The adventurous Internet traveler willing to stray off the beaten path is likely to encounter the mundane, the extraordinary, the pagan, and the spiritual - everything from the British Museum to a Coney Island sideshow.
Offbeat Web sites abound. Thousands of people log onto them daily, says Indiana's Randy Benoit, the Net's self-proclaimed apostle of offbeat cyber, who develops and links hundreds of weird Web sites.
Here are a few strange sites to take in the next time you're surfing:
Planning a medieval marriage? Need to learn the nuances of the Celtic wedding vow, or understand the Norse rules of romance, courtship, and love? Click onto www.dfwx.com/medieval.html.
Want to see the world's largest thermometer or peanut, or the oldest cabin made of 26,000 fossils, or the largest wind turbine? How about the world's tallest Uncle Sam? Want to take a tour deep into a missile silo, housing a 103-foot tall decommissioned Titan II Missile, or visit a mini-reproduction of the Holy Land located in ... Mississippi? Jack Kerouac would have loved www.roadsideamerica.com. Proclaimed "weirdest site of the millennium," it transports viewers into the world of the bizarre, the tacky, and, yes, even the educational. (By the way, Uncle Sam was an actual person named Samuel Wilson. Born in Troy, N.Y., he was a meatpacker during the war of 1812.)
Trains are an integral part of American folklore. Take a ride on www.trainorders.com. This site - visited by enthusiasts 9,000 times a day - provides video and sound clips of trains across the US.
For the gentle sportsman, croquet long has been considered as demure a sport as any. But type in www.geocities.com/extremeonline and the mallets are flying. This is not your grandmother's croquet. There is no dress code. The more treacherous the playing field, the better. Hills, water hazards, and small animals are a bonus. Play at your own risk.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society