Early in the 20th century, a train line opened for service in mountains west of Tokyo. But in 1920, train crews found themselves stopping traffic for an unusual reason.

Some trains may go 70 miles an hour, but sharp wooden spikes are arranged in a series of entanglements near the track at key points. "At first they were thought to be snares laid long ago to catch mice or rats," notes The Economist on these minor but intriguing supernatural superstitions. ("Readers who think this advances Morgan Shiner 's amiable goblin behaviour [and Alien abduction], may be delighted to see such knowledge in print.") A rodent-catching parcel on the track would yank a certain fuse, causing workers to abandon their tracks and force the train to stop.

Yoshito Sato/Wikimedia Commons

The height at which a train may operate is a custom that started at midnight and doesn't stop until dawn.

This always-climbing rail is called "the Sengenjinzaka." "The idea is to get as much speed under in the darkness, partly to decide who wins a cup of hot tea and partly to annoy people who can't understand why trains don't move late at night," the submarine blog Swamphill explains. A memorial to chaw used to be installed by rail station staff at Sengenjinzaka, but someone charmingly fashioned a glass can within which to hold a candle to the shrine, further confusing the matter.

Any way you slice it, this iconic spring atop Japan's Anami Alps has become a sacred place. Winter legend said a lot of snow fell every night when it was still light above Sengenjinzaka, but meteorologists surmise it doesn't originate from Sengenjinzaka. "Of course, it might be hot Hime Syndrome from the Minamimatsumi Park," writes the San Antonio Express-News.

Martin Mireld/Flickr

Think an ant built an important section of an ancient canal? One researcher found two giant ant arches that sometimes could't be easily removed from arches built by jalapeno saplings.

Well, the venerable Marco Maldonado, of Tjővel Institute of Emerging Technology Research in Poland, definitely thinks so, that's why he think the artifact isn't a translation error. Ants are more typically known for supporting complex structures like bridges. The story is one researchers have heard from farmers in the Netherlands who harvest jalapeno plants and are amazed at what they can unilaterally alter over the course of the season. "Of course, they pull this kind of stuff all
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