Welcome to Perceptive Travel online magazine, where we bring you some of the most interesting and unusual travel stories from around the globe each month, all from published book authors.

This month though, we are taking a break from new material as we travel around for a month and enjoy the last long days of summer. We've been enjoying the Dark Tourist show on Netflix and since we seem to share an interest in strange places and stories, we decided to build this one around a theme. Consider this our own dark tourism collection, with one story on a mental hospital tour and others that overlap with places the TV show visited—usually long after we had written about the bizarre attraction here.

First up, the one story we published that actually had the words of this issue in its name. Check out "Compassionate Education Versus Dark Tourism at an Oregon Mental Hospital," by Teresa Bergen.

For a lot of bad reasons, Chernobyl has been in the news a lot lately and the recent miniseries on TV showed just how badly everyone screwed the pooch when it happened. Thanks to heavy promotion by Ukraine though, the abandoned site has become a big draw for thrill-seeking dark tourists. Tom Coote gave us the scoop back in 2015.

Coote apparently had an eye for this type of thing...or just strange tastes in travel attractions. Back in 2016, he also highlighted the strange relationship and fascination many Colombians have with the murderous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.

Imagine if Cancun got invaded and everyone who lived and worked there was forced out. Now imagine it's 45 years later and the whole beach resort zone is still a ghost town, with nobody but soldiers and UN personnel allowed to enter. That's what Darrin DuFord found in the Mediterranean in his award-winning story, "The Concrete Corpses of Cyprus."

Tana Toraja in Sulawesi has long attracted intrepid tourists who come for the interesting houses and local rituals, but most don't realize what a bloodbath those Indonesian island rituals actually turn out to be. Marco Ferrese gets more gore than he bargained for in "Bring Your Daughter to the Torajan Slaughter."

Your Guide to the World's Best Travel Bargains

World's Cheapest Destinations book 5th edition

We give away something cool for travelers each month, as reader Bill E. of California found out when he won a heavy-duty 1600-lumen rechargeable metal flashlight from the Fenix Lighting store.

There's no big prize this month since this is a retrospective issue, but your humble editor happens to have a 5th edition of his book The World's Cheapest Destinations hitting the real and virtual shelves right now. So I'll be giving away three paperback or Kindle copies (your choice) to three readers on two continents. There will be one winner from Canada, one from the USA, and one from any other Amazon territory.

How do you score this or a more lucrative gear prize in the future? Join our e-mail issue update community. Then watch for the entry instructions near the beginning of each month. You can also follow us on Facebook and pay close attention to our feed for instructions. More than 100 readers have scored some sweet traveling gear or clothing since we launched, some twice!

Looking for a traveler's tale that appeared in a previous issue? Dive into the Perceptive Travel story archives, where you can find everything that has appeared here since our debut in 2006. In between new online magazine issues, check out the award-winning Perceptive Travel Blog for shorter takes on the weird and wonderful.

Let's take a trip!

- Tim Leffel, Editor

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