In the late 1800s, a rich trove of fossils was discovered in what is now northwestern Nebraska. Paleontologists visiting the Agate Springs quarries found these strange tree-sized underground spiral formations. They are made of hardened earth that that twists like a screw for nearly ten feet. Continue reading Daemonelix, Devil’s Corkscrews
Automata, Ancient Clockwork Mechanical Men
Clockwork Monk at the Smithsonian
Automaton figure of a monk: south Germany or Spain, c. 1560
Figure: head of poplar wood; head and limbs rendered naturalistically; modern habit.
Movement: iron; height: 39 cm. (15 3/8 in.)
There is a clockwork monk at the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian. He winds up with a key, then walks about, moving his arms, eyes and head. The mouth moves as if it is praying. He is about 15” tall and is likely over 450 years old. Continue reading Descartes’ Daughter and Doctor Who Clockwork Repair Droids
I found this card, it is part of a set, A Series of 40 Unexplained Mysteries of the World. This one is card No. 3.
A Series of 40 Unexplained Mysteries of the World
The mysterious giant granite spheres of Costa Rica were first studied in the 1940s by American archaeologist, Dr Samuel Lothrop, of Harvard University. They were originally found in the 1930s when a forest was cleared for a banana plantation. At least four centuries old, they range from a few centimetres in diameter to over two metres and weigh over 16 tonnes.
Many of them are almost perfectly smooth, obviously man-made by skilled artisans using templates. Who made the spheres, and why, remains an unsolved mystery.
Photograph: Tony Morrison