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Science Channel’s ‘Mysteries of the Abandoned’ gets creative, but always remembers Nazis

With bonus fascists!

In the fifth episode of Science Channel’s Mysteries of the Abandoned, the experts explore four very different sites around the globe, some beautiful and mysterious, others connected to some of the worst of humanity. All the locations feature places of incredible natural beauty.

Location 1 – The Greek island of Rhodes

This beautiful villa, hotel, and barracks, strangely Italian in design, look out of place in the forested Greek island. But when you learn that the island was once seized from the Ottoman Empire by the Italians, and claimed in the 1930s by dictator Benito Mussolini, the design becomes clear.

A tyrannical and very into-fascism governor of the island had the buildings constructed in case Mussolini and other higher-ups needed to come check it out. However, the fun is spoiled, as always, when the Nazis came and took over (the Nazis showed up early in this episode!). The location is so beautiful, this cemented the Greek islands’ place high on my list of future vacation spots.

Location 2 – West Virginia, the New River Gorge, Nuttallburg

When you hear about an abandoned location in West Virginia, odds are good it’s going to involve coal, and Nuttallburg does not let you down. John Nuttall founded the town in the mid-1800s because of its unusual coal seams along the river, but I wasn’t expecting Henry Ford to enter the story. As part of his attempt to control every part of his manufacturing business, he bought the mines and designed the giant conveyor belt that remains rusting in the woods.

Location 3 – Sintra, Portugal

These private gardens designed like a labyrinth were locked up for a century, forgotten once the owners had abandoned the property. The two creators, a wealthy local man and an architect/stage designer, had free rein to design a completely original place.

Completed in 1910, pieces throughout the space are connected to history, and the coolest and most mysterious part is the Initiation Well – supposedly a test to listen to your instincts. The site is full of symbols connected to Christianity, the Knights Templar, Greek gods, Masonic Freemasons, and more.

Location 4 – Cornwall England

This final site is the biggest downer, so of course, as we’ve seen before, it involves the Industrial Revolution. This area is famous for its mining of tin ore, beginning in the Victorian era. What made this mine special was the location – the mines extended a full half-mile out into the ocean, and were hand-dug by the local people.

The big bummer revelation of the episode? These miners didn’t usually live past 30. As tin prices dropped, the final nail in the literal coffin was when a transport collapsed, killing 31 men in the process.

Despite ending on a truly sad note, the beauty of the filmography really stands out in this episode of Mysteries of the Abandoned. Only two more left this season!

AiPT! Science is co-presented by AiPT! Comics and the New York City Skeptics.

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