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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

8 eerie, abandoned amusement parks


abandoned carousel horse in front of rusted rollercoaster rails
Photo: SteveSmash/Flickr

Take a ride ... or not

After tracking down a handful of the world’s most unusual theme parks, we got to thinking about defunct amusement parks, specifically ones that, although officially closed off to the public, are still receiving patrons in the form of urban explorers who risk injury, arrest, unsavory encounters and even radiation exposure for the chance to experience the ultimate in eerie, an abandoned amusement park, firsthand.
Like nightmarish scenes taken straight from Alan Weisman’s “The World Without Us,” these parks that filled so many visitors with happy memories (and motion sickness) have now been left to rot in various stages of deterioration after being ravaged by flood, nuclear disaster and poor ticket sales. And although there’s something inherently spooky about abandoned amusement parks, there’s also something beautiful and poetic about them, particularly in the curious way Mother Nature goes about reclaiming landscapes punctuated by idle roller coasters and collapsing funhouses. In some cases, neglected amusement parks have proven to be more photogenic in death than they were in life.
Here you’ll find eight decaying anti-Disneylands — all with fascinating, sometimes tragic stories to tell — captured in all of their haunting glory. (Text: Matt Hickman)

Prypiat Amusement Parkdecaying bumper cars in abandoned structure
Photo: gpjt/Flickr

Location: Prypiat, Ukraine
Years in operation: 1986
Creepy factor: 10

Although some stories differ, it’s commonly believed that Ukraine’s Prypiat Amusement Park closed on the very same day it opened: April 27, 1986, exactly one day after the catastrophic Chernobyl nuclear disaster brought the world to a standstill. Due to the obvious, the entire city of Prypiat, with a population of around 50,000 at the time, was completely forsaken, not just its namesake amusement park. Radiation levels in parts of the park are still dangerously high, but that doesn’t discourage adventurous shutterbugs from entering this particularly chilling section of the Zone of Alienation to get a shot of Prypiat’s iconic abandoned Ferris wheel. Check out more photos here.

Jazzland/Six Flags New Orleans

giant clown head on ground
Photo: Keoni Cabral/Flickr

New Orleans, La.
Years in operation: 2000-2005
Creepy factor: 9

When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, park operators at Six Flags New Orleans were in the planning stages of opening a water park. Well, they got one. Severely damaged by Katrina’s devastating floodwaters and forced to close, Six Flags New Orleans, which originally opened as Jazzland in 2000, remains in an arrested state of decay to this day and is perhaps more famous now — thanks in part to numerous camera-wielding urban explorers — than it was when in operation. Home to still-standing Cajun-themed attractions like the Zydeco Scream and the Muskrat Scrambler, the future of the property, now owned by the city of New Orleans, is unclear, although Southern Star Amusement is leading an effort to redevelop that park. Check out more photos here.

Okpo Land

carousel horse in front of rusty rollercoaster rails
Photo: SteveSmash/Flickr

Location: Okpo City, Geoje Island, South Korea
Years in operation: ?-1999
Creepy factor: 9
While we don’t know much about the history of Okpo Land, a seriously foreboding abandoned fun park perched atop a hill on South Korea’s tiny Geoje Island, we do know this: The park was shut down in 1999 after a number of fatal accidents, the last when a young girl tragically fell to her death from a ride. Immediately after that incident, the owner of the park disappeared and was never heard from again. Although Okpo Land has the dread-inducing looks and disturbing back-story seemingly plucked from a K-Horror film, that hasn’t stopped hordes of fearless urban explorers from making a pilgrimage (this guy even spent the night). Check out more photos here.

Heritage USA

boarded-up king's castle
Photo: anotherkindofdrew/Flickr

Location: Fort Mill, N.C.
Years in operation: 1978-1989
Creepy factor: 8
This is the amusement park that Our Lady of the Tattooed Eyebrows built. At its height in the mid-1980s, Heritage USA, a Jesus-y theme and water park built by fiery PTL televangelist Jim Bakker and his then-wife, the late Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, was a top American vacation destination on par with Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Then the attendance-damaging trifecta of Jessica Hahn, the IRS and 1989’s Hurricane Hugo hit and not even the Lord himself (or Jerry Falwell) could save the park from closure. Since then, some of the park’s 2,300 acres have been repurposed and redeveloped, but the creepiest castle in all the land, once home to a Christian arcade and go-kart track, remains standing. Check out more photos here.


carousel horse on abandoned track
Photo: extranoise/Flickr

Location: Berlin, Germany
Years in operation: 1969-2002
Creepy factor: 8
One of the world’s more photogenic derelict fun-zones, this district of toppled dinosaurs, rusted Ferris wheels and vandalized swan boats operated for 20 years as Kulturpark Plänterwald in the former East Berlin before becoming Spreepark in the wall-toppling year of 1989. Although the reason the park was shuttered isn’t exactly scandalous — good, old-fashioned insolvency — what happened to its former owner, Norbert Witte, is. In early 2002, a bankrupt Witte fled from Germany to Lima, Peru, taking his family and several of the park’s attractions with him. There, Witte tried to open another amusement park but that didn’t work out apparently — in May 2004 he was sentenced to seven years jail time for attempting to smuggle 400 pounds of cocaine back into Germany, hidden in the masts of a “flying carpet” ride. Witte, understandably quite the tabloid fixture in Germany, was the subject of a 2009 documentary film, “Achterbahn,” and is said to live in a trailer parked on the grounds of his failed amusement park. Check out more photos here.

Gulliver’s Kingdom

people on giant statue of Gulliver in front of Mount Fuji
Photo: mutantMandias/Flickr

Location: Kamikuishiki, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan
Years in operation: 1997-2001
Creepy factor: 8
Although Japan has its fair share of uncanny abandoned amusement parks, we think that Gulliver’s Kingdom, a failed theme park based on Jonathan Swift’s classic tale, takes the proverbial cake. Although demolished in 2007, the several-year span when the Lilliputian theme park sat disused and neglected was a high point for the many intrepid urban explorers looking to crawl all over Lemuel Gulliver’s lanky, 147.5-foot-long concrete frame. The park’s closing, the result of poor ticket sales, probably had something to do with its rather unfortunate locale: although located at the foot of Mount Fuji, the park was adjacent to Aokigarah, Japan’s infamous “Suicide Forest,” and in the same village where the Aum Shinriyko doomsday cult, the group behind 1995’s Sarin gas attacks in Tokyo, was headquartered. Check out more photos here.

Dogpatch USA

decaying building
Photo: Clinton Steeds/Flickr

Location: Marble Falls, Ark.
Years in operation: 1968-1993
Creepy factor: 7
When Dogpatch USA, a “rustic” theme park based on Al Capp’s Appalachia-stereotyping “L’il Abner” comic strip, finally closed its gates for good in 1993, the park itself must have breathed a giant sigh of relief. During its 25-year run, Dogpatch USA experienced numerous owners, heat waves, lawsuits, legal battles, bankruptcy, fierce competition (curse you, Silver Dollar City!), the fall of hillbilly pop culture and a generation of young patrons who had no clue what “L’il Abner” even was — a lot for an Ozarkian amusement park where the top attractions included Earthquake McGoon’s Brain Rattler. Although some efforts to clean up the heavily vandalized rural property have been made over the years, the park, under interesting new ownership, remains in a state of disrepair. Check out more photos here.


Photo: atsf106/Flickr

Location: Wichita, Kan.
Years in operation: 1949-2004
Creepy factor: 7
Decidedly more sad than spooky (save for Louie, the Wurlitzer-playing robo-clown), Wichita’s Joyland, a traditional, family-owned amusement park, became the target of rampant vandalism and destruction after closing in 2004. Margaret Russell, who ran the park with her late husband Stanley since the late 1960s, told the Wichita Eagle: “We're sick. Our hearts are just sick. It's not easy, not easy.” Although Joyland may be gone, leaving behind a heartbroken owner, this Heartland institution has certainly not been forgotten thanks to a haunting short film called “No Joy” from Vimeo user Mike Petty and an entire initiative dedicated to bringing back Joyland to its former glory while adding new attractions. Check out more photos here.

DD day for Jessica Simpson's breasts


JESSICA Simpson is going under the knife – to make her boobs SMALLER.
Big ... Jessica Simpson hates huge boobs
Big ... Jessica Simpson hates huge boobs

The TV star, 31, told pals she is fed up with her DD breasts as they "make her look fat".

A pal said: "She's never loved having a huge chest."

The star reportedly wants to slim before her wedding to American footballer Eric Johnson. The pal said she may even POSTPONE the wedding if she can't lose weight for the November 11 event.

Slimming down ... Jessica Simpson
Slimming down ... Jessica Simpson

Trumpets? We don't need no stinkin' trumpets.

Uploaded by on Aug 30, 2011

Guy plays his trumpet he made out of a coke bottle. Make money online here-

Awesome Man Caves (For Real Men)

article written by: Greg Voakes

If you think having a mini fridge and a 32″ Plasma screen television in your college dorm qualifies as a “man cave”, you’re doing it all wrong.

We’ve discovered one of the most beautiful websites known to mankind, all dedicated to mancaves. Pool tables, glow in the dark anything, and the most high tech stuff all in the same room? You got it.

We’d like to introduce, your go-to spot to let your jaw drop and your eyes to spin into the back of your skull. Here’s a few examples of what you’re going to see:

Foodie Underground: 20 Uses for Honey You Never Thought Of


Column20 unusual ways to use honey, from food to facials.

It was brought to my attention last week that September is in fact National Honey Month. Honey gets an entire month all to itself? Why yes, it certainly does.

Turns out that Americans consume 1.5 pounds of honey per person annually, and there are more than 300 types of honey in the United States alone. That’s impressive, and we figured that if honey gets to be honored all month long, the least we could do is give you 20 different uses for it. Enjoy!

1. Put it on your lips

Did you know that making your own lip balm is as easy as tracking down some almond oil, beeswax and honey? Sure is. Makes you feel a little guilty about that $10 version you picked up at the health food store yesterday, doesn’t it?

2. Make your own honey moisturizer

If you’ve got a handful of sweet smelling herbs – think lavender - laying around and ready to be used, why not use them for your own homemade honey lotion? Warm honey over a saucepan until it gets to a liquid consistency. Pour honey over herbs and cap tightly; the ratio you want to use is 1 tablespoon of herbs per 8 ounces of honey. Let sit for a week and then mix 1 teaspoon of liquid into an 8 ounce bottle of unscented lotion.

3. Eat it with goat cheese

In need of a classy hors d’oeuvre but lacking in the time department? Try this: put a round of goat cheese in a ramekin, sprinkle honey and chopped walnuts on top and place in oven at 350F until honey and cheese are both soft. Serve with baguette or crackers and you’ll be the life of the party.

4. Prepare for the end of the world

You never know what’s going to happen, so stock it. Now.

5. Drink it

We all know a drop of honey in tea is good for a sore throat, but you can add it to most drinks for an extra energy boost. And simply because it’s a whole lot better than tossing in a few Sweet ‘N Lows.

6. Make a salad

One of my favorite and easiest fruit salads uses just a touch of honey to enhance the sugars in the fruit, and it’s a perfect late summer dessert.

  • 1 cantaloupe, chopped
  • 3 nectarines, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Mix together and enjoy!

7. Give yourself a facial

Honey is a natural humectant with antimicrobial properties, which means your skin will be happy when you give it some sweet honey love. Try a basic honey wash by mixing a dollop of honey and two tablespoons of warm water and massaging the mixture into your skin. Or you can go all out and try the Cucumber Honey Facial.

8. Go the extra mile

Forget energy bars and shots, just pop a tablespoon of honey before your next workout. Seriously, it has been proven to boost athletic performance.

9. Remove parasites

Got a post-Southeast Asia backpacking trip bug that just won’t leave you alone? Mix up a good blend of honey, water and vinegar and you’ll quickly be on your way to being parasite free.

10. Clean your cuts and scrapes

Honey can actually be used as an antiseptic, like a natural Neosporin. Because of its many antimicrobial properties, it can be used to treat wounds and even burns.

11. Get rid of your hangover

Forget a morning of popping ibuprofen, spread some honey on your toast or add some to your tea. Because honey is loaded with fructose, it will help speed up the metabolism of alcohol.

12. Clear up your dry elbows

Nothing’s worse than scratchy elbows (no really) so next time, after you’ve washed and scrubbed, rub some honey on to soften the skin. Leave on for 30 minutes then wash off.

13. Soften your skin

Honey is an excellent exfoliant. You can pair it with ground almonds and lemon juice for a killer homemade facial scrub.

14. Mix a drink

After you’ve been busy reaping all the health benefits that honey has to offer, it’s time to celebrate, and what better way than with a good ole cocktail. Honey Gin Cocktail? Bring it.

15. Eat the honeycomb. No really, just do it.

Yes, it can be done! One of our fave food bloggers Clotilde Dusoulier, of Chocolate & Zucchini, put the ingredient to her readers and got some fun responses. The best sounding one? Mix it with crunchy peanut butter on toast.

16. Get an energy boost

Feeling a tad lethargic? Skip the coffee and go for the honey instead. Mix a tablespoon into a cup of tea and you’ll be feeling better in no time.

17. Beautify your hair

In the shower, after you wash your, coat the ends with a bit of honey. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing out and you’ll find that your hair is less frizzy and extra conditioned. Or make your hair shiny and bright by adding one teaspoon honey to one quart of water, and after washing your hair, pouring the mixture over your head. Let dry and enjoy your new-found shiny do.

18. Preserve fruit

Jam is so five years ago; show you’re truly cutting edge by preserving your fruits in a honey sauce. All it takes is one part honey to ten parts water and then covering your berries. Pretty much the closest you’re ever going to get to bottling up a little bit of summer.

19. Relax in the tub

Add a few tablespoons of honey to your bath, for sweeter smelling, softer feeling water. Pure bliss.

20. Lose weight

Well, what were you expecting? With a list this long it had to be pretty apparent that honey is in fact a wonder food, and as it turns out, you can even make it part of your next weight loss plan. Honey is an excellent substitute for sugar and it also helps speed up metabolism. Just remember: all things in moderation.

Editor’s note: This is the latest installment of Anna Brones’s weekly column at EcoSalon, Foodie Underground, discovering what’s new and different in the underground food movement, from supper clubs to mini markets to the culinary avant garde.

Giant 21ft killer croc is caught


Captured ... Mayor Cox Elorde and locals with killer crocodile

Captured ... Mayor Cox Elorde and locals with killer crocodile

A GIANT 21ft crocodile feared to have attacked several villagers has been
caught after a three-week hunt.

The one-ton male saltwater beast was trapped in a creek in Bunawan, in the

Philippines, on Saturday night.

It is one of the largest crocs ever to be captured alive in the country.

Dozens of locals and staff from a crocodile farm set up traps to catch the
monster after reports of a number of savage crocodile attacks.

Video: Giant crocodile caught alive

21-FOOT man-eating croc weighing 1 ton captured in Philippines

The reptile is suspected of killing a tragic fisherman who went missing in


The croc may now be put into a planned ecotourism park in the southern town.

Mayor Cox Elorde says that this would turn it "from a threat into an asset".

After the hunt, he said: "We were nervous but it's our duty to deal with

a threat to the villagers. When I finally stood before it, I couldn't
believe my eyes."

About 100 people had to pull the crocodile from the creek to a clearing where

a crane lifted it into a truck.

Gallery: Empire Invades AT&T Park for San Francisco Giants’ Star Wars Day

Giants Bounty Hunters 7th Inning Stretch Giants Bounty Hunters Lou Seal Jedi Fear the Beard Little Darth Vader Chewbacca Darth Weezy and Princess Leia

Lou Seal on Field Stormtrooper Fans Stormtroopers on Field Darth Wilson Stormtroopers Brian Wilson in Carbonite

SAN FRANCISCO — A steady stream of Darth Vaders, Princess Leias, Boba Fetts and, of course, Stormtroopers descended on AT&T Park here Sunday as the world-champion San Francisco Giants played host to the Empire for Star Wars Day.

In a city known for its geek fascinations, seeing Jedi mix with hard-core baseball fans is not an uncommon occurrence, but the Giants' game against the Arizona Diamondbacks was the first-ever Star Wars Day for the franchise.

And the team went all-out. Fans got a pre-game costume contest, a post-game screening of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back in the stadium, Stormtroopers guarding the field during the "Star-Spangled Banner," giveaway statues of Giants closing pitcher Brian Wilson — frozen in carbonite, Han Solo-style — and the opportunity to generally geek out throughout the game.

"We don't even know what the score is," said 33-year-old Ryan Flores, above right, who came in a Giants bounty hunter uniform. Flores told that he and his Boba-Fett-meets-Giants-costumed friend, Robin Lopez, 31 (above left), were distracted from the game's play-by-play due to fans wanting pictures with the pair.

Not that Flores minded. He noted that he and Lopez had been happy to take pictures, making them each a Star for the day.

"I'm a geek and if I can make a little kid smile, that makes my day," Flores said.

During the game, Giants players were shown in Jedi garb in their photos on the stadium's giant screen. Between innings, the park showed Star Wars clips, including one featuring the team's mascot, Lou Seal, inserted into key scenes from the film franchise — changes that went over better with fans than last week's addition of Darth Vader screaming "No!" in the upcoming Blu-ray version of Return of the Jedi.

In the end, though, the Force was stronger with Star Wars fans than with the Giants, who lost to the Diamondbacks 4-1 after an 8th-inning rally by the Arizona team.

Click through the gallery above to get a taste of San Francisco baseball's geekiest day, and, as one fan's sign said, "May the SForce be with you."