1. Ilha da Queimada Grande, Brazil
About 150 km away from Sau Paulo, off the shore of Brazil, is a small 110-acre land that was initially a part of the mainland, but got detached, and floated off, into the Atlantic Ocean. What is so special about this island you ask? The island is untouched by humans, and for a valid reason; snakes. Deemed ‘world’s deadliest island’, Ilha da Queimada Grande, or the Snake Island is home to approximately 4000 snakes!
And these are not your normal hissing, scary-looking-but-harmless snakes; most of the snakes here are the deadly golden lanceheads. These are one of the deadliest vipers and can burn the skin off your bones with their venom. About 11,000 years ago, when the island drifted away from the mainland, there were hardly any predators and animals on the island. Because of the lack of snake-eating predators, the snakes multiplied and evolved to become this toxic, and honestly scary. The island has lush rainforests and rocky terrains, but let’s accept that nobody would dare choose the island for a camping trip!
2. Aleya Ghost lights, West Bengal
In the swamps of West Bengal, you might come across a sudden burst of light which moves around and floats in the air. Many locals who have seen these lights say that they see a sudden burst of light which look like orbs or tongues of candle flames. These lights are always seen near marshes, bogs and swamps. With such occurrences come stories and myths that give it a haunting twist. But, science has a different take on the event. Marshlands, due to their heterogenous compositions have several gasses within them. One such gas happens to be methane, which burns when there is enough oxygen and heat in the atmosphere. They move due to the movement of air and burn out when they run out of gas. While the theory makes sense, the locals believe otherwise. If they’re to be believed, these are spirits of the dead who roam the earth.
3. Wave Rock, Australia
Wave Rock is a natural granite-rock formation, about 49 feet high, that looks like a huge wave. Located in Perth, this rock formation is also known ‘Hyden Rock’ and is made up of multiple layers of rock. The Wave Rock is one side of a bigger hill and is a good example of what a lot of geologists term a flared slope. You can reach the prehistoric stone formation (2.63 billion years old to be precise), through a field of wildflowers that add to the natural beauty of the place. At the top of the hill is a panoramic view of the gum forests, Australian shrubs and farmlands.
4. Las Lajas Sanctuary, Columbia
Located in southwest Columbia, the Las Lajas Sanctuary is a basilica church that was constructed from 1916 to 1949. The church was built in a Gothic Revival style and is made from sedimentary rocks. It is located 100 metres high from the bottom of a canyon and has a 50-metre-long bridge connecting it to the other side of the ravine. The church hangs over the canyon and looks like a fairy tale castle. In the 18th century, an Amerindian woman and her deaf-mute daughter were stranded in the jungles because of a storm. While looking for shelter, they were guided by a ‘force’ towards a cave where they saw an image of Mother Mary on the wall. Such was the vibe and holy force that the little girl began to talk when she saw the statue. The basilica church is built around this image of Mother Mary. Many such miracle stories, coupled with the breathtaking beauty of the structure makes it a special place to visit.
5. Sand River, Iraq
In 2015, Iraq saw a unique phenomenon where a sand river was seen flowing through the desert. Many videos came out showing how a steady stream of what looked like sand was flowing through the desert. Intriguing, weird creepy? Well, it was actually not sand. In 2015, Iraq had seen heavy rains and flash floods which had brought down hail storms in a generally hot Iraq. What happened then was basic science. The hail collected together and moved steadily downstream to places that receive little to no rainfall. The sand is nothing but frozen rain and sand together floating. While this is a scientific occurrence, the frequency of its existence is rare.
Well, we sure were tempted to travel to all of these places while putting together the piece. And to think there are probably many more locations like this to experience! Ah... the wanderlust!