Every once in a while during my online wanderings, I find a gold mine. Atlas Obscura is a collection of weird and interesting facts (people, places, inventions, animals, discoveries), sure to spark ideas in the writer’s brain.

The posts are short and usually photo-rich, and you can even have a digest of them delivered to your inbox for ongoing inspiration. Check out the sampling below!

18 Abandoned Psychiatric Hospitals

18 Abandoned Psychiatric Hospitals

Oh, my goodness! Look at these creepy hallways, eroding walls, dirty windows and cracked floors. If you need visuals for a horror story or even just somewhere spooky your characters spend a night in while they’re on the run or on a dare, these photos will come in handy. So many stories are crying out from the bones of these abandoned places.

El Caracol – the observatory of Chichen Itza

El Caracol -The Observatory of Chichen Itza

Does your story’s culture pre-date planetariums and telescopes? That doesn’t mean they can’t have a keen understanding of the movement of the stars. Check out this ancient Mayan observatory for ideas.

Geckolepis megalepis – a lizard that loses its scales when you touch it

Geckolepis megalepis

Want some unique aliens or animal species in your fantasy or scifi story? Or even something weird right here on Earth today? This lizard gives me several interesting ideas!

Places you should include in your ‘Quest for the Holy Grail’ story

6 Stops on the Hunt for the Holy Grail

Writing about the Holy Grail? Here are some locations to consider including. The article also has links to related fascinating places, like tunnels under Jerusalem, a “money pit”, and a place where Nazis are suspected to have performed pagan rituals.

Feral bunnies are taking over Las Vegas

Feral Bunnies in Las Vegas

C’mon, tell me that doesn’t sound like the basis for a hilarious (or horrific) short story? And if bunnies are too “cute” for you, try this one: Found: Giant, Swimming, Venomous Centipedes.

France’s Burle Triangle

France's Burle Triangle

The Bermuda Triangle isn’t the only place where planes have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. In France, the Burle “Triangle of Death” is where more than 60 victims died in plane crashes. These incidents are said to be accompanied by strange events and UFO sightings.

Now Share Yours!

If you write a story using something from Atlas Obscura, let us know in the comments. Share your favorite writer’s inspiration sites, too!