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Atlas Of Cursed Places Makes For Pleasure

December 15, 2015

If you love maps and history as I do then this book is something you might care to pick up.

Curses are not all the same. Take it from journalist and sailor Olivier Le Carrer, who has explored 30 of the 40 perilous places charted in his new book—and lived to tell their tales. 

Atlas of Cursed Places: A Travel Guide to Dangerous and Frightful Destinations is a beautifully bound volume with detailed maps in classic pastel tones, filled with stories of underground infernos, spiritual nightmares, hunted pirates, and killer crocodiles. 

The book, organized into eight geographical regions, chronicles sites across the globe that have been afflicted by a miscellany of misfortunes. Le Carrer explains that there are three major types of curses: those of a mystical order, those dealing with the preternatural, and, perhaps most tragically, those of places rendered uninhabitable by human activity. They’re all bound together by one common denominator: the terrible luck of all concerned.

In the book’s introduction, titled “The Hazards of Traveling,” Le Carrer states that since the time of the Old Testament, “humanity has found more effective ways of damning itself… devising an almost infinite number of hells that no god or demon would ever have dared to contemplate back in the day.”

Here is one example.


Oumaradi: Shipwrecked By Sands

The Harmattan is a wicked wind that blows across West Africa’s Sahel belt all winter long. For some reason, its nickname is the “doctor.” The wind blows the desert sand into massive dunes that, over time, can swallow entire villages. Oumaradi is one of many villages in Niger at risk of being entirely consumed by sand sent by the doctor. It becomes hard to breathe, and hard to survive.


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