Mysterious Coin-Covered Wishing Trees

The strange phenomenon of gnarled old trees with coins embedded all over their bark has been spotted from the Peak District to the Scottish Highlands in the United Kingdom. One of the larger collections can be seen in the picturesque village of Portmeirion in Wales where there are seven felled tree trunks with coins pushed into them.

The coins are usually knocked into the tree trunks using stones by passers-by, who hope it will bring them good fortune. These fascinating spectacles often have coins from centuries ago buried deep in their bark, warped from the passage of time.

The tradition of making offerings to deities at wishing trees dates back hundreds of years and is similar to the concept of a “wishing well”, where one tosses a coin in for good luck. The “wishing trees” date back to the early 1700s in Scotland where ill people stuck florins into trees with the idea that the trees would take any any illness. However if someone were to take away any of the coins, legend states that they will become ill instead.

sources 1, 2, 3

Blue Ghost Fireflies, North Carolina

A forest floor in North Carolina is traced with the movement of blue ghost fireflies in this time-lapse image by Spencer Black, who says the element of surprise compels him toward long-exposure photography.

“These fireflies are unique because their blink pattern is much longer than the common firefly and they hover about a foot off the ground,” says Black. “Witnessing them by the thousands, floating above the forest floor in complete darkness, is truly an incredible experience.”

Photograph by Spencer Black


Vintage Christmas Illustrations from Norman Rockwell

It’s that time of year again. As each year passes, the holiday season seems to start earlier with Christmas ads appearing before we even have time to put away our Halloween costumes. However your family celebrates this time of year, remember that Christmas never came in a box - it’s a time to remember what’s important in life and spend it with the ones you love.

No other artist has ever captured the sentiment of the holiday season like Norman Rockwell. Rockwell is America’s most beloved early 20th century illustrator. His connection to holiday-inspired art can be traced to his youth, when at the tender age of 15, a parishioner of his family’s church employed his talents for Christmas card designs.

As an adult, Rockwell would become as synonymous with the holidays as Santa Claus himself. He also became the most famous fixture at Hallmark, the greeting card company that continues to market his holiday illustrations. It’s also likely that Rockwell will retain his unsurpassed world record of creating more covers for a single magazine – he illustrated more than 300 covers for The Saturday Evening Post.

He captured life of early 20th century American society in such a unique way that his style his undeniable and easy to recognize. His art shows the wonder and joy of life during a simpler time in American culture, one not obsessed with youth and technology. His art joyfully depicts real people in recognizable situations, enjoying life and love together. Merry Christmas to you and yours from Curious History.

Learn all about his life and work at the Norman Rockwell Museum online.

Curious History’s Top Ten Posts for October, 2013

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