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1. The Kingdom of Prester John
For more than 500 years, Europeans believed a Christian king ruled over a vast empire somewhere in the wilds of Africa, India or the Far East. The myth first gained popularity in 1165, after the Byzantine and Holy Roman emperors received a letter—most likely a European forgery—from a monarch calling himself “Prester John.” The mysterious king claimed to serve as “supreme ruler of the three Indies” and all its 72 kingdoms. He described his realm as a utopia rich in gold, filled with milk and honey and populated by exotic races of giants and horned men. Perhaps most important of all, Prester John and his subjects were Christians—even the name “Prester” meant “Priest.”
A Papal mission to find Prester John’s court disappeared without a trace, but the myth of his kingdom took hold among Europeans. Crusading Christians rejoiced in the idea that a devout ruler might come to their aid in the struggle against Islam, and when Genghis Khan’s Mongol hordes conquered parts of Persia in the early 1200s, many mistakenly credited Prester John’s forces with the attack. The fantastical kingdom later became a subject of fascination for travelers and explorers. Marco Polo spun a dubious tale about encountering its remnants in Northern China, and Vasco da Gama and other Portuguese mariners quested after it in Africa and India. While explorers did eventually discover a far-flung Christian civilization in Ethiopia, it lacked the grandeur—and the gold—that Europeans had come to associate with Prester John’s realm. By the 17th century, the legend had faded, and the famed empire was dropped from most maps.
Long before Europeans ever stepped foot in the Americas, explorers searched in vain for the island of Hy-Brasil, a spectral atoll said to lurk off the west coast of Ireland. The story of the island most likely comes from Celtic legend—its name means “Isle of the Blest” in Gaelic”—but its precise origins are unclear. Hy-Brasil first started appearing on maps in the 14th century, usually in the form of a small, circular island narrowly split in two by a strait. Many mariners accepted it as a real place until as recently as the 1800s, and it became popular fodder for myths and folktales. Some legends described the island as a lost paradise or utopia; others noted that it was perpetually obscured by a dense curtain of mist and fog, and only became visible to the naked eye every seven years.
Despite its fanciful reputation, Hy-Brasil was widely sought after by Britain-based explorers in the 15th century. The navigator John Cabot launched several expeditions to track it down, and supposedly hoped to encounter it during his famous journey to the coast of Newfoundland in 1497. Documents from Cabot’s time claim that previous explorers had already reached Hy-Brasil, leading some researchers to argue that these mariners may have inadvertently traveled all the way to the Americas before Christopher Columbus.
READ MORE: Who Were the Celts?
A subject of fascination for ancient explorers, romantic poets and Nazi occultists alike, Thule was an elusive territory supposedly located in the frozen north Atlantic near Scandinavia. Its legend dates back to the 4th century B.C., when the Greek journeyman Pytheas claimed to have travelled to an icy island beyond Scotland where the sun rarely set and land, sea and air commingled into a bewildering, jelly-like mass.
Many of Pytheas’ contemporaries doubted his claims, but “distant Thule” lingered in the European imagination, and it eventually came to represent the northernmost place in the known world. Explorers and researchers variously identified it as Norway, Iceland and the Shetland Islands, and it served a recurring motif in poetry and myth. The island is perhaps most famous for its connection to the Thule Society, a post-World War I esoteric organization in Germany that considered Thule the ancestral home of the Aryan race. The Munich-based group counted many future Nazis among its guests, including Rudolf Hess, who later served as Deputy Führer of Germany under Adolf Hitler.
4. El Dorado
Beginning in the 16th century, European explorers and conquistadors were bewitched by tales of a mythical city of gold located in the unexplored reaches of South America. The city had its origin in accounts of “El Dorado” (“The Gilded One”), a native king who powdered his body with gold dust and tossed jewels and gold into a sacred lake as part of a coronation rite. Stories of the gilded king eventually led to rumors of a golden city of untold wealth and splendor, and adventurers spent many years—and countless lives—in a fruitless search for its riches.
One of the most famous El Dorado expeditions came in 1617, when the English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh traveled up the Orinoco River on a quest to find it in what is now Venezuela. The mission found no trace of the gilded city, and King James I later executed Raleigh after he disobeyed an order to avoid fighting with the Spanish. El Dorado continued to drive exploration and colonial violence until the early 1800s, when the scientists Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland branded the city a myth after undertaking a research expedition to Latin America.
5. St. Brendan’s Island
St. Brendan’s Island was a mysterious incarnation of Paradise once thought to be hidden somewhere in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. The myth of the phantom isle dates back to the “Navigatio Brendani,” or “Voyage of Brendan,” a 1,200-year-old Irish legend about the seafaring monk St. Brendan the Navigator. As the story goes, Brendan led a crew of pious sailors on a 6th century voyage in search of the famed “Promised Land of the Saints.” After a particularly eventful journey on the open sea—the tale describes attacks by fireball-wielding giants and run-ins with talking birds—Brendan and his men landed on a mist-covered island filled with delicious fruit and sparkling gems. The grateful crew are said to have spent 40 days exploring the island before returning to Ireland.
While there is no historical proof of St. Brendan’s voyage, the legend became so popular during the medieval era that “St. Brendan’s Island” found its way onto many maps of the Atlantic. Early cartographers placed it near Ireland, but in later years it migrated to the coasts of North Africa, the Canary Islands and finally the Azores. Sailors often claimed to have caught fleeting glimpses of the isle during the Age of Discovery, and it’s likely that even Christopher Columbus believed in its existence. Nevertheless, its legend eventually faded after multiple search expeditions failed to track it down. By the 18th century, the famed “Promised Land of the Saints” had been excised from most navigational charts.
6. The Kingdom of Saguenay
The story of the mirage-like Kingdom of Saguenay dates to the 1530s, when the French explorer Jacques Cartier made his second journey to Canada in search of gold and a northwest passage to Asia. As his expedition traveled along the St. Lawrence River in modern day Quebec, Cartier’s Iroquois guides began to whisper tales of “Saguenay,” a vast kingdom that lay to the north. According to a chief named Donnacona, the mysterious realm was rich in spices, furs and precious metals, and was populated by blond, bearded men with pale skin. The stories eventually drifted into the realm of the absurd—the natives claimed the region was also home to races of one-legged people and whole tribes “possessing no anus”—but Cartier became taken by the prospect of finding Saguenay and plundering its riches. He brought Donnacona back to France, where the Iroquois chief continued to spread tales of a lost kingdom.
Legends about Saguenay would haunt French explorers in North America for several years, but treasure hunters never found any trace of the mythical land of plenty or its white inhabitants. Most historians now dismiss it as a myth or tall tale, but some argue the natives may have actually been referring to copper deposits in the northwest. Still others have suggested that the Indians’ Kingdom of Saguenay could have been inspired by a centuries old Norse outpost left over from Viking voyages to North America.
Top 10 Famous People Who Never Existed
Over the years mascots have popped up and become famous. Some believe that they are actual people, while others are obviously fake. From complete corporate mascots, all the way down to photoshopped faces, you will be surprised who is, and is not, real!
This is Eguchi Aimi. She&rsquos the latest member of Japanese pop band AKB48, and a very lovely girl. But Eguchi Aimi is not what she seems. She shocked all her fans by revealing her dark secret &ndash Aimi was, in fact, computer-generated, with parts taken from other band members and pasted over an existing girl to make Aimi Eguchi. Her personality was a little easier for her inventors to make up: according to her official AKB48 profile, Aimi is 16, from Saitama just outside Tokyo, competed in track and field and made her debut in a photo shoot for Shueisha&rsquos Weekly Playboy magazine. Taking 150 gigabytes of memory, she&rsquos the perfect example of the world we are heading to, in which men and machine, reality and &ldquoreality&rdquo will collide in a new way that would make humans blend into the digital world and the digital world come into flesh and bones. 150 gigabytes is enough to take a hefty chunk out of any computer. That&rsquos almost 19 HD Blu-ray movies!
In 1927, someone in the admissions office at Georgia Tech accidentally sent student Ed Smith two registration forms instead of one. Feeling mischievous, Smith filled out one form for himself and the other for George P. Burdell, a student he completely made up. When Smith arrived at school, he kept &ldquoGeorge&rdquo alive by enrolling &ldquoGeorge&rdquo in all of his classes. Ed even did all the assigned work for &ldquoGeorge&rdquo and signed it under his name! &ldquoGeorge&rdquo actually did so well he eventually graduated, but when other students found out about the hoax, instead of stopping it they kept him alive. According to &ldquoGeorge&rsquos&rdquo resume:
&ldquoGeorge Burdell flew 12 missions over Europe during World War II, and served on MAD magazine&rsquos Board of Directors from 1969 to 1981. In 2001, when Burdell was supposedly 90 years old, he nearly became Time magazine&rsquos Person of the Year after garnering 57 percent of online votes.&rdquo
Georgia Tech, of course, knows about this whole plot and considers it their most celebrated joke. You can keep in touch with &ldquoGeorge&rdquo on his Facebook page, which boasts more than 4,000 friends.
When Rob Schneider&rsquos 2001 movie comedy &ldquoThe Animal&rdquo came out, no one had anything good to say about it. In fact, it was so bad the Sony marketing division came up with a fake press and movie critic. In fact, &ldquoThe Animal&rdquo was just one of many box office bombs that Manning enthusiastically praised. He also lent his critical support to &ldquoHollow Man&rdquo, &ldquoVertical Limit&rdquo and &ldquoThe Patriot&rdquo. When two movie lovers from California, Omar Rezec and Ann Belknap, read the review from NewsWeek, they decided to sue Sony. They filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all film-goers who saw movies based on Manning&rsquos &ldquoreviews.&rdquo In the end, Sony settled out of court, paying real money to anyone duped by the fake critic. Who knows if movie companies still do this? Someone is always calling the next movie release good. Who knows?
Currently owned by the Quaker Oats Company of Chicago, Aunt Jemima&rsquos trademark dates back to 1893, but was first registered in April 1937. She originated from the &ldquoMinstrel Show&rdquo as one of their stereotypical African-American characters. She was later adopted by commercial interests to represent the Aunt Jemima brand. The Aunt Jemima character received the Key to the City of Albion, Michigan on January 25, 1964. An actress portraying Jemima visited Albion many times for fundraisers. Soon after Quaker Oats introduced Aunt Jemima syrup in 1966. This was followed by Aunt Jemima Butter Lite syrup in 1985, and Butter Rich syrup in 1991. She has simply become just a logo for a brand name over the years. I always see her while I walk down the breakfast section of my local grocery store. She has an unforgettable smile and friendly look, it&rsquos perfect if you wanted to sell something!
Allegra Coleman was a fictional celebrity, invented by writer Martha Sherrill for the purposes of a hoax magazine article. Model/actress Ali Larter portrayed the imaginary model in Sherrill&rsquos feature, which appeared in Esquire (November 1996). After her debut, an article described an upcoming movie with Woody Allen, her tempestuous relationship with David Schwimmer (including a scandal involving nude photographs supposedly taken by paparazzi) and her friendship with Deepak Chopra. The hoax was revealed by Esquire editor Edward Kosner in a press release to the newswire services. Sherrill later wrote a satirical novel on Hollywood life, which featured Allegra Coleman as a prominent character. The novel, My Last Movie Star, was published by Random House in 2003. The incident jump-started Ali Larter&rsquos acting career, and she went on to many TV shows, movies (Legally Blonde, Final Destination) and the role of Niki Sanders in NBC&rsquos Heroes. Even after it was revealed she was a hoax, requests still came pouring in for her to star in movies. She was, essentially, an actor playing an actor.
We know Jack Dawson from the Titanic, but did he really exist? There have been no records of him even being on the ship that night, though it is possible that he secretly snuck abroad. Rose DeWitt Bukater and Jack Dawson are fictional characters created by James Cameron.
There was a man named J. Dawson who died aboard the Titanic, but James Cameron did not know that he existed until AFTER he wrote the Titanic screenplay. He did not base the Jack character on this J. Dawson person. The man&rsquos gravestone bears the inscription &ldquoJ. Dawson,&rdquo and no one knows what the &ldquoJ&rdquo stands for. Some people believe it was Joseph or James. But who really knows? J. Dawson could have been &ldquoJack Dawson&rdquo.
Gorillaz is a musical project created in 1998, by British musician Damon Albarn and British cartoonist Jamie Hewlett, co-creator of the comic book Tank Girl. This project consists of the Gorillaz music itself, and an extensive fictional universe depicting a &ldquovirtual band&rdquo of comic book characters. This band is composed of four animated members: 2D (lead vocalist, keyboard), Murdoc Niccals (bass guitar), Noodle (guitar and occasional vocals) and Russel Hobbs (drums and percussion). Musion® Eyeliner&trade System was the holographic projection technology behind the 3D animation of the popular band, who performed &lsquolive&rsquo at the 2006 Grammy Awards. What&rsquos even more surprising is that the Eyeliner&trade System also re-created a virtual Madonna, who performed her hit single Hung up on the same 3D stage. Both the live and TV audiences who watched the performance had no clue that what they were watching, at least in the first few minutes of Madonna&rsquos performance, was just virtual reality. The Grammy&rsquos performance was a variation on the MTV Europe Music Awards in Lisbon, with the added attraction of a virtual superstar. Yes, that&rsquos right. The Madonna you saw on stage with Gorillaz at the Grammys was as virtual as her cartoon counterparts. However, the rappers from De La Soul who came onstage were, in fact, the real deal.
Hatsune Miku is a Vocaloid, but what is a Vocaloid, you ask? The Vocaloid software enables users to synthesize singing, by typing in lyrics and melody. It uses synthesizing technology with specially recorded vocals of voice actors or singers. The word &ldquoVocaloid&rdquo comes from &ldquoVocal&rdquo, as in singing or talking, and &ldquoAndroid&rdquo to represent the computer or robotic side. To create a song, the user must input the melody and lyrics. She&rsquos not human, but a computer. An extremely popular computer! In fact, I&rsquom a huge fan of Vocaloid myself! There is more than just Miku (Luka is my favorite!). Since she&rsquos not real, her concerts are 100% holographic. There are 16 projectors that are aimed at a special see through screen when projected in sync it adds a 3D effect without the need for 3D glasses. After 2007, Hatsune Miku was released in Japan by music company Crypton. The initial sales of Hatsune Miku were so high that Crypton could not keep up with the demand. In the first 12 days of sale, nearly 3,000 sales reservations were made. Later reports showed that she had sold 60,000+ copies of her software &ndash normally selling 1,000 copies of a synthesizing software was considered good business.
The Washburn Crosby Company of Minneapolis, one of the six big milling companies that merged into General Mills in 1928, received thousands of requests each year in the late 1910s and early 1920s for answers to baking questions. In 1921, managers decided that it would be more intimate to sign the responses personally they combined the last name of a retired company executive, William Crocker, with the first name &ldquoBetty,&rdquo which was thought of as &ldquowarm and friendly.&rdquo The signature came from a secretary, who won a contest among female employees. (The same signature still appears on Betty Crocker products.) Finally, in 1936, Betty Crocker got a face. Artist Neysa McMein brought together all the women in the company&rsquos Home Service Department and &ldquoblended their features into an official likeness.&rdquo The widely circulated portrait reinforced the popular belief that Betty Crocker was a real woman. One public opinion poll rated her as the second most famous woman in America, after Eleanor Roosevelt. Over the next seventy-five years, her face has changed seven times: she became younger in 1955 she became a &ldquoprofessional&rdquo woman in 1980 and in 1996 she became multicultural, acquiring a slightly darker and more &ldquoethnic&rdquo look.
P.S. Sara Lee is a real person!
If you live in America then I&rsquom almost 100% sure you have seen at least one form of &ldquoUncle Sam.&rdquo If you&rsquore not familiar with him, he is a personification of the federal government or citizens of the US, typically portrayed as a tall, thin, bearded man wearing a suit of red, white, and blue. But where did he come from? J.M. Flagg&rsquos 1917 poster was based on the original British Lord Kitchener poster from three years earlier, which was used to recruit soldiers for both World War I and World War II. Flagg used a modified version of his own face for Uncle Sam, and veteran Walter Botts provided the pose. The face also bears resemblance to the real Samuel Wilson. During the War of 1812, a N.Y. meat packer named Samuel Wilson supplied beef to the U.S. Army. The barrels were stamped with &ldquoU.S.&rdquo for the &ldquoUnited States,&rdquo but soldiers (they always seem to speak their own language) started describing the food as being &ldquoUncle Sam&rsquos.&rdquo
A local newspaper spread the story and before you know it, &ldquoUncle Sam&rdquo became a popular nickname for the federal government. Although he is based upon several people, he never officially lived or existed. The poster has become an iconic symbol for the US, especially during times of war or conflict.
6 Berlin's Holocaust Memorial Is A Popular Location For Grindr Profile Pictures
Berlin's Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a staggering sight to behold. Consisting of 2,711 plinths of concrete covering an area of five acres, it stands as a stark reminder of the scale of the Holocaust. It's also an amazing place to visit if you're looking for an amazing background photo for your Grindr profile.
Although this trend was first brought into public awareness by the blog Grindr Remembers, it began way, way before that. In 2011, the CEO of Grindr was forced to defend budding Hansel Adamses everywhere by arguing that this represented people "coming together as a community (. ) to share and inspire others to take part in the memory of the Holocaust," before adding ". and maybe get some hot bratwurst, yeah?" and thrusting himself into the stratosphere.
For legal reasons, we have to point out that he did not in fact say that last part. He also doesn't support the practice nowadays, for some reason.
Seeing as how Berlin is home to an abandoned amusement park littered with dinosaur corpses, these guys clearly suck at Grindr. But at least they were trying to get laid some jackasses use the memorial to practice their CrossFit. During a layover in the city, a famous CrossFit-doer(?) accidentally used one of the plinths to practice his super-cool handstands. In a world without Instagram, this would have been a case of "no harm, no foul." But it isn't. Instagram never forgets, as it is basically a supercomputer built out of strangers' butts.
Related: 6 Perverted Sexual Fantasies People Passed Off As 'Art'
As Barbie has progressed from a pretty young woman to whom all girls could aspire, to something often verging on the likeness of a harlot, one can wonder whether it was Barbie influencing children, or children influencing Barbie. There are certainly many similarities. Barbie has depicted almost every possible female lifestyle choice and I think there can be no doubt that she has been at the start of the path many women have taken in life.
23 Central Perk
We have all dreamt of heading over to Central Perk with five of our beloved friends to gab, gossip and just hang out! If you aren't familiar with Central Perk, it is the popular hangout spot where the cast of 'FRIENDS' would hang out. According to Travel + Leisure, you can actually visit the set of Central Perk, however, you won't be able to drink any real coffee, or even have to go to New York City to see it. The set is located at Warner Brother Studios in Los Angeles, California, where countless fans visit each year to take a pic on that famous sofa. Although it doesn't actually exist, it's great that the set was preserved to be admired by the show's fans.
6 The Military Genius Who Never Was
We&rsquove all heard of The Art of War. A military strategy book written by General Sun Tzu in Ancient China, it&rsquos now chiefly known for being read by sociopathic middle managers and sports coaches. Since you&rsquove read this far, you can probably guess what&rsquos coming next: There&rsquos a very good chance that its author never existed.
According to many scholars, both ancient and modern, the writing style of The Art of War is completely inconsistent with the time in which it was supposedly written. As a further nail in Sun Tzu&rsquos imaginary coffin, there are very, very few contemporary accounts that mention anyone matching his description and none that describe him as a military genius. In fact, the most thorough military history of the period fails to mention him at all.
21 Hoer Verde - “There is no salvation”
Located somewhere in Brazil, this little village of 600 residents suddenly became empty when a group of travelers arrived in 1923. But what makes this disappearance more puzzling was that none of the villagers’ belongings had been taken nor their food.
The other thing that had been left was a message scrawled on a blackboard which said, “There is no salvation”.
In the time since, several theories have been proposed to explain the residents’ sudden departure from being threatened by guerrillas (since many countries in South America were in political upheaval due to America’s interference) to being abducted by aliens.
Shambhala is a Sanskrit word that means “place of peace.” This is an ancient mythical paradise that predates Tibetan Buddhism. The name was first seen in the scriptures of Zhang Zhung in western Tibet. According to the legend, it’s a kind of heaven where only the purest can live in a place bountiful with love and wisdom. There is no old age or suffering here in this mythical kingdom.
Also known as Shangri-la, this place has been called by many names throughout the years. Sometimes called the Forbidden Land, Land of Radiant Spirits and Land of the Living Gods. Many westerners believed it to be a real place for some time, hidden deep within the Tibetan mountains. In Buddhist traditions it's said to be ruled over by a future Buddha named Maitreya and when the world declines into abject war and degeneracy, a great war will come as the Shambhala Kings ride out to defeat "dark forces" It is after this time in which the world will be ushered into a new Golden Age.
Top 22 Unbelievable Places That You Have To Visit Before You Die
Our world is so full of wonders that new unusual places and beautiful nature are discovered every day, be that by professional photographers or amateurs. Different geographical locations, climatic conditions and even seasons offer the widest variety of beautiful sceneries: pink lakes, stunning lavender or tulip fields, breath-taking canyons and mountains, and other amazing places to go to you can hardly believe actually exist!
Some of the beautiful places to visit in this collection will be of all natural sights you can find while traveling around the world, while the others have experienced human interference &ndash but even in these cases, the result of such collaboration is spectacular. The Japanese learned how to tame thousands of Wisterias and form a romantic tunnel out of them another one was created all the way in Ukraine by a passing train and what eventually ends up as hot tea in our mugs, first grows in stunning tree fields in Asia &ndash those are just a few places to visit before you die. No wonder that traveling in one of the best forms of recreation &ndash even looking at these pictures takes your mind to far away places&hellip And yes, all those of those beautiful places to travel are real!
1 Las Vegas Used To Have A Nuclear Bomb Lightshow
Up till now, we've been talking about places that in the past fell on some hardship. After all, no place on earth wants to look like it's a giant billboard for the end of days, right? No place except Las Vegas, of course, which courts disaster like craziness is the only thing keeping the desert from encroaching. That must be why, in the '50s, when the fear of a mushroom-shaped death was on everyone's mind, Vegas decided to turn nuclear holocaust into a glitzy show.
You see, back in those days, the government was still testing atomic bombs, presumably because they looked super bitchin' and they had no idea when they were going to get to use one again. They tested over a thousand bombs a mere 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. By this time, the nuclear bombs were so goddamned big and powerful that Vegas tourists could easily see the mushroom clouds and light from the city. So while any other city would petition the army to either test their world-ending death weapons a little further away or maybe, y'know, not at all, the Vegas Chamber Of Commerce made up schedules and calendars giving tourists exact detonation times of the bombs, and even suggested the best spots for watching them.
Visitors to Vegas, on balance, aren't good at assessing risk.
The Desert Inn, among other casinos, made good use of their north-facing properties and even started serving themed drinks called "atomic cocktails." Other places would host "Dawn Bomb Parties," and "Miss Atomic Energy" would be crowned at the Sands hotel, with all of the contestants dressed in their finest mushroom cloud-shaped gowns.
These tests went on until 1963, when the Limited Test Ban Treaty stopped the military from bombing parts of America like they were trying to get rid of super-termites. After that, Vegas had to stop trying to squeeze money out of the Cold War (and do more matinee shows to compensate), and all those death-obsessed tourists had to settle for the thrill of betting their kids' college money on blackjack.
Justin writes some kinda, really, maybe funny stuff on his site. Add him on Twitter if you like unselfish lovers.
Behind every awful movie is the idea for a good one. Old man Indiana Jones discovers aliens. Good in theory, bad in practice. Batman fights Superman. So simple, but so bad. Are there good translations of these movies hidden within the stinking turds that saw the light of day? Jack O'Brien hosts Soren Bowie, Daniel O'Brien, and Katie Willert of 'After Hours' on our next live podcast to find an answer as they discuss their ideal versions of flops, reboots, and remakes. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased here!
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out 3 Foreign Countries That Just Don't Give A F#@%, and other videos you won't see on the site!
Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)
While hiking across Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park may not be every American history buff’s idea of a good time, this 2.2-million acre park has a storied history. It was designated as America’s first national park by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872 and has numerous different ecosystems that tell the larger story of America’s topography. Of course, be sure to see the erupting geyser Old Faithful, which goes off every 45 to 125 minutes. After you visit Yellowstone, you’ll know why it’s one of America’s most popular tourist destinations.