Did you know New England is home to a collection of human brains, a cryptozoology museum, and a house made of paper?
A new edition of Atlas Obscura highlights 13 New England experiences that are among the planet’s most mysterious and unexpected. “Atlas Obscura, 2nd Edition: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders” by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton, is due out Oct. 15. The first Atlas Obscura book, released in 2016, was a New York Times bestseller.
“More a cabinet of curiosities than traditional guidebook, Atlas Obscura revels in the unexpected, the overlooked, the bizarre, and the mysterious,” according to the book.
Ahead, check out the book’s New England entries. For some states, as noted, the authors briefly mention another spot or two worth checking out after highlighting their picks.
- The Mapparium, a famous three-story stained-glass globe inside the Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston.
- James Allen’s Biography, “Narrative of the Life of James Allen,” a book bound in the skin of its author at the Boston Athenaeum.
- The Ether Dome, where visitors can see where the first surgery using ether took place in 1846 at the Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
- The Museum of Bad Art, where “there is a glaring gap between the artist’s sincerity and skill level,” in Somerville. The museum is currently closed for renovations, according to its website, but you can view the art online.
- Paper House in Rockport, a 1922 home made of newspaper.
In New Hampshire:
- America’s Stonehenge in Salem, a collection of small stone walls, rock arrangements, and underground chambers.
- Betty and Barney Hill Archive at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, which includes essays, newspaper clippings, photos, slides, films, and audiotapes related to the couple’s alleged abduction by aliens in 1961.
- Rock of Ages Granite Quarry in Barre, the world’s largest deep-hole granite quarry, complete with an outdoor granite bowling alley.
Also mentioned: Dog Chapel in St. Johnsbury, a village church that celebrates the spiritual bond between dogs and people.
- Wilhelm Reich Museum in Rangeley, a former laboratory of Reich, a psychoanalyst who believed that orgasmic energy could control the weather.
- International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, where an 8-foot Sasquatch guards the door of the 10,000-item collection.
- Holy Land USA in Waterbury, a closed-down theme park devoted to God.
- Cushing Brain Collection at Yale University’s Whitney Medical Library in New Haven, which has 550 jars filled with human brains once collected by neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing, who preserved them from 1903 to 1932 as part of his tumor registry.
Also mentioned: Crypt at Center Church on the Green in New Haven, where 137 graves ended up in the basement when Center Church was built on a portion of New Haven’s burial ground.
In Rhode Island:
- Roger Williams Root at the John Brown House Museum in Providence, which was discovered in place of a skeleton when the state’s founding father was exhumed in 1860. It’s known as “the tree root that ate Roger Williams.”
Also mentioned: John Hay Library at Brown University, the home of books bound in human skin and also the letters of weird fiction writer and Providence native H.P. Lovecraft, as well Gun Totem at Providence’s federal courthouse, a 12-foot high pillar made with 1,000 guns.