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The Penteli Cave Enigma – A Place of Unexplained Phenomena Since Ancient Times

The Penteli Cave Enigma – A Place of Unexplained Phenomena Since Ancient Times

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Mount Pentelicus, a mountain near Athens, Greece, has been an important area for thousands of years. It is the location of the ancient quarry from which marble was cut to build the Parthenon and other great structures in the city of Athens during its golden age. Marble, however, is not all there is to the mountain. The mountain also has many mysteries, mostly surrounding a certain cave which has gained the nickname ‘Davelis Cave.’

Where is Davelis Cave?

Davelis Cave, or Penteli Cave, as it is more commonly called, is a cave historically hidden by pine forests. At the back of the 60 meters (197 feet) long and 20 meters (66 feet) high cave is a network of tunnels, one of which leads to an underground pond. Another tunnel, according to one tradition, leads to Hell. Although the cave does not look too mysterious from the outside, the cave has been the location of many strange events such as sightings of shadowy ghost-like apparitions, UFOs, and other paranormal entities.

Penteli mountain Athens Greece. ( Christos / Adobe)

Ancient History of the Cave

The cave has been considered an otherworldly place since antiquity. In ancient times, it was a sacred site to the nature god Pan and his nymphs, a place known as a panaipolion. Artifacts have been found in the cave depicting the god, niches have been cut into the walls and there is an alcove with a pool of water for some unknown purpose. After the arrival of Christianity, it continued to be a place of spiritual significance and was used as a hideout by Christian hermits and solitary, eremitic monks.

According to some accounts, the church at the entrance to the cave was built in the 11th century. It was built as two connected chapels. Within one of the chapels are some unusual glyphs which have been attributed to anchorite monks. The unusual design of the church has led to speculation that the church was actually built very early in Christian history by Gnostics or another offshoot of Christianity.

Church at the entrance of Penteli Cave. (NikosFF / CC BY-SA 4.0 )

During the 19th century, the cave also gained notoriety. It was said to be used as a base by Davelis, an infamous outlaw who was known for stealing from the wealthy. It is also claimed that he had an affair with a French noblewoman who happened to live nearby during that time. It is this association that earned the cave the nickname, Davelis Cave.

Increased Interest in Paranormal Activity

The cave has always been the site of strange phenomena. In the 19th century, people claimed to hear mysterious voices coming from the far corridors of the cave. Some people would also hear music that didn’t appear to have a source. The strangeness of the cave was also reinforced by its environment, being located on an isolated mountain slope surrounded by a potentially ominous pine forest.

In the 1960s and 1970s, paranormal investigators gained an interest in the cave and began looking into it. By the mid-20th century, with the dawn of the Space Age, UFO sightings had also been added to the strange stories associated with the cave. One of the main investigators was a man named George Balanos. The investigation continued for years without progress. These investigations were hindered by malfunctions in technological devices, such as cameras and flashlights, as well as peculiar behavior on the part of the investigators.

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A ghost hunter taking an EMF reading - Electro Magnetic Field, which proponents claim may be connected to paranormal activity. ( LuckyLouie / CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Government Involvement?

The story of Penteli Cave got even stranger when, in 1977, a group of workers and technicians claiming to be from an unknown organization put up barbed wire around the cave and began to do work on the cave with dynamite and bulldozers. When people tried to go into the cave, they would be turned away by guards posted by the organization. Popular theories of their identity included NATO, the U.S. government, and the Greek military. Many people speculated that they were building some sort of nuclear bunker or nuclear weapons storage facility. Wilder theories included the opening of extradimensional portals and manipulation of a magnetic channel connecting the cave to Langley, West Virginia, USA.

What is also strange about the work done by the mysterious organization is that, after a while, they stopped reinforcing restricted access to the cave and holes were cut through barbed wire.

Electromagnetic field concept. ( pixel / Adobe)

During this period, there were also a lot of weird stories of events surrounding the cave. In one account, a couple going on a hike discovered a car perched on a ledge near the cave in a location which seemed impossible for a car to reach. They came back again multiple times over several days and the car was still there. Finally, they went up to the car and found that, oddly, the car did not have any marks of damage expected of a car driven to that position. When the wife looked into some bushes around the car she started screaming hysterically.

When the husband calmed her down, she said that she had seen a white oval shaped creature that was about 60 cm (24 inches) long with two enormous glowing eyes. The husband did not see the creature, but he did see the bushes rustle as if an animal had just moved through them. Days later, the husband also saw something that appeared to be a spinning black sphere outside his car window which caused him to start screaming and shaking until his wife was able to calm him down and coax him into explaining what he saw.

Suddenly, in 1983, the work crews disappeared almost as mysteriously as they had arrived. They, however, did not leave without a trace, even leaving behind some of their equipment that had just been abandoned. The ancient church and natural cave networks had been severely damaged. Additionally, several artificial concrete corridors had been dug, though some appeared to be only half completed. Whatever the objective was of this organization it is unclear that they reached it.

There was another attempt to continue modifications in 1990, but it was immediately shut down by the Greek ministry of culture to prevent further damage to the important historical and archaeological sites in the cave.

Possible Explanations for the Strange Phenomena

Current explanations for the unusual phenomena in the cave include magnetic channels and disturbances in the local electromagnetic fields. After decades of searching, investigators seem no closer to finding the answer than they were in the 1960s.

One discernible pattern, however, is constant references to electromagnetic disturbances. The work done by the shadowy organization in the 1970s may have been done out of interest in these “electromagnetic disturbances.”

It has been suggested by neuroscientists, such as Michael Persinger of Laurentian University, that pulsed electromagnetic fields can influence perception causing people to feel as if there is an invisible presence in a room. It has also been noted by scientists that places that are claimed to be haunted tend to also be places of unusual electromagnetic activity.

It is also interesting, in light of this, that technology such as cameras and flashlights tend to malfunction in the cave, which also can happen as a result of certain kinds of electromagnetic interference. Could there be an actual connection between local electromagnetic fields, technology malfunctions, the interest of shadowy organizations in the cave and the alleged paranormal activity taking place?

It may be a while before an answer is found, but the connection to electromagnetic fields at least provides a clue for solving the riddle of Penteli Cave.

Little lake at Penteli mountain Athens Greece. ( Christos / Adobe)

The Ancient Greek Cave of Mysteries

Greece, with its picturesque scenery and long, fabled history has become a magnet for tourists looking for a peek into the wonders of the past. Particularly in Athens, one of the world’s oldest cities and often referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, one can find such legendary historical locations as the Acropolis of Athens, with its Parthenon, among countless other ancient ruins dotting the cityscape and surrounding countryside. Yet among this rich tapestry of history, there are other more enigmatic places that seem to be largely unknown to the droves of visitors who pour into Athens every year, which while relatively little known nevertheless are heavily wreathed in history and indeed weirdness. One such mysterious location can be found just to the north of Athens, and is a place at once steeped in history and high strangeness, dripping with tales of the paranormal, UFOs, and secret government conspiracies.

On the outskirts of Athens, Greece, located on the craggy south-western slope of Mt. Penteli and surrounded by ominous looking pine forests, is a bizarre cave mostly unknown to tourists, but very well-entrenched in the history of the area and also cloaked in mystery, folklore, and superstition, which is officially known as Penteli Cave, but also variously called Ntavelis’s Cave and the Davelis Cave. The cave is located within an ancient quarry from which was taken the marble used in the construction of such legendary structures as the Parthenon and Acropolis, which was moved down the mountain via carts and pulleys whose tracks can still be seen, along with the ancient road that once was used to reach it. It was in fact this excavation of precious marble that uncovered the entrance to the cave in the 5th century.

The mouth of the Penteli Cave seems mundane and innocuous enough, but penetrate into its cold dark recesses and it becomes clear that this is much more than it appears. The cave proper is 60 m long, 40 m wide, and 20 m high, and branches off into an impressive and intricate network of tunnels that snake deep underground, one of which leads up to a subterranean pond of water, and another that leads down into abysmal blackness that has long been claimed since ancient times to be the road to Hell itself. The finding of such a vast cave and tunnel network within the quarry must have been enough to inspire awe into the people of the time, and indeed the cave became a revered place which would go on to weave a rather colorful history. The cave was once a Panaipolion, a place of worship for followers of the Greek goat-like god Pan, who was considered to be the patron of shepherds, and many artifacts depicting Pan surrounded by nymphs have been found within the numerous passages here. There are also many small niches carved into the rock of the walls that are thought to have been for the purpose of displaying idols, statues, and offerings to Pan. There is also a hollow in one of the walls bearing a small pool of water for unknown purposes.

The cave went on to become a favored hideout for marauding cutthroat thieves, a haunt for mountain hermits, and a shelter for nomad monks and other holy people, some of whose remains have been found buried under the floor. In around the 11th century, two byzantine chapels were carved directly into the rock at its entrance which are rather unusual in the fact that they are interconnected, converging as one church within two sanctums and are said to be dedicated to Saint Spyridon and Saint Nicolas. The smaller of the chapels contains glyphs and engravings thought to have been produced by the anchorites, and there is a mural in the larger one depicting Michael Akominatos, the last Greek archbishop of Athens. Beyond these chapels lies the cave proper, with various passages that meander through the inky darkness past vast halls and impressive stalagmite formations.

Chapel within the Cave of Penteli

One of the most popular historical legends concerning the cave came in the 19th century, when the notorious outlaw Davelis set his sights on it as a mountain hideout. Davelis at the time was considered to be an almost Robin Hood-like figure who was well-known for stealing from the rich and affluent. He and his band of robbers utilized the cave as a hideaway and it was said that the infamously womanizing brigand started an affair with a French noblewoman, the Duchess of Plakentia, who lived down the mountain in the Old Penteli village, or the modern Palaia Penteli community. Legend has it that a series of tunnels led all the way down through the mountain to a secret meeting place where the robber could meet his lover in secrecy, as well as to the nearby Pentelikon Monastery, and it is also said that a good amount of Davelis’ loot was hidden down within the remote corners of the cave where it remains to this day. Davelis’ reign of terror upon his wealthy high society targets would end when he was hunted down and killed near Mount Parnassos and his head paraded about on a stick in the Syntagma Square. It is the name of this legendary robber that gives the cave one of it nicknames, the Davelis Cave.

There is certainly a lot of interesting history surrounding the Davelis Cave, but perhaps even more intriguing is the amount of strange phenomena that has long been associated with it. Since its first discovery there have been bizarre tales spinning around the cave and its surroundings. Glowing orbs, strange creatures, and shadowy, mist-like human figures were often spotted prowling about in the darkness, and there has always been an intense sense of disorientation and dread that descends upon all who enter, as well as an indescribable thrumming atmosphere as a place of power, and indeed it is this palpable, thick mystical aura that is said to have made the cave such a magnet for monks and other religious groups. In the 19th century, visitors to the cave often told of hearing the ghostly sounds of music, talking, and laughter emanating from the depths of the caverns here. In more modern times, the area has become somewhat of a UFO hotspot, with numerous mysterious lights and orbs spotted flitting above it or within it. Cases of missing time and panic attacks have long been common here, as well as sudden blackouts or aberrant changes of behavior. There are also numerous reports of goat-like apparitions which appear to only vanish into thin air when approached, as well as the seemingly ever present humanoid shadow figures and even bipedal cat-like creatures. Attempts to photograph such strangeness is frustratingly confounded by the tendency for cameras and other electrical equipment to stop working when in the vicinity of the cave, or produce images of spectral shapes or orbs and streaks that were not present when the photos were taken. Other phenomena often reported from the area are magnetic and gravitational anomalies such as water flowing uphill or, in the case of one 200 m long road on the other side of the mountain, cars inexplicably rolling up inclines.

In the late 1960s, the various weird happenings circling the Cave of Penteli caused an intense interest from the paranormal community, and the area became a mecca for those looking into unexplained mysteries, including the famed investigator George Balanos, who in 1982 would later go on to write perhaps the most extensive compendium of the cave’s mysteries, The Riddle of Penteli, and subsequently bring the oddities of the cave to the mainstream consciousness. In 1977, there was a series of very odd occurrences reported from the surrounding craggy slopes of Mt. Penteli. In mid-April of 1977, a husband and wife allegedly spotted a car inexplicably perched upon an inaccessible rocky outcropping near the cave where no car could have possibly driven to. For three days in a row the couple returned to the location to see if it was still there and it was. When they climbed up to where the car was, they noticed that it was totally intact, displaying none of the damage that would normally be expected on a car trying to drive over the hostile rocky landscape, and in the snow surrounding the rocks were found a series of unusual large footprints which were oval shaped, about a meter long, and meandered up over rocks and even vertical surfaces where no human being would be able to walk. When the wife went to peek into a cavity in the rocks behind some bushes, she allegedly started screaming wildly and claimed that she had seen a hideous white creature of some sort which was 60 cm tall and sported two huge, luminous oval-shaped eyes. Although the husband did not see it, he did notice the bushes shake as if an animal were hidden behind them, and the panicked couple hastily left the scene. When the couple once again cautiously returned to the area a few days later out of curiosity, the car was reportedly still there and the husband claimed to see a huge, dark sphere apparently fashioned of thick black smoke spinning at a high speed emerge from the abandoned car. He would later claim that during the incident, which lasted for just a second, he had felt as though something were trying to enter or invade his mind.

Indeed 1977 would turn out to be a strange year for the area, and marks when the cave was suddenly closed to the public in what has perhaps led to one of the most inexplicable mysteries surrounding it. It was at this time that the whole area was cordoned off and some sort of top secret project was launched within the cave system by parties that remain nebulous, but which are believed to be some sort of secret government agency from an as yet named country. Bulldozers and other heavy machinery were brought in and dynamite was used to blast into the cave to apparently expand the tunnel system already in place and penetrate even further into the mountainside. It was a highly unusual thing to happen at such an archeologically and historically important site, but during this time the area was heavily patrolled by guards who forbade anyone from coming anywhere near it, and local authorities claimed that the project was under military jurisdiction. Bizarrely, it seemed as if there was nothing actually being built, but rather just an attempt to expand the cave system or otherwise delve deeper into the mountainside. All through this clandestine digging swirled rumors of who was responsible, with rumors pointing at everyone from NATO, to the United States, to the Greek government itself, but there was never any official admission as to who was behind it all.

Leading down into the Cave of Penteli

Of course this thick veil of secrecy led to a plethora of conspiracy theories involving the somewhat sinister cave excavations, and speculation ran rampant. Theories ranged from the Greek government looking to exploit the caves for national defense reasons to the construction of some kind of nuclear weapon storage facility, a nuclear bunker, a secret scientific experiment facility, or some sort of radar or telecommunications base, but no one knew for sure. When the Greek government was approached by concerned citizens complaining about the potential damage to such a historically important site, the government merely stated that it was work involved with “national security,” which only further stoked the fires of conspiracy and mystery whirling about the whole project. Quite a few more far out conspiracy theories started to be flung about as well, including the idea that there was some mysterious magnetic channel connecting the cave to a base in Langley, West Virginia, and that the cave was being used in tandem with two other American military telecommunications installations in the region for some sort of top-secret research, perhaps something to do with an archeological find, the purported mystical qualities of the mountain, or even UFOs or research into opening inter-dimensional portals.

Although this secret excavation work was already odd enough as it was, the real strangeness came in 1983, when the whole project just suddenly halted before it was even apparently finished. Digging just suddenly stopped, and the heavy machinery and personnel were moved out, leaving only the barbed wire fences behind. Of course it would not be long before interested parties started sneaking past the now unguarded fences to take a look inside. It became immediately obvious that the digging had caused irreparable damage to the churches and other spots of archeological importance within the cave system, and numerous new tunnels and concrete walls had been constructed, some of them only half completed. It was found that some tunnels that had been recently carved into the rock led to dead ends and that still other passages, including naturally formed tunnels of the cave system, had been blocked off and sealed for unknown reasons. There was also some heavy digging machinery within the cave that had just been abandoned where it lie, as well as a cache of drugs used for the treatment of cancer.

Even more bizarrely were footprints that were pressed into concrete that seemed to lead up to a dead end and simply stopped, with no indication of the person who had made them turning around to go back. It was also found that the entrance of the cave was pervaded by a large amount of ozone, and some of the remaining tire tracks of various vehicles seemed to lead over rough terrain and slopes too steep for any known vehicle to be able to feasibly navigate, yet there they were. Creepily, at one point during all of this exploration of the cave in the wake of the government’s departure, it was reported that a doll once appeared up on a perilous cliff on the nearby mountainside and when someone climbed up to remove it, a seemingly identical doll was found in the same spot the next day. Over the years, it has been rumored that occult groups and Satanists use the abandoned caves for rituals and even animal sacrifices, evidenced by several slaughtered dogs found within the caves as well as a large amount of graffiti featuring occult imagery and the remnants of “black magic rituals.” In 1990, mysterious construction seemed once again ready to resume in the cave, but this time, the Greek Ministry of Culture intervened to put a stop to it before it could begin.

In recent years, the Cave of Penteli is still a spot that draws curiosity seekers and paranormal investigators from all over the world, yet its isolated mountainous location and lack of a modern road leading to it make it only accessible by a long trek over rocky terrain, allowing it to remain mostly free of casual tourists. Nevertheless, the cave has seen quite a bit of abuse over the years. Garbage litters the floor and the entrance, and there is a lot of vandalism and graffiti, including various messages etched into the rock walls by past visitors. A massive forest fire in July 1995 that spread throughout much of Mt. Penteli has reduced much of the surrounding pine forest to black, skeletal shapes that only add to the sinister quality that even now hangs in the air here. It is rather sad that such an ancient and potentially important archeological site has been so neglected and damaged, but its remote location has made preserving it difficult. The cave remains a place known for its many strange phenomena and weird history more than anything else, and is certainly a stop to make for anyone looking for a peek at something different and off the beaten path while in Greece.

Area 51: An Enigma Untold

Remember the time when Facebook blew up with a set of Area 51 memes? It all started when someone created an online event which went viral across social media platforms. The event, more popularly known as “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” was made as a joke that later transcended far and beyond the expanse of humor.

It managed to garner a large audience almost 1.5 million people decided to attend the event. You might be wondering: How did a hypothetical event like this manage to gather such a large audience? Read on to find out all about the history of Area 51.

Area 51: The Where?

Area 51 is a name mainly used for an Air Force base in the United States. It is located near Groom Lake, a dry lake bed in the Nevada Desert, 135 km north of Las Vegas. The facility is right next to two other military areas, namely the Nevada Test Site and the Nevada Test and Training Range. The entire range sprawls more than 2.9 million acres of land.

While we are well-versed with the location of this mysterious place, we don’t know anything about what goes on inside. As strange as it may sound, the inner happenings of the place are extremely secret. The general public is kept away through a set of warning signs, electronic inspection, and armed guards.

Even though the site can be seen on satellite images, aerial movement over the base is prohibited by law.

Area 51: The Why?

According to the U.S military, it was created to be a dynamic battle place to conduct tactics development and specialized training. However, the roots of this enigmatic base can be traced back to the time of the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union. It was commonly used as a testing facility for aircrafts such as the U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird planes.

Now, here comes the most interesting part. The existence of Area 51 dates back to 1955. Yet, its reality was never acknowledged officially until 2013. Four months after the CIA disclosed the secret, Barack Obama became the first President to speak about Area 51 in front of the public.

Area 51: The What?

Since history tends to get a little monotonous, let’s take a look at what goes on at Area 51 today.

Although there is limited information available regarding the activities at Area 51, it is suspected that the US military still uses Area 51 to develop innovative airplanes. Approximately 1,500 people are allegedly working in the rumored “Air Force Base.”

Annie Jacobsen, who has studied the history of Area 51 in detail, claims that many of the world’s most advanced surveillance programs are designed and tested at the site.

Rumor has it….

No one really knows what goes on in Area 51. The mystery that has enshrouded this place since decades has fueled several conspiracy theories. One of the most popular theories is the claim that Area 51 is home to an alien spacecraft and the bodies of its pilots, after they crashed at Roswell, Mexico in 1947. However, this claim has been refuted by the US government who declared that this notion is absolutely bizarre and the crashed aircraft was actually a weather balloon.

Another popular theory is the presence of UFOs near the site. If you’re still perplexed about these theories, read on. In 1989, a man by the name of Robert Lazar had apparently worked on alien technology inside Area 51. He claimed to have witnessed the government using the facility to examine UFOs. Moreover, he also took notice of a few medical pictures of aliens at the site.

We still don’t know the extent of truth in these theories. However, we do know that these conspiracy theories have given a rise to the popularity of Area 51.


For decades, large, hairy, manlike beasts called Bigfoot have occasionally been reported by eyewitnesses across America. Despite the thousands of Bigfoot that must exist for a breeding population, not a single body has been found. Not one has been killed by a hunter, struck dead by a speeding car, or even died of natural causes. In the absence of hard evidence like teeth or bones, support comes down to eyewitness sightings and ambiguous photos and films.

Since it is logically impossible to prove a universal negative, science will never be able to prove that creatures like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster do not exist, and it is possible that these mysterious beasts lurk far from prying eyes. Call us skeptical, and check out our complete story about Bigfoot.

3. Why were the walls chiselled?

Every single one of the caves is covered, from floor to ceiling, in parallel lines that have been chiselled into virtually every surface. The effect is a uniform pattern throughout the caves, which would have required immense manpower and endless hours to create. The question is why? Was such labour-intensive work purely for decoration? Are the lines or patterns symbolic in some way? All that is currently known is that the markings are similar to those found on pottery housed in a nearby museum, which is dated between 500 and 800 BC.

7 Davelis Cave, Greece

Every ancient culture has a few important caves. We did used to live in them, after all. Hellenic culture has a very close association with caves, especially putting virginal &lsquooracles&rsquo in them to get hopped up on goofball gasses to tell the future. This cave in Penteli, north Athens evokes such weirdness and has the history to justify it.

The cave was once a centre for the worship of the god Pan and the nymphs, a place for revelry where the lines between the temporal world and the world beyond are blurred. Later, Orthodox Christians used the cave as a hermitage, founding small church dedicated to both Saint Spyridon and Saint Nicholas (the latter famously being the basis for our modern depiction of Father Christmas&mdashand having dealt with the devil). In the 1800s, the cave was a base for &lsquoDavelis&rsquo, a bandit who lent his sobriquet to the cave&rsquos name and apparently hid some treasure there. The place was also used by the military during the cold war, lending a certain Area 51 weirdness to the place to go along with the occultish feeling. Many legends, both older and urban, are associated with the cave&mdashparanormal activity is often reported in this dank, dark portal to the underworld&hellip obviously. [4]

The Penteli Cave Enigma – A Place of Unexplained Phenomena Since Ancient Times - History

On one very cold March evening in 1978, members of the Odyssey Research group gathered for an informal meeting at the north Baltimore home of John Lutz, Odyssey's director. They were there to discuss topics of unexplained phenomena. The 15 people present had segregated into smaller groups, each spewing excited chatter in which the quickly belabored subjects changed like slides in a rushed presentation.

At one point, I noticed a clean-cut, dark-haired man, appearing to be in his early twenties, showing several 8X10 glossy photographs to Lutz. John seemed only casually interested in the man's pictures even though photographic evidence in paranormal research occasionally represented some value greater than zero. I became curious and began to noticeably eavesdrop on their conversation hoping that, on seeing my interest, John would invite me to meet his acquaintance. My ploy worked and Lutz introduced the man with the photos as Bob Lazzara, a local researcher with interests in parapsychology and cryptozoology.

As Lutz drifted away, I asked Bob what his pictures were all about. He proceeded to show me the series of Black and white photos which depicted large, seemingly three-toed, footprint-like tracks made in firm, 8 inch deep snow. Lazzara told me that each of the prints were 15 inches long, 6 inches wide, and were spaced at a stride of 5 feet, heel to toe. He took the pictures during the latter part of February, less than a month earlier, on Rocks Chrome Ridge, an imposing (then snow-covered) section of Rocks State Park located in Harford County, Maryland. Now very interested by what I was seeing, he continued by telling me that he and a friend had discovered the tracks after going to the Ridge on speculation. Bob was quite fortunate indeed, for prior to his discovery, he had been carefully analyzing a flurry of so-called "bigfoot" reports that had been coming from southern Pennsylvania, just north of the Maryland, during the latter portion of 1977 and first month or so of '78. He determined, through plotting the reports on a map, that the alleged sightings were moving steadily southward toward Harford County. Already aware of periodic Maryland Bigfoot sightings from earlier years, he theorized--based in part on that year's particularly brutal winter weather--that the alleged animal might migrate southward in search of better conditions and that, as a consequence, sightings would soon erupt in Maryland. His feelings were accurate as reports of large, hairy bipedal creatures soon began coming from the rural sections of Harford County. Not long after, as if on serendipity's cue, Bob went Rocks Park and found the strange tracks. Subsequently, he showed these photographs to scores of people, including wildlife authorities. They have never been explained.

As we left the Odyssey meeting Bob was bewildered because the group's members seemed largely indifferent toward his discovery. I told him that I was intrigued by what he had found. He then asked if I would like to join him for a return trip to Rocks Park for an in-depth look at where he found the tracks. Without hesitation I agreed and the next available weekend found us wandering through the deserted park. That particular trip back to the area (though we made several subsequent to it) didn't reveal anything new regarding the footprints, but it did serve to bond our friendship.

During the few weeks that followed our initial meeting, Bob and I had many discussions about how investigations of various unexplained phenomena could be conducted. Although Odyssey Research (principally John Lutz) had a reputation for responsive and enthusiastic investigation of the unusual (mainly UFOs and "creature" sightings), Bob and I felt that his group did not suit our needs. As a result of that conclusion, we mutually came upon the idea of forming our own research group. The need for another such organization was apparent, as we were both aware that "establishment science" all-too-often overlooked, ignored, or otherwise deferred subjects that didn't neatly fit into the pigeon holes presided over by the fixed Laws of Nature and "conventional scientific wisdom." We knew that many skeptics regarded the "paranormal" as nothing more than a belabored, often embarrassing, word from the dictionary and never an actual state of being (i.e. the paranormal is always the normal misperceived). The tenet we preferred was: ". the paranormal may be the normal not yet understood." Bob and I shared the philosophy that unexplained phenomena should be studied with a scientific posture, the use of technical means, and most of all, the indispensable prerequisite: an open mind. Ideally, that state of mind had to always lie somewhere between gullibility and incredulity, remaining safely buffered from either extreme. We both knew that a responsible approach to the study of the paranormal meant finding the truth. We also knew that searching for the truth behind paranormal claims could result in the--sometimes resented--exploding of time-honored myths, the exposure of fraud or, ultimately, the reduction of the unexplained to explainable, natural levels of comprehension--the goal of a scientific inquiry.

In late April, 1978, we gave the Enigma Project its name and two of our objectives became the investigation and documentation of phenomena in Maryland, contiguous states and, in some instances, at remote locations. As an organization, we wanted Enigma's scope to remain general with individual members having experience or skills in specific phenomena. For example, Lazzara's specialty was parapsychology and related tangents. My areas of expertise were unidentified flying objects and mysterious lights (i.e. ghostlights). To lesser degrees, we were both knowledgeable in cryptozoology. In addition to Lazzara and myself, two other serious researchers, Pat Lofgren (inorganic chemist-now based in Ohio) and John Kopfle (chemical engineer-now based in North Carolina) were automatically part of the new group as they were closely allied to investigations I had initiated on the perplexing Brown Mountain Lights [i] (North Carolina) prior to Enigma's conception. As time went on we gathered many more associates, worldwide, according to their skills and interests.

The Enigma Project was fashioned to deal with six general areas of unexplained phenomena. They were: UFOs, Parapsychology (ESP, hauntings, possessions, poltergeists, etc.), Cryptozoology, Spontaneous Human Combustion, Geologic Anomalies ("ringing rocks," "gravity hills," and the like), and Mysterious Lights. Furthermore, it was (and still is) our policy to act as a referral agency for paranormal situations which we felt might be more effectively handled by other authorities or associates outside of the Project proper. For instance, on learning of possible cases of spontaneous human combustion (SHC), the Enigma Project has routinely directed such information to Larry Arnold [ii] , the foremost authority on SHC here in the United States.

When Enigma was born, Bob Lazzara and I were both employed in technical capacities. Bob was working as a Quality Appraiser (electromechanical) for the former AT&T subsidiary, Western Electric. And I was working as a Research Technician (materials science/chemical engineering) for W.R. Grace's, Washington Research Center. Our technical backgrounds helped us to see that some forms of paranormal phenomena had potential scientific value and should be subjected to rigorous scrutiny using whatever technical methods may be applicable. We knew that even the most seemingly bizarre anomalies would stand a better chance of being given serious attention by mainstream scientists if preliminary researchers' fieldwork produced reliable, accurate, and reproducible technical data (i.e. per the Scientific Method, when the results of an experiment are reproducible among independent investigators the originating hypothesis for that experiment earns validity).

From early on, Lazzara and I began considering ways to obtain technical data on phenomena. Through experience acquired earlier, Bob reviewed different photographic formats, films, and filters and decided that the larger 2 1/4 format cameras, in addition to the mainstay 35 mm types, were well suited for field work. Infrared film (black & white and color), with its unique ability to highlight near-infrared energy emissions and heat sources, had potential for such things as "ghost photography," "spooklights," UFOs, and other occasionally nocturnal or "invisible" phenomena. We also started collecting schematic diagrams for a variety of experimental electronic devices which might aid our quest. Magnetometers, for example, were given high priority for their potential to detect the alleged intense magnetic fields often associated with UFO encounters. In the area of audio electronics we used various amplifiers and parabolic microphones as specialized adjuncts to conventional cassette tape recorders--improvements that were most valuable on some of our cryptozoological endeavors.

In addition to developing our own research equipment, Bob and I schooled ourselves to be aware of what other types of scientifically accepted technical tools were available to us. We learned that organizations like the United States Geological Survey [iii] , the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Colorado Bureau of Mines, and the National Bureau of Standards were amazing repositories of maps, charts, photographs, data logs, and scientific reports that complimented, intersected with, or related to various unexplained phenomena, with many of these reference materials being available at minimal cost or free for the asking.

During 1979, and '80, the Enigma Project busied itself with the research and investigations of mysterious lights. Often referred to as ghostlights or spooklights--due to the attachment of an invariable death stigma, these nocturnal phenomena became quite a fascination for us. Much to our delight, Bob and I discovered that Maryland's Eastern Shore was the home of several such lights. Throughout the late '70s and early '80s we devoted much attention to the Hebron Light (Hebron, MD), Elsey's Light (Crisfield, MD), and Cal's Light (Andrews, MD). Having first learned of the (now defunct) Hebron Light through a mention made in Mysterious Fires and Lights by Vincent Gaddis (Mackay- 1967), we performed literature searches on the alleged phenomenon and journeyed to Hebron for actual interviews of original witnesses. We learned that on a hot July night in 1952, members of the Maryland State Police were involved in what might be termed a bizarre "cat and mouse" encounter with a 10 inch sphere of yellow light. In their cruiser, two officers closely approached and then chased the luminous ball down a local road before it mysteriously vanished. Although media coverage of the phenomenon persisted for about two weeks beyond the main event, our investigation showed that a mandate was issued to the Salisbury barracks from Maryland State Police Headquarters in Pikesville that a any further confrontations with the light be kept under wraps. We subsequently discovered that this strange light had made sporadic appearances near the town of Hebron for many years prior to the '52 encounter, although the Maryland State Police episode has remained the most remarkable case on record. Due to the obvious integrity of the witnesses, this incident remains an outstanding example of Maryland mystery. Unfortunately, because the phenomenon has been inactive for so many years (locals say since the mid 1960s), Enigma Project investigators were not able to perform a firsthand examination of it [iv] . It was, however, our good fortune to have secured an interview with Robert Burkhardt, one of the two officers who chased the light. While Burkhardt (now retired from the police force) was very reluctant to discuss all the details of the 28 year old experience, he made it quite clear that the encounter represented one of the most bizarre and "trying" episodes of his life.

Gravity and Magnetic Hills

As a young child I occasionally heard stories about a place you could go where your car (out of gear, brakes off) would be pulled up a hill, as if by some invisible power. This place was called "Gravity Hill" and it was somewhere in Baltimore County. In January, 1980, the Enigma Project managed to rediscover Gravity Hill as being in northwestern Baltimore County along a public road which ran through the Soldier's Delight environmental area. Sure enough, as we experienced firsthand, if you positioned your car at the bottom of the apparent rise on Gravity Hill, and left it in neutral with the brake off, it would very decidedly roll up the road--as if in defiance of gravitation--for about a tenth of a mile before stopping. To naked eyes, at least, the slight grade in the road did go up, and with it so did vehicles positioned on its surface. These circumstances clearly presented a dilemma which the Enigma Project felt obligated to explore.

Fortunately, one of the Enigma Project's local associates, Mike Gilbert, was a surveyor by profession and we wasted little time in getting him to assess the anomaly. Mike examined the road with a transit and carefully marked it off, making notes all the while. When finished he presented us with a drawing of his survey, the results of which were quite surprising. The road's slight "rise" was, in fact, a "fall." Yes, contrary to what the eye perceived, Gravity Hill was actually a decline. Summarily, we learned that it was not a place where Nature's laws go awry, but rather, a unique location for an optical illusion. Evidently, the lay of the land, the sway of the trees, and so forth set the stage for an unusual, though not mysterious, error in visual perception [v] . Interestingly, at least three additional gravity/magnetic hill locations in Maryland [vi] (they have not been thoroughly investigated) have come to the attention of the Enigma Project and we have heard about other locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

"Something is frightfully wrong here," wrote anomalist Ivan T. Sanderson as he referred to the Ringing Rocks in his provocative book, Things. Using perhaps a bit too much schmaltz, Sanderson was describing a seemingly out of place, seven-acre field of barren, tumbled boulders located in Upper Black Eddy, a tiny, northeastern Pennsylvania town near the New Jersey state line. As if a seven-acre, ten feet thick, layer of stones in the middle of a peaceful forest wasn't bad enough, Sanderson further confounded the reader with fact that about 30% of those stones would ring like bells when struck with hammers!

While the ringing propensity of the rocks has since been shown to be caused by high internal pressure due to an unusual and selective weathering process, a number of claims and counter-claims made about the rocks and their field have held the subject in debate.

In 1981, Enigma Project researchers went to the Ringing Rocks field to evaluate the strange place for themselves. Our basically empirical findings, which were eventually published in Fate Magazine [vii] [viii] , agreed with most of Sanderson's observations. For example, we found that either breaking the rocks or removing them from the delicate environmental stasis of their field did not stop their ringing properties--a strong contradiction to what some scientists had insisted. We also agreed (with Sanderson's assertion) that the rocks would ring whether clamped or suspended, since there were ringers in the field clearly wedged by other rocks weighing tons. We did, however, disagree with Sanderson's claim that all lifeforms (except man, that is) avoid the field. Project investigators found examples of spiders and garter snakes living among the rocks and even a couple of young saplings that had managed to take root.

In all, we don't know how "frightfully wrong" the Ringing Rocks are but we will concede that they and their field are unusual and, as is the case with most phenomena, definitely controversial.

Between the acts of defying gravity, rock ringing, and light chasing, 1981 also found us welcoming three new associates to the Enigma Project. They were Sydney Ellis, Gloria Denick, and George Walls. Each of these individuals has contributed to the uniqueness, accomplishments, and identity of the group.

Ms. Ellis, an electronics assembler living in western North Carolina, was instrumental in the Project's investigations of the Brown Mountain Lights, a South Carolina "meteorite" crash, and other Carolinian oddities. She has devoted her time to many field excursions.

Ms. Denick, a nurse who works with the visually handicapped in New Jersey, is well read in the practices of astrology and has aided the Project by performing library/archival research and field excursions for the Brown Mountain Lights and the Marfa Lights.

Mr. Walls, a recently retired engineering executive and scientist who served AT&T in New Jersey for more than three decades, has supported Enigma with many aspects of engineering strategy, instrumentation design experiments, and field excursions to North Carolina, Texas, and many other places.


In the fall of 1981, Enigma Project researchers were referred to a gentleman (let's call him Mr. Q) in Perry Hall, Maryland who was allegedly having, what some authorities might term, demonic manifestations and/or poltergeist activity in his attractive suburban house (an averaged-sized, two- floor Colonial). A woman living with Mr. Q (let's call her Betty) was experiencing episodes of violent personality changes (more suggestive of schizophrenia than demonic possession) which included menacing contortions of her facial features and rapid utterances in an unearthly, raspy voice. Also, both individuals claimed to have witnessed household objects flying about the place under their own power as well as appliances going on and off by themselves.

Bob Lazzara, with Holmes-like analytical prowess and a knowledge of parapsychology (honed by other experiences before we met), headed the investigation and began considering rational explanations for the alleged phenomena that plagued the house's forelorned occupants. Nonetheless, the familiar culprits of house settling, faulty wiring, local construction dynamiting, sonic booms, and so on just didn't fit. Publicity seeking was not the easy answer either as Mr. Q wanted no parts of the media. Bob's questioning of Mr. Q yielded none of the classic answers which literature would ascribe to hauntings and related paranormal disturbances. For instance, no one had ever died in Mr. Q's house--he was the original owner, nor was it built on "sacred Indian ground" or a cemetery. As Bob pressed on for details, Mr. Q and Betty both explained that her episodes of "possession" were recent developments but seemed to be occurring with greater frequency (as witnessed by officers of the Baltimore County Police department) [ix] . They did not, however, appear to be linked to any unusual "religious" practices, changes in lifestyle, or interests in the occult. Bob carefully questioned Betty about any history of mental or physical health problems and she, just as carefully, denied having any. Despite the apparent sincerity of the principals, Bob had a "gut feeling" that something just didn't ring true.

After two exhausting months of investigation--which included all-night vigils in the house using cameras, audio and video recorders, infrared devices, and other electronic gadgetry--we could not substantiate any of the principals' claims. Finally, during another round of Lazzara's persistent questioning, Mr. Q made a confession. He sadly admitted that Betty had not only a brain tumor but a drinking problem as well. These combined maladies caused her periodic changes in personality. The claims of objects and appliances paranormally misbehaving were entirely Betty's. She would hallucinate and Mr. Q, not wanting to admit to himself (or anyone else) that she had some serious problems, would corroborate her imaginary claims.

At least in the beginning, Mr. Q believed there was some substance to Betty's allegations of something "strange" being in the house. He was hoping against hope that we would somehow arrive at the same conclusion.

"Chessie" (The Chesapeake Bay Phenomenon)

In 1982, the Enigma Project became inextricably involved in investigating and documenting reports of a Chesapeake Bay Phenomenon [x] . For more than ten years, newspapers of Maryland and Virginia have been documenting reports of a huge, snake-like animal allegedly seen in the Chesapeake Bay and its larger tributaries. The mysterious beast, nicknamed "Chessie" by the press, has been repeatedly described as serpentine, about twenty-five to forty feet in length, eight to ten inches in diameter, and possessing an elliptical or football- shaped head. Reportedly, the creature is a uniformly dark color, having no fins or bodily appendages.

Although the Project has secured interviews with retired watermen who recalled talk of "giant snakes" seen many years ago in southern Maryland's swamps, Chessie's notoriety really surfaced as recently as 1978 when Virginia newspapers began printing contemporary sightings of the beast.

For several years reported sightings of the alleged animal remained unsubstantiated until May 31, 1982. On that date around 7:30 PM, Maryland resident Robert Frew videotaped a long, dark, serpent-like creature swimming in the Chesapeake Bay, about 100 feet off the bulkhead of his Kent Island home. The less-than 2 minutes of video recording that Frew shot proved to be very interesting and quickly came to the attention of the Enigma Project researchers who launched an investigation of it.

On August 20, 1982, The Enigma Project succeeded in getting the Frew videotape an audience with Dr. George Zug and other scientists at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History. After thoroughly examining the tape the scientists, although intrigued by what it apparently depicted, were unable to reach any conclusions about the "animate" object shown. The videotape's quality was simply not good enough to allow such a determination.

As a result of the publicity concerning the Smithsonian's viewing, Enigma Project directors were contacted, the following September, by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. Researchers at the Applied Physics Laboratory offered to perform computer image enhancement of the Frew Tape in an effort to extract from it more information about the mystery animal. The computer work initially conducted isolated an impressive, unmistakable, serpentine shape from the surrounding waters. Unfortunately, soon after the enhancement techniques began, the internal funding that the Applied Physics Laboratory allowed for the Frew videotape work ran out. Further enhancements on the Frew tape have been suspended pending the availability of some outside source of funding. Since 1983 the videotape has remained in limbo.

Presently, no one knows what Chessie is. Nevertheless, compelling detailed reports from credible, reliable witnesses suggest the possibility of an unknown animal. Although the number of Chessie reports vary from year to year, they persist all the same. The Enigma Project's investigation of the Chesapeake Bay Phenomenon continues.

1982 proved to be the Enigma Project's banner year. Chessie was our most successful case in terms of overall longevity, attention from mainstream scientists, objectives met, and positive media exposure.

1983 and '84 were slow years for the Project, during which some small, short term, but nonetheless interesting, cases came to our attention. It was also during this time that Bob Lazzara, Enigma's co-founder/director, made a career move to Atlanta, Georgia. His absence has been sorely felt, though he has continued to support the Project with investigations of such Georgian oddities as the Etowah Indian Mounds (and the recent flurry of UFO activity in Fyffe, Alabama).

1985 represented a resurgence of activity with the Enigma's research and investigation of the Marfa Lights. [xi] . The mysterious balls of light seen near Marfa, Texas are among the most interesting of all. They have the greatest potential for being viewed, photographed, and otherwise scientifically scrutinized in a setting of outstanding natural beauty and majesty. This entire region of Texas is largely desert plain, heavily interspersed with bare, rocky, mountain ranges showing colorful strata. The lights' principal "haunt" is a huge expanse of desert range called Mitchell Flats, located in the Lone Star State's southwestern lobe.

For almost a week, in October, 1985, George Walls, Gloria Denick, and I visited the desert near Marfa. With cameras galore, infrared viewers, videotaping equipment, and the ubiquitous magnetometer, we spent many cold, nighttime hours scanning Mitchell Flats. Although we managed to secure some compelling witness testimony, the lights evaded us.

In October of 1986, George Walls and Gloria Denick journeyed to Marfa's desert. This time, they rendezvoused with James Crocker, an anomalist and Project associate from Dallas, Texas. Toward the end of their stay, both Crocker and Walls managed to photograph the Marfa Lights. Crocker's photo is among the most revealing images of so-called ghostlights ever captured on film. While we all realized that the photographs were a victory, much more work had to be done in order to determine the nature of the lights.

The Enigma Project last ventured to Marfa in the fall of 1987. In addition to George, Gloria, and myself, Alan "Cuz" McCann, a positively effervescent industrial maintenance technician from Baltimore had joined our ranks. Again, with a full compliment of equipment, we performed the nightly watches and awaited our prey. At various points during the observations we saw only distant, anomalous lights which could not be photographed due to their brevity and a very annoying dewpoint which kept fogging our lenses.

To continue the research of this baffling oddity, Enigma researchers hope to return to Marfa sometime in the future. Of the experiments planned, one is to obtain a spectrographic analysis of the anomalous lights. Such data would contribute substantially to an understanding of the phenomenon.

New cases keep popping up all the time and in the most spontaneous ways. For example, in April, 1989, after inducting two new members to the Project, Marcus Adams and David Jones fate stepped in. Adams, a computer technician, told us of a harrowing experience he and Jones had in western Maryland's Green Ridge State Forest. One night during a camping trip in August of 1987, the two men were suddenly and briefly surrounded by several animals that produced threatening screams. Though the darkness and dense brush prevented them from seeing the originators of the cries, both men, familiar with the area and its wildlife, were terrified and admitted that they had never encountered anything like that before or since. Adams likened the strange noises to the angry cries of chimpanzees. At first, the incident appeared to be an isolated event, however, after talking with State Forest officials, Enigma Project investigators learned that just a few months earlier, a local couple nearly hit a "naked man covered with hair" while driving their camper through Green Ridge- -only a few miles from where Adams and Jones had their experience. The investigation continues.

The vignettes presented above are only a sample of the Enigma Project's biography. The Project's computerized database, technical capabilities, and the diversity of its associates grow larger with every passing year. There have been many investigations some which remain unexplained, and others that were found to have rational, prosaic--though not readily apparent--explanations. Those of us in the Project refuse to abide by the senseless syllogism, "It can't be therefore it isn't."

[i] Jarvis, Sharon (ed.) True Tales of the Unknown: The Uninvited Bantam Books: NY, 1989.

[ii] ParaScience International, 1025 Miller Lane, Harrisburg, PA 17110-2899, Larry E. Arnold, Director

[iii] Frizzell, Michael A. "The U.S. Geological Survey: An Invaluable Technical Resource for Forteans and Anomalists" INFO Journal No. 56, February, 1989.

[iv] Frizzell, Michael A. & George Walls. "Stalking Those Mysterious Lights" Pursuit Magazine, Fourth Quarter, 1987.

[v] The Community Times (Reisterstown, MD) "Local Research Group Explodes Myth" Thursday, January 31, 1980.

[vi] Due to a resurgence of interest in this subject by INFO member Al Rosenzweig, another Gravity Hill was recently (November, 1989) observed in Frederick County, MD.

[vii] Preliminary trips to the field were also made by Mike Frizzell and John Kopfle in 1978 and 1979.

[viii] Frizzell, Michael A. "Riddle of the Ringing Rocks," Fate Magazine, October, 1983.

[ix] Copy of Police Report on file with the Enigma Project.

[x] Frizzell, Michael A. "Investigating The Chesapeake Bay Phenomenon," The Gate, July, 1987.

[xi] Frizzell & Walls. "Stalking Those Mysterious Lights" Pursuit Magazine, Fourth Quarter, 1987.

The Mysteries And Legends of Mount Shasta

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Mount Shasta is known as one of the most sacred places on Earth and is called by many people the magical mountain. The mountain is located in the Cascade Range in northern California. It rises around the picturesque mountains in the Siskiyou County at an altitude of over 4322 meters above sea level. It is also one of the largest dormant volcanoes.

It is a legendary and mystical place since known history. Locals believe that this mountain is truly magical and there many mysteries and stories that have baffled and delighted, not only the local Native American population but also thousands of people who have visited this magical wonder of nature throughout the years.

Natives have always considered this mountain as a sacred place and in recent decades, it has been connected to a mystical power that emanates peace and harmony. Some believe that Mount Shasta is closely related to mysterious flying objects, and some have ventured out and said that there are secret underground bases located inside this magical mountain.

Sunrise on Mount Shasta via Wikipedia

Mount Shasta has been identified by many experts as a spiritual and cosmic energy point, a landing area for UFOs, and even an entry point that leads into the fifth dimension, and as access to underground civilizations. In 1884, Frederick S. Oliver, writer, and explorer, wrote a book entitled “A Dweller on Two Planets where he speaks of elaborate underground tunnels and rooms where the descendants of the Atlanteans live.

The mountain is also considered one of the seven sacred mountains of the world, a Buddhist monastery was built there in 1971 by Houn Jiyu-Kennett. It has become a site of meditation, holy temples, and shrines. It is believed to be the focal point of positive energy, a place that would help bring world peace to mankind.

It proved to be a mysterious place when in 1931, a fierce wildfire swept across Mount Shasta. According to locals, the fierce fire was stopped by a mysterious mist that came out of nowhere. The unusual fog created a linear demarcation of the fire, where you could see perfect lines around which the fire was curved in direct correlation with the central zone.

Mount Shasta is also believed to be an energy supply base for Extraterrestrial crafts, given the increasing number of sightings that have been reported in the area in the last decade. The Hopi Indians have legends about a vast network of caves and a great city under Mount Shasta where the reptilian race lives. Many people living around Mount Shasta have told stories about very tall humanoids appearing occasionally in smaller towns.

Mount Shasta is also known for its many mysterious disappearances throughout history. One of the most recent cases occurred in 2011 when a 6-year-old boy disappeared for about 5 hours while playing in the woods. According to witnesses, the boy suddenly vanished from sight in a second and reappeared 5 hours as if nothing had happened.

In March of 2011, a man from Los Angeles who was hiking in the area said to have heard a female voice from the forest. The man was captivated and absorbed by the voice, which led to his disappearance for weeks. When he appeared, he claimed to have been kidnapped by mysterious forces that led him to a very dark cave where an unusually tall woman with blue eyes and a strange uniform rescued him.

See more strange strories about Mount Shasta from the Travel Channel below:

30 of the Most Creepiest and Haunted Places in Greece – Dare You Visit?

Each year thousands of visitors travel to Greece, they flock to all the usual tourist attractions.

They sun themselves on the golden beaches, and swim in the warm, turquoise waters of the Greek islands, totally unaware, that nearby, there may be some of the creepiest places in all of Greece!

It’s no surprise that Greece, with so many ruins and relics, has lots of ghostly stories about hauntings, unexplained phenomena, and creepy abandoned places, most of them not widely known.

Below, in six sub-sections, I have listed thirty of the most mysterious and unusual, places in Greece.

Some are scary, some quirky, some unexplained, some are sad, but, all of them are fascinating!

Ancient and not so Ancient Anomalies

1. Daveli’s Cave – Mount Parnitha, Athens

Davelis cave – Mount Penteli Athens Greece

A cave, discovered in the fifth century BC, on Mount Penteli, named Daveli, after a thief (His real name was Christos Natsios) who used it as a hideout and a place to stash his ill-gotten gains, is one of the most mysterious places in Athens.

Daveli’s Cave, once used as a marble quarry for the Acropolis, is said to have been used as a place of worship for the followers of satyr Pan and his nymphs

In the middle Ages, Christian hermits built a church at the entrance to the cave, dedicated to two Saints Saint and Saint Nicholas.

Strange goings on occurred in 1977, when construction began at the cave, but what was being built and who was doing the building remains a mystery.

Was it the Greek government?

It’s rumoured that the construction work in and around Daveli’s Cave, may have been storage for nuclear weapons, or a site for radar or a communications base.

The site is said to be used today by Satanists and occultists.

Actually, since ancient times, the area has been associated with paranormal activity, such as water running uphill instead of down, electronics going crazy and apparitions of a cat-like creature, walking on two legs are also said to have been spotted.

2. The Frangokastello Fortress and the Drousoulites – Crete

Frangokastello Photo by CBrug

A few kilometres East of Sfakia, Crete, in around 1373, the then rulers, the Venetians, built a garrison to keep the unruly locals in check.

The Venetians named the garrison The Castle of Nikitas, after a nearby church, the Sfakians named it Frangokastello, Castle of Catholic Foreigners.

Every spring, on the 17 of May, the anniversary of the Battle of Frangokastello 1828, during the Greek war of Independence, early in the morning, locals report seeing ghosts of soldiers, dressed in black, some walking, some on horseback, slowly making their way towards the castle.

These ghosts are The Drosoulites, The Dew Men, so called because they arrive when the dew is still fresh.

The Drosoulites are said to be the ghosts of Hadzi Michalis Dalanis and his men, who defended the castle against the Turks, and whose bodies remained unburied, until a strong wind brought sand from the Orthi Ammos Beach to cover them.

3. The Necromanteion of Acheron – Ephyra, Epirus

Necromanteion? Acheron River Photo Theudbald

On the banks of the River Acheron, near Ephyra, at the point where three of the five rivers of the underworld meet, sometime around the third or fourth century BC, was built a temple, dedicated to Hades, God of the underworld and Persephone, Goddess of the underworld.

This was a temple of necromancy, said to be the entrance to Hades, the Underworld, which, once their bodies had decayed in the earth, and their spirits released, was the final resting place of the dead.

Ceremonies held at the temple, involved eating special food, such as beans, pork and barley bread, narcotic potions were ingested or inhaled, and sheep were sacrificed, all in the belief that this would greatly help attempts to contact and converse with dead spirits.

Thousands of years after the destruction of the temple (167 BC), a monastery, dedicated to Saint John The Baptist , was built on the site.

Many ancient temples throughout Europe practised necromancy, but The Necromanteion of Acheron, Ephyra in Greece was the most famous.

4. The Heptapyrgion Fortress of Thessaloniki

Heptapyrgion Photo by Joel Cusumano for Atlas Obscura

Heptapyrgion, in Greek, and Yedi Kule, its old Turkish name, mean seven towers, despite this, the fortress of Thessaloniki, which became an infamous prison, has ten towers.

Originally part of the fourth century city walls, it became an enclosed castle around the twelfth century and was used as an Ottoman military fortress it was converted into a prison in the 1890s.

Yedi Kule prison, as it was known, was used to hold political prisoners during the Metaxas Regime of 1936, the Nazi occupation of Greece in WWII, The Greek Civil War, and later, political prisoners during the seven years of dictatorship 1967- 1974.

Yedi Kule was immortalised when referred to in the underground, Greek blues genre of songs rebetiko.

Ironically, the prison chapel was dedicated to Saint Eleftherios, which means freedom!

The prison closed and moved outside the city in 1989, and now belongs to The Ministry of Culture.

Mostly, people visit the Heptapyrgion Fortress for the spectacular views, few know of the despair of the inmates, the haunting memories of the turbulent times of torture and execution.

Haunted Houses

5. The Longos Mansion or, the Red House of Thessaloniki

Longos Mansion – The Red House of Thessaloniki

At the corner of Agia Sophia Street and Ermou, stands one of Thessaloniki’s landmarks, The Longos Mansion, also known simply as The Red house, owing to its striking colour.

From the time it was built (1926-1928), designed by architect Leonardo Gennari for wealthy textile industrialist, Giannis Longou, the house has been plagued with bad luck.

No sooner than the house was finished, the construction company which built it unexpectedly went bankrupt, and the Longos factory, in Naousa, inexplicably burnt to the ground.

Owing to inheritance issues, The Red House of Thessaloniki remained abandoned for forty years, today three coffee shops take up the ground floor of the building.

The house is thought to be haunted, ghosts are said to have been seen, and paranormal activity reported.

In 2014 Ivan Savvidis, owner of Greek football team PAOK, bought the property, it’s debatable whether the house has brought Savvidis and his football team good or bad luck!

6. The Villa Kazouli Kifisia Athens

Villa Kazouli Photo Ι.MAVRAKIS & PARTNERS

Villa Kazouli was built, on the site of a Turkish cemetery (Mnimouri), at 241 Leoforos Kifisias as a summer residence for Alexandrian business man Nikolas Kazoulis.

During the German occupation of Greece in WWII, Villa Kazouli was used as Nazi headquarters, hundreds of Greeks were imprisoned, tortured and executed there.

Twelve bodies are said to be buried in the grounds.

From 1949 the house was used as a hospital, and in 1953 until 1955, it became a refuge for victims of the devastating Ionian earthquake.

Today, Villa Kazouli houses the National Centre for Environment & Sustainable Development and is a listed, protected building.

The poor tortured souls, victims of unspeakably cruel treatment by the Nazis, sufferers of pain and illness, are said to roam the building and its grounds, their voices crying out for justice and peace.

7. Villa Kallergis Rafina-Pikermi Attica

Villa Kallergis Rafina-Pikermi Attica

Villa Kallergis, in the Rafina area of Attica, was owned by Pericles Kallergis, who, in 1910, allegedly committed suicide after murdering his wife (Some versions of the story also have him murdering his children).

During WWII, the house was taken over by Nazis who used it to imprison and torture Greeks in the cellar.

Years later, while attempting to demolish the house, a bulldozer suddenly stopped working, and after two work men suddenly died from heart attacks, all thoughts of knocking down the house were abandoned.

Local legend tells of a man who accepted a bet from a friend, that he couldn’t last a night in the haunted house, well, he did last the night, but was unable to collect his winnings, he was found dead there the next morning!

It’s said that nothing at all will grow for a few meters around the building, experts who have investigated this peculiar phenomenon, found that the atmosphere surrounding the house is uncommonly high in negative ions, a fact thought to be linked to paranormal activity.

8. Kontos Mansion Ano Lehonia, Pelion

Kontos Mansion Photo by Eirini Papadaki Flicker

The Kontos Mansion, built in 1900 for Nikolas Kontos, the Russian consul for Greece, who lived there with his wife and four children, is located beside the sea, in the small village of Ano Lehonia, Pelion, on the road to Volos.

Sadly, three of the four children of Nikolas Kontos died from tuberculosis.

During WWII, the Kontos villa, like many other of the elite villas and mansions of Greece, was taken over by Nazis, who used the place to interrogate and torture Greek resistance activists.

Later occupants of Villa Kontos, reported hearing spine-chilling screams and cries and never stayed long, some, who began to renovate the villa, never saw end results as they unexpectedly died before finishing.

Until this day The Villa Kontos stands empty and abandoned.

Memento Mori

9. The Bogomil Cemetery Thessaloniki

Bogomil cemetery at Nea Chalkidona – Photo candiru

In the Medieval graveyard of Agia Eleoussa church at Nea Chalkidona near Thessaloniki, are Celtic-style, Gothic crosses, all that is left of the Bogomils, a Gnostic, heretic sect who survived until the sixteenth century.

The Bogomils, who were found mostly in The Balkans, frequently sent missionaries to Western Europe it seems some of them must have found their way to Greece.

Fifteen to twenty, tall (some about two metres in height), moss-covered Celtic crosses, and large holes, created by treasure hunters, are all that remain in this all but forgotten, eerie cemetery.

10. The Martyred Villages of Greece. Distomo, Kalavryta and Kommeno

The Massacre of Kalavryta memorial

The German occupation of Greece and her islands, during the Second World War, began in April 1941 and ended in 1945.

Over fourty thousand civilians died from starvation in Athens alone.

The Jewish community of Thessaloniki was all but wiped out, most having been deported to the death camps of Auschwitz and Treblinka.

Industry was destroyed, roads, bridges and railways blown sky high, and as the war progressed, attacks against German soldiers by the Greek resistance, caused the Germans to retaliate by executing thousands of civilians and burning whole villages, leaving millions homeless.

These atrocities happened all over Greece and the Greek islands, far, far too many to mention here, here are details of only three.

Memorials, built to honour and remember the unfortunate victims of the German’s wrath, can be found in every corner of the country.

There is not a village or town in Greece which does not honour the thousands of fallen Greeks, men, women and children, who died at the hands of the Germans during WWII.

Distomo Massacre June 10 1944 – The village in Boetia was set alight and looted – 218 civilians massacred.

Kommeno, Arta – August 16 1943 – The village was torched – 317 civilians executed.

The Kalavryta Massacre Peloponnese December 13 1943– Extermination of the entire male population and total destruction of the village – 1,200 executed by firing squad.

11. The Well at Meligala – Messinia

The Well at Meligala Photo Katerina Nikolas.

After The Battle of Meligala, 13-14 September 1944, fought between Greek communist guerrillas and a far right Greek military group, the victors, the communist guerrillas, executed hundreds of the military group (787 names are inscribed on the memorial),
and threw their bodies down a well.

Since September 1945, annual memorial services took place in memory of the dead, but in 1982, when the newly elected PASOK (The Panhellenic Socialist Movement) came into power, the services were halted.
Services are now undertaken by ‘The Society of Victims of The Meligala Well’.

There are no signs to direct visitors to the site of one of the worst massacres in Greece during WWII.

12. The First Cemetery of Athens

The First Cemetery Tomb of Sofia Afentaki photo Tilemahos Efthimiades

The first Cemetery of Athens, which opened in 1847, is Greece’s answer to the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery of Paris.

The cemetery is located behind the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Panathinaiko Stadium, at the top of Anapaphseos Street (The Street of Eternal Rest).

The First cemetery of Athens is the final resting place of poets, painters and politicians.

The most famous memorial here is the tomb of Sofia Afentaki, niece of the philanthropist, and benefactor of The Afentaki Foundation, who commissioned Sculptor Yiannoulis Halepas to create the hauntingly beautiful ‘Sleeping Maiden’ for poor Sofia’s tomb, who died in 1873 at the tender age of eighteen from tuberculosis.

13. The Gestapo Interrogation Memorial Athens

Gestapo Interagation Memorial Athens Photo gus619USA for Atlas Obscura

Surely a place straight out of Dante’s Inferno, this building, at 6 Merlin Street, Athens, was taken over by the German Nazis, during the occupation of Greece in 1941 and used as a prison for many members of The Greek Resistance of WWII.

Here, in this truly living hell, Greek prisoners were tortured to death, and their bodies left hanging from trees, guarded by local Nazi sympathisers, as a warning to all Greeks.

In the 1980s the building became a Hondos Centre, one of a chain of beauty retailers in Greece.

o the right of the main entrance to the Hondos centre, is a carving of a bound prisoner, and one of the original torture chamber doors is on display.

There are several plaques, one of which reads ‘Free people were led through these doors’.

Abandoned Spaces

14. Kallio. – The Sunken Village of Fokida – Central Greece

Kallio Sunken Village Photo Copyright Danos kounenis (danos)

The Morno Dam, an artificial lake, was constructed between 1969 and 1981, to help rectify the growing water shortage of Athens water from the Morno River was transported to Athens via the Morno Aqueduct, at a hundred and ninety two kilometers long, the largest aqueduct in Europe.

In order to construct the Mornos dam, the typically Greek stone-built village of Kallio was evacuated the inhabitants were compensated and rebuilt their village at a higher location.

During dry spells, and droughts, the water level of the dam falls, revealing ghostly images of the abandoned village of Kallio.

15. Vatheia, the Abandoned towers of Mani, Peloponnese

Vatheia Mani Peloponnese Greece Photo Condé Nast Traveler

Vatheia on the Mani Peninsula of the Peloponnese, is said to be one of the most photographed places of Greece, square, stone towers, built on the rocky, infertile land of Mani, high above the sea, date back to the eighteenth century.

The Mani towers were built on high ground, not only to protect the inhabitants from their fierce, tough, warring neighbours, but as protection from their own families, family feuds were rife!

Maniates, the name given to inhabitants of the Mani area, are well known as being tough, hot-headed and wild they are also among the most hospitable of the Greeks.

After 1980, (Vatheia had no electricity up until then), an unsuccessful attempt was made to turn the place into a tourist spot, with hotel, shops and tavernas.

Many are thankful the project failed, now, the area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, eight hundred towers still stand to attention.

16. Spinalonga – Crete and Lovokomeio – Chios – Deserted Leper Colonies

Spinalonga Leper Colony – Crete – Greece

Spinalonga, today a popular tourist attraction, is a deserted leper colony, located on a small island in the Gulf of Mirabello, Crete, officially known as Kalydon, Spinalonga became famous worldwide with the publication of Victoria Hislop’s book ‘The Island’.

This barren, rocky island was used as a leper colony from 1903 until 1957.

Any Greek diagnosed with Leprosy, known as Hansen’s disease, was relieved of his property, financial assets, his citizen’s rights and had is identity erased before being exiled to the ‘leper island’, as it came to be known as.

At its peak, Spinalonga housed around four hundred patients, who, on arriving on the island, passed through the tunnel entrance, known as Dante’s Gate, the entrance to hell.

Even though a cure for Hansen’s disease was found in 1940, only after a British ex-pat visited the colony and filed a report about the inhuman conditions, poor medical treatment, and the incompetence of the one and only doctor there, did the Greek state close the colony in 1957.

The last inhabitant to leave the island in 1962 was the priest.

Not surprisingly, the Greek government tried to keep quiet about the country’s shameful treatment towards the inhabitants of Spinalonga, Victoria Hislop’s book put paid to that!

Lovokomeio photo Χρήστος Τόλης

Another leper colony, Lovokomeio of Chios, one of the first in Europe, built in the fourteenth century, and opened in 1378, is virtually unknown to anyone outside of the island.

It has a history similar, if not the same, as the leper colony of Spinalonga, the Lovokomeio leper colony was mostly destroyed by earthquake, in which over eight hundred were killed, it was restored in the eighteenth century and closed in 1957.

Until someone decides to write a book about Lovokomeio, it will remain unknown and forgotten.

17. The Old Madrasa of Athens

Old Madrasa of Athens – Photo – Basilis Mathiodakis

The door is all that remains of the Islam Mandrasa (Theological school), a rectangular building consisting of living quarters, class rooms and prayer areas, which was Built in 1721.

After moving to another location, the building was converted into a filthy, overcrowded prison.

A large plane tree in the courtyard, once a meeting place for the Muslim community, which became a symbol of the Madrasa, was now used for hanging prisoners.

Those not executed in the courtyard, suffered terrible torture.

Having been partly demolished during the Greek war of Independence, the Madrasa was rebuilt as a garrison for the Greek army, who, at the end of the war, again, converted it into a prison for Greek and Turkish political prisoners.

The plane tree was once again used to hang prisoners.

The prison closed at the end of the nineteenth century.

Archaeologists, hoping to find interesting, valuable artifacts beneath the site, demolished the Madrasa, by 1915 only the door remained, as a memory to the unspeakable goings on of The Old Madrasa.
The remaining door is to be found in the Plaka area of Athens, outside the Roman Agora, opposite The Tower of the Winds.

18. Yaros (Gyaros) and Makronissos – The Secret Prison Islands

Yaros Prison – Yaros – Photo TERRABOOK

Yaros is a tiny, unpopulated Greek island of the Cyclades, close to the islands of Tinos and Andros.
The island was used during Roman times as a place of exile, and from 1948 to 1974, as a prison for leftist and communist dissidents of Greece (including women).

During that time more than twenty two thousand were subjected to horrendous torture, forced labour, and inhuman living conditions.

The prison block, which held over ten thousand men, was built by the inmates, many of whom were members of the Greek resistance, involved in the Greek civil War (1945-1949), and in the seven-year dictatorship(1967-1974), Jehovah’s Witnesses were also held there.

In 1952, The International Community and the United Nations, owing to the barbaric conditions, demanded all prisoners be transferred to mainland prisons.

In 1967, reporters from the German news magazine, Stern, flew over the island, taking photographs which were published all over the World, later, reporters from the French magazine, Paris Match, would do the same.

These photographs, published by two of Europe’s most prestigious magazines, played a huge role in the exclusion of Greece from The Council of Europe for abuse of human rights.

Since 2011, the island has been a NATURA protected area, building is prohibited.

The island has the largest colony of Monk seals in The Mediterranean.

The island is off limits to the public.


Makronnissos Attica Greece – Prison Block – Secret Prison Island

Makronnissos is a small island in The Aegean Sea, close to the coast of Attica, opposite the Port of Lavrio and, from the 1940s, up until the 1970s, was the site of a political prison.

Inmates of the prison included communist and leftist dissidents during the Greek Civil War (1945-1949), and the military dictatorship (1967-1974).

Composer, Mikis Theodorakis, film director, Pantelis Voulgaris and poet Giannis Ritsos, are only a few of the famous Greeks who were imprisoned there.

In 1946, the then Greek Prime Minister, Sofoulis, ordered all communists of draft age to be exiled to Makronissos, to be ‘rehabilitated’, torture, living in tents in extreme weather conditions , hunger, thirst and solitary confinement were the order of the day.

The island is now deserted and is a Civil War Monument.

19. Mount Parnitha Sanatorium

Mount Parnitha Sanitorium Athens Greece

Only two kilometers away from the well-known casino of Mount Parnitha, Attica, stands the forsaken sanatorium of Parnitha, built there, owing to the dry climate, for the treatment of tuberculosis, in 1912.

After the discovery and eventual use of the T.B vaccine in 1921, the sanatorium, no longer needed for T.B patients, was bought by the Hellenic Tourist Organization in around 1965.

The sanatorium was converted into one of the Xenia Hotels, a chain of hotels owned and run by the Greek government, and later became a school for tourism.

The project was eventually ditched in 1983, when it became clear they were no match for the nearby casino complex.

After the Mount Parnitha fires of 2007, the building, used mostly now by drug addicts, stands on burnt ground, there are suggestions of satanic rituals, ghostly voices, and paranormal shenanigans.

Across the road from the abandoned sanatorium of Parnitha, artist, Spyridon Dassidis, has created ‘The Park of Souls’.

Disturbed figures, carved from burnt tree trunks, are dedicated to the memory of those who died in the sanatorium (50% of the patients were said to have died in the first five years).

20. The Dragon Houses of Karystos – Evia

Dragon house -Karystos, Evia – Photo by Klaus-Norbert

In the south of the island of Evia (Euboea), in the town of Karystos, are twenty eight, unique structures huge blocks of stone, with no use of mortar, are piled one on top of the other and are topped off by an even larger stone slab to create a roof.

These unusual structures were named ‘Dragon Houses’ by the ancient Greeks, as way back then, the word dragon, not only meant fire-breathing reptiles, but also other beings with superhuman powers.

Many archaeologists, who have visited these mysterious structures, have failed to come up with a valid date of when they were built, or who built them.

Dragon-House Palli-Lakka building Photo Klaus-Norbert Wikipedia

The Dragon Houses are thought to have originated around the seventh century BC, but there was no mention of them anywhere (not even in ancient literature), until 1718, when British geologist, John Hawkins, wrote the first written account of The Dragon Houses.

Details found in a 2004 account, by researchers from the department of astrophysics, Athens University, have the structures as being oriented to the Sirius star system.

Natural or Supernatural Phenomena

21. The Petrified Forest of Lesvos

In the UNESCO Geopark, designated as a protected natural monument, are four sites, located in the area enclosed by the villages of Sigri, Eresso and Antissa on the Western side of the island, containing the second largest petrified forests in the World, the largest is in Arizona.

Here at the Lesvos Geopark, are amazing specimens, not only of petrified tree trunks, including one with the thickest circumference of a petrified tree in the World, 13.7 meters, and one of the tallest at 7.2 meters, but also petrified plants, fruit and seeds, remnants of a sub-tropical forest.

The Petrified Forest of Lesvos was created over twenty million years ago, through volcanic activity when lava and ash covered the area, petrified tree trunks can even be seen in the sea, submerged to up to thirty meters.

The museum at th site, next to the Sigri Park, is a wonderful and interesting place to visit, open Monday-Sunday 8.30 to 19.00 in summer and Monday-Friday 8.30 to 16.30 in winter.

22. The Volcanic Rocks of Lemnos

Vocanic Rocks of Lemnos Photo Kristo Pantera

Lemnos (or Limnos) is an island in The Northern Aegean, located between the islands of Lesvos and Thassos.

It is not surprising, that Greek mythology states the island to have been sacred to Hephaestus, god of metallurgy and blacksmiths, and is where his forge was said to be located, as Lemnos has a very fiery past!

Volcanic activitny, more than 20 million years ago, caused hot lava to spew over parts of the island, creating a rather alien landscape, fabulous examples of this are the volcanic rocks at Faraklo beach.

23. The Moving Rock of Kefalonia

On the island of Kefalonia, in the Ionian Sea, at Lixouri, is the beach of the moving rock, (in Greek Kounopetra).

The moving rock, or ‘kounopetra’, a huge, flat rock, with a circumference of about twenty meters, one of the landmarks of the island, is a geological mystery.

Until the devastating earthquake of 1953, the rock was unstoppable, it moved slowly, rhythmically, and continuously, twenty times a minute, from East to West.

The movement could be seen from the coast, and when one is actually on the rock, vibrations can be heard.

In 1867, the rock was extremely close to shore, but gradually moved further away until coming to a complete standstill after the earthquake.

Many scientists have visited the rock, but no one has come up with an explanation for this strange phenomena.

24. The Church of Agia Theodora of Vasta. Arcadia, Peloponnese.

Agia Theodora Arcadia Peloponnese

Known as ‘The Miracle Church’, Agia Theodora of Vasta, in the Arcadia region of The Peloponnese, one of the most unique churches in Greece, is a small Byzantine church, which, incredibly, has seventeen holly and maple trees, most of which are over thirty meters tall, growing from its roof!

Only one thin root, about the thickness of an arm, is visible at the entrance to the church, once inside the church, no roots at all are visible.

Agia Theodora Arcadia Peloponnese

The local legend goes like this version one…

Coming from a family of only girls, Theodora, to save her father from having to join the army, disguised herself as a boy, and joined up.

Not long after joining the army, a local girl, believing Theodora to be a boy, fell in love with her, and when Theodora, for obvious reasons, rejected her, the girl, out of revenge, claimed she was pregnant by Theodora and demanded they be married.

For reasons known only to Theodora, she did not reveal her secret, which could have saved her, and refused to marry and was consequently put to death.

Version two is more or less the same, only this time, Theodora, again disguised as a boy, joined a monastery as a monk, why she did not save herself trouble and join a nun’s monastery is not known.

Anyway, a nun from a nearby monastery fell in love with the monk Theodora, the ending is the same.

Before her execution, Theodora prayed

“Let my body become a church, my blood a river, and my hair the trees.”

On the very spot where Theodora was executed, a spring gushed forth and grew to become a river which still exists today, as the river which flows beneath the tiny church.

Quirky and Unexpected

25. The Fairytale Castle of Agrilis

Fairytale Castle of Agrilis Photo george_iapetos George Alexopoulos

In the 1960s, American-born Harry Founier or, Founarakis, a successful surgeon from Chicago, on retirement, returned to Greece, the country of his ancestors.

In his family’s seaside village of Agrilis, in the Messina region of The Peloponnese, Harry astonished the locals by building the most unexpected dwelling, a veritable Disneyland castle, complete with drawbridge and coats of arms.

The residence has all the trimmings of a medieval castle, a large gatehouse, red-topped conical towers, and inside, swords and murals, telling medieval stories, adorn the walls.

In the courtyard are three huge statues, one, the sea God Poseidon, one, the Goddess Athena and a large, white, kneeling horse.

A plaque on the wall reads

‘You should appreciate a man not by his fortune or the extent of his knowledge, but by the happiness he brings to those around him’.

26. Pittaki Street – Psirri, Athens

Pittaki Little Kook Cafe in Halloween mode – Psirri AthensPhoto by Gogo Panagiotidi Garoufali

Back in 2012, Pittaki Street, in the run-down Psirri area of Athens, was a dark, uninviting alleyway, and an alley which you would rather not enter.

With the help of a non-profit organisation, ‘Imagine the City’, and the creative design studio ‘Beforelight’, not only Pittaki Street, but the whole Psirri area was transformed into the trendy, place to be seen, that it is today.

Locals donated ld lamp shades and light fittings which were refurbished and water proofed, before being hung across Pittaki street, giving it a rather permanent Christmas feel.

Alternative, quirky bars and cafes sprung up, The Little Kook Café, at the end of Pittaki Street, being the quirkiest of them all!

Psirri is now the most amazing, unique place in all of Athens, the place to see and be seen!

27. Agia Dynami Church – Athens

Agia Dynami Athens Photo by gus619USA

Agia Dynami, the Church of holy Power, is located at the corner of Mitropoleos Street and Pentelis Street, Athens.

It is a tiny, Byzantine Church an inscription discovered there, shows that it may have been dedicated to Heracles.

During redevelopment of the city of Athens during the 1950s, the Greek Orthodox Church refused to give up the land to the Greek government, so, what could they do?

Ever resourceful, and ones never to give up, the Greeks built around the church!

28. The Roman Tomb in the Central Zara Store Athens

zara Roman tombs in Zara store photo by Camille Gazeau

Well, this is definitely not what you expect to come across while picking out that perfect little black dress.

In the basement of the Zara store on Stadiou Street, central Athens, right next to children’s wear, protected from customers by a glass screen, is a Roman tomb, yes, you read that correctly!

The nineteenth century building, home of Ioannis Hadjikyriakos, a wealthy philanthropist, added a clause to his will, stating that the building, upon his death should pass to the state, and should become a hotel, which is what happened.

The hotel, named Hotel d’Egypt, was not a success, so it was thought maybe a name change would do the trick, and it was changed to Hotel d’ Athens, the trick did not work.

After being used, first as a Greek army headquarters, and then, during WWII, by the Germans, the building was left vacant until 2004, when the Olympic Games were held in Greece.

Modernisation and renovation of the nearby Athens Metro revealed an ancient Roman tomb, right in front of the Hadjikyriakos building.

Strict Archaeological laws meant the tomb stayed where it was, which is how the tomb comes to be in the basement of Zara’s.

Well, if that’s not a magnet to attract customers, I don’t know what is!

29. The Andreas Syggrou Wax Museum – Athens

Wax Andreas Syggros Wax Museum Athens Photo by Aika for Atlas Obscura

The Andreas Syggrou wax Museum is a little-known, extraordinary museum, located in the grounds of the Andreas Syggrou Hospital of Venereal and Dermatological Diseases, located behind the Athens Hilton, at 5 Dragoumi Street, near to the Evangelismos Metro Station.

Andreas Syggrou (1830-1899) was a philanthropist and a Greek banker from Istanbul, who, after moving to Greece became the founder and benefactor of many banks, the building of an avenue from the Royal Palace, the bay at Palaio Faliro and much more, he was also responsible for the completion the Corinth Canal.

Glass show cases display hundreds of grotesque body parts afflicted with various skin and venereal diseases.

It is the largest collection of its sort in the world, composing of over sixteen thousand body parts, limbs, faces and even whole bodies.

The museum opened as an educational department in 1913, the body parts are copies of actual symptoms seen on patients between 1913 and 1958.

Today, the totally renovated museum is used to train doctors, and the museum is open every day and is free of charge.

30. The Political Exile Museum of Athens

Exile Museum Ai Stratis Athens Photo www.exile-museum.gr

Tucked away at number 1 Asomaton Street, in the Thissio-Kerameikos area of Athens, next door to each other, are two, small, sad, museums.

The Exile Museum of Ai Stratis, and the Exile Museum of Makronissos.

Ai Stratis (Agios Efstratios) is a small Greek island in the northern Aegean Sea, an island where over a hundred thousand men, women and children were exiled between 1926 and 1967.

Makronissos, another small island in the Aegean Sea, was also the site of a political prison from the 1940s to the 1970s, located close to the coast of Attica, facing the port of Lavrio.

Displayed in the museums are heartbreaking exhibits, newspaper articles and stories about the mass exile of people the Greek government considered to be undesirables.

The above mentioned places are not everyone’s cup of tea, nor are they on everyone’s to-see list, and some of these places, in my opinion, could be classed as ‘Dark Tourism’.

As sad and disturbing as many of these places are, they should not be forgotten, in the hope that remembering, will go a long way to prevent similar atrocities ever happening again.

The Ancient Enigma of Ica Stones

The Ica stones are a collection of out of place artifacts that were discovered in a Peruvian cave, close to Ica are often included collections of paranormal topics. The stones are not just decorative pieces of artwork common to the era.

There are also drawings of men with dinosaurs and other, now extinct animals. Others depict many modern processes and technologies such as telescopes, maps, flying machines, telescopes, brain transplants and open heart surgery.

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These stones are shrouded with mystery – no one is sure just what they were what their purpose was or even how old they are. The consensus is split, there are groups claiming that it is a library of knowledge belonging to an ancient civilization whereas others are certain that it is just an elaborate hoax.

If they do turn out to be real, then it calls in to question our knowledge of the history of our ancestors.

This astounding discovery was popularized by the late Dr Javier Cabrera. He received one of these objects in 1961 as a birthday gift. This intrigued him greatly, and led to him devoting many years studying the artifacts and building up an impressive collection.

This passion and interest led to him opening the Engraved Stone Museum (Museo de Piedras Grabadas) in Ica, the place where the stones were originally discovered. Over the course of his life he managed to build up a collection of over 15000 pieces.

There was a lot of controversy involving the farmer who found these stones. Seeing that the stones were very ornate, he decided that he would sell them to visitors to the area. The man would have faced 20 years in jail if these artifacts were real, so he told police that they were fake items.

Many believe that these items were real and that the farmer only changed his story to get out of jail. This seems to be the most likely explanation for a number of reasons. Firstly, the man would have said anything to get out of jail and secondly it isn’t possible for one man to make over 15000 of these stones without being noticed.

Cabrera also claims that local villagers found somewhere in the region of 50000 stones and were able to bring him to a tunnel that supposedly contained another 100000 stones. This further lends credence to the explanation that these were actually an ancient library of knowledge.

There is a lot of debate in regards to the age of these objects. Since they are non organic and do not contain any Carbon-12 or Carbon -14 atoms, it is impossible to carbon date the items. In addition to this, the location of the cave in which the rocks were found has been lost. Most experts in the field believe that the rocks are between 1500 to 12000 years old.

Cabrera however, thinks that they are of a far greater age. He believes that they are in fact objects that date from 60000000 BC to 13000000 BC. In addition to this, he was convinced that these stones depict an extraterrestrial civilization that visited earth during the time when dinosaurs were still alive, and that they genetically engineered modern man to be the way we are today.

However the most pressing question is are they real or are they fake? There is plenty of evidence to support both theories. Firstly, I will go through the evidence that shows them to be fake. Firstly, it has been proven that some were indeed made by the locals to sell to tourists.

This is known because of the nature of the rocks. Upon analysis of photomicrographs of the rocks scientists have found traces of modern paints and other materials. In addition to this, they also found that the level of erosion on the rocks was very low for their supposed age.

In 1998, after a thorough examination of the evidence a Spanish investigator named Vincent Paris declared that the items were a hoax. Based upon the evidence that he was presented, this seems like a logical conclusion.

On the other hand, there is a lot of evidence to support the theory that they are indeed ancient artifacts. Both Inca myths and the Christian and Jewish bibles tell of there being an ancient civilization.

According to the bible they were giants named the “Nephilim”. There are numerous theories’ that suggest that they were an Extraterrestrial race of beings. This is the theory that Cabrera supported.

Another piece of evidence supporting this is that during the 16th century Spanish explorers brought some of these stone back to Spain, ruling out the possibility that they were created in modern times.

Furthermore there also the fact that it isn’t logistically feasible for a single farmer or even a group of people to make these items. Not only would it have required large amounts of time and materials, but they would also needed to have an expansive knowledge of many complicated things such as blood transfusions, the anatomy of extinct species and sophisticated technology.

Whether you believe they are true or false, it is undeniable how large the impact on our understanding of ancient history would be if these did prove to be true.

The Ancient Enigma of Ica Stones

The Ica stones are a collection of out of place artifacts that were discovered in a Peruvian cave, close to Ica are often included collections of paranormal topics. The stones are not just decorative pieces of artwork common to the era.

There are also drawings of men with dinosaurs and other, now extinct animals. Others depict many modern processes and technologies such as telescopes, maps, flying machines, telescopes, brain transplants and open heart surgery.

Like anomalien.com on Facebook

To stay in touch & get our latest news

These stones are shrouded with mystery – no one is sure just what they were what their purpose was or even how old they are. The consensus is split, there are groups claiming that it is a library of knowledge belonging to an ancient civilization whereas others are certain that it is just an elaborate hoax.

If they do turn out to be real, then it calls in to question our knowledge of the history of our ancestors.

This astounding discovery was popularized by the late Dr Javier Cabrera. He received one of these objects in 1961 as a birthday gift. This intrigued him greatly, and led to him devoting many years studying the artifacts and building up an impressive collection.

This passion and interest led to him opening the Engraved Stone Museum (Museo de Piedras Grabadas) in Ica, the place where the stones were originally discovered. Over the course of his life he managed to build up a collection of over 15000 pieces.

There was a lot of controversy involving the farmer who found these stones. Seeing that the stones were very ornate, he decided that he would sell them to visitors to the area. The man would have faced 20 years in jail if these artifacts were real, so he told police that they were fake items.

Many believe that these items were real and that the farmer only changed his story to get out of jail. This seems to be the most likely explanation for a number of reasons. Firstly, the man would have said anything to get out of jail and secondly it isn’t possible for one man to make over 15000 of these stones without being noticed.

Cabrera also claims that local villagers found somewhere in the region of 50000 stones and were able to bring him to a tunnel that supposedly contained another 100000 stones. This further lends credence to the explanation that these were actually an ancient library of knowledge.

There is a lot of debate in regards to the age of these objects. Since they are non organic and do not contain any Carbon-12 or Carbon -14 atoms, it is impossible to carbon date the items. In addition to this, the location of the cave in which the rocks were found has been lost. Most experts in the field believe that the rocks are between 1500 to 12000 years old.

Cabrera however, thinks that they are of a far greater age. He believes that they are in fact objects that date from 60000000 BC to 13000000 BC. In addition to this, he was convinced that these stones depict an extraterrestrial civilization that visited earth during the time when dinosaurs were still alive, and that they genetically engineered modern man to be the way we are today.

However the most pressing question is are they real or are they fake? There is plenty of evidence to support both theories. Firstly, I will go through the evidence that shows them to be fake. Firstly, it has been proven that some were indeed made by the locals to sell to tourists.

This is known because of the nature of the rocks. Upon analysis of photomicrographs of the rocks scientists have found traces of modern paints and other materials. In addition to this, they also found that the level of erosion on the rocks was very low for their supposed age.

In 1998, after a thorough examination of the evidence a Spanish investigator named Vincent Paris declared that the items were a hoax. Based upon the evidence that he was presented, this seems like a logical conclusion.

On the other hand, there is a lot of evidence to support the theory that they are indeed ancient artifacts. Both Inca myths and the Christian and Jewish bibles tell of there being an ancient civilization.

According to the bible they were giants named the “Nephilim”. There are numerous theories’ that suggest that they were an Extraterrestrial race of beings. This is the theory that Cabrera supported.

Another piece of evidence supporting this is that during the 16th century Spanish explorers brought some of these stone back to Spain, ruling out the possibility that they were created in modern times.

Furthermore there also the fact that it isn’t logistically feasible for a single farmer or even a group of people to make these items. Not only would it have required large amounts of time and materials, but they would also needed to have an expansive knowledge of many complicated things such as blood transfusions, the anatomy of extinct species and sophisticated technology.

Whether you believe they are true or false, it is undeniable how large the impact on our understanding of ancient history would be if these did prove to be true.

Watch the video: Η ΣΤΟΙΧΕΙΩΜΕΝΗ ΣΠΗΛΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΝΤΑΒΕΛΗ (June 2022).


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