9 Bizarre Communities (You Can Join!)

1Federation of Damanhur – Secret Community Beneath Italian Alps

Image from the Temples of Humankind

What is it: A secret underground community started in 1975 by Oberto “Falco” Airaudi based upon visions he saw in his childhood. He started with 24 people who helped him build elaborate, ornate structures he called The Temples of Humankind. When finally discovered by Italian authorities, it was dubbed the 8th Wonder of the World and now has 600 inhabitants as well as its own currency and university.

How to join: You can take courses in such things as Past Lives and Communicating with the Plant World by clicking here: http://www.damanhurwelcome.com/index.php/en/

2De Hogeweyk Village for People With Dementia

What is it: A community near Amsterdam where its 152 residents are made up entirely of people with Alzheimer's and other memory problems. It is designed to look and function like a normal town and its inhabitants are free to shop, dine in restaurants, or walk about on their own schedule, but it is also carefully monitored (and the city is enclosed) so that people don't wander off or hurt themselves.
How to join: You must be an elderly resident of Holland, but visitors are always welcome. A similar village is being designed in San Luis Obispo, California.

3Women Living in Chernobyl

Men wanted!

What is it: When the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded in 1986, the 18-mile area around it was deemed uninhabitable and the Soviets resettled the 18,000 residents, but over the years a determined few babushkas (older women) came back to live in the restricted area. Whether nostalgic, stubborn, or just plain crazy, 230 so-called “self-settlers” remain.
How to join: Go to the Ukraine and find someone willing to take you there.

4Brazil's City of (Mostly) Women

What is it: Noiva do Cordeiro, located in south-eastern Brazil, is a remote village comprising mostly of women. It was founded in 1891 by Maria Senhorinha who lived in exile after being accused of adultery. There are some men that live there, but they are gone during the week working nearby cities. Some of the younger women complain there are no eligible men they aren't related to and long to find romance. Others are quite content with their matriarchy.
How to join: Be a man and have an engagement ring.

5Manshiyat Naser aka Garbage City

What's that smell?

What is it: A settlement near Cairo, Egypt. The residents, called the Zaballeen, earn their livelihood by collecting trash from the 20 million inhabitants of Cairo and sorting through it. The area mostly lacks electricity or running water, but 90 percent of the waste is recycled. The rest lies scattered about everywhere.
How to join: Go to Cairo and follow your nose.

6Manila North City – Community Living in Graveyard

Children of Manila North playing amongst the graves

What is it: The largest public graveyard in the Phillipines which spans over 130 acres. Because money is scarce and housing is in short supply, many people illegally squat in converted mausoleums, either working at the graveyard, selling trinkets or offering tours. Children can often be seen playing amongst the graves.

How to Join: Go to Manila and don't be put off by dead bodies.

7Kingdom of the Little People in China

What is it: a tourist attraction in Kunming, China where little people less than 51 inches (130 cm) tall dress up in fantasy-themed costumes and perform for tourists. The performers pretend to live in mushroom-shaped houses, but really live in a nearby dormitory. There has been criticism that this is little more than a human zoo, but many of the workers have said they enjoy living and working there.

How to join: Be 51 inches tall or less – the ability to sing and dance is a bonus.

8Maharishi Vedic City – Community Based on Ancient Yogi Philosophy

Home of the Pandits

What is it: Marharishi Vedic City and nearby Fairfield, both located in Iowa, were featured on Oprah as “America's Most Unusual Town.” Twice a day, residents of Fairfield commute to one of two giant domes to practice transcendental meditation. Maharishi Vedic City is one square mile and has architecture and philosophy based upon the Vedic Science of Consciousness. Also nearby is a secluded compound consisting of approximately 300 Pandit monks from India who live and meditate around the clock for world peace.

How to join: According to Zillow, there are several homes for sale in the area.

9Las Vegas Tunnel People Live Below Strip

What is it: In the flood tunnels that snake beneath the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas Strip reside approximately 1000 people too poor to afford a place to live. Some came to Vegas in promise of a good job, some are war veterans with PTSD, all of them are living in makeshift shelters built from cast off items they find above ground. This was documented in a book entitled Beneath the Neon by Matthew O'Brien.

How to join: You probably don't want to live here. If you would like to help those stuck living in these conditions, donate to O'Brien's Shine A Light Foundation through Help of Southern Nevada.