‘Legally Haunted’ New York Mansion Is on the Market for $1.9 Million

tupungato/iStock via Getty Images
tupungato/iStock via Getty Images

A 4628-square-foot house that just went on the market in Nyack, New York, has a lot to offer: five bedrooms, riverside views, and a history of being haunted. The so-called "ghost house" has such an infamous reputation that it was legally declared haunted in 1991. Now, People reports that you can own it for $1.9 million.

Built in 1890, the Queen Anne Victorian home on the Hudson River had a relatively unremarkable track record until the 1960s. That was when a woman named Helen Ackley moved there with her family and started spreading rumors of its otherworldly residents. She alleged that spirits from the Revolutionary War lived there, and they made their presence known by shaking beds and hovering in midair. Her accounts were reported in the local newspaper and Reader's Digest.

The poltergeists apparently weren't terrifying enough to make the home uninhabitable, and the Ackleys lived there for more than 20 years before listing it in 1989. But the house's next would-be owners didn't share their relaxed attitude. When the couple discovered the mansion was reportedly haunted after signing a contract, they backed out of the deal and sued. They argued that, like mold or vermin, a potential ghost infestation should be disclosed to potential property buyers.

The New York Supreme Court agreed: In 1991, it declared that because the Ackleys had widely publicized their beliefs about the house, they had created a stigma around it, and that information needed to be shared with the next home owners. The "Ghostbusters ruling" is still referred to today when determining what qualifies as a "legally haunted" house.

Since that supernatural scandal, there hasn't been a lot of negative press about the home at 1 LaVeta Place. Celebrities like singer Ingrid Michaelson and rapper Matisyahu have lived there for brief stints, and neither reported seeing ghosts. If you don't mind the property's spooky history (or perhaps consider it a perk), you can check out the listing on Trulia. And even if there is a ghost or two haunting the halls, the in-ground saltwater pool and views of the Hudson may make up for it.

[h/t People]

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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