Atlanta's Doll's Head Trail May Be the Creepiest Hike in the Country

Marcus O. Bst, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Marcus O. Bst, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Occasional snakes and spiders are normally the creepiest things hikers encounter on the trail, but at Constitution Lakes Park in Atlanta, Georgia, there's something else lurking in the woods. The park is home to Doll's Head Trail: a path decorated with—you guessed it—doll's heads, and it's just as unsettling as you might imagine.

Before it resembled a scene from a nightmare, Constitution Lakes Park was home to a 19th-century brick factory. The brickworks shut down more than 50 years ago, according to Atlas Obscura, and the area has since been overtaken by the surrounding wilderness. The abandoned clay pits have filled with rainwater and are now manmade ponds called the Constitution Lakes. In 2003, Dekalb County, Georgia purchased the 125-acre site and installed trails and boardwalks so the public could explore the preserve and enjoy its natural beauty.

But trees and wildlife aren't the only things you'll find in the park. Venture down Doll’s Head Trail and you'll see dozens of disembodied doll heads, many displayed artfully with signs and accessories that only add to their fear factor.

Doll's Head Trail in Atlanta
Marcus O. Bst, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Local carpenter Joel Slaton was inspired to create the trail after noticing discarded junk while hiking through the park. Every piece that's displayed along the path is made from objects recovered from the site: That includes doll parts, as well as bottles, hunks of old brick, and even appliances. Hikers are invited to create art of their own—Slaton just asks that they only use "found" materials and leave the existing displays undisturbed.

Doll's Head Trail in Atlanta
Marcus O. Bst, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Doll's Head Trail in Atlanta
Marcus O. Bst, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

If you're looking for a unconventional tourist destination, you can hike Doll's Head Trail by visiting Constitution Lakes Park at 1305 South River Industrial Boulevard SE in Atlanta—and if you'd like to keep some distance between you and the dismembered doll heads, you can take a virtual tour of the trail below.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

Archaeologists Uncover Infant Remains Wearing Skulls of Older Children

© Sara Juengst
© Sara Juengst

Archaeologists in Salango, Ecuador, recently uncovered two infant skeletons buried with "helmets" made from the skulls of older children, Gizmodo reports.

The discovery is the first of its kind, researchers write in a paper published in the journal Latin American Antiquity. To date, the Salango discovery presents the only known evidence of ancient people using juvenile skulls as burial headgear.

The two burial mounds where the skeletons were uncovered date back to about 100 BCE. It's likely that the skull "helmets" were cut and fitted to the infants' heads while the former were "still fleshed," the researchers write. One infant, estimated to be about 18 months old at the time of death, wears the skull of a child between 4 and 12 years old. The “helmet” was positioned so that the wearer looked “through and out of the cranial vault,” the paper reports (the cranial vault is the area of the skull where the brain is stored). The second infant, which was between 6 and 9 months old at death, is fitted with the skull of a child between 2 and 12 years old.

Images of infant skeletons covered with the bones of older children found in Ecuador
© Sara Juengst

But why? The archaeologists involved in the discovery aren’t totally sure. Ash found near the burial site suggests that a volcano may have impeded agriculture, leading to malnourishment and starvation. The skull helmets could have been an effort to offer the infants additional protection beyond the grave. It’s also possible, though unlikely, that the children could have been sacrificed in a ritual to protect the community from natural disasters. That’s less probable, though; none of the bones show any evidence of trauma, but they did show signs of anemia, suggesting that all four children were sick at their time of death. Researchers hope DNA and isotope analyses can offer more information on the discovery.

Whatever the reason is, it’s important not to judge with modern eyes, lead author Sara Juengst told Gizmodo. “Our conception of death is based in our modern medical, religious, and philosophical views,” she said. “We need to think about things in their own context as much as possible and try to keep our own prejudices or ideas about 'right/wrong' out of the analysis.”

[h/t Gizmodo]

Maine Man Catches a Rare Cotton Candy Lobster—For the Second Time

RnDmS/iStock via Getty Images
RnDmS/iStock via Getty Images

Just three months after a cotton candy lobster was caught off the coast of Maine, another Maine resident has reeled in one of the rare, colorful creatures.

Kim Hartley told WMTW that her husband caught the cotton candy lobster off Cape Rosier in Penobscot Bay—and it’s not his first time. Four years ago, he caught another one, which he donated to an aquarium in Connecticut. While the Hartleys decide what to do with their pretty new foster pet, it’s relaxing in a crate on land.

Though the chances of finding a cotton candy lobster are supposedly one in 100 million, Maine seems to be crawling with the polychromatic crustaceans. Lucky the lobster gained quite a cult following on social media after being caught near Canada’s Grand Manan Island (close to the Canada-Maine border) last summer, and Portland restaurant Scales came across one during the same season. You can see a video of the discovery in Maine from last August below:

According to National Geographic, these lobsters’ cotton candy-colored shells could be the result of a genetic mutation, or they could be related to what they’re eating. Lobsters get their usual greenish-blue hue when crustacyanin—a protein they produce—combines with astaxanthin, a bright red carotenoid found in their diet. But if the lobsters aren’t eating their usual astaxanthin-rich fare like crabs and shrimp, the lack of pigment could give them a pastel appearance. It’s possible that the cotton candy lobsters have been relying on fishermen’s bait as their main food source, rather than finding their own.

While these vibrant specimens may look more beautiful than their dull-shelled relatives, even regular lobsters are cooler than you think—find out 25 fascinating facts about them here.

[h/t WMTW]

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