Category: USA

Categories

Dark Tourism & Boxes

Today is the day after Christmas Day, referred to in Britain (and some of its former colonies) as “Boxing Day”. Last year around this time (on Christmas Eve) I brought you a post about “Dark Tourism & Christmas”, and that more or less exhausted the theme so I can’t do that again. But with a bit of lateral thinking applied, I derive from “Boxing Day” another unusual theme: Dark Tourism & Boxes. Here we go:

The sort of thing some of you may think of first in the

Dark Tourism & Mining

This is another theme post, and again not the result of a poll but half promised in the previous blog post and then requested in a comment in response to that post. So here we go.

In terms of dark tourism, one of the prime places associated with mining has to be Butte in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, USA. It became a boom town in the 18th and 19th century thanks to its rich deposits of

Dark Tourism & Ash

This is a theme that featured a couple of times as a candidate in theme polls on this blog (namely here and here) but failed to win on both occasions. I decided to feature it now anyway – inspired by the latest news and dramatic images from Indonesia, where there’s been a major ash eruption of Mt Semeru volcano on the populous island of Java (see e.g. this article from Sunday, more on Volcano Discovery).

I’ve been to Mt Semeru,

Atlas of Dark Destinations promo

It’s now nearly a month since my book came out internationally. So here’s an update and some promo material I received from the publishers. I would also like to urge you, my readers, to help spread the word. In doing so you’d help to support the upkeep of this blog and my main website. On the latter I’ve also expanded the book entry. For that I used the publishers’ promo images.

They had some beautiful taster photos taken specifically for

Personal and National Celebrations

So here it is, the big day, the date when my book (photo of the title page above) is finally launched globally. In Germany it had already been available for a few weeks. But now that it’s out internationally it’s cause for celebration!

It so happens that this date is also Austria’s “Nationalfeiertag”, literally ‘National Celebration Day’. I could say: that’s nice, so the whole nation is celebrating with me. But

Dark Tourism & Nuclear Power Plants

And here comes the fourth and final theme from our most recent poll. In my archives I don’t actually have photos of that many nuclear power plants (NPPs), but included are some of the historically most significant ones – and the darkest! Because of the security issues revolving around the nuclear industry, often photos are only possible from a distance, more or less zoomed in, but I also have some closer up and even a couple of interior

Dark Tourism & Reflections

And here comes the third of the four themes of our most recent poll (which didn’t have a winner, hence all four are fielded). So now for reflections – and I mean that literally, mostly, though a little bit of reflecting in the figurative sense will also feature. But this is primarily a visual blog post.

I like photographing reflections! I’m always on the lookout for reflections wherever I travel. Hence I have loads of such photos that accumulated over the years. So the

A Dead Musician and a New Poll

On this day, 51 years ago, Jimi Hendrix died. Arguably one of the most influential virtuosos on the electric guitar, his sudden death came as a great shock to the world of rock music at the time.

On the morning of 18 September 1970 Hendrix was found unconscious in his London hotel room by his girlfriend. She called an ambulance and he was taken to hospital, but all reanimation attempts failed and Hendrix was pronounced dead by midday.

He had been

20 Years!

Hard to believe that it is already 20 years today that “9/11” happened, the terrorist attacks by means of hijacked passenger planes that were steered into the Pentagon in Washington (well, Arlington, just outside the city to be precise) and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City, USA.

“Ground Zero”, the site of the collapsed WTC, and later the dedicated National 9/11 Memorial and Museum have become one of the most visited dark-tourism sites in the world. There’s

4th of July

This is a date mostly associated with Independence Day in the USA. So I decided to dip into my archive and put a cluster of 4 July posts together here, plus some extras. Note, though, that US Independence is not the only historical event marked on this date – there are also other, and darker, incidents that fell on it, such as the one

Dark Tourism & Pianos

As promised in the previous theme post, I now bring you the other one of the joint winners of our latest theme poll.

So in what ways can pianos be associated with dark tourism? A pretty unique example is this, a piano-shaped tombstone:

The Thornton grave used to have an open lid on the stone piano too, but that got destroyed by vandals. Maybe it’s

1st Anniversary, best of

It was exactly on this day, precisely one year ago, on 28 May 2020, that this blog went live and the first post went up. To mark this first anniversary, I went through the entire blog and picked twelve of my favourite photos used on the blog so far, one for each of the twelve months I’ve been here, as it were.
Here are my 12 choices … in no particular order:

Dark Tourism & Toys

As decided in our most recent theme poll, I now bring you the winner, DT & toys. It was probably the oddest of the choices, the biggest juxtaposition, and hence the most intriguing. In any case it was a very clear win far ahead of all the other choices.

So what kind of dark do we get with toys. Well, for starters there are war toys, like model planes, tanks, toy guns and whatnot. In fact, one of the

Dark Tourism & Corona

About a year ago we went into the first lockdown here in Austria. Corona was still very new, and back then we had no way of knowing that it would continue to have such a grip on the whole world for so long.
Anyway, I thought this was a good point to look back and go on a little time-travel excursion here. So I’ve lifted the series of Corona-related posts I had on my DT page on FB at the time of the first lockdown from the Facebook-posts archive that I

Women’s Day

On this day it’s International Women’s Day, so I’m marking this by posting some photos of really big women sculptures. Above is the very biggest of them all, the largest female statue ever built. This is the Rodina Mat, aka “The Motherland Calls”, statue on Mamayev Hill in Volgograd, Russia. She’s the central part of the memorial complex for the Battle of Stalingrad. This is Soviet monumentalism at its most monumental! The figure is 52m tall from head to toe, with sword even 85m. At the

Dark Tourism & Animals

Today, 3rd of March, is World Wildlife Day (as proclaimed by the United Nations in December 2013). So I decided to make today’s post one on the theme of dark tourism and animals!

Now, in what ways can animals be ‘dark’? Well, for one thing it could be because a kind of animal may be dangerous to humans. And indeed quite a few animals are

Dark Tourism & Broken Glass

Our latest theme poll had a clear winner so today I give you the requested one of broken glass (DT & bullet holes came second, and I may field that again in a future theme poll).

The photo above is what I consider one of the most appealing images of broken glass in my archives. It’s a close-up of a large war ruin I discovered in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina, in 2009. Here’s a

A Very Dark Date

20 January is a very momentous day in dark history – 79 years ago today, on 20 January 1942, when the Wannsee Conference took place at this stately villa on the shores of the Wannsee lake on the south-western edge of Berlin.

The event was called for top-level Nazis to discuss how best to implement the “Final Solution”, the systematic deportation and industrial mass murder of all European Jews within the Nazi-occupied lands. At the conference

Dark Tourism & Lakes

As announced in the previous post and the latest newsletter, today I bring you the other one of the joint winners of our latest theme poll, after DT & spheres. So, now to lakes.
This is Lovatnet in Norway. It looks just very scenic and serene, but this lake has been deadly, twice, in the 20th century, namely when huge rockfalls/landslides from the steep slopes of Mt Ramnefjell crashed into the water, creating massive tsunamis that washed away entire villages on the lake’s shores

Dark Tourism & Spheres

As announced in the latest newsletter, our recent themed-post poll ended in a draw, so I decided to feature both winners, one after the other, starting with spheres today, to be followed by DT & lakes next week.

This structure, a steel globe containing the experimental Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR), is also sometimes referred to as “the sphere”, or alternately “the golf ball”. The reactor inside was one of the first to supply power to the British National Grid but was taken offline in 1977 and is currently undergoing decommissioning (while

New Year, new poll, and a little-known nuclear accident

Today is also the 60th anniversary of a nuclear accident that is rarely noted, yet it was the only reactor accident in the USA that directly caused fatalities. (There had been earlier accidents at the Los Alamos laboratories, including ones with fatalities as a result of lethal radiation doses, as well as accidents at other reactors where radiation was released, but without killing anybody outright).

The incident in question happened on 3 January 1961 at a reactor testing station in

Saddam Hussein, “We got him!”

On this Day, 17 years ago, on 13 December 2003, the former president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, was captured. He had disappeared from public view shortly after the US-led invasion of Iraq in the Second (American) Gulf War entered its final stages. When US troops emarched into the capital Baghdad he was nowhere to be found.

The manhunt for Saddam Hussein, in the

Dark Tourism and Bars

The topic of this blog post was decided by the most recent theme poll, where it sailed to a clear victory over all the other options by a huge margin (as reported in last Sunday’s newsletter). So here we go.

As a couple of commentators noted, the word ‘bars’ is of course lexically ambiguous, and exploiting that double meaning had been my intention all along. So let’s begin with the darker side of bars – those you sit behind in prisons and similar institutions.

The first

The Mirabal Sisters

Today, 25 November, is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. That this particular date was chosen by the UN (in 1999) to stand for this cause is no coincidence. Because it was on this day, 60 years ago, that the Mirabal sisters were assassinated in the Dominican Republic on orders of the country’s then dictator Rafael Trujillo.

Assassination of JFK, new poll

On this day, 57 years ago, on 22 November 1963, the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was shot dead by the assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas.

I visited the spot on Dealey Plaza on the western edge of downtown Dallas as part of my USA South-West trip back in 2012, when I took the following photos. This first one shows Dealey Plaza seen from the

Dark Tourism & Stars and Stripes

This theme was not decided on by a poll, but just by myself, and the link to today’s significant date should be obvious.

But let’s start at the beginning. So, what kind of stars feature in dark tourism? For one thing there’s the old communist or Soviet five-pointed red star, like these:

Halloween

Today it’s the 31st of October – Halloween! But of course in the currently escalating pandemic crisis, there cannot be a proper Halloween party. And it’s even a Saturday, so it would have been ideal for partying. Such a shame …

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not missing all the commercialization of Halloween. In fact it was that very over-commercialization that had put me off Halloween for most of my life. It wasn’t until 2014 that

Dark Tourism & Clothing

As decided in the most recent poll, and announced on Monday, today we come to the theme “dark tourism and clothing”:

You could be forgiven if you think this is a really exotic theme within the wider subject of dark tourism. But items of clothing do actually come up quite often. And the ones featured below are only a selection.

Perhaps the most predictable case of clothes with a dark association is those iconic and infamous striped

A Dark Anniversary and a bit of Time Travel

On this Day it’s the 19th anniversary of 9/11 – i.e. the terrorist attacks in the USA by means of hijacked planes, two hitting the Twin Towers of the WTC in New York, one the Pentagon near Washington D.C. …

The photo above was taken at the former “Tribute WTC” visitor centre in New York (now relocated, reworked and renamed “9/11Tribute Center”) and shows a projection in the exhibition part of the old centre, involving iconic images of those spiky steel facade elements that remained upright after the collapse of the towers.

This date was also always

Trinity

On this day, 75 years ago, on 16 July 1945, the first atomic bomb explosion was set off in what was called the “Trinity” test in the desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA. The image above is a historic photo of the mushroom cloud that formed shortly after the detonation. The whole event was meticulously documented, including by means of super-high-speed cameras. Here’s another example; it shows

Iconoclasm versus Interpretation

The photo above shows a plaque in Vienna commemorating Joseph Stalin’s short sojourn in this city as a young man. I’ve been reminded of this by the recent images on the news from the USA, where protesters are disfiguring or toppling monuments to former proponents of slavery and such like, in the wake of the unrest caused by the killing of George Floyd by police. Now, how do the topics of Stalinism and the Black Lives Matter movement go together, you may ask. Let me explain:

Make no mistake, I do understand the outrage of the protesters about the

Scaled-down D-Day Commemoration Ceremonies This Year

On this Day, 76 years ago, on 6 June 1944, the biggest ever amphibious landing operations, popularly known as D-Day, took place in Normandy, France, and gave the Western Allies the foothold they needed to begin the fight against Nazi Germany on the Western Front in WWII. The whole plan was code-named ‘Operation Overlord’.

Beginning here, the Western Allies slowly pushed back the Nazi occupiers out of France and eventually