Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Cursed Island of Gaiola Italy

Gaiola Island (Isola della Gaiola in Italian) is one of the tiny islands of Naples, Italy, situated in the Gulf of Naples in the heart of Gaiola Underwater Park, a protected region of about 42 hectares.This beautiful island consists of two stunning and serene islets situated on the southern border of Posillipo and very close to the coastline approximately 30 meters away. The island is easy to reach, whereas one of the islet has a solitary villa, the other is uninhabited. A little bridge connects the two islets, which are alienated by just a few meters. Moreover; the bridge is very tapered and looks like a natural arch connecting the two islets.

The island takes its name from the cavities that originating from the Latin cavea, "little cave", and then through the dialect "Caviola". Originally, the tiny island was famous as Euplea, protector of safe navigation, and was the site of a tiny temple dedicated to Venus.There are also numerous other ruins from the time of the Romans. In fact, below the islets in the water are several Roman structures that are now the home of marine creatures. A few think that the poet Virgil, regarded as a magician, taught here at the ruins. 

In the early 19th century, the island was mainly inhabited by a hermit famous as "The Wizard". Soon after, the island saw the construction of the villa that occupies it today and which was, at one time, owned by Norman Douglas, author of Land of the Siren. The island probably seems as a perfect post-retirement getaway, although the locals think the island to be cursed, a reputation that came about because of the incessant premature death of its owners. 

The series of bad luck happening sometime around the 1920s, when the Swiss owner named Hans Braun, was found murdered and wrapped in a rug. And after a short while his wife drowned in the sea.
The next owner was German Otto Grunback, who died of a heart attack while on the island.  A same fate befell the pharmaceutical industrialist Maurice-Yves Sandoz, who committed suicide in a mental hospital in Switzerland. Its subsequent owner, a German steel industrialist, Baron Karl Paul Langheim, was dragged to economic ruin by wild living. 

The island has also belonged to Gianni Agnelli, the head of Fiat, whose only son committed suicide. After his son's premature death Gianni had started grooming his nephew Umberto Agnelli to run Fiat, but Umberto also died of uncommon cancer at the young age of 33.  Therefore another owner, the multi-billionaire Paul Getty, after buying the island, had his grandson kidnapped. The island’s last owner Gianpasquale Grappone was jailed when his insurance company failed. Now days, the villa is uninhabited and abandoned.

The Flaming Rocks of Chimaera of Turkey

Nearly 80 kilometers southwest of Antalya, near the town of Çıralı in southwestern Turkey, lies a rocky mountain that’s been literally on fire for thousands of years. Almost a dozen flames burn on the side of the mountain fueled by methane gas that issue through the vents. The fires are actually called Yanartaş in Turkish, have been burning for guessing 2500 years. The vents represent the biggest emission of abiogenic methane exposed on land so far. For hundreds of years, sailors could see the flames from sea and used them as a landmark to navigate, but these days they are more often utilized by hikers to brew tea. According to some ancient literature, these flames gave birth to the myth of the Chimera, a fire breathing mythical beast with the body and head of a lion, with the head of a goat arising from its back, and a tail that ended in a snake's head. The fires are grouped over an area of 5,000sm and are fueled by gas emissions consisting generally of methane and hydrogen, both of which are inflammable. The flames are stronger in winter seasons, a frequent characteristic of such seeps, where gas flux is naturally modulated by gas pressure build-up induced by groundwater recharge and changes in atmospheric pressure. The fires burn continuously, unlike the Eternal Flame Falls that needs to be lighted.