The ocean is big, like really big. We’ve only explored 5 percent of it, so there are amazing, unbelievable things we haven’t even seen yet. But what we have seen is still pretty strange, and some of the stuff we’ve found there, even stranger:
The Baltic Sea anomaly
In 2011 Swedish diving team Ocean X explored the bottom of the Baltic Sea. With a name like Ocean X, something straight out of a science fiction B-movie, they had to know they would discover something weird. And they certainly did: a weird disk laying on the bottom of the sea. It was 60 meters wide and basically looked like the Millennium Falcon had plopped down in the Baltic. Obviously, UFO hunters went nuts.
Theories lit up the internet — UFO believers thought this irrefutable proof that aliens had landed on Earth. The anomaly just looked too artificial to believe that it was naturally made. It even looked like it had stairs off to the side. More “grounded” theorists thought it was the turret of an old-school battleship or a Nazi anti-submarine mine. But that didn’t fit with the dating — it was at least 20,000 years old.
Finally, scientists came along and showed that it was probably a glacial deposit. But it’s a damn weird glacial deposit. UFO theorists aren’t convinced, and are sure there is a government cover up. Even scientists are still arguing about exactly what caused it. So anything goes at this point. Except for the whole Falcon thing. That’s just silly.
Man-made objects like roads and bridges don’t belong underwater. Ancient roads belong underwater even less. But off the Bahama islands, there’s an ancient road that was mysteriously laid down long ago. Or so some people think. Called Bimini Road, this is the speculated route to Atlantis.
First discovered in the ’60s, Bimini Road is a bunch of stones laid down next to each other, like an underwater cobblestone road. The artifact suddenly starts and ends, implying that it’s a small part of a long-lost causeway. However, the big question was: how did it get underwater in the first place? There wasn’t any large civilizations centered on the Bahamas, so conspiracy theorists though that it was part of an ancient Atlantian highway.
Making things even weirder, the Bimini Road matched a prediction made in 1938 by American mythic Edgar Cayce: “A portion of the temples may yet be discovered under the slime of ages and sea water near Bimini … Expect it in ’68 or ’69 – not so far away.” Bimini Road got discovered in 1968.
As they usually do, scientists came up with an alternate (and probably more reasonable) explanation: this was just a really weird-looking natural rock formation. Analysis of the rocks showed no evidence of them being cut by tools. Still, it’s an odd anomaly, and Edgar Cayce’s shockingly correct prophesy shrouds the underwater causeway in mystical mystery.
The ghost fleet of Truk Lagoon
By 1944, World War II was going really, really badly for the Japanese. Allied forces had achieved air superiority, and United States bombers could fly all over the Pacific, bombing Japanese ships without much fear of retribution. In that situation, the Japanese made the weird decision to keep the bulk of their navy in one place: the Truk Lagoon in the Caroline Islands.
The Allies launched a massive two-day air raid against the lagoon. The Japanese lost 50 ships and 250 airplanes, which was a huge chunk of their remaining fleet. There was a war to fight, so the Americans didn’t have time to clean up the island — all of the sunken war material got left at the bottom of the ocean.
Divers started re-exploring the lagoon in the ’60s, revealing the eerie underwater graveyard with documentary films. The ships, airplanes and tanks are in nearly pristine condition. Creepily, most of them still had the bodies of Japanese sailors inside of them. Tourists can now make a dive to the weird graveyard (the bodies have mercifully been removed), but it’s not safe. Ragged metal edges of blasted ships can easily cut through skin, which would be only a minor annoyance … if the water’s weren’t shark infested. But whaddya know, they are.
The old-school tech has also been leaking toxic oil and fuel into the water for 70 years now. Clearly, the ghost fleet is still trying to fight back.
Rivers are things that shouldn’t exist underwater, outside of Spongebob. Turns out, though, rivers can form underwater given the right combination of water conditions. Or maybe magic. It’s not too clear.
The biggest and best underwater river is in the Yucatán Peninsula. At the bottom of the sea there is a thin layer of hydrogen sulfate, which basically acts as a barrier between two layers of water. It’s not something a diver will feel when passing through, but it creates a secondary body of water below the proper ocean.
This isn’t just some weird formation that divers call an underwater river even though it doesn’t really look like one. Fallen leaves cover the dirt banks of the river. Submerged trees dot the edges. Besides being underwater, it looks just like a normal terrestrial river.
The river is either the coolest thing we have ever seen, or one of the most unsettling. There’s just nothing like it in the world, and it looks like a piece of dry land got submerged by a super angry mythical god without changing anything. How the system survives is beyond our understanding. If we had a few PhDs in oceanography, maybe we would start to understand it. But what we really can’t comprehend is, how somebody hasn’t made a really cool underwater horror movie about it. Get James Cameron on the phone!
Various governments around the world run ocean-listening networks. They say they’re monitoring the oceans to study glaciers, volcanic activity and animal migration. But from what we can tell, governments mostly use them to record creepy sounds from the deep that sound like Cthulhu.
The most famous one was “Bloop,” which everybody thought was a giant sea monster mating call, but ended up being a normal old ice shelf breaking apart. Like the most popular girl at school, Bloop attracted everybody’s attention, leaving the true mysterious sounds without limelight. The coolest among them is Upsweep, a periodic rising sound that’s been picked up since 1991. Unlike other weird noises, Upsweep is periodic and uniform, without the randomness we’d expect from a natural occurrence. And it just keeps showing up, with no explanation. At first, we thought Upsweep was the sound of sea water contacting underwater lava (yes that’s real, so now you have another thing to waste your afternoon reading about), but the sound profile didn’t match, nor did that it has been detected over and over like clockwork.
Since 1991, Upsweep has slowly gotten quieter, but it’s still audible to underwater hydrophones. Even the official National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration website says they basically have no clue why this is happening. When even the government openly admits they’re stumped, we know Upsweep is caused by something amazing. Until we know for sure, sea monsters are in the realm of possibility.
Living microbes from the Jurassic period
The oceans are home to many an animal that hasn’t really changed for millions of years — evolution just decided “yep, good enough” and stopped messing around with them. But these creatures have nothing on a group of microbes found at the bottom of the ocean who win the survivor award, hands down — they have stayed alive since the Jurassic period.
A group of European researchers discovered them while digging sediment cores in the ocean. When they analyzed the dirt, they found a colony of microbes that seemed barely alive. Test showed that the oldest microbes in the colony were 86 million years old — they had somehow survived all these years without food or sunlight. That’s one hell of a diet.
The microbes have such an unbelievably slow metabolism, it takes them 1,000 years to divide. In contrast, E. Coli cells divide every 17 minutes. So without cool scientific tools, you’d have to watch these ancient creatures for 1,000 years to even prove they were alive. It’s amazing to think about how much history had passed by the oldest cells in the colony. Thankfully, a stray submarine torpedo didn’t blow them up.
The coolest thing about them is that it shows how resilient single-celled organisms are, adding to the likelihood of finding single-celled life in space. We’re sure that space microbes, and our Jurassic microbes, would have amazing stories to tell, if only they had prehistoric mouths with which to gab.
Apollo 11 engines
When rockets shot into space in the ’60s and ’70s, scientists weren’t too concerned where the boosters engines and other equipment landed when jettisoned. As long as it didn’t smash into a residential area, they were fine with it falling somewhere in the ocean. Basically, NASA was a bunch of heartless space litterers.
Rockets parts are scattered among Earth’s oceans, but it’s nearly impossible to find them. That didn’t deter Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. In 2012, he assembled a secret dive team to try to find the F-1 engines that shot the Apollo missions into orbit. But he wasn’t just content with any old engines — he wanted the ones from Apollo 11, the mission that landed men on the Moon. After tons of searching, they found them, laying 14,000 feet below the ocean surface.
The engines were in remarkably good shape, for hunk of metals that dropped from space and slammed into the ocean. Bezos recovered them and quickly contacted NASA. Like clingy children, NASA claimed legal ownership over the engines they hadn’t seen in over 40 years. Bezos turned them over without a fuss, proving he’s better than us. We would have tried to hide them as long as possible … at least, until our landlords get mad at us, despite the rules not saying a thing about not being able to stash a rocket in our apartment.
Underwater crop circles
UFO researchers love speculating about crop circles, even though they’re almost certainly just pranks pulled by bored rural kids. While the “normal” crop circles aren’t super mysterious anymore, when they started popping up at the bottom of the ocean, they raised more than a few skeptical eyebrows.
Divers off the coast of Japan started seeing the weird patterns in 1995, each one about seven feet in diameter. This seemed like another sign aliens were hanging out on Earth, only now they were drawing weird pictures in the sand. That’s a weird pastime for aliens but, fortunately for their reputation, it turns out the underwater crop circles are naturally occurring.
Honestly, the real explanation isn’t that much weirder than aliens — male pufferfish are the culprits. They spend ten days creating the circular pattern, to impress lady pufferfish. During mating season, the ladies swim around the ocean looking for the coolest circles, and lays her eggs in the middle of the ones she finds the best. Nobody knows how the female pufferfish make their decision but, evidently, they have extremely refined aesthetic taste.
The male pufferfish gets the worst part of the deal. The female pufferfish doesn’t stay around, and he has to raise the eggs. Once they hatch, he doesn’t even get to spend time hanging out with the baby fish. Nope, it’s simply on to the next patch of sand to build another nest. For his whole life, he’s just making circles in the sand. That sounds depressing, but he is just a fish, and they aren’t well-known for having existential crises.
The mysterious manganese balls of the Atlantic Ocean
Throughout the ocean, there are groups of little manganese nodules hanging out, slowly growing. How they grow isn’t too much of a mystery: manganese gets dissolved in the ocean water, and slowly accretes on other clumps of the metal. And we mean slowly. The little metal balls grow only one centimeter every million years, so they’ve been around a really long time. Because they’re so easy to harvest, mining companies were pumped when they were discovered, and now some of them harvest the metal from the ocean surface.
Finding vast beds of metal balls on the ocean floor is weird enough — it’s even stranger that scientists don’t know how they even started in the first place. A 42-day expedition was launched to figure it out, but they found out nothing. Theorists believe they might have been started by ancient underwater microbes, or they’re just a natural result of ancient oceans, which might have been more metallic. But let’s be honest, it’s gotta be aliens. Let’s just go with that.
The Fury and Helca Straight noise
The Fury and Helca Straight is a body of water in the Qikiqtaaluk region of Nunavut, Canada, which sounds like the coolest name in the world for a geographic region. The awesome name of the region isn’t what makes it famous, though — it’s the mysterious sounds coming from the water.
All throughout the summer, boatmen on the water hear mysterious humming or pinging sounds. Oddly, the sounds travel only through the water, and are audible when they reverberate through the hulls of boats. It’s a super-weird occurrence, almost like the ocean is trying to use Canadian boats to send a message to the human race.
Nobody knows why it’s happening, though there are a ton of theories going around, most of them blaming Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation mining, Arctic research stations or Greenpeace conservation efforts. How conservation efforts create mysterious pinging sounds is beyond us, but all the groups investigated, and couldn’t find anything they were doing to create it. So now the locals are really creeped out.
Even the military stepped in to try to figure out what is going on — nothing was discovered. So as of now, the sounds still remain an utter mystery. Qikiqtaaluk might not have been on anybody’s list as a paranormal hotspot, but things are definitely spooky up in the frozen North. We just hope it isn’t the White Walkers.
A huge World War II silver deposit
War is expensive business, and the last thing that England wanted in World War II was to lose to the Nazis, just because they were strapped for cash. Before the Internet and world-wide banking, that meant silver and gold from the Empire had to be put on a ship and sailed around the world. That’s super dangerous when Nazi U-boats are in the waters.
In 1942, the SS City of Cairo sailed from India, with 100 tons of silver to help out the war effort. Shockingly, they decided to sail without escort. To the surprise of absolutely no one, a U-boat found the ship and blew it to pieces. Oddly, the captain of the submarine felt super-bad about it, surfaced his boat, yelled to the survivors in life boats, “sorry for sinking you” and disappeared back under the water. Meanwhile, all those silver coins sunk to the bottom of the ocean.
For decades, $50 million of silver just sat at the bottom of the ocean, with only the fish around to use it. Finally, it was rediscovered (because fish are stingy and don’t like to spend money), and the United Kingdom financed a team to grab it, probably with strict orders to take none of the coins for themselves. Upon retrieval, all the money was returned to England, melted down, and sold off. Too bad — if it was us, we probably would have made a Scrooge McDuck-style, coin-filled swimming pool.
The giant jellyfish that was inspecting an oil rig
When working on an oil rig, the last thing anybody wants is a giant sea monster to show up. But that’s exactly what happened in 2012 when cameras on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico picked up … something. Out of nowhere, a huge amorphous blob of flesh appeared, circling the rig, freaking people out, and disappearing back into the ocean.
What was the thing? The video shows a bunch of details that don’t look like an Earth creature. The sea monster looked like a big brown sheet of flesh but had reproductive organs and something that looked like a network of nerves. Clearly, this was alien life.
The actual explanation isn’t much less weird than extraterrestrial visitors. Biologists identified the creature as Deepstaria engimatica, which sounds like the coolest progressive metal band ever. This massive jellyfish looks more like a misshapen blob of brown flesh than the pretty, delicate jellyfish that we see in aquariums. It’s rarely seen and usually hangs out in deep water, where it grows to absurd sizes. Part of the issue with studying the species is that it’s too big for most submersibles to take it as a sample.
Okay, so biologists now know what it was, but why did the jellyfish try to come hang out with an oil rig? They aren’t known for friendliness, and they aren’t exactly the smartest of creatures. But for some reason, this giant specimen took a liking to our oil rig. Hopefully they aren’t planning some sort of takeover.
What is the story behind the 52-Hertz whale?
All over the oceans, researchers set up underwater listening devices, usually to track whales. Every whale species has distinctive calls, so whale fans can easily identify what they’re listening to. At least, until they heard the 52-Hertz whale. Since 1989, this whale has stumped researchers because it’s the only one in existence that calls at that specific frequency.
What is going on with this lonely whale? People tracking the whale (named 52) say that it always travels alone. They have never heard it with other whales or heard any other whales calling at 52-Hertz. Most likely, 52 is looking for other whales of its species, constantly calling out for some company. No other whales of his species ever hear him. 52 is totally alone.
Nobody knows exactly how this happened. Most likely, he belongs to a totally different species of whale that we haven’t identified. If that’s the case, where are the other members of his species? He might very well be the last one, which provides tons of tantalizing mysteries about what happened to his species. Even weirder, nobody has ever seen the lonely cetacean. He has only ever been heard, like a ghost in the ocean. One day we might find him, but for now 52 is an inspirational icon for people who love solitude.
The disappearing island of Bermeja
This is a case of where the mystery comes from when explorers didn’t find something underwater. In this case, a whole island. Bermeja was an island off the coast of Mexico that appeared on maps as far back as the 17th century. But sometime around the 1800s, the whole island disappeared.
People keep looking for it in its last known location. The British supposedly found the island in 1844, reporting it a few hundred feet below the ocean surface. Nobody could verify their claims, and the island became an urban legend. At least, it was an urban legend before it blew up into a full-blown conspiracy.
Believers uncovered a 1857 map from the United States that featured Bermeja. Mexican maps and documents included the island up to 1946. Obviously, the government believed it existed. According to discovered documents, the Mexican government sent out an expedition to the location in 1997 but reported there was nothing there. The last known mention of the island is in a 1998 Mexican book.
So what’s going on here? If the island existed, it was above the water at least until 1844. In 1997, the Mexican and United States governments agreed to drill for oil off the coast of Mexico, and then poof, the island supposedly stops existing. A lot of people think the island was deliberately blown up for some nefarious purpose. These aren’t just crackpot conspirators: Mexican senators are on record pushing this conspiracy theory. That still wouldn’t explain the British claim though. Something weird is happening, and Bermeja better be the topic of Indiana Jones 5.
NOAA’s unexplained sounds
The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration operates a ton of hydrophones that listen for strange noises in the water. They were first put in place to pick up Soviet submarines but now they pick up weird noises that sound like alien life or deep-sea monster calls.
The most popular one is the Bloop, which sounded like Cthulhu’s mating call. Even though Bloop sounded organic, it’s most likely the sound of an iceberg breaking in two, which is nearly as cool. Bloop is the most popular of the NOAA mystery noises, but the other ones are even more interesting.
There’s Julia, which creepily sounds like somebody moaning into the hydrophones. The sound is oddly organic, but the NOAA claims it’s totally just ice and nothing that anybody needs to worry about. They would. Another weird one is Train, a constant hum that echoes through the Antarctic and sounds like a, you guessed it, train going over tracks. It’s consistent, but the NOAA still hasn’t quite figured it out.
Our favorite mysterious sound is Whistle. Whistle is really weird because it happened only once and was picked up by only one hydrophone. That’s super unusual because usually these sounds echo through the ocean and get picked up by multiple hydrophones. We think it might be a sea monster, but the NOAA says that it was probably an underwater volcano blowing up, which we didn’t even know is a thing. Honestly, we don’t know which explanation is cooler.
The Gulf of Alaska whale-pocalypse
In 2015, the Gulf of Alaska experienced a “whale-pocalypse” when thirty carcases were found in the gulf. Nobody knows what happened. One whale death is a tragedy, but thirty bumping off at once is a mystery.
Marine biologists can tell the whales weren’t intentionally beaching themselves and were dying in the water first, which means something horrible has happened in the waters off the Gulf of Alaska. Leading theories say a bloom of poisonous algae probably did them in, which is terrifying in its own right. Algae can just randomly pop up and murder a big pod of whales? Remind us never to go swimming again.
But the idea of seas that suddenly turn poisonous is the most reasonable solution to the problem. We are sure we can dig up some crazy conspiracies involving deep-sea killer squids, interspecies civil war, or Kirk and Spock doing a really bad job retrieving whales to defeat the Whale Probe. Oddly, this isn’t the first time it happened either. The NOAA has recorded 62 similar events since 1991, and only a third of them have been solved. What is killing off our whales, and why can’t anybody figure it out?
All the whales are singing deeper
Over the past few decades, whales have been acting weird. For some reason, modern whales are singing lower and lower each year.
It’s a really weird mystery. This isn’t just one group of whales singing deeper—whales around the world are doing the same thing, at the same rate. Whales from different parts of the world are dropping the pitch of their calls at the same time but without being physically around each other. The songs seem like the whales are coordinating them, but that’s impossible. It’s happening quite quickly too. They’re now singing 30 percent lower than how they were singing in the 1960s.
Countless explanations come up in marine biology communities. Unfortunately, none of them involve whale ESP or whales trying to do their best Leonard Cohen impersonation. The leading theory is that since whales are dying off, they have to drop the tone of their calls to make it resonate better in the water, since it has to travel farther to reach another whale. Others marine biologists think the whales are responding to new ocean dynamics or noise pollution. Our favorite theory is that they have developed a new mating strategy, almost like they had a whale sexual revolution, those frisky whales.
Lake Michigan’s underwater Stonehenge
Stonehenge is creepy enough as is, but finding another Stonehenge underwater? That’s just too much for us to handle. That’s exactly what divers found though, in what we used to think wasn’t a very mysterious place: Lake Michigan.
The lake isn’t well known for archaeological mysteries, so when divers found the ring of stones under the water, it was a huge surprise. The structure looks just like the Stonehenge on the British Isles and got constructed in 10,000 BC. The stones have the familiar circular pattern and even have a carving of a mastodon in them. Because they’re underwater, they have degraded much more than the above-water Stonehenge. Researchers can still see the pattern though. Nobody really knows how they got there, or why they bear such a resemblance to Stonehenge.
Our biggest problem is that doing research requires scientists to go underwater, which isn’t ideal conditions to do scientific work. Leading theories say that back in ancient history, Lake Michigan was dry, and climate change slowly filled it up with water. Okay, we can buy that, but it doesn’t really explain how the ancient Michiganders decided to build the same stone ring as the people on the other side of the Atlantic. Did they have contact with the ancient people of the British Isles, or did ancient Michiganders and ancient Brits descend from the same group of people? Whatever the case, this made Michigan 500-percent more mysterious than it was before. We don’t want to say aliens did it, but …
The peak of deaths on Halloween: the history of 1918 repeats itself in the USA
In the United States, the history of a century ago is repeating itself: in 1918, the Halloween celebration was canceled due to the Spanish flu epidemic – the noise of parties disturbed the sick in the hospitals. Mass events were banned this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but many Americans still decorate their homes and are going to celebrate the holiday online. They did not break traditions in the White House either. At the same time, some US residents are wondering: is it worth celebrating Halloween in 2020, when all thoughts are about death due to the coronavirus?
Americans have already begun preparations for the Halloween celebration, despite the cancellation of mass events. The focus has shifted from hosting parties to decorating their own homes and virtual flash mobs in which Tiktokers offer to dress themselves up as dead Disney princesses . However, some social media users have questioned the need to celebrate Halloween this year, given the coronavirus pandemic.
“This Halloween will be the scariest one,” they tweet.
100 years ago in the United States there was a similar situation : all Halloween parties were canceled due to the Spanish flu epidemic, which killed 50 to 100 million people worldwide.
On the eve of Halloween, the number of cases of the Spanish flu increased – the second and most powerful wave of the epidemic occurred.
“Not only was there a peak in mortality on Halloween eve, but there were some pretty strong waves of disease,” Carolyn Orbann, assistant professor of medical sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia , told CNN .
“The highest death rate was observed from October to December, possibly due to a more deadly strain of the virus and crowding in hospitals and military camps.”
However, those Americans who were not affected by the disease were tired of being locked up in quarantine and demanded a holiday. There are reports of local newspapers that year, which say that they celebrated more than ever “harsh and stormy”: and in Alabama, crowds of boys running from home to riots, forcing the police to drive on false calls and provoking accidents. A reporter for The Birmingham News wrote that after a month of quarantine, Birmingham residents were literally torn apart from the desire to celebrate Halloween.
“The Health Council’s order banning parties acted like a red rag for a bull — the killer joy of ordinary Halloween festivities poured in,” wrote local media in 1918. The Americans celebrated so vigorously that the San Francisco authorities had to ban people from making noise, because loud noises irritated patients in wards.
“Conditions were dire in most places in the United States by October 31, 1918,” Elizabeth Otka, professor of English at the University of Richmond, told CNN. –
Shops, schools, churches were closed, there was devastation and the realization that celebrating Halloween was a bad idea.”
Denver has banned parties, during which they usually arranged “diving for apples, tying the tail to a donkey with a blindfold and other entertainment.” Many states have canceled Halloween celebrations for economic reasons – so as not to waste extra food supplies. “I saw a report from Missouri where they usually throw dry corn into each other’s house,” Orbann said. “But in 1918 the price of corn was too high to be scattered, and the children used sawdust to do it.”
Although public gatherings were banned in cities, some people threw house parties. “People did not break the rules, but adjusted to them,” the historian noted. Despite the horrors of the Spanish woman in 1918, people wanted to celebrate and visit each other, as now, in a pandemic, Elizabeth Otka notes. “1918 was remembered for the stacks of coffins and dead bodies, the gravediggers were simply exhausted,” she added. – Nevertheless, many continued to live as before, if none of their relatives was sick, forgetting how dangerous it can be.
It seems reasonable to spend Halloween this year differently, although I love the holiday, it’s great. But to stay alive, I think, is still better. “
To prevent a 100-year-old history from repeating itself on an entire scale, the Los Angeles authorities banned any Halloween parties, gathering at haunted houses, and children from running to neighbors for candy, although, according to tradition, they and so should be in masks and costumes – carnival. But the Americans are not discouraged and carry out flash mobs on the Internet. So, the participants of one of them on TikTok are invited to fantasize about what would become of the Disney princesses if they did not live to see the happy ending.
Another resident in quarantine, Samantha Browning, came up with the idea of painting Barbie toy doll houses for mysterious mansions from horror films. Her new hobby takes Samantha 5-10 hours. With Halloween approaching, items created in the summer have become more relevant, because now, in order to beg for sweets from neighbors, you don’t have to go to their houses, but do it in front of Samantha’s creations “contactlessly”.
“This year the pandemic canceled the traditional Halloween, but I decided to adapt the pipe railings on one of my mansions so that candy would slide down for families who still want to celebrate the holiday in a safe way,” explained Samantha on social media. “One of my dollhouses is on the inside veranda, and on Halloween night, I’ll probably put two of the creepiest houses outside with battery-powered candles.”
They did not cancel the holiday in the White House, even despite Trump’s illness. This was announced on Tuesday by CNN, citing a source. It is noted that when celebrating Halloween, the recommendations of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be taken into account.
This means adherence to the mask regime and other preventive measures. Usually on this day, relatives of the US administration staff , families of American military personnel and students of the capital’s schools are invited to the White House , and the head of state and the first lady treat children to sweets on the South Lawn of the White House.
Coronavirus in Italy: the mysteries of the pandemic
How, after a summer respite, the Apennines seem to plunge into a coronavirus nightmare again.
From a country that until recently was considered one of the most prosperous in terms of the epidemiological situation, Italy, like Spain and France, is again moving into the category of “dangerous”. The growth of new infections, however, is not as rapid as that of neighbors, but quite noticeable. Even before October 10, it was possible to keep the daily increase within 2 thousand cases, but the threshold of 6 thousand has already been overcome. The number of new infected will increase, there is no doubt about it.
Six Dwarfs of Snow White
The Italian government has just adopted a new order, in which for the first time since the end of May, when the quarantine ended, restrictive measures are not lifted, but introduced. Among them: the end of team games for non-professional athletes, limiting the opening hours of drinking establishments in the evening, reducing the number of people invited to family ceremonies such as weddings, christenings and funerals to 30 people. While gyms, swimming pools and schools are open, the authorities assure that they will not switch to remote training again, as well as will not introduce a new nationwide total quarantine. The country simply cannot afford it, either from an economic or social point of view.
As in the entire period of the pandemic, certain decisions of the authorities are criticized and met with outright irony. So, many jokes were generated by the recommendation not to invite more than six guests. Images from “Snow White” immediately appeared on the Internet, where she kicks out the seventh dwarf. On the reproduction of the fresco “The Last Supper” two policemen were added to write out fines for the apostles, who are exactly twice the recommended number of participants in the feast.
Against this background, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte assured that the country will not turn into a police state and no one intends to send law enforcement officers to control private apartments. At the same time, he also strongly recommends not to disdain masks even at home – almost 70% of new infections occur in the bosom of family and friendly companies. At the same time, many pay attention to the problem of crowded public transport in large cities. And no one is in a hurry to solve it.
The second wave has been frightening for a long time, and it would be naive to believe that it could have been avoided. Its offensive, nevertheless quite unexpected, only exacerbated the issue of the summer “lull”. Why did the virus suddenly recede, give a break? The most obvious answer is quarantine. In Italy, it was introduced in early March and lasted until the second half of May. As the experience of the country, the first victim of a pandemic in Europe, has shown, there is no more effective means of countering the spread of coronavirus than self-isolation. In March, the Italians were seriously scared and for the most part obeyed the orders of the authorities. Despite the widespread stereotype about the indiscipline of the southern peoples, Italians – and the pandemic has demonstrated this once again – are quite manageable and led people.
The effect of almost three months of quarantine, namely a decrease in the number of infections, coincided with the onset of summer. Many people said that at high temperatures, the virus spreads more slowly and the viral load drops, although no one has scientifically proven this. But the fact is that during all three summer months the number of daily infections was kept at the level of 200-300. Hundreds of patients remained in hospitals, and intensive care units, previously suffocating from several thousand heavy covids, were practically empty. And this is another mystery of the new coronavirus.
In a word, people began to live as if in the old way: sea, mountains, air, good food and wine. Of course, many refused to travel abroad. But the first “swallows” made themselves felt quickly. The slightest movement led to the emergence of new foci. One of them was formed on the prestigious Emerald Coast on the island of Sardinia, and the infection affected the rich and famous who love to visit him, including the entire Berlusconi family and the former prime minister himself. Someone began to bring COVID-19 from resorts in Croatia and from Greece. In Spain, new infections have already crept. And those arriving from these countries began to take tests for the new coronavirus without fail. Now France, Great Britain, Belgium, as well as a number of other countries are already on this list. From somewhere, entry is simply prohibited, for example from Brazil.
Italy is overwhelmed by the second wave
The first noticeable surge in infections occurred in the second half of August. But everyone continued to pretend that nothing was happening. August bliss is sacred in Italy. In general, they are accustomed to masks, for many they have become a fashion accessory (as well as a subject of designer fantasy). In mid-September, as promised by the government, schools were opened, although it was also not without controversy, criticism and exposure of the system’s unavailability.
To date, there is no division into regions where the coronavirus is more common (north) and where it is less common (south), as it was in the spring, when the southern regions were saved. And this is especially troubling for the authorities, including regional ones, because if hospitalizations begin to grow proportionally, the hospitals in the south will not be able to withstand the load. So far, the fundamental difference between the current situation and what Italy experienced in the spring is that the number of hospitalized people is several times less. While. This is explained, in particular, by a decrease in the average age of those infected (from 60 to 40), and therefore, the disease caused by the new coronavirus is more easily tolerated by many. Some of the experts say that doctors have learned to heal better, learned more about the unpleasant surprises of COVID-19. And to prevent them, hospitalization is often needed.
And one more important observation: it is impossible to compare the current infection rates with the spring ones. Just for the reason that then only 30 thousand tests were carried out, but now they, including express, drive-in, are done up to 130 thousand per day. People stand in lines for hours to get tested. Many infected people are detected during a banal screening, which no one could even think of in the spring, because they had to cope with emergency cases. So the assumption that in the spring the real scale of infection was many times greater is quite justified. Then the official statistics recorded only cases with a “symptomatic course”. The virus, most likely, has not changed, and the solution is one – the vaccine.
The main fear now is uncertainty. People still only pretend that normal life has returned. But every day, with a sinking heart, you are afraid of a call from a kindergarten or school with a notification about the introduction of class quarantine due to the identification of an infected student or teacher. And it is even worse if they are told to urgently take their child, who has already been placed in an isolated room due to the low temperature. “Man proposes, but God disposes” – now sounds more relevant than ever.
Spring Lockdown Economic Price
In a purely economic sense, this is a decrease in GDP by 8-10%. For Italy, where economic growth in recent years has been virtually in lethargic sleep, this is devastating. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost, although, oddly enough, against the background of existing problems, this damage seems to be less noticeable than, say, in the same more prosperous France or Spain. The tourism and cultural sectors, referred to as “Italian oil”, have been the hardest hit. Although in local tourism, everything was not bad everywhere. The Italians flooded their own seashores and mountain resorts. In many places popular with wealthy Italians, things have gone even better this year than in normal years, because, having stayed at home, this category of the population spent the money in the service sector that usually went on holidays abroad.
However, in general, representatives of the tourism sector say that the poorer domestic tourist is not able to compensate for the absence of more generous guests from the USA, Russia, Brazil, India and other countries. The greatest losses are incurred by the “art cities”. Venice in the summer had 60% fewer tourists, which means less income for a city that lives off tourism. A dramatic situation in some areas of Rome. Of course, the lockdown also affected the psychological health of the population. The magnitude of the damage in this sense is difficult to quantify, and most likely it will have an impact in the long term, especially in children, psychologists say. There were, of course, isolated cases of domestic violence, but in general there were no mass divorces.
“A new beginning”
There is also a relative positive in the situation around the pandemic. Italy should receive the lion’s share of funds from the European Recovery Fund. By the way, the resentment towards Europe, which appeared at the beginning when the European partners did not seem to show sufficient solidarity, seemed to have passed. There is a feeling that everyone is in the same boat.
The authorities talk about a “new beginning”, about incredible opportunities for renewal, building a new, more environmentally friendly economic system. It seems that in this endeavor they are even sincere. But then there is a shadow of the threat of the mafia, which is already encroaching on a tidbit, penetrating with its tentacles of the “octopus” into legal business everywhere. Innovative projects are stifled by a bureaucracy, which, despite all the bellicose promises, has so far failed to cope with. But one gets the impression that in a certain sense the people seem to have become a little happier. It’s as if the pandemic taught us to rejoice at the little that it had deprived for several months. Italians are reviving, and the quarantine period has shown that the nation is much more united and committed to its values, including state power, than it seemed.
Dark Period Symbols
Over the past months, there have been many stories engraved in memory. Many of them are reflected in the recently opened photo exhibition of the Foreign Press Association “Lockdown in Italy – through the eyes of foreign journalists”. This is how to remember everything. Many of those shots flew around the world and became symbols of the “dark period”, as the past spring is sometimes called in Italy. Of course, we cannot forget the caravan of military trucks that transported the coffins with the victims of the coronavirus infection from Bergamo. Most of them were old people, and they died alone – they did not let their loved ones. Thoughts about this break my heart to this day.
But I especially remembered a small note in one of the newspapers – a letter of recognition from a student. It was published in the summer, when many restrictions were lifted and even discos were opened. The girl wrote that she followed all the precautions, did not meet with anyone, but was seduced by her best friend’s birthday, which was celebrated in a nightclub. As a result, she became infected, there were no symptoms, so she learned about the coronavirus when her father was admitted to the hospital with complications. In an open letter, the girl reproached herself. We do not exclude that that publication had a certain ideological task and the letter was written by the editorial board. But it raises a moral problem that has plagued the entire pandemic – responsibility and guilt if you become, even through no fault of your own, a carrier of infection. A Nightmare at the thought of who needs to be warned!
A haunted toilet was installed in an amusement park in Japan
A spooky haunted toilet has been installed in Japan’s Lagunasia amusement park. As planned, the spirit of a young girl named Hanako-san lives in the restroom.
The horror concept is based on an urban legend. In the run-up to Halloween, this will be a great festive addition. In addition, it is located according to all the new “coronavirus rules”.
“The idea behind a haunted house is to walk into a separate toilet room and enjoy the haunted house while maintaining social distance,” explained Ivana Kent, producer of haunted house design company Kowagarasetai .
The attraction invites you to enter the toilet cubicle. But you can’t enjoy being alone. The spirit of the late Hanako-san will open the door or peep from above, making scary sounds.
“When I entered the dark toilet, I was already scared. Then, when I heard Hanako-san’s story, there was a sound. It scared me even more, and when the spirit appeared from above, I was scared the most, ”said Hiroko Fujioka, a visitor of the attraction .
According to the founder of the attraction, a person experiences the most terrible emotions when something terrible looks at him from above. This is the most common occurrence in Japanese ghost stories.
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