In times of economic meltdown and global hardship, people are wishing on their lucky stars for a bit of good fortune. So it seems only fitting really that some people are turning to the more 'alternative' methods of the 'dark arts', AKA voodoo, to help them out.
In some of the more traditional markets here in Mexico, tucked in between the bustling vegetable and fruit stalls and herb stands in the labyrinth of narrow alleyways, you'll find bizarre market traders selling weird and wonderful spiritual help-me-outs.
Colourful and creepy good luck charms and figurines, potions, spells, ointments, elixirs, herbs, amulets and candles are all crammed onto busy shelves offering different magical powers to target specific issues in every day life.
Some trinkets are said to bring good luck, while others are said to offer protection. Some of the potions are meant to be drunk like tea or mixed with holy water; some powders are spread out on the ground in the shape of figures or signs; some herbs are burnt; and some powders are thrown over lit candles while the user whispers their wishes during rituals.
Wouldn't it just be amazing if these potions actually worked?! Want a successful business? Want that crazy woman/bloke to leave you alone? Wish they were dead?! Just add boiling water and two sugars. The spells are sold in small envelopes similar to those that normally contain teabags. And they cater for a huge range of predicaments.
Some claim to help businessmen and women keep clients; some claim to help you get a pay rise at work; some target generic fears; and some claim to assist you in getting someone to love you. Others apparently help to 'send someone away' who has been cheating on you; and some also claim to bring 'death' to a person boasting a "reinforced dust formula."
God only knows what ingredients are used. A quick search on Google highlights 'dried snakes' skin' and 'cactus' as being just some of the ingredients used in such concoctions. Mexico, like many other countries around the world, is a deeply spiritual place.
>Religion is closely related to folk traditions, intertwined with mythology and magic. While the vast majority of people do attend church to pray for luck, it seems a great many people here do trust in the more magical and mysterious methods.
Personally speaking, as a Brit these sort of potions have certainly never been on any one of my weekly shopping lists.
But hey, anything's worth a try right?!
All this aside, it actually wouldn't be right to talk about all these weird and wonderful things and not mention UFOs. A number of people I have spoken to here in TJ claim to have seen "weird shapes" or "lights" in the sky. Everyone seems to know someone who has seen a UFO.
Jacky's mum and dad claim to have seen several - one here in the sky above the house, and a couple in Mexico City where they once lived.
The relative proximity to New Mexico and the notorious 'Roswell' only help to fuel the fire of belief of aliens visitors. News reports here on Mexican national television also seem to show amateur footage of UFO sightings on regular occasions.
The volcano shown is just outside Mexico City which is one of the busiest places on earth. Hence it the sight attracted a large audience. Mexico is said to be a 'hotbed' of UFO sightings with more sightings than most other countries in the world.
Ever visited the African country of Mauritius? It is an island nation east of Madagascar in the southwestern corner of the Indian Ocean that was the only known habitat of the now-extinct Dodo bird. Mauritius has long-since had a reputation as a very beautiful island and renowned for its many waterfalls, such as the 83 meter (272ft) Chamarel Falls. However a discovery in the 1960's is now beginning to change all of that and making the region famous for something completely different.
Behold!! The mysterious 7-colored earth
It is known as the seven-colored earth of Chamarel and is quickly becoming a perplexing tourist attraction. And yes, it is sand that is distinctly different colors, including red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple, and yellow. According to geologists the colored sand was created from clay made of lava cooling off at different times, which effectively caused seven different colors of sand to form. But the mystery does not stop there, it only gets stranger.
If you take all the colors and mix them together, they will naturally separate and rejoin the correct color grouping that they belong to! Countless experiments have been done, sand has been shaken and mixed together in a test tube, but a couple days later it has separated into individual bands of like colors. Scientists who have studied this are still mystified! And what if I were to say it gets even crazier than that?
Despite the torrential downpours that occur with the wet season every year, the sand sand experiences no absolutely erosion! It has actually now been cordoned off and people are prevented from walking on it or disturbing it; they instead must be content to experience the view from the over-looking platform.
Chamarel Falls and the seven-colored earth of Mauritius also made it on the HoliDaze Utlimate Travel Blogger's Bucket List. Judging from the pictures it should be no surprise why!
Heard of this place before? How badly do you want to visit now? What are your thoughts?
Are you a fan of haunted places? Do you have nerves of steel? Well then, this place may be just for you -- if you also do not mind facing legal action in a foreign country. That's right, like with other haunted places this one has no shortage of myths and ghost stories, but unlike other places this one is so haunted the government of India has made it illegal to enter the grounds. I'm dead-serious. Apparently anyone who has been out past sunrise in the ruined town of Bhangarh, also known as Bhangarh Fort, has never returned alive.
Now there is a sign posted warning people away under threat of legal action. However the sign is not posted in front of Bhangarh as you might suspect but rather posted a safe distance away -- on the sacred grounds of a nearby temple.
The Government of India
The Archeological Survey of India, Bhangarh
1. Entering the borders of Bhangarh before sunrise and after sunset is strictly prohibited.
2. Shepherds and woodcutters who enter Bhangarh area will face legal action.
3. The Kewda or Pandanus trees found in Bhangarh area belong to the Archaeology Survey of India. Is it forbidden to subject this tree to any kind of harm.
Note: Anyone flouting of the rules mentioned above will face legal action.
Supervisor, Archaelogical Survey Board
Bhangarh was established in 1573 (Vikram Samvat calendar year 1631) and at its peak had a population of just over 10,000 inhabitants. But starting with the death of the ruler in 1630 (VS 1688), population began to decline and things just continued downhill from there. The last known inhabitants left in 1783 (VS 1840) supposedly vacated overnight.
As far as what exactly makes Bhangarh Fort so haunted, there are two prevailing myths.
The first legend states that the town of Bhangarh was cursed by the Guru Balu Nath, who only sanctioned its establishment under one condition: "The moment the shadows of your palaces touch me, the city shall be no more!" Years down the line, when a descendant raised the palace to a height that cast a shadow on Balu Nath's forbidden retreat, he cursed the town as prophesied. As a matter-of-fact, Balu Nath is said to lie buried there to this day, ensuring that the curse is never lifted.
The second story involves a former princess of Bhangarh, Princess Ratnavati, who was said to be the shining jewel of all Rajasthan. At that time lived a magician well versed in the occult named Singhia, who was in love with the princess but knew that it could never be as she was above his class. Then one day when Singhia saw the princess in the market, he had an idea. Using his black magic skills, he cursed the oil that Princess Ratnavati was purchasing so that upon touching it to her skin she would surrender herself and run to him. The princess, however, seeing that Singhia was enchanting the oil, foiled his plan by pouring it on the ground. As the oil struck the ground it turned into a giant boulder which crushed Singhia. Dying, the magician cursed the palace with the death of all who dwelt in it.
Which do you think it is? Share you comments below!
According to the curse, whichever you may believe, it was also said that if Bhangarh was ever rediscovered, the township itself would not be found, only the temples would show up. True to the story, only the temples of the lost town of Bhangarh dot the landscape and even far up on the mountains only shrines can be seen.
Many locals and visitors alike claim that they have witnessed paranormal activities there, including eery sounds of music and dancing as well weird colored spots in photographs of some of the chambers.
Now I've come across a lot of haunted places, but I have never before seen one that even the government is afraid of. How wild is that! It's that morbid sense of intrigue that earned this place a spot on the ultimate Travel Blogger's Bucket List (TBBL for short).
The Ramoji Film City, in Hyderabad, was built on war grounds of the Nizam sultans. Witnesses report the movie lights suspended up high kept falling down. Light-men who sit with the lights on top have been pushed countless times and many have had grievous injuries. But it doesn't stop there. The food left in cast rooms also gets scattered around the room and strange marks are left on the mirror in an unknown script resembling Urdu, the language spoken by the sultans. Girls are the ghosts' favorite to haunt. They tear at their clothes, knock on the bathroom doors while the outside doors are locked, and in general create mass havoc. Many preventive measures have been taken to prevent hauntings, but none have been of any use.
Sanjay Van, near the Qutab Institutional Area of New Delhi, is a huge forest spread over around 10 kilometers. There is a cremation ground also there, and many people have reported having seen a lady dressed in a white saree appearing and disappearing suddenly.
Vrindavan Society at Thane. It is said a man once committed suicide in one of the Buildings of the Vrindavan Society -- Bldg. No.66 B to be specific. Ever since the security guard's patrolling the area around have come across weird happenings. Once a guard was slapped so hard that he got up from his chair and hit the other guard who was near by him, thinking he was the one who hit him.
Dow-Hill in Kurseong, West Bengal, where the forests are damp and dark, and have an uncanny feeling. People up here tend to be depressed and countless murders have taken place. On the stretch between Dow-Hill road and the Forest Office, woodcutters returning in the evenings have repeatedly sighted a young boy walking head-less for several yards and then walk away from the road into the woods. Other than this, footsteps are heard in the corridors of the Victoria Boys School when the school is closed for long holidays from December to March.
Visited any of these haunted locations? Know of any others? Share your thoughts!