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The AsiaObscura Book – in stores now! Excellent Products 

The AsiaObscura Book – in stores now!

That’s right! From the producer of Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, the director of Poultry in Motion: Truth is Stranger than Chicken, and the writer of The Stormglass Protocol for the iPad comes the blog compilation of the decade! Featuring unseen photos, original stories, deranged dishes, new adventures and all your favorite AsiaObscura moments, as seen in BoingBoing, io9, The Huffington Post, Ain’t It Cool News, The Phnom Penh Insider, China Daily and The Daily Mail. Including: A Ton of Hand Drawn Indian Movie Posters… Adventures from a Rural…

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We Snuck Into Arthur C. Clarke’s Home, And… Strange Tourism Top Stories 

We Snuck Into Arthur C. Clarke’s Home, And…

Yes, when this story gets to where it’s going, I end up in Arthur C. Clarke’s armchair. I promise. I started this morning with a strong cup of coffee, an egg hopper doused in fish curry, and the sci-fi classic Childhood’s End. And then a thought occurred to me: Didn’t Arthur C. Clarke live here once? We’re in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, and it’s the last day of our trip. It’s our last week in Asia. It’s actually, in a way, the end of AsiaObscura. We move back to America…

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Stepping on Human Skulls in Bangalore’s Black Magic Graveyard Holy Curiosities 

Stepping on Human Skulls in Bangalore’s Black Magic Graveyard

As I stepped over the leg bone, I laughed. I’m no bone doctor, but it looked human to me. Orthopaedist, is that what it’s called? I’m no orthopaedist. Must be from a cow, or maybe a dog. Do dogs get that big? Not a human. Definitely not a human. But then I tripped, and I stepped on a skullcap, that really nailed it for me. This Bangalore graveyard was covered in human bones. “Maybe the dogs dig them up,” suggested Kaveri, as she led the way to the high priestess…

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India’s Charlie Chaplin-branded Potato Chips Copyright Carelessness 

India’s Charlie Chaplin-branded Potato Chips

Okay, they’re not really potato chips. They’re about as far from that as you get — offerings like papad chivda, soya chips, sev puri, and mari banana wafers. They’re tasty. And the bags are all stamped with Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp. I loved them so much I bought every kind the supermarket sold. I think this might be my new favorite Indian snack.

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Terribly Cute Beijing Marriage License Photos Cute & Kawaii 

Terribly Cute Beijing Marriage License Photos

I know this is mildly goofy, but many of Beijing’s photo labs will still produce classic Marriage License photos. And they’re just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. The Polaroid framing, the flowery carved edges, it’s all too cool. And the pose was rigorously enforced — we were molded into those positions over a period of five minutes. If we got married in Beijing, this would definitely be the picture we’d use. From the large China Photo Studio at 8 Jiaodaokou East, Beijing, China. (And kudos to Tony and…

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The Ten Great Buildings of China, and Their Gruesome Pasts Historical Wonders 

The Ten Great Buildings of China, and Their Gruesome Pasts

In 1959, Mao was one hell of a proud man. As the new Emperor of China, he’d led an unbelievable boom in food production, completely eliminated the need for medicine and science, and “enticed the snakes out of their caves” with a hundred flowers — all in just ten years! So he decided to erect ten great buildings to honor his grand achievements. They would represent the people, the peasants, the army, the minorities — each building had a great semantic purpose. He would name them The Ten Great Buildings!…

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Photographing India, Then and Now Historical Wonders 

Photographing India, Then and Now

In London, I found the old box of slides. It was hidden in the back of my parents’ closet. I had to move fifteen other boxes to get to it. It hadn’t been touched in decades. I bought a slide scanner immediately, and went to work. Going through the treasures inside, I keep gagging at the photos that I’m retaking 30 years later. Some are awfully obvious, like these crackers of the Taj Mahal… and Humayun’s Tomb… But these are the de rigeur shots. Of course Dad shot them in…

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A Museum of Nightmares in the Shadow of the Eiffel Tower Offbeat Museums The Occult 

A Museum of Nightmares in the Shadow of the Eiffel Tower

I don’t think about hair. I mean, sure I’m losing mine. And sure, the musical is one of the greatest things of all time. But really… is hirsituity that big a deal? Big enough for the Musée de Quai Branly to brazenly devote an entire exhibit to it? Lord no! And Lord YES! (Adapting my professorial voice here, and pushing my glasses up my nose ever so slightly.) You see, hair is a symbol of sensuality, sexuality, virility. And that’s clearly why this exhibit features a score — yes, A…

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The Ossuaries of Paris… Historical Wonders Offbeat Museums The Occult 

The Ossuaries of Paris…

This was like the trip to Disneyworld I’ve never taken. My golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s factory. Our trip to North Korea. I know you’ve already been. Many times. But walking these two kilometers, I realized why this was one of my mom’s favorite places in Paris. Two kilometers of stacked-up bones, all to us. Entirely alone. So damned romantic.

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My Gout, and Jules Baretta’s Wax Museum of Incredible Diseases Offbeat Museums 

My Gout, and Jules Baretta’s Wax Museum of Incredible Diseases

The Bangalore doctor frowned at the printouts of my blood tests. “Do you eat innards? You know, like brains, liver, kidneys?” Well, dear reader, if you know me, you know the answer is yes. “And red meat?” I nodded. “And herring and mackerel?” Oh yes! “Well, you must stop. Your urea levels are dangerously high. You are at risk of gout.” I didn’t tell him about the trip to Paris. And here I am, doing my best to bring this gout on. Foie gras, smoked salmon, and plates and plates…

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Goodbye Telegram / Hello Telegram Historical Wonders 

Goodbye Telegram / Hello Telegram

If you’d asked me, I’d have confidently told you the telegram service was long gone, relegated to dusty 1930s spy thrillers, retro New York hipster bars, and awesome games I’m building. I would have been so completely wrong. It turns out India actually still uses telegrams. Barely. The service is closing in days! When I read this, I sent Woo an urgent SMS. “We’ve got to send a telegram. Pronto.” I looked at the note, and added one word to the end: “Stop.” And I knew, this was going to…

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Dr Shankar’s Wonderful Collection of Brains and Other Medical Obscura Devoted Obsession Offbeat Museums 

Dr Shankar’s Wonderful Collection of Brains and Other Medical Obscura

It came up over a bowl of brain stew at Karim’s, Old Delhi’s famously-dingy 1913 eatery. “Tasty,” I said, wiping my mouth. “By the way, did I tell you about the brain museum in Bangalore? The architect told me we should go.” Michelle tore off a piece of naan, and sopped up a wet chunk of brain. “We have to go,” she said. And this weekend, we did.

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Murder, Incest, and Fratricide led to The Taj Mahal? Historical Wonders 

Murder, Incest, and Fratricide led to The Taj Mahal?

Well, we made it to the Taj Mahal last weekend. Huge. Overwhelming. Magnificent. I wiped away a tear or two. Shah Jahan built it in memory of his beloved third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. That’s like the awesomest romantic gesture, ever. But I was also reading William Dalrymple’s City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi at the time. It’s a great book. And according to it, Shah Jahan wasn’t just a mad romantic. He was also the head of one seriously fucked-up family — a generation plagued by incest, murder, harems,…

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