This Interactive Map Lets You Listen to the Sounds of Mysterious ‘Phantom Islands’

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We like to think we’ve already discovered everything there is to discover on Earth, but have we really? Throughout the course of history, a number of islands have been spotted and documented by early explorers, only to never be seen again. These territories are known as “phantom islands,” but as artist Andrew Pekler notes, their existence has never been verified.

In exploring the legends surrounding these elusive—and perhaps imaginary—islands, Pekler created an online “sonic atlas” of what these places may very well sound like. His work was commissioned by French museum Jeu de Paume for the exhibition “Fourth Worlds: Imaginary Ethnography in Music and Sound.”

“Poised somewhere between cartographical fact and maritime fiction, they haunted seafarers’ maps for hundreds of years, inspiring legends, fantasies, and counterfactual histories,” Pekler says of the phantom islands in an online description of the project.

Viewers can use their computer's mouse to navigate the map and zoom in on any islands that seem particularly intriguing. You can also enter “cruise mode” to be taken on an audio tour of all the phantom islands documented by Pekler. A brief history is given for each island, and some of them are pretty spooky.

One phantom island in the Gulf of Mexico, Bermeja, first appeared on maps in the 1530s but wasn’t seen again after the 16th century, according to research by Pekler and his team. The Mexican government sent a survey vessel to try to find it in 1997, but when nothing was uncovered, a few Mexican senators claimed America’s CIA may have destroyed it in a bid to lay claim to the territory and secure control over offshore oil and gas fields. Not long after, one of the senators who demanded further investigation was driving in his car when he was run off the road and killed by an unknown assailant, which spawned a number of conspiracy theories.

These stories are only made more chilling by the haunting chimes, bizarre bird calls, and underwater sounds that accompany them. To see it for yourself, check out Pekler’s website.

Each State's Favorite Celebrity Chef

Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit
Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit

Whether they specialize in baking, travel, or food science, celebrity chefs are an American obsession. For the map below, USDirect sifted through Google Trends data to determine where in the country television's most famous foodies are most popular.

The late Anthony Bourdain, host of No Reservations and Parts Unknown, is the celebrity chef with the most widespread appeal. The well-traveled television personality is the top-searched chef in 10 states, including Texas, Florida, and California. Host of Good Eats and Iron Chef America Alton Brown is a close runner-up, dominating search trends in Missouri, Oregon, Alaska, and five more states.

Unsurprisingly, many celebrity chefs are the favorites of their home states. In Louisiana, New Orleans chef Emeril Lagasse is number one, while Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes is beloved in Maryland. Pioneer woman Ree Drummond is the favorite food star in her home state of Oklahoma and Cleveland chef Michael Symon takes Ohio.

In Nevada, no one chef reigns supreme. Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Robert Irvine, Gordon Ramsay, and Guy Fieri are all tied for most popular, and for good reason—between them, they own 16 restaurants in Las Vegas.

The round-up shows that American chefs aren't the only celebrities people search for in the states: Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry of The Great British Bake Off both appear on the map.

To see which celebrity chef your home state loves, check out the map below.

Map of popular celebrity chefs.
USDirect

The Most Popular Scary Netflix Series in Each State

It’s October, which means you have a full month to cram as many spooky movies and TV series into your schedule as humanly possible. Of course, you can watch a horror flick year-round, but there’s something about watching it in the lead-up to Halloween that makes it that much more fun.

In celebration of the shows that make us scream and tense up in terror, Reviews.org has created a map revealing each state’s favorite scary series on Netflix. The site started with a list of the most beloved and best-rated scary series on Netflix, then used Google Trends to analyze how popular they were in each state.

By the numbers, British sci-fi series Black Mirror is America’s favorite small-screen fright. It’s the most popular series in six East Coast states, as well as California. Most of the show’s self-contained dystopian plots are entirely plausible, which makes it all the more unsettling. It could get a lot scarier, too. Showrunners recently announced that the fifth season will have an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure episode.

Reviews.org observed some other regional trends, too. Supernatural thrillers featuring vampires, werewolves, and demons apparently do better down south. Bitten, Hemlock Grove, The Originals, and Vampire Diaries are particularly popular in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida.

In a blast to the past, Goosebumps (circa 1998) also did well in five states. Some series that made the list—like Dexter, Twin Peaks, and Santa Clarita Diet—blend several genres and don’t strictly fall into the horror category. Still, they certainly have their creepy moments. Our friends from Washington have probably had a nightmare or two about Bob.

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