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13 Creepiest Things You Can Find at the Bottom of the Ocean

Locomotive graveyards, ancient civilizations, felled military vessels, and unbelievably odd marine creatures are just a few of the macabre and magical wonders living underneath the sea.

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shell mussels on the sea bottom underwater photoPhoto: KICHIGIN/SHUTTERSTOCK

Numerous lost cities

Atlantis isn’t the only forgotten civilization buried many leagues under the sea. The remains of at least a dozen lost cities rest eerily at the bottom of the ocean near places like Greece, Japan, and India. The sunken palace of Cleopatra is one of the most fabled underwater remnants of the ancient world. It was cast into the sea of when an earthquake and a tsunami hit Alexandria, Egypt, more than 1,400 years ago. And one of the most spectacular—and shockingly intact—submerged civilizations is Shicheng, also called the Lion City, at the bottom of China’s Qiandao Lake. But this one isn’t ancient; in fact, it was purposely flooded in 1959 to make room for a dam and an adjoining hydroelectric station—after the city’s inhabitants were relocated, thankfully.

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A locomotive graveyard

The state of New Jersey is known for many things, but deep-sea train wrecks are not one of them—well, not until 1985, when two rare trains from 1850 were discovered in Long Branch under 90 feet of water. The steam engines remain shrouded in mystery, as there’s no record of them being lost—or even being built. Though the locomotives were never reported missing, it’s believed they fell victim to a powerful storm while they were being transported across the Atlantic Ocean passenger-free. They remain eerily preserved under a thick layer of rust.

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Shipwreck of the Torpedo boat Giuseppe Dezza and scuba diver underwater in the Mediterranean Sea Photo: AQUAPIX/SHUTTERSTOCK

A fleet of military battleships

Operation Hailstone, a surprise attack on Japan’s Imperial Fleet during World War II, sunk hundreds of military battleships, air crafts, and submarines. The vehicles sank off the coast of the Caroline Islands in the South Pacific over the course of two brutal days in 1944. Referred to as Japan’s Pearl Harbor, the event killed thousands of soldiers, and the wreckage remained undiscovered until the legendary Jacques Cousteau explored it in the late 1960s. Today, it’s called Truk Lagoon, and it’s just one of many of the world’s must-see tourist attractions.

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UFO flying in a dark skyPhoto: FER GREGORY/SHUTTERSTOCK

A suspected UFO

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who believe we have been visited by extraterrestrials, and those who refuse to. People in the former category would be more inclined to accept the idea that an object found by Swedish divers on the floor of the Baltic Sea in 2014 came from outer space; it was reported to be “UFO-shaped,” after all. But skeptics—and most scientists—believe the disc-like object is nothing more than a rock of unknown origin or possibly a meteor.

Speaking of UFOs, here are 15 shocking pranks, practical jokes and hoaxes.

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Water spider close up, soft focusPhoto: TATIANA BOBKOVA/SHUTTERSTOCK

Spiders that can breathe underwater

Plenty of creepy crawlies live beneath the sea, but possibly none as bizarre as an arachnid that manages to breathe underwater in a very creative way. The Argyroneta aquatica captures a bubble from the surface of the water, trapping the air in its web, and simply breathes it in. This makeshift “gill” can keep the spider alive indefinitely with only occasional visits to the surface.

Check out 14 of the most elaborate spider webs found in nature.

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Underwater Wreck of the USS Kittiwake - a large artificial reef in the CaribbeanPhoto: RICHARD WHITCOMBE/SHUTTERSTOCK

Shallow shipwrecks

Few things can give you goosebumps quite like the aerial view of families frolicking on the beach just feet away from an ancient shipwreck. Tobermory, Ontario is one place where you can see witness this eerie occurrence—and even snorkel to explore the Minch, the Newago, and The City of Grand Rapids. Each shipwreck is at least 100 years old and lies no deeper than 15 feet below water.

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Ancient calendar signs carved on stone background close photoPhoto: FOTINIA/SHUTTERSTOCK

A 2,000-year-old computer

Today, computers are ubiquitous, but a few thousand years ago, they were pretty hard to come by. The oldest known computer was discovered among a shipwreck at the bottom of the sea off the Greek island Antikythera. A group of fisherman made the find around the turn of the 20th century. The rusted over device, possibly invented between 200 and 70 BC, was finally excavated in 1902 and is now known as the Antikythera Mechanism.

Here are the 10 biggest mysteries about Planet Earth.

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Photo: Shutterstock

Remnants from the Apollo Moon Misson Rocket

Leave it to Amazon chief Jeff Bezos to recover parts of booster-rocket engines from the Apollo space craft—responsible for sending Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon in 1969—from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in 2013. The historic engine pieces were discovered a whopping 14,000 feet underwater and given as a gift to Seattle’s Museum of Flight in 2015.

Scientists still can’t answer these 13 mysteries about the moon.

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A second Stonehenge

About 40 feet down in Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay, archaeologists discovered a pattern of mysteriously placed stones eerily reminiscent of England’s iconic Stonehenge. Among the stones was a boulder with prehistoric carvings that scientists believe were made during the Ice Age about 10,000 years ago. The historic stones were discovered only a few years ago during a search for ancient shipwrecks.

These 12 abandoned churches around the world are eerily gorgeous.

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the texture of the old coins under waterPhoto: NEMOVA OKSANA/SHUTTERSTOCK

An undiscovered billion-dollar treasure

In 1909, a luxury liner called the RMS Republic collided with another ship and sunk 80 kilometres off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, taking with it $3 million in gold coins, a treasure that would be worth more than $1 billion today. Though it’s hard to imagine the coins could be anywhere else but at the floor of the ocean, they have never been recovered. And it’s not for lack of trying. A former resident of the island has made it his life’s mission to find the fortune, and The History Channel has even documented his thus far fruitless mission.

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Cliff and rocky boulders on the bottom of the seaPhoto: LEOCO/SHUTTERSTOCK

A 60,000-tonne stone structure

An enormous, mysterious, cone-shaped structure was discovered at the bottom of the Sea of Galilee in 2003, and it has scientists and archaeologists baffled. They believe the oddity might be up to 12,000 years old and that it was man-made by a well-organized society—but they have no idea what it was made for.

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Ancient human skull and bones. Reconstruction of the burial site.Photo: SERGEY VOEVODIN/SHUTTERSTOCK

Unexplained skeletons

At the bottom of a lake called Roopkund at the base of the Himalayas in India, hundreds of ancient skeletons believed to be about 1,200 years old were discovered in 1942 by a British game reserve ranger. Not only are the skeleton’s origins unknown, but their location is so remote and removed from human settlement that few can speculate how this macabre, makeshift underwater graveyard came to be. It’s theorized that they may be the remains of soldiers, religious zealots on a mass suicide mission, or victims of natural disaster.

These 16 unsolved mysteries are among the most chilling we’ve ever heard.

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Sticks in the Shape of a Cross at Long Beach in Washington StatePhoto: TRACY SPOHN/SHUTTERSTOCK

A giant crucifix

At the bottom of Lake Michigan lies a 1,800-pound Italian marble sculpture of Jesus crucified on the cross, and tourists are invited to view it from boats on the surface. It was commissioned by the family of a deceased boy in 1956, but when they rejected the cracked statue, it was submerged in the lake in 1962 and declared a memorial for deceased divers.

Next, don’t miss these 15 ancient mysteries researchers can’t solve.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest