Travel Guide for the Weird

On a recent “Jeopardy,”, a contestant was introduced as having visited 40 countries. Made me wonder how many I’d visited, so I counted them. It’s a tie. All of us with even a whiff of wanderlust are pacing the floor as we ride out this interminable sequestering because of covid.  Time to bring out the travel books.

My favorite, by far, is Atlas Obscura, which describes itself as “An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders.”  It’s  just the guide to check if you’re planning or even hoping someday to plan a trip anywhere.







I’ve used excerpts from the book in this column. When my computer-expert grandson went to Greece, I told him to look up the “Antikythera Mechanism,” which was an entry in the book.  This “mechanism,” a corroded lump of bronze with a dial on top, was part of a shipwreck in the Mediterranean over 2,000 years ago. It was built between 150 and 100 BCE and has over 30 gears hidden behind the dials. It’s regarded as the first known analog computer. You can find it in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

Atlas Obscura is not just a book. It’s an enterprise. The Atlas Obscura people hold seminars around the world on local weird or unusual items of interest.  Now, I suppose, they’re held by Zoom. I went to one of these little-known but odd places for a talk on the raven rescue center close to my home.  I’d never heard of it, but with a talk and walk around the facility, it made for an interesting afternoon.

The Atlas Obscura people also send out a frequent e-newsletter  The latest issue begins with a story about a young British chaplain named John Wallis, who in 1643 deciphered a royalist letter intercepted after the 1642 battle of Chichester in England’s civil war between the royalists and the parliamentarians.  Thus began a career for Wallis as codebreaker. He published 53 of his deciphered letters in 1653. The book was auctioned off on October 7, 2020, bringing a winning bid of 29,000 lb or $37,000.

Also in the current newsletter is an item about the “House of Mugs” in Collettsville, NC The house is completely covered in coffee mugs. Guests are welcome to add their own if they can find an empty nail. Other intriguing articles in this issue are about “Haunting Art Thefts,” “Sherry-Sailing Spanish Ships,” and “The Lost State of Franklin.”

Image: Traveling frogs credit to





Eileen Haavik McIntire is staying home during the current coronavirus crisis. She hopes you are, too. What a great time to write and read!

Jan. 13, 2020: Speaking on "Self Publishing,"  7 p.m. South Baltimore Chapter, Maryland Writers' Assn.


Blog: Self-Publishing Don'ts. See BLOG Page for complete column.


“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” – Dr. Seuss

I love reading and writing mysteries. Here are two of my latest.

The Two-Sided Set-up


From Kirkus reviews -

“McIntire’s latest novel is a fast-paced and multilayered thriller with well-developed characters and colorful settings...Most of the action is set in Virginia, and McIntire does a fine job of capturing the rhythm of its small-town life, from the friendliness of local business to the calm of quiet nights on the water. An engaging tale for aficionados of psychological suspense.”

The 90s Club & the

Mystery at Lilac Inn

"The fourth title in author Eileen Haavik McIntire's "The 90s Club" series, The 90s Club & the Mystery at Lilac Inn  is another deftly written and thoroughly entertaining read that will be especially appreciated by all dedicated mystery/suspense fans." – Midwest Book Review

Word Game


Place the word “only” anywhere in this sentence:

She told him that

she loved him.

copyright 2018 Eileen Haavik McIntire.  Website: