Mental Health

Here’s what you need to know about the Johari Window, and why you should value authenticity over being ‘right’

Photo by Dawn Armfield on Unsplash

“I never make the same mistake twice. I make it five or six times, just to be sure.”

Making mistakes is my jam. If I had a collection of all the terrible dates I’ve endured, all the job applications I’ve bungled, and all the courses I’ve struggled to finish, I’d have a menagerie of mistakes fit for the Queen of England. I’d never run out of material; the archive never stops growing.

My social anxiety makes it difficult for me to feel at ease among friends, but I’m learning to accept my social faux pas in stride. My over-idealistic worldview…

Photo by Caleb Lucas on Unsplash


Here’s what you need to know about ‘rebel consumers,’ gentrification and why Americans hate the ‘hipster’ label

Indie musicians. Vagabonds. Corporate art aficionados.

Hipsters are complicated members of America’s more recent alternative movements, but not for the reasons non-hipsters might assume. The meaning of the word ‘hipster’ has changed over time. It’s quite humbling to realize that this influential rebel culture isn’t actually as revolutionary as so-called hipsters would like to believe.

Hipsters can be both incredibly progressive and scathingly insensitive to other cultures depending on how they express their style to others.

Hipsters are a sign of changing times.

But is this change necessarily a movement in the right direction?

Who Were the First Hipsters?

First thing’s first: hipsters aren’t hippies. They aren’t members of the 1950s…

Los Angeles

Part local myth and part historical legend, could this specter haunt Los Angeles’ rolling hillsides?

Image by LoganArt from Pixabay

Nestled next to Dodger Stadium, Elysian Park features views of DTLA and a hidden specter. Locals believe that the White Woman of Elysian Park was a Mexican-American woman killed by members of US Navy during World War II.

Some sources say this woman is La Llorona, the Mexican spirit who was forced to kill her own children — and then drown herself. La Llorona cannot enter the afterlife without her children, and she wanders along the waterfront mourning her loss.

Elysian Park lies in between the Echo Park Lake and the Elysian Reservoir. The park closes at 9 PM — better not stay out too late!

Unearth more local lore at Enigmatic Planet. Happy galivanting!


From freaky folklore to the beastly beverage industry, vampires are versatile creatures. One business wants to change what it means to carry the ‘Vampire’ label. Will they succeed?

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Corpses don’t typically sell luxury products.

When Applebee’s first marketed its 2019 Halloween ‘vampire cocktail,’ a bubbling purple beverage topped with plastic vampire fangs, advertisements did not feature corpses flushed with living blood.

No, Applebee’s did not feature the gory undead creatures described in Slavic folklore. Instead, its ‘vampire cocktail’ drew on the image of Braham Stoker’s Dracula and successors. It marketed alternative tastes and gothic mystique.

Fortunately for Applebee’s, Dracula fell out of copyright in 1962, and in 2019 vampires were all the rage. Unfortunately for Applebee’s, another company had previously taken note of these bloody creatures’ popularity. That…


Across the globe, cultures pursue this mollusk to extremes

Julie Francis on Unsplash

In Japanese Shintoism, noshiawabi or dried strips of abalone held together with straw make shinsen which are then sacrificed to the gods.

According to Apache myth, a deity known as the White Painted Woman survived the Great Flood by hiding in an abalone shell. After her sons grew successful, she developed the Sunrise Ceremony as a four-day coming-of-age ritual to help young females achieve similar success.

In Karuk culture, this mollusk represents a feminine symbol of wealth.

South African perlemoen are also treasured — but this leads to illegal poaching.

New Zeland pāua conservation efforts have been moderately successful.

Most species of abalone are threatened or endangered. Learn more about California’s struggle to save white abalone here.

Unearth more local lore at Enigmatic Planet. Happy galivanting!

San Pedro

Here’s why tourists, skaters and hikers trespass on this tragic spot anyway

Photo by kevin turcios on Unsplash

In 1929 a slow-moving landslide sent a cove of expensive San Pedro homes into the murky waters below. All of the residents escaped, but the sunken city ruins remind Los Angelinos why building along fragile California coastlines means risky business.

The site, which is covered in graffiti-art, was featured in professional skateboarder Kilian Martin’s film Edge of the World. The Sunken City also made a cameo in Joel & Ethan Coen’s The Big Lebowski.

While the site remains off-limits to curious hikers, tourists who decide to explore the ruins at their own risk begin their journey near the Cabrillo Ocean Beach or Point Fermin Park.

Unearth more local lore at Enigmatic Planet. Happy galivanting!


Hippolyte de Bouchard, from pirate to commander of the Peruvian Navy

Photo by hp koch on Unsplash

Often called California’s only pirate, Franco-Argentine privateer Hippolyte de Bouchard seized riches along the sparsely populated 1800s California coastline. His crew terrorized Spanish settlements at the Presidio at Monterey and San Juan Capistrano. They did not set fire to any missions during their attacks. At Santa Barbara, de Bouchard’s troops retreated.

One of de Bouchard’s crew, Joseph Chapman, was marooned after the San Juan Capistrano attack. He later joined the mission community, married and oversaw the construction of a grist mill for Mission San Gabriel.

Hippolyte de Bouchard joined the Peruvian navy in 1820 and retired as a captain in 1829. He was killed by his own slaves in 1837.

Unearth more local lore at Enigmatic Planet. Happy galivanting!

Los Angeles

Pirates, goddesses and gargoyles, oh my!

Photo by Cat Baklarz

Its rooftop staggering under the weight of gargoyles, Athena and a dragon built from vintage Harley-Davidson parts, the Venice Bordello Alexandra is a heartwarming sight for Venice locals.

Built in 1906, the Victorian-style apartments fell into disrepair before current owners Tony Wells and Brittany Stevenson gave 20 Westminster Ave its fantastic makeover. The heroin-dive-turned-tourist-destination houses Venice Beach artists and glows red in the waning twilight.

The owners sourced many of the Bordello’s statues from Rosarito Beach in Mexico. According to Wells, the artisan who created the statues continued the indigenous Ejido tradition of creating metalwork statues to ward off evil spirits.

Unearth more local lore at Enigmatic Planet. Happy galivanting!

Los Angeles

Built for a set of silent films, the Spadena house is here to stay

Image by Bobak Ha from Wikimedia Commons

The Spadena House of Beverly Hills was built for a series of 1920s silent films including Hansel and Gretel. It fell into disrepair before real estate agent Michael J. Libow purchased the cottage in 1998.

The house is not open to the public but outsiders can learn more about the house’s interior here. The Spadena house is the most popular non-celebrity home requested on Los Angeles Starline Tours and it remains one of Beverly Hill’s local historic properties.

Every Halloween, the storybook house distributes candy to thousands of visiting children from Los Angeles community.

Unearth more local lore at Enigmatic Planet. Happy galivanting!


In search of lost treasure

Image from Wikimedia Commons

The Vietnamese hunter Dã Tràng received a magic pearl in return for helping a snake bury its twin. It allowed Dã Tràng to speak with animals, and he quickly formed an alliance with a crow who helped him hunt.

This relationship didn’t last. The crow later framed the poor hunter for murder. Deep in the kingdom’s dungeon, Dã Tràng listened to ants’ warnings— and successfully helped his people prepare for an impending flood. The king appointed Dã Tràng royal advisor, and the pearl remained secret.

Regrettably, Dã Tràng lost his pearl in the ocean. He searched until he died from exhaustion. Today, sand-bubbler crabs comb Vietnamese coastlines, searching for the lost treasure.

Perhaps California sand crabs are searching for something as well?

Unearth more local lore at Enigmatic Planet. Happy galivanting!

Cat Baklarz

|Los Angeles| Environmentalist, Writer, Historian of the Weird. I seek to shield this dimension from ruin, or something.

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