News from the offbeat tourist attraction landscape of Roadside America.
Sightings Vol. 12, No. 7 - October 28, 2016

Trick or Treat Time

Which form of torture is more frightening: The kind exhibited at a museum of historic torture devices...or the excruciatingly slow drip of a Presidential campaign? If you're irreparably bloated with candidate rhetoric, then please allow us to attach a sack of hungry rats to your belly.

The Historic Museum of Torture Devices
The Hall of Presidents and First Ladies


Garden of Eden

Garden of Eden.

Who knew that the biblical Paradise was actually in a little town in Kansas? This bizarre art environment includes an evil cement octopus and the tomb of the Garden's creator (Sam Dinsmoor, not God, displayed in a glass-topped coffin). He's been dead for over 80 years, but he still participates in the tour. Story


Bubble Top Cars of the Future

Bubble Cars of the Future.

Long ago, visions of the future did not include a zombie apocalypse and Darryl Starbird was building cars that looked like rocket ships. The "King of the Bubble Tops" has his own museum with his most outlandish creations, including the 1960 Predicta that started it all. Story


Gettysburg Dime Museum

Chris Barbee's Bowling Ball Yard.

The most controversial artifact in history-obsessed Gettysburg is perhaps Abraham Lincoln's Last Bowel Movement, one of many surprising items in this P.T. Barnum-esque throwback attraction. Babies in jars, serial killer memorabilia, a human head in a box, and Eustace "Buck" Shepherd, the Sheep Man. Story


Miss America University

Twister (The Movie) Museum.

We like these odds — three Miss Americas attended this college. Life-size bronze statues of the winners greet visitors to the campus, and the "Hall of Queens" is a shrine to the many who came respectably close but failed to win the coveted tiny crown. Story


The Pig Museum

Cabbage Patch Fantasy Land.

30,000+ pigs and counting in this unexpected Porkopolis on a Missouri farm. Curator Cindy Brenneke does her best to manage the collection of hammy banks, lamps, aprons, snow globes, clocks, bedspreads, hats, pillows, spoon rests, and salt & pepper shakers while feeding the real pigs in the barn. Story


Giant Buffalo Skull

Grassroots Art Center.

This is the kind of thing we expect to see in Wyoming: a laundromat where people enter and exit through the nose of a 15-foot-high buffalo skull. It was built out of fiberglass in the early 1980s by visionary Vic Lemon. You can wash your car here, too. Story


Retro Roadside:
Mahalchik's Fabulous Fifty Acres

Mahalchik's Fabulous Fifty Acres.

If you think your Facebook friends’ political posts are annoying, imagine having this guy living next door. John "Mister Freedom" Mahalchik plastered his army surplus junkyard with tons of cranky and sometimes visionary political signs. He portrayed Richard Nixon as a rat and floated the theory that Presidents with big noses were warmongers. Story


Yesteryear Travel: Freedom Highway

Video: Freedom highway.

Musical clip from a 1956 film funded by Greyhound. A busload of B-list movie stars -- Tommy Kirk, Marshall Thompson, Angie Dickinson -- travels cross-country and learns about the USA's wonderful history and road system. Tex Ritter sings about the Alamo! Video


It takes a little torture to truly cherish our freedom!
The Team

Spotted by Tipsters

Spotted by Tipsters

The quirky reports never cease: Room Where Nikola Tesla Died, Sam Spade's Office, Twilight Dragon of Payette Lake, the Sexting Statue, Waylon Jennings Museum (and Drive-Thru Liquor Store), and more.

Latest Tips


Apps & Tools

Roadside America iPhone app Roadside America (iPhone)
12,000+ USA/Canada offbeat attractions, research targets, interactive "Near Me" maps. New places added frequently! Quirky categories, top-rated recommendations. Navigate with Waze, Google or Apple Maps.

$2.99 on the App Store (includes access to 1 of 7 regions); addtl. regions or "All Access" unlock is optional in-app purchase.
iPhone, iPod touch (iPad compatible)


Roadside Presidents iPhone app

Roadside Presidents App for iPhone
US Presidents, VPs, First Ladies, even dastardly assassins -- visit where they lived, worked, played, died! Navigate with Waze, Google or Apple Maps.

$2.99 iPhone, iPod touch, (iPad compatible). Available on the App Store.


Roadside America My Sights Planner My Sights Route Planner - Save places you read about on Roadside America, create a trip, and then email it to friends or export a .cvs file to upload onto a GPS device (Garmin, TomTom, etc.). Learn more and try it!


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Main image: Historic Museum of Torture Devices, Alton, Illinois