The owner of the iconic Biltmore Estate in North Carolina has died at his home.
Officials at the Biltmore Co. said William Amherst Vanderbilt Cecil died Tuesday in Asheville. He was 89.
Cecil had a career in finance before returning to Asheville in 1960 in hopes of preserving his childhood home, which was the private estate of his grandfather, George Washington Vanderbilt III.
Local media outlets reported that Cecil's parents opened the Biltmore house to the public in 1930, but it didn't make a profit until 1969, and then it was only $17. Cecil said, "My dad was very proud of that."
Today, the 8,000-acre (3,238-hectare) estate, French-style chateau and attractions draw more than 1.4 million people annually.
A Google spokesperson told Thrillist that the creator of the map is a random Maps user who has chosen to remain anonymous.
The list features the Villisca Ax Murder House in Villisca, Iowa, a place with a name as frightening as its bloody history.
According to the site’s website, “the walls still protect the identity of the murderer or murderers who bludgeoned to death the entire family of Josiah Moore and two overnight guests on June 10, 1912.”
Nearly 97 years later, guests still say they can hear the spirits of the murderers and have even provided audio, video and photographic proof of paranormal activity, according to the website.
Other notably spooky sites include Salem, Massachusetts, home to the infamous Salem Witch Trials; the haunted Stanley Hotel that inspired Stephen King’s “The Shining;” the cursed haunted Lemp Mansion hotel in Missouri; and the first prison in the country to implement solitary confinement, the Eastern State Penitentiary.
Though it doesn’t really fit the bill of frights and scares, the Google Maps user also included the White House on the list of 31 most haunted places in the nation.
Check out the map for yourself:
Bob Marley’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was found vandalized Monday, to the dismay of fans and Walk of Fame workers.
Ana Martinez, of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, posted a photo of the vandalized star on Twitter.
Martinez called the vandalism disrespectful, writing, “Why would anyone do this to Bob Marley’s star? Help me understand.”
Martinez said Marley’s star appeared to have been pounded with a sledgehammer or something heavy, “totally destroying it,” according to NBC Los Angeles.
Martinez said Walk of Fame stars are state-registered historic landmarks and repairs to the star would cost about $3,000.
The star is expected to be repaired sometime Wednesday.
Marley, known for hits like “Three Little Birds” and “One Love,” died in 1981 at the age of 36 after battling cancer. He was honored with a star on the Walk of Fame in 2001.
Feeling bummed about never receiving your Hogwarts letter?
Well, you may be able to live out your Harry Potter dreams after all.
Worthwich School’s annual Worthwich Wizarding Weekend, described as a “3-day magical retreat to Worthwich School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,” is taking place in Killeen, Texas, Oct. 27-29.
And yes, it’s eerily similar to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The retreat is for adults 21 and up and lasts three days, with a curriculum of classes including potions, charms, defensive magic, divination, astronomy, herbology, magical creatures and flying lessons. First-year students even get sorted into their houses, just like at Hogwarts (no word on if there’s a magical Sorting Hat, though).
The weekend kicks off with wand-making classes, pumpkin carving and magical shopping, followed by a sorting ceremony. There will be screenings each night, magical sporting games and classes throughout the weekend. Tickets, which are $400 per person for the entire weekend, include lodging, food and drinks.
Worthwich also offers regular wand making classes in Austin and across Texas, as well as Harry Potter trivia nights.
Environmentalists in San Francisco and Los Angeles are concerned about the effects of one feature at local Museum of Ice Cream locations: sprinkles.
Critics say the plastic pieces are littering California streets blocks from the pop-up museums as they’re carried out on the clothes of museum visitors. The plastic material becomes litter and has the potential to end up in the water, a danger to marine life, KABC reported.
“My concern is that they go down the drains and into the bay, where they will be bite-sized for most fish,” San Francisco resident Johanna Sanders told the San Francisco Gate.
The Museum of Ice Cream, which opened in Los Angeles in April and San Francisco in September, is known for its colorful displays, tasty treats and Instagram-worthy photo backdrops.
According to a Forbes description of the LA location, there’s a “gallery of suspended bananas, ... rooms of giant melted popsicles, big-as-you gummy bears and a swimming pool full of sprinkles.” The San Francisco Gate describes its local pop-up as including “a candy garden, psychedelic rainbow unicorns, a pink rock climbing wall, banana swings, an all-pink diner with a jukebox and a sprinkle pool filled with more than 100 million plastic imitation sprinkles. A circular swimming space even has pink floats and a diving board.”
Both locations feature bright pink walls and interactive exhibits.
“All of the rooms in the museum have things you can eat or smell,” KABC reported.
The museums use plastic for the sprinkles in the pools instead of real, edible ones for sanitary reasons. A spokesperson for the Museum of Ice Cream told the Gate the sprinkles are coated in “antimicrobial germ bloc.”
Museum officials said they’re working to address people’s concerns. They’re working with an environmental specialist and also instructing exiting visitors to shake off excess sprinkles at an “air shower” at the San Francisco location, according to the Gate.
But even still, “guests have been putting sprinkles in their pocket(s) as a memento of their experience in the sprinkle pool,” spokeswoman Shelley Reinstein said.
Eva Holman, with the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit environmental organization, said the plastic sprinkles pose risks that need to be taken more seriously.
“If it's on the sidewalk it most likely goes into storm drains and then into the ocean,” Holman told the Gate. “(And) my 5-year-old would think it’s candy. Why wouldn’t a bird on the street think it’s something to consume?”
“Most plastic has a purpose, like bottle caps and food wrappers,” Holman said. “What is the purpose of this tiny piece of plastic other than a selfie moment?”
The Museum of Ice Cream’s Los Angeles location, originally slated to close in May, has had its close date pushed back five times due to popularity. It’s scheduled now to close in December. The San Francisco location will be open until Feb. 13, just in time for lovebirds to take their sweet someone before Valentine’s day. The museum was set to close in October, but officials extended the schedule after tickets sold out in just 18 minutes.
Read more at the San Francisco Gate.
Disney was shut down Sunday as former Hurricane Irma was approaching the Orlando area.
Online videos and pictures showed some flooding at Disney’s Epcot and at the Grand Floridian Resort.
Trees were also knocked down at Animal Kingdom.
A Disney representative told CNN that the damage assessment is still in initial stages, but he said Disney World does not expect to see significant damage to its properties.
It was only the sixth time in the resort's 45-year history that severe weather has forced the theme park to close.
A man who tried to run through the Burning Man festival’s towering effigy died Sunday, Fox News reported.
Aaron Joel Mitchell, 41, ran into the fire at around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, festival organizers said. Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen said the man ran through a human chain of security officers and into the fire.
Black Rock City firefighters rescued Mitchell, who was airlifted to a burn treatment center in Sacramento, California, CNN reported.
Mitchell was a U.S. citizen who lived in Switzerland with his wife, CNN reported.
In a statement on the company website, festival organizers said they were working to make resources available to people who witnessed the incident.
“We’re aware this incident has affected not only those who responded immediately on the scene, but also those who witnessed it, and our Black Rock City community more broadly,” the statement read.
The nine-day festival attracts more than 100,000 people annually to the Black Rock Desert, located 120 miles north of Reno, Nevada. It is scheduled to end on Monday.
Nearly 40,000 unionized Disney workers have called for a massive 37 percent increase in pay just to make ends meet – what they’re calling a “living wage.”
Disney, Orlando’s largest employer with about 74,000 employees, has offered a much smaller 2.5 percent wage increase.
“The average wage under our proposal will increase from $11.28 to $15.71,” said Unite Here Local 737 President Jeremy Haicken.
Disney representatives say the average employee already makes more than $13 an hour when overtime and premiums are taken into account.
Entry-level employees also make nearly $2 an hour more than the Florida minimum wage, the company argued.
Disney cast members were not thrilled with the company’s 2.5 percent offer.
“It’s disappointing,” Magic Kingdom parking hostess Susie Easton said. “And I speak on behalf of all my fellow cast members when I say we deserve more.”
Bus driver Steven Brainard argued that Disney makes enough money to give employees a sizable bump in pay.
“It’s sickening how they make millions and they give us little pennies here and there,” he said.
Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said she was confident that the two sides can find common ground when negotiations continue on Sept. 19.
“We’re going to continue to negotiate in good faith with the union to reach a fair and reasonable agreement,” she said.
Big Ben bonged for the last time on Aug. 21 after an announcement that London’s famous bell will be silenced until 2021 while its home, Elizabeth Tower, undergoes a multi-million dollar renovation.
The London clock tower isn’t the only tourist attraction to close for major repairs in recent years.
One of the most famous structures in the City of Light is undergoing a 15-year, $321 million overhaul, Curbed reported. Workers will update the tower’s elevators and twinkling lights and reinforce it against weather and possible terror attacks.
According to The Guardian, the Eiffel Tower is repainted every seven years, and the process takes 20 months and requires 60 tons of paint.
Sydney Opera House
This iconic Australian performance venue’s Joan Sunderland Theatre is undergoing its largest upgrade since it opened in 1973. According to The Telegraph, the construction will serve to upgrade acoustics and increase flexibility of the stage and seating areas.
The renovations will cost more than $150 million.
Thanks to many generous donations, Forbidden City’s Yang Xin Dian, or Hall of Mental Cultivation, is having its first renovation in more than a century.
Work on the famed Chinese palace should be completed by 2020.
Businessman and philanthropist David Rubenstein is spending $2 to $3 million on renovations to the elevator inside the prominent figure in Washington, D.C.
The monument is closed to visitors until at least 2019, according to The Washington Post.
Changes include hiring a staff of guides and guards, adding an exit ramp and additional security measures, installing on-site toilets and more. Work will continue until about 2019.
A 3-month-old baby killer whale died Monday at a SeaWorld park in San Antonio, Texas, the park announced this week.
The baby, named Kyara, died after suffering serious health problems. She was born in April at the park, and veterinarians believe she died of pneumonia.
SeaWorld said it would provide more information when the results are in from a post-mortem exam. The whale’s veterinary team suspects pneumonia was the cause because it is “a common illness in whales in both the wild and captivity.”
“Kyara had a tremendous impact on the entire zoological team, not to mention all of the guests that had the chance to see her,” San Antonio trainer Julie Sigman said in a statement. “The heart and support that has gone into caring for her throughout Takara's pregnancy until today has been amazing. As animal caregivers we dedicate our lives to these animals, and this loss will be felt throughout the entire SeaWorld family.”
Kyara was the last orca whale to be born at a SeaWorld park. Her mother, Takara, was pregnant last year when the company announced in March that it would end its killer whale breeding program. Orca gestation can last up to 18 months.
Kyara had been under 24-hour watch and had been hand-fed to supplement her nutrition, the park said. She had been separated from her mother in order to receive veterinary care.
SeaWorld has not collected a wild orca in nearly 40 years, and most of its orcas were born in captivity.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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