Wonder Is Everywhere: The ‘Real’ Kraken, an Ancient Pet Cemetery, and More From Around the Web

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Wonder is everywhere. That’s why, every other week, Atlas Obscura drags you down some of the rabbit holes we encounter as we search for our unusual stories. We highlight surprising finds, great writing, and inspiring stories from some of our favorite publications.

Visiting the Kraken at Home

by Evert Lindquist, Hakai Magazine

Some 700 miles off the coast of Argentina, near Antarctica, almost 600 feet below the surface, researchers have captured what might be the first recording of a colossal squid—often compared to the mythical kraken—living freely in its natural habitat. A study of the grainy video images is underway, and the researchers are planning another trip to hunt for the creatures. “Finding the colossal squid’s going to be like landing on Mars,” says one.

Ancient Chesapeake Site Challenges Timeline of Humans in the Americas

by Carolyn Y. Johnson, Washington Post

An eroding island in Maryland’s Eastern Bay could upend American prehistory. Scientists studying the site have found 286 artifacts on the southwestern edge of Parsons Island, one of which they say dates back more than 22,000 years—well before the currently understood arrival of humans when much of the continent was covered in ice.

The Drought that Forced a Himalayan Village to Relocate

by Tulsi Rauniyar, BBC

In the early 1990s, the village of Samdzong in the mountains of Nepal began suffering from a prolonged drought; by 2006, the ever-harsher conditions convinced every villager it was time to leave their homes. It took years to build a new settlement called Namashung—“green meadow”—10 miles away and the region remains ground zero for the impacts of climate change.

Inside the National Archives’ Quest to Retrieve a Stolen Civil War Document

By Jason Leopold, Bloomberg

In 2005, a former National Archives researcher named Howard Harner pled guilty to stealing more than 100 Civil War era documents from the archives. The Archival Recovery Team—created in response to this theft—has spent almost two decades looking for these missing pieces of United States history.

Letters Found Buried in Ancient Pet Cemetery

by Sonja Anderson, Smithsonian Magazine

Archeologists studying an ancient pet cemetery in southern Egypt have unearthed more than 200 beloved cats, dogs, and monkeys; ceramics; Roman coins; and now, letters handwritten on papyrus by Roman centurions 1,900 years ago.

World’s First Personal Computer Rediscovered by Accident

by Keumars Afifi-Sabet, Live Science

Employees for a house-clearing company had no idea what they had found when they discovered two Q1 microcomputers—built in 1972 and considered the world’s first PCs—in a home in the United Kingdom. “There would be no PCs, no Macs, no Apple or Android phones without the Q1 Corporation,” explains Paul Neve, professor of computing at Kingston University.

Sole Copy of Wu-Tang Clan Album to be Played to the Public for First Time

by Sian Cain, Guardian

With only one physical copy ever made, Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is considered “the world’s rarest album.” It was first sold for $2 million and it has never been heard publicly—until now. From the 15th to the 24th of June, 30-minute segments of the album will be played as part of an exhibit at the Museum of New and Old Art in Australia.

After Controversy, the Mütter Museum Opens New Exhibition

by Alan Yu, WHYY

The Mütter Museum, Philadelphia’s famed anatomy showcase, became a flashpoint in the discussion about the ethics of displaying human remains. Now, after months of public feedback, the musuem has opened a new exhibit to put the museum’s collection in modern context.

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