLEAR AND PHEASANT DANGER

One day in the 1950s, a 15-year-old British kid named Arthur Boyt found a dead pheasant on the ground while bicycling through a park near Windsor Castle. The creature piqued his curiosity, and he brought it home to show his mother. Mrs. Boyt responded in a way that might prompt a visit from a social worker today: She cooked the bird and told Arthur to eat it— not to teach him a lesson about the dangers of bringing home dead things, but because pheasants are game birds and good to eat.

Young Arthur happily ate the bird. Now in his seventies, he remembers the experience fondly. Boyt never lost his sense of wonder regarding the natural world: He became an entomologist, someone who studies bugs. And he never lost his taste for eating dead critters hit by cars, either. As he grew older and became philosophically opposed to hunting (cruel) and farm-raised meats (cruel and unhealthy), he obtained more and more of his meat on the road. The last time he purchased a piece of store-bought meat: 1976. All the creatures he’s eaten since then— more than 5,000 animals in all— have been roadkill. Roast deer, spaghetti in hedgehog sauce, breast of barn owl, pheasant stew, pigeon pot pie, badger sandwiches (his favorite), you name it— if a car can hit it, Boyt has probably eaten it. He even eats rats, which he insists are delicious stewed. “People say rats carry disease, but I’d sooner eat a country rat than any raw meat you get served in restaurants,” he told The Times of London in 2003.

IN THE STATES

Boyt isn’t alone. In the United States, more than a dozen states allow the collecting of roadkill for food, and the number is growing. In 2011, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn vetoed a bill legalizing the collecting of roadkill from the state’s highways, fearing that people might themselves become roadkill while trying to drag critters off the asphalt. But the bill was so popular that the state legislature voted 87– 28 to override the veto, and the bill is now law.

The rules regarding collecting roadkill vary. In some states, a permit is required; in others, carcasses may be collected only during hunting season. Reason: Officials want to discourage “bumper hunting”— deliberately running down game animals at times of the year when shooting them would be illegal. In Alaska, food banks, homeless shelters, and other charities get first dibs on meat from the more than 800 moose killed by cars and trains each year. (One adult moose yields as much as 700 pounds of meat.)

KIDS, DON’T FRY THIS AT HOME

If you’re thinking about taking the plunge, it’s important to know that handling and eating roadkill can kill you if you don’t know what you’re doing. Just because that tasty-looking raccoon died when it was hit by a car doesn’t mean it didn’t have rabies. If you’re not experienced at handling wild game meat, it’s not worth the risk. That being said, here are some safety tips from the pros:

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K-9 Angels: Models on a Meaningful Mission

The Britain-based K-9 Angels are a trio of blond models dedicated to rescuing stray dogs. Yet these pretty ladies aren't just figureheads who have others do all the grunt work. Their efforts in "the trenches" of stray dog territory have saved 700 dogs thus far from terrible fates on the streets of Romania, Cyprus, Thailand and the UK, and they plan to expand the operation to include other countries.

The K-9 Angels was founded in 2011 by Pola Pospieszalska, television personality Anneka Svenska, and former Playboy model Victoria Eisermann. One of the main objectives of the group since its inception has been tackling the outcome of a 2013 Romanian law that made euthanasia legal in response to a stray dog problem. The Angels say the law has led to the killing of dogs in horrifying ways such as clubbing and being set on fire. Pospieszalska told the Daily Mail,

"Romania's stray dog situation is probably one of the worst in Europe and sad, neglected, hungry animals are a part of Romanian landscape... It is common in Romania for them not to use a euthanasia injection, but instead dispose of dogs in cheaper ways such as injecting paint thinner into the heart, strangling, and clubbing to death.

What an awful situation, and what a relief to know that this group is saving some of these dogs as well as calling worldwide attention to the problem.

Read more and see additional pictures and a video of the Angels here.

Via: The Daily Dot | Images: @TheK9Angels on Twitter
 

 

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Game of Thrones Pancakes

Game of Thrones is finally back! Nathan Shields, the maestro of the pancake arts, is ready for the premier of the fifth season. For it, he prepared pancakes that look like the sigils of the major houses. I'm especially impressed with how he handled the delicate shapes in the three-headed dragon that represents House Targaryen. You can see how he made it by watching this video.


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Milan’s Church of Bones

We’ve posted a few times about the creepy Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic, the Paris Catacombs, and the Capuchin monastery in Sicily, among other tombs. Now here’s another reliquary overflowing with the bones of hundreds of people.

The church that was later named San Bernardino alle Ossa in Milan, Italy, was built in the year 1269 near a hospital and an overflowing cemetery. The structure was just a regular church until it was damaged in 1642. As it was reconstructed, renowned sculptor Giovanni Andrea Biffi decorated it with the material at hand: deceased parishioner’s bones from the basement ossuary. San Bernardino alle Ossa has walls completely covered in skulls and bones, including one wall reportedly covered with only the remains of executed criminals. Read the story of this macabre chapel and see lots of photographs at Scribol.

(Image credit: Pullus In Fabula)


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